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Reduction Print

During the spring I worked on a reduction print of clouds. Clouds are one of the things I photograph often. I decided to explore how they would look in a hard-edged form of silk screen printing.

I chose and image (seen in a stretched out version at the top of my blog) and divided it into fourteen color zones. This process involves laying down color, then blocking areas of the screen in which you want to preserve that color. You start with the lighted hue and build up. At each stage you print a color, then block out the places on the screen where you are preserving that color. By the time you are done your screen is almost totally blocked out.

Depending on the nature of your image, blocking areas can be tedious. Small paint brushes and the tips of pencils make good applicators. The screen filling liquid is viscous and brick red. With your screen set over a map of the image, you slowly fill in areas, then let them dry. You can’t go back in reduction printing. Thankfully, clouds are somewhat forgiving in their appearance, so I had the opportunity to experiment and change my approach as I progressed.

I learned a great deal working on this print. I’m not sure I’d do this frequently, but it would be good to have one going on the side while working on other, faster prints…

14 color reduction print: Spring 2019

Getting closer.

It is just a month before my activities for school start. I have registered for classes and am waiting to move into my on-campus studio. I have been reading and musing this summer–will I be able to keep up with 20-somethings? Will my ideas and concepts for art production be up-to-par for the demands of an MFA? Will I have sufficient stamina? Actually, it is primarily this last question that concerns me the most. As I age, fibromyalgia brings on flares of fatigue that make it hard to move.

I have just finished reading Nell Painter’s book, Old in Art School (Counterpoint Press, 2018). She is a well-known, highly published scholar of history and an emeritus professor at Princeton. Our lives have little in common other than going back to art school after retirement, but I have been very drawn in to her story. How many of us are there that still want to pursue our passion for making art? It is enlightening to read the account of an older woman in the milieu of the Rhode Island School of Design. She discusses her critiques, interactions with faculty, interactions with students, her drive to paint. I’m sure I will encounter some of the challenges she did. But, so far I have not had her experience of being treated differently by my student peers. In fact, I have found the students at Mizzou to be accepting and engaging.

I have been told that during the first weeks of school you should set up your studio as a gallery of your current work. Faculty and fellow students are invited in to meet and talk about what they see. I am envisioning this set up and wondering what the question I get will be. I have learned over the past two years that gallery art should only be framed in white or light wood. I now know what ‘gallery height’ is (the line on which all works are centered), and am amused that I am gallery height. I know I will need to be ready to explain the concepts of my work and the artists that influence me.

I will be showing the works I have done using silkscreening the past year. I
have become very fond of the CMYK process. Starting with a photograph, the image is broken out into the four color components used in commercial printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. If you’ve ever looked at a printed page with a hand lens you will have seen these four hues as dots, the placement of which results in the impression of a wide spectrum of color. (If you haven’t looked at a printed page with a hand lens you should do that now!) I have gotten fairly comfortable with the process of creating the screens and registering the four hues in successive overprinting.

The subject matter of my current work is found objects. I decided that I
should explore these items I collect to understand more of why I find them
interesting, and to see if I could use visual art as a way of talking about
them. The Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi, is a good avenue into the appeal. From its perspective I see the beauty of the unpretentious, the imperfect, the unpretentious. I also discovered the field of rubbish theory in sociology. From it I learned that a valued object can move into the realm of no longer being valued, but that it is also possible to reanimate an object. So, I have pursed making images of discards, trash so to speak, to see if they can be presented with beauty or at least interest.

I get more familiar with my blog and its processes I will be sharing some images of these items and the prints made of them.

The Journey Begins

Summer 2019

Welcome friends. Limen is a blog about my entry into the MFA program at the University of Missouri and my experiences along the way. It will be a place to share images of my work, discussion about the ideas I am working with, and thoughts about the art-making process from my perspective.

I have been working with printmaking for the past two years. Most recently I have been doing a series of silk screen prints of small found objects.

I have always been a collector of things that appeal. As a child I would fill my pockets with beach stones or horse chestnuts or the like. These were an abundance of beauty and fascination.

Some years ago a science building was being renovated near my workplace. Around the dumpster bits of equipment started to appear–computer keys, switches, bits of wire and so on. They were irresistible. And so were other bits of parking lot flotsam and jetsam.

Now I use these bits as subject matter for printmaking. Can a small piece of a rusted truck be presented as art? Can the ugliness of trash be superseded in its presentation? Could such prints change how people see their everyday world? These and many more questions drift by. I hope you will join in the conversation along the way.