Thursday, June 18, 2009

Self Portrait with Door

Self Portrait with Door 11 x 14 woodcut bleedprint on Somerset paper

artist proof, edition of 8 and woodblock

This was my last official school project, and it was unofficial and voluntary, but I was invited to participate in the diploma 1st year 1st semester relief printing class and while I spent most of the semester getting stuff done for my grad I did want to do the class print exchange. Our topic was "self portrait" and we needed to do 1 artist proof and and edition of 6.
I ended up with a final edition of 8.

print and plate

I printed this through the press. I was able to do that as I carved a piece of plywood finished with popular and it is fairly thin. You still have to set the rollers very high and I had to remove one of the printing blankets and at times I had to help the print roll on through but I got my edition and they were pretty consistent. It took about 5 proofs though to get the black right. I always need to add more ink that I think I do.

This is a bleed print as all the edges are printed and the paper is in fact smaller than the plate. I've never done a woodcut bleedprint or a woodcut on the press before. I think I'll do more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Post #300 - the simple beauty of friendly plastic

I have a thing for alphabets, type styles, fonts, text, letter shapes and plain old words. One of the best uses for friendly plastic has been in the simple construction of my sign. I firmly believe your sign should reflect your medium. Painters should have a painted sign. Ceramic artists a clay sign. Textile artists something sewn. It's a very effective way to show what you do. What I didn't realize is that there are lots of people out there who want their name in friendly plastic too. I've only made one but there's a young artist in my hometown (Keely you know it's you!) who made the names of all her friends after I showed her how to work fp on a visit here a few years ago.

A sign can use up a lot of plastic and this is the primary reason I don't make these for others. I made my own business name from snappers worked very slowly and minimally. I also chose the colours that just don't do it for me (hello burnt orange blechh) or those sticks that I had a lot of like light blue.

I didn't try to disguise the joins or do anything fancy. I just like the plastic like it is. I rarely try to change the surface. I'm a friendly plastic purist. I enjoy the sheer plasticness of it and the round shapes and the pillowy surface a melted stick gives you. There is much to love here without colouring or twisting or marbling or pressing it into a mold.

I did use one of my favorite colours for my name: metallic red on red. It is SO vibrant. I swear between metallic red on red, metallic royal blue on black, and metallic purple on black, and even metallic white on white, I will never leave this medium. There is nothing to compare to it. I know my friendly plastic blog has been short on friendly plastic, and this with the resurgence of fp on the scene, but first things first and getting my fine art diploma was at the top of my to do list. With graduation fast approaching I am looking ahead to re-discovering fp and making some of the things that have crossed my mind. Most of these are BiG ThInGs. With 4 rubbermaid bins of bits more or less full I've got a lot of raw material to dig into, and with three years of art school a lot more ideas of how to approach this stuff. Fun.

Our Grad Invitations Are Done - Here... Have One.

My class and I are graduating June 25th and the work of the 2009 graduating class will be on display all month in the main galleries of the Ottawa School of Art.

Come and see what three years of study did to us.

Ottawa Small Press Book Fair June 20th, 2009

WHEN: Saturday June 20th, 2009 12 to 5pm
WHERE: Jack Purcell Community Centre, Elgin at Gilmour Streets
EMAIL: rob mclennan

This is why I always have my camera with me

Saturday I rushed off to the school to work in the print room and I forgot my camera.

I really shouldn't have.

First of all I was making a poster using wooden type. I had a job hand setting type years ago and all the skills of using the Vandercook Proof Press came right back. But I was using metal type and we had minimal wood type and certainly no wooden spacer bars! OMG. If any of you out there know what I am speaking of, it's totally redonkulous the wooden spacer bar. Wow. I just felt so privileged to have access to this stuff. And on top of that we were using a poster press. I don't really know how to set it properly but we improvised and it worked.

And no camera. So here's a picture of wooden type kind of like what we (me and Shirley) used.

When I left the school I couldn't cross the street to catch the bus because a cop was leading a group of naked cyclists. Yes. Butt naked and chanting "more ass less gas". They were protesting the consumption of petroleum products. Somehow the sight of naked bodies phased me not one bit. I think it's all the life drawing classes. But the majority of the spectators were freaking out. Oh if I had had a camera... I would have taken a picture like this

or this
So I crossed the street after the cyclists rode past and when I got off I saw a bride wearing the poofiest bridal gown I've seen in years. It was right out of that glorious Aaron Spelling creation Dynasty. Again, had I had a camera you'd have seen it but it looked like very similar to one of these gowns - no - it was poofier.

After I had my fill of her gown I noticed a man at the base of the stairs where the bride was posing. He had a GIANT cockatoo on his shoulder and was wearing a bright blue Hawaiian shirt with bright green palm trees. Here's an image kind of like it but what I saw was way more vibrant

Beside the cockatoo lover were two girls. They were obviously trying to get a picture of the cockatoo on the guy's shoulder but they didn't want him to know so one was taking the other's picture and making sure the cockatoo man was in the frame. I found that amusing. Here's a tourist taking a picture. You'll have to imagine the rest, including the poofy bride in the far background.

I just could not believe I didn't have my camera. I reached my destination just before it closed at 4.
I was glad I made the effort. I actually talked wooden type and ludlows, and linotype machines and slugs and Vandercook presses as if it was current technology. I even had imprints of type on my forearms from our printmaking that afternoon to prove I had just been doing that. Nice. I was reminded that letterpress people have THE BEST business cards in the world

Next weekend it's the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Doors Open Ottawa - Ottawa School of Art: June 6th, 2009 Print Room Demo 1-3pm

From the City of Ottawa Website:

Ottawa was the second city in North America to launch this prestigious
event based on a successful European program dedicated to built heritage, architecture and design.

Each year, visitors hear first-hand the remarkable stories that have shaped the National Capital region. As Ottawa’s largest heritage and architectural event, Doors Open has recorded more than 340,000 visits since it began in 2002.

Currently, 48 European countries participate during European Heritage Month. In addition, Australia and the United States have joined the highly successful Doors Open movement.

Doors Open Ottawa is brought to the community by the City of Ottawa and a dedicated group of volunteers, in collaboration with Heritage Ottawa, Heritage Canada, the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects and the Ontario Heritage Trust. We strive to build partnerships between the City of Ottawa, building owners, neighbourhoods, and the corporate community.

PDF guide to all the locations available here

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Argyle Series by Katie Argyle

I spent the day in the print room today. There were people on the roof installing a giant air conditioning unit and they were super noisy. Some sounds were interesting, but mostly it just grated on your nerves. Inspite of this I got good work done. Here are my proofs for a triptych.
Good prints should be made over the weekend at Doors Open Ottawa. I'm demonstrating printmaking at the Ottawa School of Art on Saturday, 1pm-3pm. I plan to be printing these up and doing proofs of my bus strike series for a book.

1. Argyle Socks lino cut relief print 8x10

2, Argyle Socks lino cut relief print 8x10

3. Argyle, No Socks lino cut relief print 8x10

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Bounty of a Grocery Store

When I worked for a local grocery store, before they went bankrupt and we were let go without notice, (alas my tales of working for others are short and seem to end this way) I used to take home these fantastic Argentinian Pear shipping crates.

There was something about the wood. it was smooth in places, like they'd finished the slats by hand and other times rough like you'd get a million slivers just going near the thing. I found them mysterious, wondering what kind of tree that wood came from. They were inspirational and I did a lot of work on these small bits of wood that ended up becoming large paintings over time. I was just going through my archives and thought I'd post these.

The Big Nut

Other Uses For a Magic Wand No. 1

The Bath

Icarus Was a Gifted Flyer

You Smiled At Me

I have to tell you, I LOL'd at this version of the You Smiled At Me. Is it ok to love your work that much? *blush*

Franklin: Working In The Bone Yard

Franklin's working his fingers to the bone.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Distribute Freely

Here's a poster for the Urban Art @ Minto Park Show. I am organizing this art in the park along with Tim Hunt this year. This image will give you two flyers (fold and tear in half lengthwise) to hand out or to paste up anywhere in the city... not that I'm suggesting anything... ;)

Illustration Friday: Adapt

Adapt to your environment.
Welcome Earthling
conte, charcoal, cyanotype, van dyke brown, serigraph 22" x 30"

Shoes Make The Man

I didn't think I was starting to work on more astronauts yet but what I think and what I do sometimes aren't in sync and it's often better that way. At least when it comes to artwork that is.

I found myself unexpectedly inspired by this cover: the federal finance minister getting new shoes for the budget this past spring.

Here was my first go at my version of this but I got stuck at this point. It sat there for months until I found myself back in astronaut territory and it just came together.

The Right Shoe 36" x 24" acrylic on canvas

Called The Right Shoe I am quite happy with it now, not just with how it turned out but that I am starting to work on astronauts again. This makes me extraordinarily happy.