Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Cold, The Cold, and Going to Somewhere Hot

I am bundled up from head to toe today. I have been all week. I caught some kind of cold bug on Monday, which seems to have mutated into every-type-of-cold-I have-ever-had. Each day, a new surprise! I am waiting for the morning I wake up and it's gone. That better be soon. I leave for KEY WEST on TUESDAY!!!!!

Am I a bit excited?

Instead of seeing this out my front window I may see these trees covered in palm fronds; no snow for miles and miles and miles.

And I am sure I will find more than just these pirate motifs. This was from my last 3 day visit to Key West in April 2011. 29 days will give me way more exploration time.

I do know I'll see the local Gypsy Chicken.

This one's been dubbed Charlie. He's the porch rooster at The Studio of Key West. Hopefully he'll happily preen and pose for me as well.

I found this picture on TSKW Facebook page. December's artist-in-residence Naomi Cohn took this photo. I hope he saunters over to where I am staying too.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Year of the Dragon print

Part of the joy of printmaking is in the experience of the paper. I decided to try this paper for my first print of 2012: Anno Draconis

The paper is smooth on one side and softly textured/fuzzyish on the other. I did a proof on the smooth side last night, and when I was burnishing it, the paper tore. Hmmm. So I printed onto the rougher side this morning and the burnishing was a dream. This is very strong paper. I can see it holding up to some reduction prints which are coming in my very near future.

More on that later...

I made my print from a lino block using Speedball's oil-based block printing black ink.

I am always wary of Speedball ink, but it seems to be the only ink that is carried by all the art stores when I am in a rush trying to get ink. Everyone has it. Their sales reps must be very good.I have had poor results from the water-based Speedball ink every time I use it. I tried it for this print last night but it was a no go. It dries out so fast and you need a lot and need to keep rolling out and re-inking over and over. I have made it work, but I just couldn't fight with it last night. So, this morning, I opted to try the oil-based ink and it was so much easier, but the cleanup will be harder.

Anno Draconis
lino block on Shoji paper 9.5" x 8.5"

Proof Studio Year of the Dragon on Facebook

Proof Studio Gallery's Year of the Dragon exhibition plus prints

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Meaty Amaryllis

I've been growing these amaryllis bulbs in my house.

a red one

a reddish-orange one

I have always wanted to grow them, but the season for buying them at the store passes,
and then it's Spring, and then I am waiting for "next year".

Well, this year I got three bulbs.
Lucky Strike (red), Desire (reddish-orange), and about a week later,
Orange Sovereign (orange, of course).
I planted them all on the same day, December 28th, 2011.

Desire and Lucky were regular bulbs, eager to grow, good root systems in place, ready to be potted up. The box contains the plant pot, some soil and the bulb. You put the soil in the pot, add the bulb in the center, root-side down (yes some folks would not know this), and then you water it well and give it a warm place to settle into. It's ok if their shoulders are above the soil line.

red & reddish-orange amaryllis bulbs freshly planted on Dec 28, 2011

same bulbs, today, January 13th, 2012

Orange Sovereign was rescued from the grocery store, on sale, last chance. Look how big it grew in the box, without soil or water or light. What a tough plant.

Orange Sovereign amaryllis freshly planted and just out of the box

Within a week, my orange amaryllis was showing its true colours.
What caught me off guard is the "meaty" look of his flower bud. I can't seem to get my eyes off of it, and it's downright unnerving in the later winter afternoon sun.

Orange Sovereign, January 7th, 2011: fleshiness galore.

"All the better to eat you with my dear!"
(nom... nom... nom..).
just look at this thing..I swear I see teeth

O Little Shop of Horrors!!

My guess is the author of that story may have had this Orange Sovereign amaryllis sitting on his desk as inspiration for that meat-eating tale.

yes, I see a resemblance.

all three January 7th, 2012, in the late afternoon winter sun

all three this morning, January 13th, 2012