Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Here is a proof of my finished key block for "The Seedless Watermelon" broadside. I was without my camera when I finished in the studio so alas, I lack the pristine finished block shot. I just couldn't wait to see how it looked and proofed it up anyway. There is something so satisfying in that moment between just finishing a block and inking it up for the first run. I don't think Hinduism would be such a jump for a printmaker. (At least in my process) The printmaker labors over a drawing until achieving what he/she considers perfection and then stands back and says "Ah, what a beautiful work of form and art! A lovely drawing! But you are destined for another incarnation!" And so, the printer transcribes the beloved drawing to a block and labors over the object with his/her tools until achieving what is considered perfection and stands back. "Ah, what a beautiful sculpture! A lovely relief! But you are destined for another incarnation!" And so, the printer inks up the block and proceeds to print lovely images one after another. The printer says "Ah, what beautiful children! Go and be plentiful and share yourselves among the people!" That's my romantic spin on printmaking. Catch me next week ripping my hair out over registration or crappy ink. :)
Anyways, here is a rough coloring in photoshop that I did:

I plan on printing them up on Rives BFK Cream. I have a block ink that I purchased from Graphic Chemical called Antiquarian Black. I'm hoping it will print up really richly against the cream. The above is a grayscale image but it was pulled on Masa paper in Antiquarian Black and I think the icy white dampened any warmth that was in it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Book of Life Update

I've been working lately on how to represent certain concepts with symbols and it's been hard but a fun puzzle to knock around. My previous update goes into more detail but I'm basically trying to reinvent the wheel. To complete the first page in the book which deals with water as a vehicle in as far as the precipitation cycle, there are two concepts I must illustrate. The first is universal rule of convection. This icon will be featured numerous times throughout the volume so I feel I must nail it the first time. The main player of the precipitation cycle here on earth however, is water. I needed to convey H2O without writing it in a language but at the same time use a symbol that could be recognized by any person. They typical "one large bubble connecting two small bubbles" in an "upside down mickey mouse" image feels contrived and I was hard pressed to find a different arrangement. I was also fascinated by valence shells housing electrons. Matrix numerology is beyond the average joe's comprehension (mine included at the moment) but I feel that some patterning can be intuitive. I decided to try a ring arrangement based on the atomic numbers in an element.

Valence shells have a desire to be full. Notice that the two smaller (hydrogen) atoms add an electron each to complete the 8 electron spaces necessary to have a stable valence shell (oxygen only has 6 to go around in it's L valence). Still, the arrangement irked me and I wanted to try another arrangement feeling that I could put the electron holes wherever I chose.

At this point, I wore myself out and I would like to have more time to play around with this idea but as it stands time is of the essence (due in July 2009). I decided to try out different color arrangements just for play:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Seedless Watermelon

The McGuffey Art Center has agreed to have a show in October for the benefit of Meals On Wheels. Meals On Wheels is an organization that drives meals around town to shut-ins who would otherwise not be able to cook for themselves at home. A percentage (I can't remember how much!) of sales for that show will go to Meals On Wheels. I'd imagine that those people could use that scratch right about now seeing as their drivers are voluntary and they DON'T get reimbursed for the cost of gas. We've all agreed to make pieces of art with the theme of food. I could do a still life of fruit or what have you but I like to stir things up. I have really been thinking lately about how we are running the planet into the ground and how the presumed answer to hunger around the world and in countries with low-arable land is GM crops. Well, there is a lack of arable land because we have not taken care of our soils and that needs attention first. The only thing you'll get out of GM crops on low-arable land is the need in a few years for new GM crops to thrive in non-arable land. Also, I have been reading books on seed saving and the recommendations are to grow plants that are open pollinated or heirloom. To my amazement when I went through my regular seed catalogs, 90% of the seeds sold were hybrids. This means if one were to save seed from the hybrid (if it were viable), the next generation would not be "true" to the first. It would revert to a lesser crop or not produce at all. Then I stumbled onto "Seedless Watermelons" seed. Everyone loves seedless watermelon. I love seedless watermelon but as a future seed saver, the fruit would be useless to me. It struck me that if something horrible happened tomorrow to our infrastructure, the majority of the populous would be too ignorant to feed itself for very long. They would die or kill each other for the remaining food. Our ancestors traversed the deserts in Egypt with watermelons to quench their thirst. The thick empty rinds were even sometimes filled with water. Were the fruits cursed for the tedious habit of having seeds? Doubtful. I feel more and more isolated from my generation as I see more and more people fall under the slumber of convenience and ignorance. So, far be it from me to treat anyone to a simple unbiased still life of fruit. I am working on a broadside of seedless watermelons resting in the sand. I've already set the passage in 12pt. Tudor Black. I don't have a very extensive set and pretty much only have 3 e's left after setting it all up. The photoshopped version features a different font.
On a lighter note, my mystery veggie is finally having babies! A few of these vines popped up uninvited when I planted flowers and dill. I recognized the leaves and let them hang out. For the longest time the little yellow buds blossomed, got fertilized, and then dropped off before fruition but now they appear to have taken hold. I wonder what my little fuzzles will be?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Some observations of my own...

The last post appears rather backwards in the cue at the moment. I started working on it while the ideas were fresh in my head and saved it as a draft. Consequently, it posted as the day I started the draft and not the day I finished it. Oh well, anyway, just a little personal information that some of you may rather not know but I'm hoping that this may inspire others or that maybe someone else can relate to my situation and use it as a tool.
I'm currently wrestling with some concepts for my book of life and one of them is the concept of Solar Maximum and Solar Minimum. The sun goes through a cycle that follows an 11 year track. Over the course of 11 years, the sun goes from fairly "stable" in it's energy output to violently explosive with solar flares and sun spots popping up all over it's surface. See my previous post entitled Book of Life Update for a more in depth discussion. Ultimately, the cause for the violent sunspots is the fact that the equator of the sun rotates faster than the poles and the magnetic fields covering the surface of the sun get warped and torqued and finally snap into a tangle of outbursts.
I have always been heavy since my sister and I were little and we looked like the number 10! I lost 30lbs. when I was 20 by jogging and basically not eating. Fast forward to today....8 years later and I have gained back and more. It didn't bother me because I am tall and wore it well in my opinion. I "didn't have time to jog" after I took a job as a medical center receptionist to pay the student loans and even though I enjoyed working in restaurants, I HATED working at the medical center. Anything and everything people said to me pissed me off. Then one day it happened. I was sitting at the desk taking crap from a patient and the room suddenly got flushed with heat. My face turned red and I started to sweat and my heart began to beat as if I was doing my jogging routine. A quick medical examination revealed that I had run away blood pressure. That was about a year ago and I have recently gotten back into my jogging. I've lost 15 pounds that way and my blood pressure has leveled with the help of medicine that I can't wait to be off of.
The point is, in my situation, I have adopted the 11 year sun cycle as an example to learn by. If I'm in a situation I hate and I don't look after myself, my body will wind itself up and look for a way to deal with my inactivity and extra stress much like the sun does during solar max. Everything bursts out everywhere in a seething explosion. Jogging wears me out and counters stress so that nothing much gets to me much like the tranquility experienced during solar minimum. Unlike the sun, I am shrinking the more I jog :) !
How does this relate to printmaking? Let it always be practiced that on your travels during a project, you should always keep your eyes open for lesson to learn and that nature is always an open book to those who choose to read it.