Saturday, February 14, 2009

Got a camera now!

Yay! The cable finally came and I was able to download the images I have been snapping in the studio. This is a foreshortened view of the DNA border I have chosen for my Limulus print. I believe the entire length is just under 40" and was probably the hardest part of the border to carve. The intricate star was easier for some reason.

The repetition is enough to make you go cross eyed. I'm hoping my next print of this size will be easier as the board is a lot more organic.

Here is a close up of the kento. I am afraid that it is too close and that I may have to have a smaller brush just for inking that part but that was the limit of my paper so my options are limited as well. There are 14 points on the star and there are 14 electrons in the last naturally occurring valence shell in an atom. Copper is missing 3 of these electrons and this illustrated by the dark shading in three of the spokes on the star. DNA would appear to emanate from two of each spoke to create a boarder around the Limulus. This is my attempt at symbolizing that Limulus blood contains copper and that copper atoms and Limulus DNA share a relationship that maintains the animal. I am in love with Islamic tile work and geometric patterns and I took inspiration from this to create the stained glass looking star. I am also in the process of creating a painting to go with this series.

Lastly, here is my cheap answer to my back issue. Leaning over and carving on this thing can be a real bitch. The box helps a little (until I have to move the block) and the handle on the make shift table I'm using is good as a sort of bench hook. The table is really actually a massive wooden box. I'm guessing it used to ship munitions or maybe lighting equipment or something but these days it stores my paper and acts as my carving/printing station.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Year of the Ox

I hope I don't ruin it for anyone but I had to post an image of my Year of the Ox Exchange block. I had done two sketches but couldn't decide which one to do. I had a design with a musk ox but last minute I had a gut inclination to go with my Nandi sketch. Nandi is the name of the white Brahman Bull that Shiva rides. Nandi means "joyful."
I grew up helping my father with our beef cattle and I have an affinity for livestock. When we would go out to feed the cows it was fun to see the calves jumping and skipping in the field and when the feed came out the cows would jump and skip too as they raced to our truck. It was rare to see the bull jump or skip because he pretty much just shoved where he wanted to go so I guess he didn't get much excited about anything.... except a cow in heat maybe. Anyways, The god Nandi just seemed perfect for the Year of the Ox because we need an excuse to be joyful and because I just love Brahman cattle. I love that hump and the droopy ears! I wanted a dynamic pose and I'm wondering now if I didn't just end up doing a Schlitz malt liquor ad.
I would later like to do a few color blocks but now time is of the essence so I'll pick out a color other than black and get them bulls a moving so they can joyfully skip off to their new homes!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Camera Crippled!

This whole not having a camera around to document what I'm doing is driving me nuts! Poor little camera wants so bad to take a picture but alas his little mechanism is broken so he just clicks and clicks photos of black. My mom did what all moms do and is insisting that I use HER camera in its place... except for the fact that she has no idea where the USB cable ran off too. She just pops the memory card into her printer slot. We tried that but for some reason it won't register in my husbands printer and I just don't feel like playing network tag every time I want to blog. Luckily, seedy New Jersey is there for me and a hot little USB cable is on it's way to me from Ebay. Anyways, I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to update you guys on the Limulus block because it's turning out nicely but alas we must await the arrival of the cable.

Although my camera is out of commission, my scanner is not! I have a total of 22 drawings to complete for stage two of the Limulus print (whew!) and I am learning things about trilobites that I didn't think I would even need to but soak up I shall! (I have since learned that my rendering of trilobite legs in my future watercolor is all wrong AND I need to add two antennae!) Above is an example of creature from the Corynexochida family. It looks more like your "average" trilobite except for the half moon fused shell on his rump. It's kind of like the curvature of an old WWII American soldier helmet.

Through most of my drawing trilobites I notice that a face shield is what comes natural when rendering these animals. This is guy from the Harpetida family is pretty much all helmet! I would usually find a lot of varieties within the families and only choosing two from each is hard but pretty much all the members in this family look like this which is probably the reason this will be the only Harpetida member you will find in the final Limulus print. Something about the shape reminds me of a Trojan helmet.

Remember WWII Helmet Butt? Yeah, this is a distant cousin from the same family. This seems to be the "catfish" in the family. Its wide angle face spread out like an old vacuum cleaner and three prominent whiskers leaning back over it. The rump has shrunk and grown a feathery tail feather that shifts with the currents of the waters.
Zach asked me what kind of wood the Limulus print would be and what kind of ink I was going to use. I think the label at Home Depot said "Cheap ass shit you ought to know better than to buy but you're broke as a joke so buy it anyway". Seriously, I have no idea (don't remember!) but it sure carves crappily. I have to constantly be aware of the grain and the finished places receive a total of three wood glue washes if not more just to shore everything up. I took a proof on a different carving that I'm using the same wood with and it seems to print okay so I'm just crossing my fingers!
About the ink, it's going to be printed Moku Hanga style and I'm going to try using ink made from dirt from my back yard and ashes from my sister's wood stove to make a chocolate colored ink. It will be interesting because my dirt is a heavy iron oxide. I need a hot day to cook out the microorganisms and so far that isn't happening so we'll see.