Monday, June 29, 2009

final version of an earlier work

relief block with hand colour
edition size: 40
image size: 2.75 x 3.5 in.

I printed the original key block (cut from the Easy to Cut material) using black ink onto a piece of waterproof drafting film. While the ink was still wet I then carefully by eye aligned it onto an equal size piece of battleship linoleum. Then the image was transferred to the lino surface using hand burnishing with the back of a wooden spoon (rubbing the backside of the drafting film in a firm yet gentle circular motion.)

Once the ink had dried on the surface of the lino the black line image was used as a cutting guide (the transfer from the drafting film allowed the design to be positioned on the new block in the same directional layout as the original easy to cut block). I decided to incorporate a thin line border around the design for this version.
Another difference this time is that the print is derived from a single block. Colour has been added into the print with watercolour painted in by hand.

19 of the edition are slated as exchange prints with fellow printmakers through the WetCanvas printmaking forum.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wilderness - new series of works on paper

Late Afternoon - Algoma woods
drypoint intaglio from an acrylic plate
edition of 10

A study from a new series of 24 prints I have titled Wilderness. Each image in this series is a depiction of some aspect of the untouched beauty found in the region of Canada I call home and have explored at different stages during my life to date. Some of the work focuses on landscapes, others portray flora and fauna in their natural habitats. I also explore different seasons and times of day.
Late Afternoon - Algoma woods is a single colour (monochromatic) drypoint that was created by drawing into an acrylic plate using a sharp steel needle. Ink was wiped into the recessed lines and the plate was printed into dampened rag paper under extreme high pressure forcing the paper fibers into the recessed lines to pick up ink while it was passed through the rollers of my hand turned etching press.
I will be posting more studies from the series as they are photographed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Elementary School Art - Teaching Relief Printmaking in the schools

I recently completed a 25 hour placement in a regional school where the students learned to make multiple colour relief landscape and other prints. This was my first solo venture as an arts educator into the educational system through the Artist in Education program which is offered to schools by the Ontario Arts Council. I have been active through another program here in Thunder Bay called Community Arts and Heritage Education Project (CAHEP) for the past three years running where projects I've offered have been selected by teachers/schools. Usually the time committment is much shorter for these in comparison to the OAC projects.

For this project the students learned relief printmaking from scratch and were given the opportunity to create a series of square format landscape colour prints.

Below are a couple of photos showing a few of the finished prints displayed in a horizontal panoramic type format.

To view a PDF file that gives the project overview and also includes a photo montage of particular stages of this project click on the following link:
the pdf file can be opened by clicking on the blue underlined text link which is located underneath the photos on the page.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Resingrave - a new type of engraving surface for relief printing

The Marsh
relief engraving
block size 3 x 6.5 cm (about 1.75 x 2.5 inches)
Daniel Smith Black relief ink printed onto Somerset 250 gsm rag white

Above is a photo and close up of the engraved surface from my first print created from the surface of a material called Resingrave. This study is from a very small block and required viewing it through the magnifying lens of a swing arm daylight lamp while cutting the surface.
Here is a link to McClain's in Portland, Oregon. They are a relief printmaking supplier/retailer who sell the Resingrave product. They also have a wonderful online gallery of works submitted by many known and unknown artists.

Last year I purchased a starter set of six wood engraving tools from McClains (manufactured by Edward Lyons Co.) and several blocks of a product called Resingrave. This hard resin epoxy material is bonded in a thin layer onto a thicker layer below of MDF substrate base and is a synthetic version of hardwood. Since traditional boxwood is becoming an endangered species this was invented by a printmaker from California as a substitute. The blocks that I purchased are a new formula that has more resistance to chipping, something that unfortunately was a problem with the original formula and turned a few people off of using it. In addition to the resingrave I purchased a small leather cushion filled with sand to set the block on while cutting (this makes it easier to turn the block when you are cutting round lines). First I coated the surface of the resingrave with black india ink and when it was dry then I drew on top using a Sakura gelly roll white pen. When the surface area was cut away (using the white ink lines as my cutting guide) the contrast off white of the resin epoxy material was exposed, so this more or less shows you a bit of what your image will appear when it is printed in black and white (but in reverse).
I was able to locate a cabinet maker locally who possessed a fine tooth carbide blade and a table saw, he was able to cut down the larger blocks into smaller size pieces . I used a small tabletop etching press to print the block. I first created a set of runners made of compressed particle wood material (MDF) with a thin layer of easy to cut vinyl material glued on top. I wanted to make these the exact height as the resingrave blocks as they would be positioned under the roller to keep it level. Then I would set a 1/8 inch sheet of millboard over top of the damp rag paper which was positioned over top of the inked block and passed the works under the top roller with just enough of a slight pressure to allow a good transfer of ink onto the paper. In the photo you will notice that some of the uninked cut areas that define the sky were embossed into the paper creating a very interesting subtle 3D effect that is quite noticable when light hits it at the right angle. This is a technique called blind embossing.
I have also experimented with other papers including Masa oriental paper and Zerkall paper that is made in Germany. These are not soaked and will not reveal the wonderful embossing effect to the degree that a heavier damp paper will.

Below is a photo that shows the block surface with ink rolled on the flat surface and the resulting reverse image print.

The summer months are going to be spent with more exploration of this medium.