Sunday, October 23, 2011

Elementary school art - relief printmaking Atikokan ON

Continuing with my last blog entry which I had posted photos of two mosaic panels of print images thought I would post a few examples of some of the individual prints that were created by students from grades 3, 4 & 5 during my recent placement through the Ontario Arts Council Artist in Education program.
The school involved was North Star Community School in Atikokan Ontario right in the heart of NWO just above the famous Quetico Provincial Park (listed in Rough Guide as one of the Top Ten parks to visit on the planet).
The prints are printed from the surface of scratchfoam plates that were drawn into with ballpoint pen, dissected with scissors, had Graphic Chemical water soluble relief printing inks applied to separated pieces using brayers and were finally reassembled and printed. Students printed the assembled plates both on white paper and onto a pre-printed black square on white paper.
Themes that were explored are Flora/fauna and Nature.

Grade 4

grade four

Grade 5

grade 3

grade 5

grade four

grade five

grade 4

grade four

grade 3

grade 5

grade 3

grade 5

grade 5

grade 5

grade 3

grade 5

grade 4

grade 5

grade five

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Elementary School Art - Styrofoam plate jigsaw relief printmaking project

Collective jigsaw relief print panel
Theme: Plants and Animals
Grades 3/4
North Star Community School
Atikokan, ON

 Collective jigsaw relief print panel
Theme: Nature in Canada
Grades 4/5
Pictured above are the results of a project that I undertook recently in the capacity as an arts educator. This project is funded by the Ontario Arts Council and is under the wing of the Artist in Education program that pairs professional working artists with teachers and their students in the classroom.
I just returned last week from an 11 day placement in a junior elementary school located in a community about 2.5 hours west of where I live.
Two classes were involved in the 50 hour arts education project which focused specifically on relief printmaking. Fifty students from grades 3, 4 and 5 were challenged to create a design based on either the theme of Nature in Canada or Plants & Animals. They took that design and transfered it to the surface of a styrofoam plate. They then added in textural elements to the foam using a pointed tool such as a ballpoint pen tip.The plate was cut apart and individual pieces had ink applied. Pieces were reassembled and a print was made by laying paper over top and by using both traditional hand burnishing. The students were also given the opportunity to use my small table top press to print a couple each of their prints. I also had them print two white line prints and one on top of a pre-printed black square on white paper (for black line definition). We used a new water soluble ink manufactured by Graphic Chemical. This is non-toxic, washes up easily with warm soapy water and has a long working time on the inking slab and roller. It is formulated from glycol.
Once the prints were dry I then took one good print from each student and created a large mosaic panel by assembling the square prints in a grid pattern.

The Editior from the weekly published Atikokan Newspaper The Progress stopped by on one of our printing days and took a few photos and we chatted. This two page story on the project was printed by the paper and I received a copy in the mail.

Friday, August 26, 2011

more prints from recent experimentations with vegetable oil relief printing ink

I have been putting some of the samples of the Aqualine printmaking inks I received from Rudolph Faust Co. of New Jersey a while back to the test. These I am told by the manufacturer are derived from a vegetable oil base. They have been tested at Duke University and meet all the standards to be labelled non-toxic.In the website they are being called water based but make no mistake they are indeed waterproof once they dry on the paper surface.
The ink will remain open on the inking plate and block surface for quite a while. What I also like about them is the low odor and the easy clean up with a little liquid dish soap and warm water.  I found that they do take time to dry much like a plate oil base ink and factors such as humidity, absorbancy of paper and thickness of ink will determine that drying time.
I also learned that some of the pigments used in a few of the colours have a bit of a transparent quality and therefore had to add a little white to increase opaque factor.

I think these will work very well for some of my classroom based activities for the above stated reasons.
Students I work with have pretty much used Speedball water based to date for relief printing applications but there have been some frustrations that include uneven thickness of ink when it is applied to relief surfaces, ink not coating the brayers in some spots.The most irritating thing would be the ink drying too quickly before it is printed from the block surface.

The two example prints both used the Faust Aqualine Ink.

The first is a jigsaw block study derived from a Blick flexible printing plate. This material allowed me not only to cut it apart but also to carve its surface with linocut blades. It has a peel and stick backing for mounting onto a board, card or in this case a thick paper base sheet.
The print is fairly small in size and thus proved a challenge for dissecting (which I ended up using a sharp point craft knive to achieve).
This was printed on Somerset Velvet black 250 gm rag paper with the aid of my press.

image copyright 2011 ã

The landscape below was created from three separate blocks. The blue and pink were printed first off of an uncut rectangle of Easy Cut material. I blended the two colors together by placing pink in the middle and blue on either side then rolling the brayer on the inking plate until a nice blend occured. This was transferred to the block surface and printed.
The second block (cloud formations) was cut from a piece of  flexible printing plate that was pre-mounted onto a heavier piece of bookbinding board. The ink I used was a 50% white and 50% transparent base mix so that some of the blue background came through as a lighter blue.
The last block was printed in black and defined the trees, islands and ripples in the water. The block was cut from a rectangle of golden cut linoleum.
The image was printed onto a piece of thin bleached mulberry paper with the aid of my small printing press.

image copyright 2011ã

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Magazine profile

I recently did an interview for Superior Outdoors Magazine, a publication based here in Thunder Bay and is found in fine bookstores and magazine stands in lakeside communities and larger urban centers both sides of the border.
The summer 2011 edition was recently published and is available on newstands and to subscribers. Unfortunately the current issue will probably not be available fully online for viewing until the next fall/winter issue is published but you can view back issues by clicking on the link. Below you can view the single page profile of yours truly with the block print they chose to accompany the article.
This magazine would have an appeal to readers who have an appreciation of the outdoors and nature. The articles and photographic images are top rate.
I am very thrilled to have been asked to be a featured artist in the arts and literature section. The theme found throughout a lot of my imagery is relevant especially with the focus on Lake Superior and the geography of this region of the province.

Superior Outdoors
Cover of Summer issue 2011

Also on a related note I have an exhibition of 27 selected pieces from my Wilderness series here in Thunder Bay at Calico Coffeehouse. This establishment is located in the lower level at 316 Bay. St.  The display runs until August 6. Here is a link with more details as featured in the locally published Webzine The WallEye

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Continuation of miniature polymer plate etchings with hand colouring

This study is a continuation in a series of small polymer plate miniatures. The last one is this titled The Swan
I had some small leftover pieces of solar plate from a large 16 x 20 inch piece I had cut up earlier this year so decided to use these up and create miniature works in a square format.
This is based on a photo I had taken from the deck of the Chicheemaun ferry that crosses over Lake Huron from South Bay Mouth on Manitoulin Island to Tobermory at the end of the Bruce Peninsula. It is a study of Cove Island lighthouse that is found about 20 min. offshore from the village of Tobermory.
It was printed with oil based etching ink into Magnani revere rag paper then watercolour was added for the colour.
The plate size is 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inches) and the paper is 15 x 15 cm (6 x 6 inches). It will be an open varied edition.

I am hoping to get some more photo studies of lighthouses of the Great lakes in the near future. Have some friends who are boaters who have agreed to help out.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Relief printmaking using styrofoam

This is a continuation of my last entry regarding earlier works not seen before.
The following prints were created by drawing into the surface of 1.27 cm (1/2 inch) thick blue dense styrofoam from a building materials supply shop. This is generally used for insulation of walls during home construction or renovation. It is not that expensive and can be easily cut into blocks from the main sheet with a ruler and utility blade.
I used ball point pen primarily as the drawing tool as it tends to score the surface much better than pencil (which catches a lot in the material). Some of the finer lines were created using a compass point needle tip but again took a bit of effort dragging this through the styrofoam.

These were all example pieces created as part of demonstrations for relief printing with styrofoam lesson I have to elementary school children during the past several years.

Dog portrait

two block study of flower forms
 printed in a light blue waterbased ink over a solid black square

songbird on tree branch

simple sunflower form (slight dot detail in the blossom) against a dark background

white ink printed on black paper
the hockey game
tan ink on black paper
Light comes through
two block colour winter woods study

the key block (black)
notice how the styrofoam has been flecked away to reveal a loose type of surface

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some prints from a long time ago

I found a few photos of some of my earlier printmaking adventures that not many have seen so thought I would share these with my blog followers.

two colour linocut from 2006
a study of a sailing regatta in Thunder Bay

A relief print I made in 2007 from a piece of scratchfoam.
I drew into the thin foam plate using a ballpoint pen to create the relief.
Instead of printing black ink onto white paper white ink was applied and then hand burnished onto a piece of black stonehenge paper.
Inspired by a visit to Killarney Provincial Park near Sudbury, Ontario.

In 2009 I took a scan of a black ink print on white paper from one of my larger carved pieces of linoleum.
 I resized and then reversed the image, printed it onto an inkjet transparency and exposed it as a negative on to a small piece of solar plate. The plate was developed and I applied ink with a brayer on the surface and printed it as a relief image using block oil based ink onto 140 lb cold press watercolour paper. I then applied hand colouring into the print using watercolour. You can get a sense of the size of the printed image as the frame dimensions measure 5 x 7 inches, so it in effect is a miniature print.

another experiment of relief printing from four blocks
made from 1/16 inch thick craftfoam. Pieces were cut out and glued onto a cardboard base sheet.

A cosy place 2006
This is a small drypoint study printed from a drawing
 made with a drypoint needle into thin piece of aluminum plate

Heat/Sunspot lover 1987
I made this relief print using a product called Fujiblock that was made by the UK based Windsor and Newton Company known for their fine grade watercolour paints
The block was a stiff piece of cardboard that had a thin layer of felt material glued on top. You cut away the surface material using a double bladed utility knife, then peeled off the thin cut lines and then applied watercolour onto the remaining surface. The media was allowed to dry then reactivated by misting or you could also print onto damp paper to give a unique white line print.

this was a multiple plate square format collagraph

Sunflower linoluem relief block print with hand colouring

a simple relief print from a piece of 1/2 inch blue building grade styrofoam that I drew into with a ballpoint pen. I hand burnished the black ink coated block onto torn piece of amber colour japanese Chiri paper.
It has been mounted to float inside a birch shadow box frame.

another multiple plate collagraph