Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Private Lessons!

How lucky am I?

I was all set to take a woodcut class in Sheboygan, at EBCO Artworks, this neat co-op space that also houses Sheboygan Visual Artists.  It's only about 35 miles from my house, so it's also very convenient!

I got a message from Angie Zimmerman, who was to teach the class, that I was the only one who signed up. But instead of cancelling the class, she asked me if I wanted to take private lessons.

WOULD I?!?!?  Naturally, I jumped at the chance!  :D

I met Angie back in August, when I was one of three artists for the inaugural Lunchtime Art Talks series, hosted by our mutual friend, Frank Juarez.  We hit it off right away, and I knew that taking one-on-one lessons with Angie would not only be really informative and helpful, but also a blast!

I was right!  :D  I got some really helpful tips, like using a rubbing of your in-progress wood cut instead of doing a full-on proof - it's quicker, less messy, and gives you the same result.  She also showed me the differences a cut can make in your wood block, which you can see from some crayon rubbings, here (which are actually pretty cool in their own right!):

I never would've noticed the markings or lines on my wood block if Angie hadn't shown me how to do this!  :D

We've only had one lesson so far, with more to come soon.  But I was SO psyched from our first lesson that I went home and started this block of wheat "ears".

For me, the act of carving wood is so meditating, it's a wonderful process in and of itself.  Now that I'm armed with some more knowledge, it's become even more enjoyable!!  Can't wait 'til our next lesson - thank you so much, Angie!  :D

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Printing in your Kitchen!

One of the many things I love about printmaking is that it's not an exact art form - and sometimes the accidents are cooler than what you originally intended!

That happened to me this weekend, when I took "Kitchen Lithography" at The Mill Paper + Book Arts Center in Rhinelander (WI).  Yes, I know lithography isn't a form of relief printing, but it's printmaking and that's good enough for me!  :)

Daniel Goscha, Executive Director for "The Mill", taught the class.  He's spent a goodly amount of time perfecting this technique, too!  It involves using non-toxic household items, like vinegar and vegetable oil, to make litho prints (instead of bitumen and caustic paste).  The results are MAGICAL!!!  I couldn't believe it when he used litho crayon on an aluminum foil plate, dipped it in a vinegar bath, et VOILA!!  Just amazing.

Doing these classes has also forced me to practice drawing, something that has always terrified me.  But I figure that, no matter WHAT I draw, it'll at least be my own style, right?

Here I am, nonchalantly drawing, like I've
done it my whole life.  :)
Well, here's the plate I drew of a winter tree (are you noticing a pattern here?  I swear I can draw other things if I really have to!).

And here is one of the prints from that plate!  I used blue ink, which had a different viscosity than the black ink that was also available.  Not precise, but I really dig how it turned out, especially for my first time.  :)

I'm going to put it out there, because I want everyone to see it and hopefully it goes somewhere - I think that this would make a GREAT book idea!!  The title, "Kitchen Lithography", is intriguing as it is, but when you get into the whole DIY aspect of it, and the fact that you'd pretty much have everything you need to make prints at home without much fuss at all, AND it's all non-toxic - well, what do you think?  If you think this is a great idea, let Daniel know by posting "I think Kitchen Lithography should be made into a book!" on The Mill's Facebook page.  :)  Maybe if enough of us printmakers persuade him to do it, it'll be a go!  I'd buy that book for SURE!  :D