Monday, May 19, 2014

Plein Air Printmaking!

This past weekend, I participated in a plein air event at the Friends of Horicon Marsh Educational Center in Horicon, Wisconsin.  It was SO much fun!  Five of us each took our materials out on the patio of the gorgeous center, and created works based on this view:

It was a pretty chilly day - a high of only 54° (or 12°C).  And the minute I set up my carving station, press and tools, it started to rain.  :/  Not to worry, though - it only sprinkled and after that, we just worked in the wind and clouds!

You may be wondering why I'm talking about carving at a plein air event!  That was the beauty of this specific gathering - it was an all-medium day!  Sue Hoehnen, the founder of Wild Goose Fine Arts United, wanted it to be open to anyone who wanted to participate!  And since only one of the five of us came armed with paints, I'd say that this is a new rule whose time has come!  :D  (For those of you who are unaware of what "plein air" means:  It's a form of painting [traditionally, only oils or watercolors] outside.  Most events do not allow any other mediums, such as printmaking, collage, needle felting or photography, which is what we did on Saturday!)

My goal was to sketch my design, carve my block, and print the block right there.  I didn't make it as far as the printing, but I did get the whole block done!  I was really happy I got that far, and it's probably best that I stopped when I did - I forgot sunscreen.  :)

Carol Toepke, the photographer at the event, snapped this great photo of me working (you can see the center in the background, and the sun had peeked out at this point!):

Photo courtesy of Carol Toepke, owner
of Collections by Carol

It was SO fun to actually carve what I was seeing at the time!  I made sure the design was simple enough to be completed in the 3 1/2 hours I was working.  I also allowed enough time for socializing with my Dodge County friends!  

Even though I didn't get to print on site, I finished the print this morning!  I inked the block using two separate brayers so that I could get two different colors at the same time.  After the ink dried, I embellished a little with some watercolors.  This is a real departure from my normal work, but I like how it turned out! This will be an edition of 10.  I call it, "Stormy Day on the Marsh".   :)

If you've never experienced carving en plein air, I highly encourage you to do so!  It was a truly fun experience.  :D

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