Collagraph

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COLLAGRAPH: (Wikipedia- is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate (such as paperboard or wood).  Ink or pigment is applied to the resulting collage, and the board is used to print onto paper or another material using either a printing press or various hand tools. The resulting print is termed a collagraph. Substances such as, acrylic texture mediums, sandpapers, textiles, bubble wrap, string or other fibres, cut card, leaves and grass can all be used in creating the collagraph plate. Collagraphy is a very open printmaking method. Ink may be applied to the upper surfaces of the plate with a brayer for a relief print, or ink may be applied to the entire board and then removed from the upper surfaces but remain in the spaces between objects, resulting in an intaglio print. A combination of both intaglio and relief methods may also be employed.

Does that make any sense?

In a nutshell, you collage all sorts of materials thinking about what type of textures they will produce and how much ink they will absorb.  Want white areas? use something glossy and slick.  Want dark areas?  Use fabrics which absorb ink.  Want grey areas?  experiment, experiment, experiment!

I’m taking a collagraph class with an amazing teacher named Casey Weibust.  Click on her name and see her amazingly funky prints! I took an etching class with her and I’d come out from the studio dizzy from all the toxic chemicals, so when Casey told me there was a way to incorporate all different printmaking techniques and do it chemically-free, I had to check it out! Here’s Casey Weibust in action:

https://vimeo.com/113347981

So first I had to create some plates…

They look like little collages, but in actuality each piece was considered for what it would do when black ink was applied.

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Instantly, I learned what not to do!!!

Many of my darks were too dark.  Many areas I thought would be light, were pitch black.  This is where the artistry comes in.  You have to try everything and then carefully catalog all of it into your head in order to apply each element exactly how you intend to. Lots to think about.

This plate was my favorite:

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Do you see how different the same plate can be just by how you ink your plate?  That’s another entire form of study.

So much to learn!!!  So much to learn!

Tangerine

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Tangerine -acrylic and charcoal on canvas

A week ago I was sharing the experience of drag-out fighting with a painting from beginning to completion. The painting here, was the exact opposite.  Every line went in effortlessly and when it was done, I thought “well that was easy”.

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This painting is 100% about color for me. I began by mixing my own oranges with magenta to create a hot and fiery backdrop.

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Well, I guess it wasn’t completely smooth sailing. I instantly hated the blue and the flower shape which I then had to get busy changing…

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Thanks to some gesso that flower began to become under control, but I did still hate that blue…my charcoal figures began to take form…

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I knew I was done when all the color felt right (bye-bye blue).

For me, this painting is about high-impact energy.  Things are busting and colliding and you can feel the jagged motion of  my charcoal lines.

The other night, my non-painting sister went to a drink and dabble. She sent me a photo of her completed painting.  They had taught her how to layer in a background and then allowed her to paint whatever she wanted into the foreground. My sister created this very soft tree.  Her color palette was creams and grey and caramel colors. I instantly felt peace and quiet from her color choices.

The thought of this has stuck with me. When I look at her painting, it tells a lot about her as a person. She is a soft-neutrals kind of gal in the way she dresses, decorates and behaves.

So of course my next thought was “if my sister paints soft and calm and is those things -then what do my paintings say about me?

Chuckle, chuckle, I’m not sure I can even go there…  The first word that comes to mind though is VIGOR – in a nutshell, an active strength of force. The second word – BOLD. My personality is very finite. Everything is black and white with me – I have no room or tolerance for gray areas. My final word that comes to mind is – TORMENTED. Inside I am a tangled up mess.  I want to do everything and try everything yet most things are complete opposites on the spectrum. With art I am fighting with my love of realist still lives versus  intuitive abstracts. ALeo creating subject matter the world might like versus what I may like. And I guess feeling strong and feeling week and vulnerable all at the same time.

It is an interesting thought. Art can be very loaded and very much give you insight into someone’s soul.

Luckily I live in a world where the soft and the bold can actually be born from the same mother. There is room for both to coexist beautifully. A world where we can learn and prosper from both.

And yet I must embrace who I am. No apologies. I was given my own very specific genetic make-up. I have learned to love what I am and make peace with that which I am not. Will this show in my work? Does this show in my work? Is that the true artistic path -to use your strengths to their best abilities?  It leaves no room for comparing yourself to others or what’s trending in your industry. You must silence it all and go within.

This is where I’ve been trying to hang out lately. I believe it is the path to tapping into THE CREATIVE FORCE. Embrace. Go within. -and see what comes out.

 

 

Happy Tree

 

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This is part of my intuitive painting series.  That’s where you show up, throw paint, make marks and not have a preconceived notion of what you are going to paint… Things evolve and the artist themselves is just as surprised as anyone with what is created.

The strangest things come out and they are always different from one another!

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_2016-02-24 16.48.29 _2016-02-25 15.00.38At this point I started to see the tree…

_2016-03-18 12.26.34Then the only thing I liked about the painting was the tree!_2016-03-18 14.59.47I was going to scrap the painting entirely by throwing more paint on top of it.  My first change-up was that big black stroke in the sky.  I was going to put big black strokes all over the entire thing, but after the first one, the painting became a little more interesting to me…so I kept going with it..

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Adding blacks, lights and darks, it evolved into this.  I live by the Atlantic Ocean.  The New England sea is a deep blue like no other place in the world.  That came to me in this painting.  And I just loved that tree!  It’s the only thing that kept this painting going.  To me, it is pretty and happy and it wanted to be manifested.

Mary vs. Painting

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Into the Forest – acrylic painting on 36×48 canvas

I titled this blog post Mary vs. Painting as a laugh.  For any painters out there, can you sympathize with occasionally hating a painting?

Every day that I walked in to my studio to face this painting I would smile and throw some paint at it and tell it “I hate you!”. My description should not make you think I was feeling rage or anger, this is sort of like meeting up with an old-time nemesis.  An entity you have faced over and over again and have figured out that fighting and struggling against it is futile.  At this point you can sort of laugh and tell the entity you hate it, but it has sort of lost it’s meaning. It’s just a routine you both go through.

This canvas is large. 3 feet by 4 feet. I instantly felt like this it was huge and unruly and I just couldn’t tame it.  Yet every day I would walk in and spend a few hours wrestling with it until I was exhausted and then I’d ask it for mercy and pack up my bags and go home.  The next morning I’d smile at it and ask if it was ready to wrestle some more?  By day 4-5 I was absolutely amused.  I wanted to quit, grab a box-cutter and shred it to bits, but instead I would laugh and tell this canvas I was not surrendering.  I would tame this wild beast.

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Actually, I’m not sure I ever tamed this beast.  I did my best and I learned through it though.

This painting is so crazy. There is almost too much energy and no visual rest.  I can be fully aware of my newness to this painting process and know I will eventually have full control and mastery, but for now I am completely vulnerable.  All I can do is show up, go for the ride and learn at a snails pace.  That is hard for an extremely erratic fast-paced Gemini. I know this about myself, so I have no problem laughing at it’s irony.

It is often said that man visually chooses landscaped earth over the natural state of wilderness.  Man can grasp an appreciate the lines of one tree but not 30 trees intermingled.  It brings discomfort because the eye does not know how to process and identify what it is seeing.

That’s kind of how I feel about this painting.  It is wilderness.  It is hard to process all that is going on.  There is no visual rest.  But just like the untapped forest, maybe that is what was there before we all began to manipulate it.

There is joy in that for me.

I shall observe, embrace and bless my journey.

Day of the Dead Mugs

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Hot out of the kiln.  More Day of the Dead Mugs.

Untitled-1The last time I made them, I didn’t add handles. So of course people asked me to make handles!  These vessels are a grey stoneware.  In hindsight I probably should have used white clay like I did on my first try.  Either way they a plenty funky and plenty fun.

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I was even a good girl and loaded them onto my etsy store today. They are officially ready to find a new home :)

In the Springtime

 

2016-03-17 10.21.38.jpgIn The Springtime – acrylic and charcoal on canvas 20 x 24 inches

This is another intuitive painting, meaning there is no preconceived subject matter. You just show up to the canvas, add some paint and make some marks. Here is the progression:

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2016-02-26 15.35.02I didn’t like where this was going, so I slopped on some heavier layers of paint…

2016-03-10 11.32.59At this point at least the painting started to get a little interesting…

2016-03-17 10.21.35The movement of pattern in the leaves of the trees was enough to make me stop drastically changing and layering the painting. It started to give me a feeling of nostalgia for the spring and the beautiful pastel haze of all the trees.

Mmm… I love the spring!

  I love scratching the earth, planting seeds and feeling the warmth of the sun…

Yeah, do you think my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

Come on Mother Nature. BRING ON SPRING!!!

Bouquet In the Wild

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Bouquet In the Wild 4ft x 4ft acrylic & charcoal on canvas

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At this point I truly hated where this painting was going…

So I drastically changed it!

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It of course reminds me of Matisse, not that I knew that while I was working on it.   I almost wish I had a 10 foot canvas so I could see what my curtains and wall paper would have looked like ;)

Hand-Built Color

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These are slab-built mugs.  Usually I combine wheel-thrown with slab-rolled clay, but after seeing completely hand-built mugs the other day, I thought why not?

They are wildly imperfect which I love in pottery.  I like to see and feel the person who made the vessel’s hands on the piece.

Plus add a ton of colorful underglazes and now they say “Mary’s hands” all over them! For their second firing, I am going to rub the glossy glazes into the crevices like tile grout.  The finished product looks something like this:

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So all though they look like they are going to be crazy bright, they will be tamed down a bit by the glazes.  Colorful but traditional. Ok. Maybe not so traditional.  Maybe I should just call them crazy-happy?

Back to the Drawing Board

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6 months since I picked up a paint brush! I definitly have some nerves to shake out. I spent a day or two doing these little 8×10 inch contour drawing water colors to loosen up. Water color always frees me up. I think it’s the swirling of water on the paper and watching the paint bleed in uncontrollable ways that gives me such a kick! I thought I’d do 6-8 little water colors until I felt safe in the habitat, but with my ADD Gemini Energy, I was done by the second painting and onto 6 foot acrylic canvases.

I can’t help it :) it’s how my natural energy works!

Before I close, let me share an amazing sight from my visit to Miami. Have you heard of Wynwood Walls? As soon as my hosts heard I was into art, they sent me on an amazing excursion. Click the above link to learn more, but in a nutshell, artists from around the world are commissioned to create graffiti all over this districts walls.

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Totally Rad to the Max!!!

So if you wind up in Miami, now you know a creative must. Blocks and blocks of amazing works of art!