Friday, April 18, 2014

What Happens When You Chill

I was in the studio this week and let the time unfold. I'm never like that. It was a really, really, great way to work.

I started by cutting up two prints and gluing them onto a support.

Then when I got bored with that, I took this piece

and painted on top of it with black acrylic, then used baby wipes, then some alcohol dipped paper towels for some deconstruction (piece on top--on bottom I have No. 5, a 22 x 30" framed collage)

Yes, I think I'll order up some more chill. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skipping Rocks

My pity party from Monday is over. Thanks for the well wishes. :) I've learned that when down, it's best not to binge watch TV. On the up side, once Mad Men season 6 was consumed, I moved on to cleaning cabinets and that did a world of good. I marched back into the studio today and actually feel renewed! Yay! Besides, my experience gave me at least a title for a print (not this one below, but a new one)--Illegitimi non carborundum.

Detail of plate on rock skipping, started eons ago.

I brought this plate out of the archives to work on. I learned quite a bit about gesso as a background texture when I was working on Newton--love it! It does need to be sealed with diluted PVA because some of it wipes off when cleaning the plate after printing. (I guess with Akua one could just leave ink residue on the plate and never seal it, but should the plate need to be reworked, ya gotta get the ink off of there.) I've been sealing with 2 coats of 1:1 water to PVA. To keep brush strokes to a minimum, I card on the mixture.

Stuff I need to do on this plate:
1. seal this baby since I learned the hard way that gesso is impermanent.
2. make some areas lighter by applying coats of PVA--diluted or not, multiple coats or not, depending on how light I want it.
3. add more text by tracing printed text using a pencil and tissue paper. Flip tissue paper over so pencil is face down on plate and burnish.
4. ink this baby and proof.

I did start that new plate--the one mentioned above, Illegitimi non carborundum. I have lots of loose ideas jumping around in my noggin. It'll be fun to see where it goes since I'm being non-characteristically spontaneous when working the plate. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Facts of Life

Tis true. You win some, you lose some. I admit after the last few rejections to print shows I'm beginning to wonder about my work--recent not-good-enoughs are below. Typically I have the "I don't care if you like it or not" attitude, but this last rejection kinda stung. Oh well. Soldier on! Today to get over my blahs, I'm cleaning cabinets. It sounds lame, but it's been pretty effective. Tomorrow I head into the studio to work on another potential reject. I plan on taking the approach that I need to continue working in the direction that makes me happy, and damn the naysayers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


© 2014 Cathy Savage, De motu corporum (On the motion of bodies), 30 x 22", Collagraph

I'm dreading editioning this morning, which I have scheduled in about 35 mins from now. I wish I had a staff. I love the platemaking and getting to the first print--even though this one took me 5 states. I just really, really, really want to work on a new print and instead I'm doing the responsible and I'm going to edition. This will be a small one. Maybe 5 if I'm lucky. OK, I'm going to stop whining now and get going. (Oh! I did watch Cosmos the other day and the episode was on Newton. What a treat! I took notes like a nerd. Science is so fun! Puzzling for my non-scientific brain, but way super cool.) 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Apps I Love

I've probably mentioned some of these before, but today when I was grabbing stuff and getting ready to head to the studio, I started thinking about my apps and how they make my life easier so I thought I'd rinse and repeat.

Evernote--this is an organizer of all things electronic. I use it for my data searches--I'm sure it's more robust, but it's basically all I've used Evernote for so far. For instance, I'm working on a new print about Isaac Newton and I've researched his portraits, laws of motion, telescope, and the color wheel. One way to research and save all this info is by using Evernote. I can virtually "clip" the info I'm wanting and save into a file for later review. I have all kinds of other "notebooks." I have notebooks for workshops, subjects I'm investigating for future artwork, marketing stuff, vacation information, galleries I want to investigate, and even recipes. You can download Evernote to your PC, ipad, and smart phone and have them all sync. Bravo!

Honorable mentions in this same vein: Google Drive and Dropbox. Love, love, love! I use Evernote more regularly, but these other two can't be overlooked.

Words With Friends--no brainer. I love this game! When I'm at a tough spot on a plate or need to kill some time or relax for a bit, this is where I head.

Pandora--I usually don't listen to music when I'm prepping a plate, but I do like it when printing.

PayPal Here--for those occasions when I make a sale.

Netflix--because sometimes I like something running in the background. This I love to do when prepping a plate. (Breaking Bad anyone?)

Today was fabulous. I worked in the studio today for 4 glorious hours working on my Isaac Newton plate. Here's the before--I just have a few details to add tonight. The after comes tomorrow when I go in and print it. Fingers crossed! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Building a Plate

I've been working on a new plate for the last week. Spring Break is happening, so my studio time is somewhat limited. It's been fun hanging out with the kids, and every evening when they are winding down, I have a nagging need to work on my plate every night, so I've been in my home studio putting in an hour here and there.

I started by gessoing my Sintra plate. I'm not sure why I did this other than Jill Alo has done it before and I liked her results. After some sanding, then came Newton in pencil.

I added some grit for the dark parts and gel medium for the light parts (the grit will hold ink and the shiny gel medium will wipe cleaner).

I added some dudes on a cart using a combo of carborundum and gel medium.

Here's where I am now.

I have more to go before I proof this, which is looking like next week. To be continued.... In the meantime, I'm looking through some sewing books to start on a soon-to-be-identified project. I have loads and loads of fabric and it's time to put it to use. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Well hello Isaac Newton!

I sat in on a fabulous workshop last year and never really experimented the same technique using my Akua inks dum dum dum... until now! I had fun experimenting last week using a charcoal pencil sketch and turning it into a print.

First, ink up plexi plate with thin layer of Akua intaglio opaque white, straight out of the can. Then on tracing or tissue paper, use a charcoal pencil (or charcoal vine) and sketch something. Shake off any charcoal dust. Next, place your paper face down on your plate and run it through the press in order to transfer your drawing to your plate.
Here's my plate with my tissue paper drawing face down, ready to be transferred. 
Drawing on the left, freshly transferred to the plate on the right.
There's enough charcoal left on my tissue paper to transfer to an additional plate.  

Next, on top of your plate, roll on a thin layer of Akua Release Agent, apply your dampened paper, and run through the press. Voila!

The charcoal is sandwiched between the opaque white and the release agent, so there's no charcoal rub off. I was just experimenting here, but you can see there could be some fun reasons to use this technique. The charcoal line looks very much like a lithograph crayon.