Monday, June 27, 2011

New Beginnings, Leonardo Update

      A quick update on "Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine", (see Sept 2010 post for details) there are just two copies unsold as of today, and I'm posting this info here as I'm unable to post this on my website at the moment.
     The most refreshing thing about not having to work to commission is that you can choose whatever subject you like and tackle it in whatever way you want. This does have a downside, as the scope is so vast that the words 'spoilt for choice' are an understatement. However, undaunted by that thought, I'm now launching myself at an idea that's been gently bubbling away on the back burner for the last few months.
     I say 'launch' because I've taken a step into the unknown, buying a press that at the time of purchase I had absolutely no idea how to use, or whether it would indeed be useful to me, but I do know that I need a printmaking technique that pleases me aesthetically and that I can physically manage to work with. And I've been very lucky.
     I've found a printmaker, Anne Jones, who has set up a studio, Blue Wave Printmakers at a drivable distance from my home, in Nanaimo BC. She is very experienced both in printmaking and in teaching. I spent a day with her, learning the basics of monotype and drypoint, and I hope to return at a later date, when I have digested the new knowledge and experience. She's running several workshops in different techniques over the next few months so you may want to check out her info. One of the great things about Blue Wave is that all processes and materials are non-toxic, using Akua Kolor and Akua Intaglio waterbased inks, and non-toxic methods of plate preparation.
     Drypoint belongs to the same family of printmaking as engraving and etching. They are all intaglio processes where ink is held in an incised line, and transferred to paper under pressure (which is where my new intaglio press comes in). Drypoint has a lovely fuzzy line and the immediacy of drawing, and I'm only just beginning to explore this technique.  
Image is by Rembrandt, and is an etching, drypoint and mezzotint. Drypoint combines well with monotype for colour, see Hugh Bryden's site.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Back In The Studio

For the past few months, I've been working on my father's autobiography, which he wrote for the family. It runs to some 178 pages, including lots of photos, and will be printed and bound by a local company for family members. Not a miniature book, I hasten to add.
     It speaks to another time, a slower way of life before all the electronic gadgetry, and to a time when the youth of the free western world was actively engaged in fighting to preserve that freedom, when letters often didn't make it home to their loved ones and neither did their authors. 
In the late 1940s and early 1950s the hardship and disillusionment of those who did return, their efforts to build their own 'brave new world', their determination that they and their children would have a better life are recorded within this book and echoed in families throughout the world. My father will be 91 this year, and this book gives insight into a twentieth-century way of life that has almost disappeared, so quickly has our society changed.
     So now, having handed off the files, I'm free to think about a new book. Some things never change!  And...I've been playing with my new press, an Ettan etching press, 12" x 24", lightweight but strong.
It weighs only 40lb but is robust, and has two pressure gauges, and although it isn't geared, is easy to use, doesn't require a huge amount of effort to crank the handle. I'm very pleased with it so far.
More about the press and learning to use it later....
I was going to link to the Ettan site, seems their domain has expired, so here's a link to the Daniel Smith page.
Edit July 3,2011: Ettan site up and running again,