Musings and Method

monotype

drypoint

engraving

My knuckle settles on the copper plate, carefully, not to disturb the wax crayon sketch on the polished surface. A sharp drypoint stylus is held firmly in place. Work begins by dragging that stylus across the copper raising the burr, which looks ragged and irregular. There will be fewer printed editions due to the fragility of that burr. The beauty of the drypoint print is the appealing softness in the picture.

This type of etching is closest to drawing, in spite of its shortcomings. No Nitric acid dips or chemical grounds to work with, so in that respect it is also healthier for you.
Traditional engraving with gravers and metal tipped pens, is clean, precise, sure to pull a print without too many issues and the burr is wiped away.

Dictionary definition for drawing:
A picture or diagram made with a pencil, pen, or crayon rather than paint.
This is a very modest description. Hardly covers the vast domain of drawing.

Horseradish

Drawing and drypoint are obviously different but very alike. Both disciplines are executed carefully in order to lay a line with either a sharp metal stylus or mechanical or wooden pencil leads 9H to 9B, black and color.
 Crescent Rocks  and Horseradish

My favorite papers to use for drypoint, German etching  thick like a cotton sheet, whereas Illustration Bristol 400 weight with unforgiving tight weave surface is perfect.

Crescent Rocks

Each job may require different paper, pencil leads and specialty inks. The list is varied. With my eye on the natural world I am comfortably happy working in both mediums.

Boar Hunt

Note the   abstract-ish print called Boar Hunt which looks different, and happens to be a monotype etching, generally painted on the surface of the plate. I was using a rectangle of plexiglass for a palette and brush wiper, when  it started to show some promise, so I decided to make a print.

I attended Corcoran School of Art in 1968-1970, but it was not a fully accredited college status until the following year 1971. My classes were core design, drawing, caligraphy and history of art. Any day in any design class was spent building mixed media structures, pop-ups, 3-D companion perspective sketches.
My drawing classes were spent looking studying the model and closing our eyes after memorizing the shape and textures to be put into our sketch pads. Contour drawing, using our peripheral vision, was a warm up exercise we practiced regularly and I still sometimes use. These two years were my first foray in the Art Study environment. I will verifiably state that what you think you see is not actually how you meant to interpret it on your paper. For better or worse every exercise was valuable.

The last thing I’ll share with you is my deep abiding respect for the power of art, the art of creating art and practitioners of art, new and old.
Artists affect social changes. We document life in our world.
This belief makes my work relevant.

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Gardening, new grandson, stepping up the fiddle tunes! So many things can tug at your strings. Actually, make that three grand children. But now it is four. This year of 2020 has landed upon us and ripped us apart and made families close at the same time. I need to dedicate a more time to the minutiae of pencil mechanics. Black on white and colored pencil means getting back to basics. Let me share some of the drawings and prints in progress and some finished.

The Hughes is within walking distance of my front door. Peaceful and t times roaring with a good two days rainfall.

Drawing

Oh! and I am celebrating botany with my 5 and 9 year old as a resource to their homeschooling. Another change, probably for the better, this year. The pandemic has altered all of our lives.

Continue reading

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About those field trips. .

beachdawn7It’s been a while since I posted. Not a lot of field trips last year. Plenty of doing though. Gardening, hiking, working on the house and studio. The most recent is our trek to the Outer Banks North Carolina.. . WOW! with all the family and then IMG_6737some. There’s something rejuvenating about the ocean that you just can’t bottle. You have to swim the waves, smell the salt and taste it. Oh. . . . and swallow some briny , too

The latest thing happening is my up coming fiddle camp in Contoocook, New Hampshire. I’ll be taking the fiddle my dad fashioned for me years ago, and join other fiddlers at a string/jam camp. We’ll all play music, share stories and tips on playing and learn new songs and methods. I’m really looking forward to it. No visual art, but plenty of art for the ears.

fLUMEGORGEI’ll planning to head  to the White Mountain National Forest after camp is over. A little over 2 hour drive puts you there. Three days will probably be enough fiddlin’for me. Hoping to visit the Flume, a natural gorge of 800 feet in length, located at the foot of Lincoln Mt. The walls of the gorge rise 70-90 feet and it looks like a spectacular place one needs to experience first-hand. There are plenty trails for tourists to explore at the bottom and stairs that bring you back up. Lots of climbing and an abundance of ferns, mushrooms and critters to photo in the undergrowth. Hopefully collect a lot of photo material and some sketches to work from after the trip.
This printmaker will need to start pulling prints for the Fall Art Tour in Rappahannock County. I’ll be posting about that soon, too.

In the meantime I hope you get out and make some field trips of your own before the summer has slipped away. Ah… but then there is the Fall, and of course, my favorite is the Winter for more off site travels. Have Fun!
bug hunter

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November Artists Tour!

What a  beautiful time of year to visit Rappahannock county! It’s decked out with the colors of autumn, compliments of Mother Nature. For the weekend of Nov 1st & 2nd  the Rappahannock artisans, galleries and shops have quite a spread planned. The studios are open and craftsmen will demonstrate their particular skills. My  printmaking studio is also open. A fellow printmaker /illustrator Kate Komarnicki will have several pieces on display for sale.  There’s mulled cider and biscuits for munching on, as you make your way through the artists tour.  Be sure to find our well stocked sampling bar with fresh roasted coffees to taste or pick up a bag or two.

Wandering back to my studio you may catch me inking a plate, rolling out the damp paper.. or maybe pulling a plate through my older Griffin etching press.

Our talented  musicians friends  will be ‘old time picking’  from 2 p.m  to  5 p.m on Saturday. Dennis Fairbrother and HIS  friends are  skilled in the art of playing the old time tunes on the banjo, fiddle and guitar. We hope you’ll join us.

Here are some pictures to share from the last week. As you scroll down, just click on any picture for a closer look.

art desksartoldragSStuffartpaper

art4paltess

some little characters that may find their way onto a copperplate.

artbar artdecafwhale artdoor artroom artroommmm artwall IMG_0986

artplates

copper plates waiting to be inked.

arrtfor palagtes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New this November

Once again, my workplace will be on the RAAC Art Tour this year.There are new  prints and drawings, and I’m looking forward to  showing them off. Most of the works on paper will be hanging in the studio and on the walls of our coffee shop. In addition, I’ll be pulling prints, engraving on copper plates and explaining the intaglio process to all who are interested.  AND I’m really pleased to announce fellow printmaker and illustrator Kate Komarnicki will be a my guest artist here during this tour. You’ll enjoy meeting her, and seeing her new projects, too. If you miss her she has a Facebook page so you can visit her online anytime. Of course we’ll be offering fresh roasted coffee  and treats in the shop. On the patio a little locally pressed apple cider for refreshment. Hopefully we’ll humor our ‘old time picking’ friends to turn out and provide some musical entertainment Saturday or Sunday.

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The self guided RAAC Art tour begins at the Washington Firehall  Saturday, Nov.1 and  Sunday Nov.2 . Make sure to pick up a brochure. . it leads you through the beautiful countryside of Rappahannock County. You’ll be able to visit many of the studios and galleries located in the villages and tucked away in the hollows, then stop for lunch at any of our great eating places in the county.

I hope we see you the Fall. So mark you calendars. I’ve posted a little info and some of Kate’s  beautiful new work below!

Kate Komarnicki graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts where she received her BFA in Communication Arts. Since then she has been freelancing as an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Printmaker. Kate recently finished  illustrating her first published children’s book, The Bulliest Dozer. She is currently pursuing work in the children’s book industry. Kate lives in Front Royal, Virginia with her husband and two boys.

Image 2Image 4Image 5

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Art into Cards

Greeting cards are a great way for me to use my portfolio art and my favorite pictures.

I found a great printer in Culpeper Virginia.  He helped me every step of the way.  The greeting cards so far are just what I was shooting for. An added touch is the Sperryville Printmaker’s individually embossed seal on the back of each one. Here are some of them.

FACBOOKCARDXS

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Autumn zest

I found a great article about  autumn energy and  improving your mindset in readiness for the winter. The artist part of me feels a little urgency with holidays approaching   My projects will turn into presents, cooking or putting up liqueurs in fancy little bottles with hand made labels are on the list. All the ideas that simmered during the year come to a head about now! So eating and exercising well will get me through this busy season. This website will offer some good advice for autumn and winter health and eating!

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Current works

Preparing for engraving or etching a print requires sketches and rough drafts. I often turn my roughs and preliminary sketches into a peice that I can eventually frame or use in some other form. . .like the birds below! pencil sketch, then a little chalk, colored pencil and waterproof pens – fine point. Continue reading

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RAAC art tour in November!

It’s official! Summer has ended. It’s been put on clearance in shops and stores. Time to get ready for the autumn shows and exhibitions. Artists & crafts people are busy in their studios creating. Same for me.

The RAAC organization coordinates a  county wide event every year that showcases  artists and craftspeople working in their studios and presented in galleries. It is well worth the trek to Rappahannock County You can visit their web site for more info.

During that weekend  I’ll be pulling some prints on my Griffin etching press. If you’re not familar with the etching or engraving process, now’s your chance to get a closer look! It hasn’t changed much since Rembrandt’s or Albrecht Durer’s time.

This year I’ve made several trips to the National Gallery of Art research rooms. We were able to get up close and gloved hands on with original Rembrandt’s etchings and M.C Escher’s work. What an opportunity to examine closely the  lines, details, a series, and artist proofs of these masters, that you only see in text books or online. All it takes is a phone call to the Print Study Rooms at the  Nat’l Gallery, set your appt. talk to the curator and get ready to be slightly awed on your visit! It would make a great field trip for an art class.

My printmaking studio is at the rear of our coffee roastery.  After your visit you can enjoy fresh roasted coffee and snacks. I’ve posted some drawings and engravings that you can check out. Enjoy. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

 

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Morning Java!

The one thing that I can count on even before I start work in the studio is a freshly roasted and brewed cup of coffee. It goes perfectly well  with a piece of fresh baked Baklava from Triple Oak ovens up the street! Life is challenging enough that these little pleasures shape up a morning. A short walk to the river to see what’s new. One morning my husband called to me to grab the  camera.. but I was too late to get back before the young black bear had scooted down out of the mulberry tree and splashed across the Thornton river. But he was back another morning browsing along the edge for something sweet. I will seriously work on a drawing of him one day. There are plenty more subjects waiting in line for sketching.

Two drypoints , an engraving, a few sketches to work from for later.

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