Sunday, July 31, 2011

365 Day 212

new project...and accepting physical limitations

Several months ago my fellow artist friend Juana Moore gave me a 48-inch long hard cardboard tube when I started collecting cardboard tubes for my Studio Snake. The tube Juana gave me was way too good to use for the Studio Snake, but I layered it with plaster cloth back then and set it aside with no specific idea in mind...other than I knew I wanted to make something big with it.

trying to show how l-o-n-g this tube is

I am working on starting my Studio Snake (I wrapped a huge basketful of cardboard tubes with masking tape a few nights ago), but in the meantime I had a minor brainstorm and was inspired by this little guy that sits on my cable modem.

this little inspirational guy is posing on the plaster cloth layered tube

Obviously I am going to make a snake with this tube as the main part...but I will show more later as it develops.

Okay...onto other stuff.

I need to pull good prints of two carvings for that upcoming show in Detroit. I am not having very good luck. I am fully aware that I need to learn by doing and keep practicing until I "get" the feel of printing and understand more about using various inks and carving materials and, there are SO many kinds of paper!

But I also learned tonight that I need to accept that I may not be a printmaker. I really really love carving the blocks. I really enjoy finding creatures and images in the "automatic drawings" in my sketch book. However, after going meticulously through each step of the printmaking process tonight...over and over and over again...being very careful and keeping all of my work areas clean, etc. -- like Shaqe taught us in class -- I have to admit to myself that this is just plain physically painful for me. I made over 20 prints tonight...not one of them was acceptable. There is a major flaw in each one...some are better than others...but each one is too flawed to frame up and submit for the show.

This is one of my designs that was accepted for the show -- and I cannot pull a good print from it to save my life. I even tried cleaning up the carving. I tried to tidy up the lines of the leaves. It just isn't happening.

These are the worst two prints.

These are the best four prints.

I just need more practice. I need to do this a billion more times.

I know I will get better at it, but it is just too soon for this show. That, and I am not happy with the way the carving has been altered slightly by the clean up of the lines.

I'm not complaining or making excuses. I'm just stating facts. It's a learning process and I am a beginner. Period.

This is a detail from the best of the tree guy prints. You can see that even though I tried to re-carve some of the leaves, the lines of the branches are flooded with ink and it is just a mess.

And yes, I did clean the block a couple of times during the printings...LOL.

I had to scrap the printing of the other design that I originally submitted to the show. I got the okay to choose a different print, and these are the three best prints from tonight...but none of these are good enough for my liking.

I will try this one again tomorrow, and maybe I will be able to pull a decent one after a good restful night's sleep. I hope so anyway.

This was the best one of the three. Wow...I went through SO much good paper tonight...this is getting pricey...sheesh.

Juana helped me name this piece. I knew it was a fox-creature and we came up with "Kitsune"...a Japanese fox spirit.

This print is almost good enough...

...but the face isn't printed well enough.

Fingers crossed for a successful print tomorrow!

It absolutely kills my back to stand and work on the prints at the table. At the printmaking class the table was a little bit shorter and it was even harder (physically). Tomorrow I will try some at the marble table in the kitchen, which is slightly taller than the long dining room table. I will also try the kitchen counter by the dishwasher...there is room over there and it is the tallest surface in the house...maybe that will help. I have a couple other physical problems that are getting in on the act, too...but hey...I am doing pretty well for someone my age who has never been physically fit. I will manage to overcome I need to practice more!

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