Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“The greatest gift that you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention". 

Anthony J. D’Angelo

In its own small way it is a fascinating taksk each week to go looking for a quote to use around art, books or life. Many of the quotes have sat there for ages, sometimes years, before they go "my turn".  This is one of those patient quotes whose time has come.

At different points in time I am better, or worse at doing the small things that care for, nurture or support me.  Sometimes I carve out time to do the things I want to do; at others every spare moment seems subsumed by activities other than things that could in any way be defined as "me-time".

The lesson keeps needing to be learnt; to take some small bits of time for yourself; to not just give it all away. In doing so you can empty that well pretty darn fast, and it can take a long time to re-fill.

Be kind to yourself, look after yourself, and do a little thing, or two, that makes you smile.

Thursday had become sewing day, the three hours I nabbed for myself to just enjoy and do something for myself. For lots of reasons including travel, illness, deaths and memorials I haven't been able to go for quite a few weeks; and won't be able to for the next wee while either, and my how I miss it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Printing and progressing

I have managed to print the first run of the first print for Sydney. This required dampening the paper, inking up the small etching plate and printing 15 sheets. I am also using the etching plate in the book, so there are a few more smaller pages to be inked and printed yet.

Here they are stacked and drying in an old telephone book.

Once they are all dry and good to go, I will print the second run, the letterpress blocks.  Then when that has dried, I will add the red highlights. And then do it all gain three more times so there is a series of four!

With Barry's much appreciated help, I managed to get the covers ready for the Apex Life Member book.
This time around we chose a different binding, one where we could replace pages if needed, without having to re-do the whole book like we did last year (in a strange process the National body like to see the final book to approve it - but oftentimes say something isn't quite right and needs to be changed...tricky).

The front cover underway.

Drilling holes through the great board and the book cloth and the inside lining paper is made smooch easier by using my Japanese screw drill or drill screw, can' quite think what is the best way to describe it. Its a hand tool for punching holes.

You can see that the shaft has swirls cut into it like a drill bit, and this shaft sort of spins/.rotates and disappears up into the handle when you push on it, forcing the cutting apparatus at the front to bore a hole.

That would have to be the most non-technical description of a tool ever.

Primed ready to push down.

And funnily enough I didn't take a shot of what happened! Laugh, but you can see it up in the first hole in the second photo.

And on the way back to the house I came across this perfect droplet...I love how you can see the bare branches of the frangipani in winter reflected in it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

From planning to preparing

My artwork progresses in small steady stages, and I have come to understand that many things take time. The things that take the most time seem to be the things where I am most invested in the final result - the things where I know I am going to be on show in public and want everything to be as good as it can possibly be; or things where I have been specially commissioned to produce a piece of work for somebody.  Also things with  deadlines, because if I don't plan properly and forget a major step, then I am up the creek without a paddle as we say.

When I get to play in the studio and follow my own whimsy or fancy; or let the work lead me, things do tend to go a whole lot quicker.

On a couple of projects I have moved from planning (research, notes, trials, re-dos) to actually preparing.

For the first of the letterpress prints I am making for Sydney, I have sat and worked out the size of the paper that will fit in the Lightning Jobber press and the amount of paper I want to show around the print  once framed (if I wanted more to show I might need larger paper).

And so I collected my draft frames and mats.

Here is the 3cm frame with the larger aperture - more space around the work.

The 3cm frame with the smaller aperture - tighter around the work.

The 2cm frame with the larger aperture.

The 2cm frame with smaller aperture.

Decisions decisions.

Finalising some text in preparation for printing.

Proofing without ink.

Stacking up sheets of the beautiful Gmund 300 paper ready for printing.

Starting the laborious and labour-intensive process of cutting lots of 20cm x 20cm sheets from the 70cm x 50cm sheets.

Almost ready for the first print run!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look.” 

Marina Abramović

Once again the pondering turns to art, and the notion of whether or not we really need to know or understand art in order to enjoy it.

Oftentimes we don't need to understand or know in order to appreciate and enjoy art I think - it is enough that we respond, whether positively or negatively. The artist has done their job by conveying a message which we have received.

Sometimes understanding the background to a piece of work definitely adds to the appreciation of the work - to know why somebody did something; to know the conditions they made it under; or the inspiration for it, can really add to your response; perhaps take it to another level.

Perhaps it takes looking from response/appreciation to understanding...

An Australian song bird, sitting on it's bottom, not in an old gum tree...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lichen our block..

The title is a terrible pun - but nonetheless it's true; I like our block!

I was waiting to be picked up one day, standing at the top of our drive where we have an installation of some timber posts and a tall sandstone pillar and I got distracted by the growth of this fine lichen...

Looking down at the house from the top of the driveway, with one of the posts in the frame.

Lichen detail...

Looking across the driveway...

Most of the lichen is growing on the southern side of the posts; the direction from which we get most weather; and also slightly more shaded from the sunshine.

Some of the designs on the timber posts...

A feather caught amongst the lichen on the sandstone pillar...

I rarely get to stop at the top of the drive - I am either driving or collecting the mail generally, so to be hanging about up there for a wee while gave me change to stop and look and appreciate small beauties.

We are back from Jakarta and racing headlong into a week of much work, but also slowly re-turning our minds to our art.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person." 
 Anais Nin

I like how this quote brings together the nature of our lives; and the notion of a unique book for each person's life.

I love the idea of an individual plot for my life; and it is so true isn't it that each and every one of our lives is a unique and individual story? A tale told only by us; and never repeated. That's a lot of books!

Perhaps lives can be written - as we actively make stories of our days, our plans and our futures; but perhaps we never know the ending until we get to it, and turn that last page.

I think I'd like my book to be a purple and part of a rainbow stack like one of these!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Going back in time...

We are away at the moment, so I have gone back in time to another trip earlier in the year.

We visited the National Arboretum in Canberra for the first time in April and it was stunning.

Not only are the mass plantings inspired; but the discovery of art and sculpture in between and around the corner and on top of hills was a real delight.

As you enter the building, these great walls of rock are interrupted with lovey etched corten steel panels.

Atop a hill you find Nest III by Richard Moffatt.

On the hand rails at the lookout are all these beautifully etched plant images.

My real favourite - wide brown land by Marcus Tatton, Chris Viney and Futago.

Each word amazingly wrought in a single line of twisted steel.

A calligraphic ribbon...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A little bit all over the place...

Wow. A week ago we were in Melbourne, tomorrow we fly to Jakarta.

At the same time as we deal with travel and sadness; we are both having to push through so many art projects and commissions - try to make small gains, even tho we are about to lose another week of working on them.

Before we flew to Melbourne last weekend, there was a gorgeous harmony and unity project in our main street - looking up to the sky at all the threads that connect us...

I had a few moments to consider whether one or two red lines would work best on this print...

In Melbourne we were able to visit the organisation where I had done words on windows and the stitched stories...

I really love how when the blinds are drawn; the shadow words appear as well.

I saw the boxed works on a wall for the first time, bathed in sunlight.

 I came home and progressed a book job that is waiting - a "This is your life" type Life Membership book for Apex.

And managed to collect some trial frames I am preparing for Sydney.

I don't know about other folk; but when I make work I really prefer to make the work, then work out how big it ends up being as I choose frames and mats to support it and make it look its best.

With the show in Sydney, we have very limited space and I have to make work that will fit in that space.

So I asked our local framers to prepare a couple of frames of different widths and colours, and a double mat that would allow me to look at how much white space I wanted around the piece; how deep the mat board and how wide the frame itself.

Here is how a couple of them looked today. There is another double mat to collect as well and test the amount of white around the work and the depth of the mat.

So many things to plan for and prepare for!

2cm white frame

3cm white frame

3 cm black frame

I am pleased I asked him to do this as they all make the work look quite different!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “It’s pointless” said reason. “Give it a try” whispered the heart. 

Thinking thoughts about life today is poignant after the sudden death of a dear friend.

This little quote can almost appear trite in its whimsy; but after grieving the death of those too young to die; it seems to also speak eloquently.

Today it says to not wait, to try things, to have a go, to follow your dream or other sentiments along that line. For we never know the hour or the day.

Let us live with heart and lead a heart-filled life.

Give it a try...

As we raise a glass to you tonight...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Still considering calligraphy

So I started to think that to be complementary to the letterpress works, (as pondered in my last post) the calligraphy probably needed to be smaller. So I got out my 3A Automatic Pen and some good ink and used them to do the same style of writing in the square, just a fair bit smaller.

But this time, I left room for the inclusion of an etched plate just in case I really wanted them to look even more alike.

More of the fabulous stencil material, cut to size.

A draft of the lettering - once again done on BFK Rives printmaking paper. The layout leaves a bit to be desired - it all gets a bit squishy towards the end. But a draft is a draft.

The ragged right thing didn't happen quite so much - think I was more conscious of trying to finish the line with strong strokes; but also the smaller writing makes it hold together better.

 And because I started to think there might be something in this calligraphy idea - altho the style is probably not quite right yet - I did  a  test run on a scrap of the Gmund 300gsm cotton paper I am printing on.

It is a much whiter white; but I was happy to see it took the calligraphy ink well.

My final test for now, was checking to see how the Gmund 300gsm folded.  I had assumed because it is quite heavy that it wouldn't fold well and I wouldn't be able to use it for the companion books I am planning to produce.

I was very pleasantly surprised when I cut a scrap and folded it and it made a beautiful crisp fold! The book planning has also begun; because once I start printing for the wall works; I need to also print for the books so that the inks etc are all the same, and I am really discovering how much planning goes into a printed production! 

That means I need to know now, how big my pages will be; what sort of binding I will use; which leads to how I will place the prints on the pages in terms of layout etc, so once again my brain is beginning to boggle.

So its nice to take some time out and check out life onto block a bit- we have had loads of pumpkins and there are still more to gather.

We have had some really foggy mornings and mornings where the could puddles sit in the valley...

After which we are having beautiful bright days - and the magpies are loving it!