Only one day left!

Artwork Experiments, Exhibition
Finding ways to use up the leftover ink from the workshop

Finding ways to use up the leftover ink from the workshop

Absorbent Ho Sho paper left overnight in inky water after the workshop so that the colour wicks up the paper.

Absorbent Ho Sho paper left overnight in inky water after the workshop so that the colour wicks up the paper.

Trying various ways of using up leftover ink from the workshop on Wednesday

Trying various ways of using up leftover ink from the workshop on Wednesday

Trying different ways of using up the ink that was left at the end of the workshop yesterday.

Trying different ways of using up the ink that was left at the end of the workshop yesterday.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here at the Basement Gallery and feel really quite sad that this is my penultimate day. This morning I gave an artist talk – which turned into more of a conversation between friends so my nervousness quickly faded away 🙂 I pulled out all my materials, pens, brushes, papers, inks, display folders, workbooks and samples from the workshop yesterday so my work desk in the gallery looked like a bomb had gone off! It didn’t take too long to clear up afterwards and it was totally worth it. It’s always rewarding to talk to people who understand when I get excited about leaving paper overnight in the jar of used water loaded with ink to see what I get the following day.

The exhibition is open from 10am to 4pm 24 November so if you haven’t visited yet and would like to then this is your last chance!

The results from leaving Japanese paper in inky water overnight and then laid flat to dry.

The results from leaving Japanese paper in inky water overnight and then laid flat to dry.

Rolled Japanese paper sitting in inky water left at the end of the workshop. This was given an occasional "swirl" and then left overnight before being laid flat to dry.

Rolled Japanese paper sitting in inky water left at the end of the workshop. This was given an occasional “swirl” and then left overnight before being laid flat to dry.

 

A Solo Exhibition – Woo Hoo!

Exhibition, Uncategorized

Sometimes everything comes together to create an opportunity you just cannot pass up. That’s how come I am having a solo exhibition next week….

A friend noticed a Facebook post by The Basement Gallery asking for emerging artists who might be interested in holding an exhibition in their new premises (241 Hay Street, Subiaco) to attend an open viewing time. We both went along to find out more on behalf of a newly formed group that may be interested in exhibiting together – possibly next year. The gallery and associated Pop Creative graphics design are run by volunteers (mostly uni students) to gain work experience in the arts. During our discussions with the volunteer gallery curator we learned that there was a vacancy in November. We knew the group would not be ready by then (we haven’t even had our first meeting yet!) and I realised I already had enough work with a reef theme to fill the space. I have lots of pen and ink drawings, some collages and several textile pieces – all inspired by coral reefs and their inhabitants. I submitted the application and paid the hire fee so I will be exhibiting Mon 13 Nov to Fri 17 Nov and Mon 20 Nov to Fri 24 Nov (open weekdays only 10-4, closed weekends).

This is the invite to my first solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line

The invitation to my solo exhibition "Reef - A Fine Line" at the Basement Gallery, 241 Hay St, Subiaco, Western Australia.

The invitation to my solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line” at the Basement Gallery, 241 Hay St, Subiaco, Western Australia.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Altered States – A WAFTA Exhibition

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Finished, Exhibition
The contents of my bag (number 30) for the WAFTA Altered States Challenge

The contents of my bag (number 30) for the WAFTA Altered States Challenge

Altered States was the title of the exhibition challenge set by WAFTA. Buying a bag full of “bits” was the entry point for the exhibition launched in April 2017. The bag contained: A magazine, a dress pattern, a synthetic and very stretchy cocktail dress, 2 lots of wool carpet yarn, sea-grass rope, a piece of cotton fabric, a piece of yellow embroidered and beaded sari, some Watsonia leaves (a noxious weed here in Western Australia), and some unwashed and smelly alpaca fleece (my dog was very interested in that!), We could also, if we wished, use the bag itself.

Making an artwork from said “bits” to be shown in an exhibition at the Perth Town Hall from 16-25 September 2017 was the challenge. There were only 2 rules: One – to use a little or a lot of everything in the bag, Two – the finished item must fit inside a cube 30x30x30cm (if flat, 30x30cm).

I made a necklace titled Artists Amulet. The statement for the piece read: “This necklace has affirmation beads which the wearer may use to alter a negative state of mind by drawing on their courage and inner resources to meet the challenges of creating and exhibiting work. The amulet bead protects against those individuals that contribute negative energy.”

Artists Amulet as displayed at Altered States Exhibition, Perth Town Hall, Sept 2017

Artists Amulet as displayed at Altered States Exhibition, Perth Town Hall, Sept 2017

Detail of the affirmation beads in Artists Amulet.

Detail of the affirmation beads in Artists Amulet.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of some of the paper beads made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of some of the paper beads made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

I was invited to give a talk about the making of my piece, including how I felt when I first saw the contents of the bag. I’ll put the notes that I made for the talk in my next blog post.

Painted Papers and Dried Paint

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

Some more painted paper results. Various papers scrunched and painted with dilute acrylics (Yellow Oxide and Cadmium Scarlet).

Painted paper experiments for collage. Various papers: brown Kraft, white 80gsm and 70gsm bond, light engineering drawing, bank layout, tissue, light cartridge and handmade Chinese. All chosen because they were acid free. January 2015

Painted paper experiments for collage. Various papers: brown Kraft, white 80gsm and 70gsm bond, light engineering drawing, bank layout, tissue, light cartridge and handmade Chinese. All chosen because they were acid free. January 2015

The detail shot is Chinese handmade paper which was laid over some plastic which had some interesting-looking dried paint on it.

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I deliberately chose a colour from the opposite side of the colour wheel so that the paint marks would show up clearly if they transferred. So now I’m creating a stash of plastic with interesting dried paint on it as well! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Collagraph Plate experiments – shellac disaster

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

I used the woven card collagraph plate sealed with shellac to print using Jo Sonja and Atelier artists acrylics mixed with Derivan Matisse Open Medium to extend the drying time of the paints.

Problems with cleaning the collagraph plate

A detail of the print from the Gelli® plate where the woven card coated with Shellac was used to remove paint. You can see the woven texture.

A detail of the print from the Gelli® plate where the woven card coated with Shellac was used to remove paint. You can see the woven texture.

It was ok until I came to clean the plate – at which point it became a disaster. I managed 5 prints. I did notice that the plate had become sticky after the second print but I thought that was the paint. Then I noticed that the smell had changed – not for the better. After 5 prints I decided to clean the plate. I submerged it in water and wiped with a cloth. The paint didn’t move so I scrubbed with a nailbrush. The paint and shellac all came off where the paint was in contact with the shellac – so the card absorbed quite a bit of water.

The shellac coating came off when washing (submerged in cool water and scrubbed). The shellac came off where there was paint. I think the Matisse open medium acted as a solvent for the shellac. It didn't come off where there was no paint.

The shellac coating came off when washing (submerged in cool water and scrubbed). The shellac came off where there was paint. I think the Matisse open medium acted as a solvent for the shellac. It didn’t come off where there was no paint.

Where there was shellac only (around the edges and on the back) the shellac remained intact (even when it was scrubbed with the nailbrush). I can only conclude that something in the open medium affected the shellac (or maybe the medium in combination with paints from another brand). I must admit I was not using the Matisse open medium with the Matisse Structure paints for which it was intended so it could be the combination and not the open medium by itself that has caused the problem. I have left the plate in the sun to dry out as I quite like it as it is so it could be sealed once dry and re-used for another purpose.

Lessons Learned

I learnt that I should have tested the shellac as a waterproofing agent on some small pieces of the card rather than using it for the first time on a plate that took me several hours to make. Then I should have tested the painting medium on those samples. My reading had indicated that shellac was the way to go but most of the books I was referring to were pretty old – open medium and paints that can be “unlocked” have been developed since they were written. The information I had would have been written for plates that were intended to be used with printing ink (which at that time would have all been oil based I imagine). Now I do actually have some Derivan Matisse Structure paints and some of their Block Printing inks (water clean up is also a recent development) so I guess there is a whole new area of enquiry right there. The question is – am I ever going to actually produce any artwork or am I going to carry on testing for ever? 🙂

Collagraph plate experiments – thin card + shellac

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

How I made the collagraph plate

I have finished weaving paper (it took me ages – much longer than I anticipated!) to make another collagraph plate.

Woven paper collagraph coated with Shellac. I like the effect - looks almost like bamboo.

Woven paper collagraph coated with Shellac. I like the effect – looks almost like bamboo.

I used Selly’s Exterior Aquadhere PVA to glue the finished weaving to a piece of thicker card previously sealed with WestArt Crystal Clear spray varnish (but I forgot about that when I glued the paper weaving on).

Once the glue was dry I sealed both sides with Shellac. I think I did about 6 coats on the weaving because that is going to get a lot of use, and I did 2 on the back because I realised that it wasn’t soaking in as I had previously sealed the thick card with WestArt Crystal Clear varnish. So that indicates to me that the Crystal Clear may be a good enough water-proofing agent by itself.

The back of the woven paper collagraph coated with Shellac. I like the texture.

The back of the woven paper collagraph coated with Shellac. I like the texture.

A detail of the woven paper collagraph plate. I like the inclusion of the printed lines from the scrap paper.

A detail of the woven paper collagraph plate. I like the inclusion of the printed lines from the scrap paper.

I really like the appearance (and the feel) of the paper sealed with Shellac and will experiment more with this on different papers/fabrics/threads. I’m also wondering what Shellac would look like over different colours of paper/painted paper. Tissue paper and brown paper could look very interesting.

And I still like the broken lines that look like code too 🙂

Collagraph plate experiments – thin card

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

I have been experimenting with making printing plates from various materials I had on hand (some of which I had bought years ago but never got around to trying of course). These can be used to remove paint to create texture on the Gelli plate (if they have some flexibility and no sharp projections) or as printing plates in their own right. I recently did quite a bit of reading about different ways to create collagraph plates. In particular I was interested in ways of waterproofing the plates if they were made from materials which weren’t already waterproof such as paper/card or fabric. This is because I have had experience in the past where some glues become sticky again when wet.

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I have made one out of thin card (140gsm) and paper shapes glued onto a thicker card (600gsm) which I have sealed with 2 coats of Atelier Regular Gel (Gloss) and 2 coats of WestArt Crystal Clear spray varnish. Concerns are that the edges will not be waterproof as it is difficult to make sure they are coated. I haven’t tried it yet and as they say “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. I have since read that Shellac waterproofs paper and card because it works by soaking in rather than sitting on the surface. This has 2 benefits: the entire plate is waterproofed rather than just the surface, and fine details are not filled in by the sealant.

I am therefore in the process of making another plate, with the texture of weaving, from the same thin card which I will glue onto thicker card and then seal with Shellac (which I have used before to seal wooden stamp blocks, but not for paper). I am interested to know whether the texture of the weaving will show or whether I will just get dots in a regular grid from the high spots.

These are the marks that were on the scrap paper that I cut into strips to make the woven paper collagraph.

These are the marks that were on the scrap paper that I cut into strips to make the woven paper collagraph.

While I was making this I became intrigued with the way the lines that were printed on the thin card were displayed in a completely new way. It looks almost like a code or cipher. So I’ve filed this away in the back of my mind in the “inspiration” category.

Gelli® Plate Printing – First Attempt

Uncategorized

Designing Women were kind enough to allow me to attend a meeting where 2 of the members, Debbi and Linda, were giving a demonstration of printing using acrylic paints with a Gelli® Plate. I was keen to watch their demo because using a Gelli® Plate was next in my investigations into printing at home without a press. Both of them did a fantastic job and answered heaps of questions. Several of the members had a go after the demo as Debbi and Linda had brought lots of extra supplies. I waited until I got home to actually open the Gelli plate I bought recently. I used mostly 110gsm cartridge paper and some 80gsm bond copy paper this time (cheap for a first time effort) but towards the end I tried a couple of pieces of higher quality, thicker watercolour paper which gave lovely results.

This print has too much contrast for my liking so I decided to try overprinting it.

This print has too much contrast for my liking so I decided to try overprinting it.

Debbi and Linda demonstrated heaps of ways to use the Gelli® plate but these 2 photos show that I inked the plate (using acrylic paint), placed circle masks on top of the paint and then took a print. Where the masks were the paper remained white. Then I removed the masks, spritzed the plate with water and took a second print. I really like the way the masks themselves removed some paint so I got a lot of texture in the circles on the second print. Needless to say the masks were turned over and used to create yet another print 🙂 The first print was sort of disappointing, although I could see it had potential for other layers over the top. The layering is the bit I need to “get my head around” to actually produce some art but the second print from this same layout was much more exciting, and I felt that it could be used “as is” without another printing layer but with some embellishing using pencils/pens/paint and/or stitch.

Water was spritzed onto the plate after the first print was taken and then a second print was made.

Water was spritzed onto the plate after the first print was taken and then a second print was made.

In all I think I produced about 29 prints on the first day (and I photographed every single one in my enthusiasm!) so I won’t bore you with all of those. Suffice to say that Gelli® printing is every bit as addictive as it’s reputed to be 🙂

Permission has been granted for me to use the Gelli® trademark.

Standing Station – Perfect Version

Uncategorized

I put in a request to the resident handyman (Edgar – my Father in Law) to build me a more substantial and useful version of a standing station for my art room.

This is the standing station that my FIL Edgar built for me based on the measurements I took from the temporary version. It doubles as a drying rack. Brilliant! :)

This is the standing station that my FIL Edgar built for me based on the measurements I took from the temporary version. It doubles as a drying rack. Brilliant! 🙂

You can see the temporary version featured in my previous post here. I already had 2 tables at which I could sit and paint/draw but I figured I could only sit at one at a time – so why not make the second table into a standing station?

This is the permanent version – and it’s brilliant! I usually paint A4 or A3 size papers, but by allowing for an A2-sheet-plus-a-bit I ended up with shelves which can take twice the number of papers that used to fit on the available floor space – and I don’t have to keep dodging around them worrying about leaving painted footprints all round the house. The shelves are completely removable so I can use them to carry the wet artwork around easily too.

It’s very sturdy and just perfect for my needs. The tables have not been altered at all so if I ever need to use both tables together I can easily move the standing station elsewhere temporarily. This is one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever had 🙂

Standing Station – Temporary Version

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I used this set up as a standing station for months. I used the stack of plastic box, upside down ironing board and drawing board to get exactly the right height for working whilst standing up. For me that is 38cm above the desk top.

I used this set up as a standing station for months. I used the stack of plastic box, upside down ironing board and drawing board to get exactly the right height for working whilst standing up. For me that is 38cm above the desk top.

I’ve known for a long time that alternating between sitting and standing to work has lots of health benefits over sitting for all work. So I rigged up a temporary standing station and have been using it for months – changing the items in the stack until I found the perfect height. The height of this plastic box/ironing board, drawing board stack has worked perfectly although the board on the top is a bit wobbly – especially if I lean on it too far towards the back or the front edges.

I measured the total height from the top of the table to the top of the drawing board (for me, and knowing it would always go on the same table, this turned out to be 38cm). Then I analysed what else I needed this standing station to do. I needed lots of removable shelves about an inch or so apart that could take an A2 (420 x 594 mm) sheet of paper (for when I’m painting papers so they’re not sitting all over the floor while they dry). The worktop and shelves needed to be moisture resistant. I knew it would be reasonably heavy (a good thing – it won’t move as I work on it) so I wanted a “lip” at the front and back so it could be lifted easily. It needed a back so that papers wouldn’t get pushed through, and the back also served as extra support for the shelves. I wanted the front to be open so that air could circulate and help the papers to dry faster. I wanted a bit of extra width on the worktop to allow me to have an A2 paper plus a small paint dish beside it. Once I had decided all these things I put in a request to Edgar the resident handyman (Father in Law). It took a few weeks but I now have the perfect standing station – to be revealed in the next post 🙂