Seeing Double

I recently ventured out to an exhibition at the Pyramid Atlantic Center in Hyattsville MD, a nonprofit contemporary art center fostering the creative disciplines of papermaking, printmaking, and book arts. The exhibition, entitled RELIEF, featured a varied array of meticulously crafted prints by local and national printmakers.

The massive assembled work by Melissa Harshman in the image above is a perfect example. Portrait of a Hermit at Sea by Brent Bond of Santo Press (below) draws us into the artist’s quirky narrative with a mixed media print. I love the juxtaposition of the uber serious Victorian gentleman as he sails through the air in a conch shell.

I’m rather partial to black and white prints such as the two works below – Johanna Mueller’s finely detailed Jackalope and Kill Joy’s Huaraches. Seeing the prints in person is a whole other experience – one can see the how deeply the ink has been embedded into the snowy white paper and see the raised outline of the image depending on the force used to impress the relief onto the paper.

Heather O’Hara’s three-color block print Red Balloon Coyote (below) is adorable. The resulting texture is particularly appealing and the delightful, subtle overlays vary from print to print.

Heather’s debonair coyote has not surprisingly found his way onto greeting cards. See more examples here.

The print-making art world is magical in that the print artist can create almost identical multiples of a given image. There are numerous techniques – lithography, etching, linocut, woodcut, letterpress, engraving and silkscreen being the most common. I’ve tried my hand at a few of these techniques with questionable results. Click on the links to see introductory videos in order to appreciate the complexity, patience and precision required to master any one of these process-oriented techniques.

One of the exciting features of visiting Pyramid Atlantic is the opportunity to watch print artists at work on the traditional letterpress or watching Pyramid’s lithography instructor preparing to ink her magnificent slab of limestone. This specific slab was one of a cache of 100-year-old stone lithography plates recently unearthed in a pit in Ohio!

I’ll sign off with one of my own print images on rice paper and links to two of my favorite print artists, Florence McEwin and Yael Braverman. Have a great week ahead 🙂

Off to a good start…

It is very difficult to say which medium I prefer to work with – paint or clay. When I am painting, I lose myself entirely, and relish the rigorous mental demands which painting requires. I find that this sometimes surprises people. Contrary to the popular notion of painting as a relaxing pastime, I find myself totally exhausted after a day in the studio.  After a month or two of painting my fingers start itching to get hold of some clay and create something I can hold and touch and manipulate. It is a much more physical and tactile experience.

The New Year seems to be bringing some much-needed attention to my two-dimensional work. Within the past few weeks no less than four of my paintings have been juried into various shows around the country. Compared with the cumbersome slide entry process of the past, the opportunity to enter juried shows by email has made the entry process rather painless.

White on White

My acrylic painting White on White from the Chez Grace Paris series was selected for exhibition in the international small format competition The Richeson 75. The paint was barely dry when I spontaneously decided to enter it into the competition which drew over 500 entries worldwide. White on White will be on exhibit at the Richeson Gallery opening February 11 and will appear in the catalogue of finalists.

Rafting on the Jordan

Several years ago I did a series of six gouache paintings highlighting different parts of Israel. I love gouache as a medium, so versatile yet so under-appreciated. Yes, these are my feet as I kicked back on a family rafting trip down the Jordan River, which is actually deceptively treacherous. On a whim I entered this painting in a competition calling for River Art. Not only was it juried into an exhibition opening February 11 at West Shore Gallery, but it won Best of Category, and will be appearing in a book on rivers published by Sunbury Press! The only snafu is confusion over the title of the piece, which appears as Not a Care in the World instead of Rafting on the Jordan!

Break of Dawn

Break of Dawn is a large acrylic painting that has attracted quite a lot of attention. I would really love to do a whole series on pillows floating through black space. Lenny Campello recently juried this painting into the annual international show at Gallery West in Alexandria.

Waiting

During my extended stay in Paris in January 2010 I was fortunate enough to meet fellow artist Yael Braverman who taught me her unique copper etching techniques. One of my first etchings entitled Waiting will be on exhibit next month in New York City at the Fifth Avenue gallery of the National Association of Women Artists. 

It’s a good feeling to have one’s work out there, if only to clear the decks and make room for the next round!