Japanese maple linocut

Japanese maple print

After I sold several linocut prints this spring, I decided to cut a few new ones.  I wanted to experiment with some new printing papers at the same time, so I ended up making this new piece and printing it and the replacement ones for sale simultaneously.

I have a lovely Japanese maple tree outside my front door which provided the inspiration for this piece.  One year we had a very early spring and the tree fully leafed out way too soon.  When we had the inevitable later frost, the tree was severely damaged and I though I might lose it.  I did some serious pruning on it and after a few years of looking on the funky side, it is now back to normal and I look at it with pleasure every day.


A second round of tile pour painting

6×6 with a floral motif

A darker forest 4×4

I tried to be a bit more subtle yet directed with these next tile pour paintings.  I went away from all primary colors and white to purple and green in the smaller one.  To me, it suggests a deep forest with a creek running through it.

For the larger tile, I was going for a more floral theme.  There is a way to manipulate the poured paint with a string and I tried it here.  I kind of messed up with the initial pull so it looks more like a vase with a flower, but I still ended up liking it.  I then added two flower shapes around the vase/flower with a more correct string pull.

This is fun and I plan to make more of them in the future.

Pour painting on canvas

Dirty pour

It’s called a dirty pour when you layer all of your colors into one pouring cup and then dump it all at once onto the art surface.  And that’s what I did for this one.  When I finished the tiles shown previously, I had a few ounces of each prepared color left over, so I put them all in one covered cup to store until my next class.  When I came back the next week, I proceeded to pour the whole cup onto the center of an 8×10 canvas and watch what happened as I tilted it back and forth until the paint mostly covered the surface.  By my good luck, there was just enough to reach most of the edges and spill over the sides.  Pretty interesting, huh.  You have less control over the color positioning this way (although you do have the option of what order colors are put into the cup and thus come out) but you can still manipulate the flow somewhat with popsicle sticks, straws, or a palette knife.

After it dried, I started painting the small amount of white space left on the edges and the top with the dark blue I had used to unify the canvas.  If you look closely, you can see it is almost done.  There is a small amount on the lower edge and the left side to finish.

As you will see, the next pours on tile were a bit more purposeful, but still had a wonderful unpredictableness about them.  I don’t do much abstract work, but this is pretty interesting and I might enjoy it as a change of pace from the more detailed pen and watercolor work.


Something new from my acrylic class – Pour painting

6×6 tile

4×4 tile

I am taking this new acrylic class mostly to find out about the varieties of acrylics currently available and what additional mediums and varnishes are being used.  There hasn’t been much emphasis on realistic work, but I am still happy with all the new things I have learned.

We moved from the Gelli plates to pour painting, something I had barely for even heard of before, much less tried for myself.  You put acrylic paint into a fluid medium, add a small amount of silicon, and then pour it over a substrate like canvas or commercial tile.  Some artists use it over built up mixed media, too.  The paint is rather like a thick lotion you pour onto your surface, but dries completely flat.  As the different color mix, the silicon helps them form into various shapes due to different specific gravities for each color.  You can do some manipulation to guide the formations, but I am rather limited at this point in my technique.  For these, I just poured 4 different colors on a 4″ and 6″ tile and then tilted them back and forth until the paints mixed and moved out to the edges.  Don’t ask me about the chemistry involved.  I rather like my first efforts, but I know there is a lot of experimentation to be done.  I am already happier with the pieces I have subsequently worked on.  Youtube pour painting and you will see some pretty incredible things.

Gel prints with acrylics

Gelli plate print

So I finally found an acrylic art class to go to this spring. I have been wanting to take something ever since I started back with acrylics last year.  So much has changed, material wise, in 40 years and I needed to update myself on current paints, additives, and methodologies. Who would have thought that now there are acrylics as thin as watercolors.

Anyway, on the first day, I made a gel print.  It used to be that gel plates for monoprinting were hand-made with real gelatin powder and used for a day or two before discarding.  Now, you can buy a plastic substrate that performs like a real gel plate but doesn’t degrade. I never tried this before so it was an interesting experience.  I was able to borrow a small plate to experiment with that first day but I didn’t get to do much more than a single print before I moved on to something else.

I went ahead and bought 8×10 and 5×7  “gelli plates” for my own use at home. Fortunately, they have arrived in time for the last two classes so I will be trying some more complicated things out with a little supervision before I dive in on my own.  I also found a few books to help guide me along and I will have to check out youtube.

This class has been mostly abstract in nature, quite different from my normal work I know, but I am mostly interested in learning about new materials and technologies rather than subject matter.  So far, I’ve been very happy with the experience.  Pour painting is next.

The Central Fire Station in Boise

Central Fire Station

After several sessions, the final watercolor for the Central Fire Station in Boise, Idaho, has been finished and it has listed in my etsy store.  The distinctive corbelled brick makes quite the statement for this corner building, don’t you think?.  The tower is pretty spectacular, too.  I believe the original signal bell is still hanging up there, although I can’t say how and when it might still be used.

The facade of the building is mostly the same since when it was opened in 1902. All of the upper story windows (sans the awnings of course) were there and the main entrance was on the right side even then.   The three fire bays had arched openings across the lower left.  If you google the station you can see wonderful old photos which have the fire crews and horse drawn fire trucks out in front.  With the signal bell clanging away, it must have been quite the spectacle to see them all charge out of the doors to head off to put out a fire.

Boise’s Central Fire Station

Pencil up

Completed inking

The Boise Central Fire Station was finished and occupied in 1903.  It was the first fire station in Boise to house full time paid fireman in the city.

This brick structure has been described as Romanesque due to the tower, the semi-circular windows, and the symetrical patterning.  The corbelling on the tower and above the second floor add a lot of visual interest.  I don’t normally like awnings, but they do dress up the windows here.  Watercolors will be a lovely orange/red color for the brick and the awnings a darker accent.

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