Friday, June 11, 2010

Pelican update

The cheque for my grant arrived today which turns it into reality and means that I have to get down to business.  Part of that business is buying supplies to enable me to produce more gyotaku.

I've been quietly working away in the background on Japanese paper that I invested in awhile back and my store of fresh and frozen fish.  I've since bought more paper and will be purchasing even more.  I need enough to experiment with different types of paper and to have enough to wet mount the ones that I want to keep.

I will also purchase a cross section of printmaking inks to see which work best for the technique.  I've been using water based so far and they're fine but not high quality.  I'll invest in some oil and water based ones to see which produce the best prints for me.

While I know I will be spending money on supplies, the quantity that adds up in a little 'faux shopping' online is somewhat scary.  However, I'm sure I'll get over it quickly enough...

Meanwhile, some more watercolour brings me back down to earth with the pelican.  He's starting to take on a stronger shape now and colours creeping in to provide form.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pelicans and giclees

 I've made a little more progress with the pelican, adding some washes and building the layers up on the beak.

Pelicans are such strange birds, almost prehistoric looking.  The length of the beak is extreme especially from this angle. They look so ungainly on land but fly and dive with such ease.  I'll just have to go somewhere warmer and watch them for awhile I think.  Its tragic to think how they are affected so badly by the oil pollution in the Gulf.  Poor things.

Meanwhile, I've put the new giclees that are available on my giclee and card page here on my blog and in my Etsy shop.  I have Koi Pool and Masai Portrait available in 11 x 14 and 16 x 20 giclees.  I'm quite pleased with the quality of the images and do hope they go to good homes.  Its always difficult for me to part with art, even reproductions.  Like animals, I always want to know they're going to good homes.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Unseen opportunities

I planned on so many things tonight, but time or technology chose to distract me into other areas.

So instead of stressing over it, I will share an image of Middle Cove taken today on my drive home.  There are road works on the main road that I travel on to get to and from work, so I thought I'd outsmart that and take a back route.  Well, so did everyone else, so I wasn't much further ahead.  Seeing as I was was in the neighbourhood I figured I'd drive over to Middle Cove and see what the ocean had for me.

This was it.  Fog was drifting in across the hills and ocean, creating a fantasy world. It seems that sometime delays and changes open up new opportunities that we would have otherwise missed.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

World Ocean Day

Today is World Ocean Day and of course, the world's attention turns to the Gulf of Mexico and the disastrous oil spill there and how it affects vegetation, animals, birds, and people.  Its effects are far reaching and for other parts of the world who explore for oil, such as Newfoundland, its a 'there but for the grace of God' scenario.  

Newfoundland has vast oil reserves offshore that are being pumped as I write this.  Disasters have occured in the name of oil, mostly human loss of life due to machines failing.  There hasn't been an oil spill to date, but there could be and it could have equally devastating effects on the ocean, coast and way of life in this region.

Mankind puts a large footprint on the earth and destroys many things in the name of progress, most of which can not be replaced or made better.  While thinking of this, and reading about the Gulf disaster, the first bird that always springs to mind for warmer places is the pelican and it is one of the poor sea and shore birds that become victims of oil pollution.

I am starting a watercolour portrait of a pelican.  Perhaps it will ease my mind or bring home to me more closely the impact that ocean pollution plays in the world.  It is a perfect symbol for World Ocean Day in 2010.  The initial line drawing is here, darkened to show the lines more clearly.  I will start some washes later or tomorrow.  Its on 200lb Arches paper and measures 11 x 17.5 inches.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Grape leaves and ghosts

 I am still playing with leaf prints and colour and paper.  This print in white ink on black reminds me of ghostly images - the souls of plants captured fleetingly before they disappear back into the earth.  Something as simple as colour can change an image so much.

I have three grape vines in the greenhouse that produce wonderful grapes every year.  Grapes would never grow outside in Newfoundland.  The season is too short and too cool, but in the greenhouse they thrive.  White Interlaken grapes and a Pinot Noir vine have taken over and need cutting back every year or they'd fill the space easily.   The grape leaves and vines are multipurpose aside from the fruit they produce.  The leaves are used to create dolmades and now printing.  The vine cuttings I use to create charcoal sticks.
 My garden gives me so much and asks so little in return. 

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Printing nature

As some who read my blog may know, I am a herbalist as well as an artist.   Although my medicinal herb garden isn't as big as it once, there are still many of the more common and useful herbs in it that I use regularly.  Comfrey is one of them.

Comfrey grows to about 4 feet high, and has large leaves with visible white hairs on them, especially on young leaves, like peach fuzz. Comfrey grows like a weed and it is hard to get rid of once it has taken hold. It has drooping flowers, in colors ranging from purple to pink to blue to white. You can pick the leaves in spring and summer, they are best before the comfrey flowers. The flowers come in late spring and summer. And the roots are usually collected in fall and winter.

With the comfrey in the garden in full growth now, I picked some of the young leaves for relief printing.  Comfrey leaves and quite sturdy and hairy but that doesn't affect the print that you get with them.  I left the leaves to wilt a little overnight before printing.

Using 12 x 16 inch Okawara paper and a water based block printer ink, I inked the leaf on the reverse side, then turned it onto my print surface.  I burnished it using a baren and the resulting prints look almost like surreal trees.

I played around with some tiny prints using a hand made Indian paper, as well as used newsprint as above for some test prints.  There are lots of ideas in my head for more print options for plants and especially herbs as I have a garden full of them. A few grape leaves from the greenhouse work well too.

Why the initial image won't show as horizontal, I don't know.  Blogger has its moments I guess, so you have to use your imagination.  I will conquer it and this print will be available for sale on Etsy soon.