Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bookbinding Themes

My growing desire to incorporate pattern in my paintings has led me back to Gustav Klimt.  I've always loved his art but there are amazing design treasures to be found in the detail of his pictures.  Of course I'm not the first to make this discovery.  His designs pop up everywhere.  I'm spending a lot of time just doodling with his recurring marks.

At the same time I've been trying to extend my bookbinding craft.  I've just completed a Japanese Album Accordion with a soft cover.  The red cardboard looked a little plain so I added a Klimt doodle to the first page of the accordion and cut a frame in the cover. 

This is such a simple little book with a very distinctive Japanese style.

I think I'll dedicate it to further studies of Klimt.

I've lost count of how many Reverse Piano Hinge sketchbooks our American students from Santa Chiara have made in the print studio in the past weeks.  It's been a wonderful extension of Rick Woodbury's  printmaking course because everyone has made a beautiful monotype cover for their book. 

For my demonstration book I used a beautiful piece of paste paper made by my Sydney artist friend, Wendy Shortland.  I'd never have learned to make these books without Wendy's help and now I am really keen to make my own paste papers covers.

Paste paper cover by Wendy Shortland

Monday, April 09, 2012

Tulips in the blue jug.

Watercolour & Gouache 35 x 35 cm

I love a gift of flowers and the beautiful yellow tulips we received on HWEM's birthday had to be painted.  They say yellow flowers are the most difficult to capture and you'll get no argument from me.  

This a piece of Khadi Indian cotton rag handmade paper.  It isn't a great ground for transparent watercolour as the size repels the moisture and the surface quickly breaks down with scrubbing but it loves thick creamy gouache, which I introduced at the end.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Solar Plate Printing with Wendy & Annie

Annie McMahon's sublime Sydney studio

I've been wanting to try solar plate etching using photopolymere plates ever since I acquired some of Wendy Shortland's Quirky Artist beautiful and intriguing prints.  On a recent trip home to Sydney Wendy and Annie McMahon treated me to a fantastically generous and exciting day in Annie's Sydney studio.  Now I'm totally hooked and have brought ten plates back to Tuscany for further experiments in this exciting chemical free method of etching.  In a future post I'll attempt to do a WIP for those interested in the process.  For now I'd just like to share my excitement. Click on the images for a larger view.

Dark Corner - two colour print

Dark Corner was etched from a pen and liquid pencil trace on drafting film from a sketch I made in Patonga (see previous post).

This is the image that was placed face down on the photopolymere plate and exposed in the sun for a couple of minutes.  The plate was then washed off with a sponge and water, dried and after another hour cooking in the sun was ready to print.

 Plates ready for inking

My second plate was an ink trace of an old sketch I had made in Castiglion Fiorentino.
First print inked in two colours

My sketch was too small for the plate which resulted in a dirty boarder when I wiped the plate so, when I got back to Italy, I cut the plate back to the edge of the image and printed it again.

All these prints are on Rives BFK paper, generously provided by Wendy and unfortunately unavailable in Italy.

'Quirky Artist' inking her plate which is held on a clever magnetic board
Wendy demonstrated the inking process on her own beautiful Gymea Lily plate and I got to keep the print!

Wendy Shortland

Then I got to ink one of Annie's plates and another beautiful print came home to Italy.

Annie McMahon

Charlie -The Studio Dog who reminded me of You Know Who
A perfect day of printmaking that I do hope I can repay one day when my Sydney mentors make it to Tuscany.
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