Process of Creation:
Prompt For 8/30
Spending a year in isolation, being told to fear closeness, to fear contact with people because of the coronavirus has most definitely taken a toll on the emotional and mental health of people today. I am one of those people, too. My mental health, as well as my attention span, my motivation, and any inspiration that I had suffered greatly from being confined to my house. However, that is not to say that I am not blessed with the ability to get outside of the house. As much as I can, I go stretch on my yoga mat, dig in the garden, build a new piece of furniture, or paint/draw on a blanket in the grass. I am incredibly grateful to be able to connect with nature. My curiosity has always lain with the habits of nature, and the habits of humans for that matter. But now, being able to gather on a digital platform and share our individual experiences with nature and watching others has exploded my lust for wander. So that is something that will be an ongoing theme for my prints this class. I want to hone in on the complexity that is human life, or rather, human and nature.
For my first project, I will be working with Zinc etching plates and acid, and I think that the medium will give me exactly the depth and detail I want to press on in the coming weeks. I have a goal of getting at least one professional portfolio piece together, so I think zinc will be that one for me.
I am primarily interested in landscape based art works, but I am interested in the humanscape as well; the effect of humans on landscape. I don’t want this to just be a traditionally depicted landscape piece though. Maybe simplification of forms, but lines with lots of texture and a variety of depths. I want to emphasize the parallels I see within and throughout our world by putting the two together.
Prompt for 8/25
I really enjoyed the challenge of creating engaging pieces in Printmaking I, and I would like to find more challenges with the process of creating prints. I find that those challenges bring out my passion for creative problem solving and critical thinking.
- To be able to better understand hue and value relationships of ink colors. This was a whole learning experience within itself the first go around!
- To be able to create a piece that is eligible for a professional portfolio.
- To push on skills with detail (i.e. adding more visual information into prints, using single and multiple block techniques, and pushing on agility with tools.)
There are 3 specific goals I have for this course that I hope to achieve by the end of the semester:
In terms of reaching those goals, realistically I will face many challenges. This semester is about pushing boundaries past foundational skills that I acquired last semester, while being able to maintain and hone the foundational disciplines that are necessary to succeed in furthering my skill level. So I think one challenge I will face will be walking away when I know I have overworked myself in one day, because rather than looking at quantity, I want quality, and perfection may be achievable with time and experience, I tend to put a lot of expectation on myself to perform at mastery level right off the bat.
To overcome that, I have found (from some sage advice that one of the best professors has given me): set up time to do the work, and set up time to put away the work. Blocking in my time, for durations that work for my body and my brain will help me be more effective and efficient with my time and also allow me flexibility to work around time blocks.
If we must go remote again I think that it will be an easy transition, as most of my classes this semester are online. I have all of the resources I need to participate fully online.
The most support I could ask for in this course is really thorough communication. I will most likely be asking lots of questions anyways so I don’t think that I will lose out on communicating.
Notes & Other Goodies
The inspiration of this years’ conceptual theme is based on my own interest in humanity’s relationship with natural environment. We often take for granted the very things that make our lives not only possible, but survivable. We enhance our abilities to further our knowledge, and it seems that when the earth itself cannot contain that complexity, we move beyond it–literally! Our playground becomes much more than the limits of the atmosphere, we explore space and time and all of the existences in between.
Here is a compiled list of artists, organizations, and conceptual ideas that I have been looking into. :
PowerPoint Artist Presentation 9/13
This project is my debut with my theme for this semester. Over millennia, we have created countless advancing technologies that have pushed our knowledge further and further. We have traversed land, sea, and air to explore. We are great creators of many structures, and in doing so we learn to utilize the materials and resources around us. But, in doing so, we have changed the landscapes in which we live.
Deforestation is one of the most obvious examples of landscape manipulation that I could think of. We use the materials of mature trees to log and plane wood for building houses, buildings, complexes, and mine the earth for raw metals that we forge into tools to log and to build with. In every way we use the materials of the earth, but only in the last 40-50 years have we begun to understand its negative effects. In the last 30, we have come to realize that it is quickly becoming irreversible, and in the last 20 we have put in place more green policies to help counteract this destruction. Unfortunately, the rate at which we take, and the rate we give back to the earth, are no longer enough to stop things like global warming, seasonal shifting, land erosion, and air pollution. So in this way… we are creators of destruction.
Time management is one of the most important skills an artist can have. Unfortunately it takes a lot of discipline, which I personally struggle with. Discipline is another integral skill in the art world. An artist will find little success of they do not have enough drive to keep up their practice at least on a basic schedule. But these basic structures are what I am facing at this moment.
Right around October I’ve hit a rut. I am severely depressed and anxious about everything at this point. It has gotten so bad that, passion for art aside, I almost signed the dotted line on my Drop-Out forms. I have been struggling to complete any and all work, struggling to reach out, struggling to go to sleep or stay awake, struggle to eat or stay hydrated, struggle to pay attention or keep my focus on school, anything a person can struggle with I did. But I told myself every day that if, at the very least, I am getting up, getting dressed, and showing up then that is the best thing that I can do for myself. It is way better than giving up. So I’ve stuck to it and did as much as I could, figured even if it wasn’t much it was more than nothing.
Anyways, my first print took exponentially longer than I both expected and desired, but it completed my goal of getting at least one portfolio quality piece for an exhibition, and I learned quite a bit about zinc etching:
- Etching is easier when you free hand draw the design with sharpie first (GENTLY!!!So as not to scrape the resist off).
- Cleaning the resist is harder when you had already etched a great amount of detail, and then exposed the detail again, especially if its dark already.
- Applying the aquatint to the point of creating a coating thickness similar to pouring it does NOT provide you with any sort of semi coverage and will not give you any bitten tone. It is full coverage. You don’t need to see it to know it’s there!!
- Biting too dark will be easier to bring back with burnishing that it is to bite too light and having to keep going through the process of coating with resist, etching, cleaning, and more cleaning, and then printing.
- Lastly, when you spend way too much time researching and find one too many topics you want to cover in one semester, it’s better to just pick one and really dive into it while you are working, not letting it consume you so much that you hesitate to do the actual work!!!
PowerPoint Presentation 10/13
Prompt for 10/18
For this next project, I wanted to further explore the role of humanity interacting with nature in terms of government policy about climate. I want to explore the politicization of natural resources for its effect on resource abundance, natural biological processes and natural weather cycles and patterns. All of the research references are listed above in the notes section of the page.
I was truly interested in the idea of large organizations excavating the earth, exposing its multiple layers of stone and sediment to reveal what humanity has come to value as precious gemstones and metals for currency and commodity. Used for all sorts of exchanges, these naturally forming crystal, stone, and metal clusters become a means for locational monopolies.
This project serves more as an experimentation of methods in linoleum reduction printing. It is freeform and flowing like many of the elements of earth in some form or another. In this project, I was thinking of the aftermath of destruction, most often associated with a volatile and unstable earth. So, representationally, I envisioned the flow of lava. Lava could be described as the blood of the earth, flowing under its crusted skin layers, pumping from its core heart, and by staying under the surface, it keeps the rest of earth’s body (and life) alive. Humans have been studying the tectonic plates and seismic activity way back into ancient eras, when have begun charting cycles of rest and unrest within the earth’s body. And in recent times, scientific teams are discovering that we now play a role in the frequency of these occurrences through the effects of global warming (think melting ice caps, ocean evaporation, and how they contribute to shifting and separating tectonics, volcanic eruption cooling effects, etc) deforestation (think land exposure/erosion, decrease in air quality and decreasing biodiversity, which all contribute to the health of earth’s soil and subsequently decides what land becomes useable or unusable) among other large environmental factors.
What a fun way to experiment! This was my first reduction linocut, so it took a lot of time. I initially started experimenting on a smaller plate, around 3 x 6 to get the hang of it. Once I did, I went full steam ahead and carved like crazy.
Technically, I think that the carving was very clean. The layers of ink sit nicely on top of each other and there were minimal issues with lining the plate correctly. With that said, I wish I had the patience to do more layers because I totally would have.
Formally, the composition is more simple. I stuck with warm tones, hues of yellow, red, and their secondary. I focused on texture of the paper to serve the visual texture of the composition, and leaned a lot on the variation of shape sizes and continuous veiny lines to drive the piece.
What I learned from this project was not as I expected:
- Reduction printing is the opposite of what I had learned so far. What I mean by that is that the details are carved away instead of progressively added. WOW what a weird thing to try.
- It is a lot like watercolor painting in that you do the lightest colors first and the darkest last.
- Registration gets more difficult as you carve away. The plate is there but when the corner edges get carved down it seems like the plate changes and starts to bow, and the curve of the linoleum can cause some misalignment. BUT, lining up the same corner of a plate each time can minimize that error.
Prompt For 11/15
For this last project, I decided to follow inspiration from another class I am taking, Astronomy 101, where I am learning about the Big Bang Theory. I was especially interested in the nebula, a phenomenon that is best described as a celestial dust cloud formed after the implosion and subsequent explosion of a dying star. The inspiration of this one is from the nebula named Helix, or God’s Eye nebula. This phenomenon has been studied by NASA for decades now for its unique attributes in creating other planets via debris collisions. Scientists and astronauts also are interested in how human interaction could affect these phenomena, hence my own interest…
Reflections For 12/6
This project wraps up this semester on a good note. This was another linocut print that I created more loosely as an experiment.
I leaned on the technical aspects to achieve the design ideas that I had. Mostly, I experimented with the orientation of the carving tools, using etching tools to provide tiny intricate lines and dots.
I also leaned on a single focal point and a subject smaller than the size of the plate to allow my piece the expansive feeling of space behind the nebula. Then I used a dark color for the background to emphasize the reddish matter of the nebula dust cloud. As the colors reach the iris, they become more human eye-like with yellows and blues. For those color details, it worked best to hand color instead of an intaglio detail plate. There were lots of complications with the plate, and because of that it did not achieve the look I had desired. So I scrapped it.
Here is what I learned from this final creation process:
- Depending on the carving tool you use, the change in orientation of the tool whilst carving will yield surprisingly effective results in changing the edge and the groove of the carve.
- PVC plastic matboard is not the same as plexiglass (which is what I have used in the past) and so the etching needle catches in the material and carves way deeper, leaving some *icky* results.
- PVC plastic matboard also only really allows one registration with a clear line, and after that the burrs flatten and the lines fade, again to an *icky* result. I’m not hating on this PVC plate, I promise, but it definitely is toward the bottom of my material preference list.
- Freehand carving is desirable for funky textures and areas of highlight, but of course one should always draw the composition out ahead or look at a reference
- Keeping a scrap plate near by to check a method of carving on before using that method on your working plate is a good idea! Then you can have the fun experimentation while using up the scrap materials and not wasting the larger materials.
- Sometimes you are allowed to use multiple mediums to achieve the look that you desire. I feel like and unspoken but universally understood and adopted rule in art is to mix media. DO it!! But also don’t be upset if it does not work, thats just how you learn!