Stencils and Stamps

All week I’ve been watching my class mates post their prints from our online gelatin printmaking class.  I confess to a certain amount of envy as I have been busy with work and family  life.  I was still busy today, went to the studio anyway.


I’m a bit behind on assignments, hoping to catch up a bit this weekend.  For the layering of shape prints, I chose 3 colors:  graphite, gold, and Indian red.  I also used some of my better paper, although I’m running out.  I believe it’s a lightweight version of Rives BFK.  Cream.  It’s supple and thin and perfect for gelatin printing.  Some of these stencils are older, a mix of mylar and coated paper.


I could work with registration a bit to even out the edges, but I sort of like the overlap and the unevenness of the aging plate.  Not a perfect rectangle.  Also here I forgot how thick the stencil on the left was, later I worked harder to regain the detail on her face.



More soon…




Mold and Butterflies

Spent a day in the studio, or the better part thereof.  Mostly I carved tiny pink worms from a Speedball plate.  Made mistakes but learned how to do it better next time.  These Islamic patterns are endlessly fascinating but devilishly tricky to reproduce.  This time I used an inverted drinking glass for the circle.

Playing with stencils, I traced a Swallowtail from a butterfly book, modified it, used clear mylar.  I think the stencils are nicer if they’re cut from heavy paper and coated with matte medium like LG suggested, but I can’t quite find my matte medium.  The pine needles my daughter gathered were a pleasant surprise, they held onto ink and reproduced the color in surprising ways.  I thought they would be more blobby.

Looking at my prints from last year, I need new photographs to work from in order to make new stencils.  So the next project is to invite a yogi friend over to practice, and hope she doesn’t mind if I take a few pictures.  Volunteers?



IMG_4224  IMG_4226  IMG_4228 IMG_4229

This is the plate I spent a few hours carving.  Already I need to start another as I can see how it could be better now.


While cutting stencils I made a corrugated cardboard version of the butterfly.  It didn’t work so well here, but I’ll try again with more colors.


Warning- not for the faint of heart.  This is what happens when your gelatin plate (no glycerin in this one) goes BAD:


Eew!  Beautiful too though.  Reminds me of a story a roofer told me about a guy in New Orleans who closed up his house and left. Came back to a mold colony that was unbelievable.  I think they had to seal off the house in plastic and go in in haz mat suits.  Still, it was beautiful in it’s own poisonous way.

I could spend days here… love the new studio!




Gelatin Printing with Linda Germaine

New house, new job, it feels like a new life!  I’m still setting up my studio but meanwhile I signed up for an online gelatin printmaking course with Linda Germaine.  I originally learned the technique of gelatin printing with Linda Dunn, and she learned from Linda Germaine.  I also have an out of print book on the subject by Nancy Marculiewicz.


These prints are part of a warm-up exercise Linda uses to get started and develop muscle memory.  I confess I was skeptical at first, since I have a bad tendency sometimes to think I know enough to jump ahead of the preliminary exercises, but this was worthwhile and my daughter and I had a lot of fun following along with her video presentation.  Basically she has you make prints with some simple stencils you make in advance from different materials and some bits of string you can find around the house.  Here I have used cardboard, milky white plastic from a 1/2 gallon of milk, and a textured folder.


Working quickly, you make a pile of prints, and then you turn the pile over and overprint the prints you just made.  I used Golden open acrylics, but the black was too thin necessitating a switch to Speedball for the last part of the exercise.



I love how the corrugated cardboard picks up the ink.  IMG_4218

It felt wonderful to be working with ink and paper in a way that didn’t require a whole lot of thought or planning.  This would be a good exercise to return to on a day that I’m feeling stuck.

My toolbox of basic art supplies got packed away in some box and I can’t find it.  It was the box in which I put my pencils, my exacto knife, my lino cutters. So, I’ve started replacing, which necessitated a visit to Van Gogh’s Gear in Lowell.  They had some linoleum that wasn’t mounted to a board so I’m going to try carving that.  I’ve been using the easy carve plates but they can break  with rough handling.





Another Backbending Print


It seems an age since I’ve gotten any paint under my fingernails, so this print makes me happy.  It’s another image from the back bending series and it was done using a stencil, a gelatin plate, and some hand carved rubber plates that I’ve used for previous images.  There is so much more to do in this series, but it’s all on hold while we sell our house and prepare to move.  Not far, only the next town over, but the new house is bigger with a bedroom for everyone and a studio space for me.  I could even put an etching press in the basement, which I just might.

Many changes coming with the new year, so many it makes my head spin but it’s all good and once the dust settles I’m going to start this series in earnest.

Meanwhile, a recent trip to MFA Boston to see Sargent’s watercolors was beautifully illuminating.  A few examples to tempt you- go there if you can.  No one, and I mean no one could draw like Sargent.  I know, they’ve done all these studies about expertise in the arts having more to do with the hours you spend than any sort of gift you might have.  But then there’s Sargent.


IMG_3896This one was called The Tramp, but it might have been a friend of his that posed.  If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed you could a paint such a likeness in watercolor.  The focus here isn’t great because it’s behind glass and I wasn’t the only viewer so enamored.


One of the last pictures as you’re leaving the exhibit and heading towards the giftshop.  Nearly abstract, just enough detail to hold the center.  So if you go, pace yourself and save some energy for the end- it’s worth it.


New Print and 1/2 Year Goals


Here’s another version of the deep backbend known as kapotasana, or pigeon pose.  I’ve used a broken speedball plate to create some of the details in the floor and wall, which was a satisfying way to use a broken plate.


You can see the gravestone details here.  I’m still working on drawing the hand in this position.  I’m planning to do a lot more of these in the coming year, so I’ll keep working on those hands.  I have 2 big goals for the next six months:

1.  Get a new studio or update my existing studio (which depends on several other decisions falling into place, including whether or not we move).  This includes finding a gently used etching press.

2.  Start an artist’s group for artists who are working on exhibiting and/or selling their work.    A safe haven where we can support each other and brainstorm ideas, share skills and so forth.  So if I’m good at writing artist statements, maybe another artist is good at creating websites and we can share skills, presenting what we know to the group.  It will start with reading Jackie Battenfield’s book “The Artist’s Guide.”  I got this idea from Merill Comeau and her professional artist’s working group.  They recently presented at the Concord Art Association and you bet I was there taking notes!


New Prints and a Gallery Visit

I made two prints last week of kapotasana, one of the deep backbends of the the Ashtanga yoga 2nd series.  Here’s the first print:

blue kapo

Then Pam showed me how to roll plate oil over the ink that was left on the plate to loosen it a bit and we ran it through the press a 2nd time, creating a ghost which I like better then the print:

blue kapo, ghost print

It seems that I can’t really get away from painting, not that I was trying to, but this is such a painterly process.  I painted this image directly onto an acrylic plate with brushes and rollers, then ran it through the press.

Also last week I went to the Soprafina Gallery to see the work of Catherine Kernan.  Kernan is a printmaker, a founding member of the Mixit Print Studio in Somerville, MA, and the director of the Chandler Gallery in Cambridge.  I had seen an image of hers in Artscope Magazine and looked up her website.  What struck me in the gallery was how big some of these prints are.  Here’s a picture I took in the gallery, with permission:


This one is called Afterimage #1 and it’s a woodcut monoprint on two panels of Hannemuhle paper.  As I understand it from her artist’s statement she uses multiple woodblocks to get these images.  The gallery website had the images up but now that it’s April they’re gone, and I like my picture better because it gives you a sense of how the piece actually hangs on the wall.  The paper billows a bit and you can see the shadow.  They’re printed right to the edge of the paper, and pinned to the wall.  There’s a sense of water and reflections, of course, but she continually subverts the representational image in various ways, creating something that resonates with familiarity but tugs at the edges of your sight with abstract shapes and patterns.

Here’s another:


I’m afraid I don’t know the title of this image, but it’s a similar style, also printed on two pieces of paper.  Once again in situ you have the sense of the paper flowing, as paper does, billowing away from the wall.  The colors here are glowing and fiery, the bright orange toned  down a bit by the presence of green and dusky blue.  Black-ish strands of sinuous lines hang down the middle and frame the sides, holding the image.  It’s almost volcanic, flowing lava swirling around the page.

I was pleasantly surprised to see an old friend in the gallery, not literally, but on paper.  Here is an installation of works on paper by Anne Krinsky:


And one of the pieces up close:


Anne makes small and medium sized paintings using transfers and patterns in a variety of ways, on paper and on panels  This piece reminds me of Chinese brushwork, the subtle tonalities are interesting as well.


Ruth Lockhart Kimber

This is the 2nd page of my grandmothers book, most likely made for her by her father, Sidney Arthur Kimber.  Sidney worked in the printing industry in Cambridge and wrote a book about printmaking practices in Boston in the 17th century.



The neat even writing is amazing in and of itself.  The attention to font is noteworthy also.

Here is the text:

Ruth Lockhart Kimber

Born, Easter Sunday, the 12th of April, 1903, at nine o’clock in the morning, at 93 Ashmont Street, Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts.  Weighed nine pounds and a quarter.  Blue eyes, black hair.

Doctor — Robert B. Scales

Nurse —- Mrs. Garnage

Her first outing — April, 29th

Her first call — on Mrs Fraser with nurse


My camera isn’t quite up to the task here.  The ink is gold with a bit of a sheen to it, and the hand is sure.


Forsythia, Old pages


from my grandmother’s book, made by Sidney Arthur Kimber, her grandfather

This morning I made rings of forsythia for the doors.  It wasn’t that long ago that the evergreen wreaths with the purple bows came down.  Debris strewn pockmarked snow still covers much of the yard, but the vibrant forsythia blooms I forced indoors add their bit of promise and hope.

While rummaging and cleaning I found myself in the basement noticing a few old paintings, not mine.  They are from my grandmother, and one, at least, is much worse for wear.  Mr. Sidney Arthur Kimber has a puncture wound.  Thankfully it’s not in his face which is beautifully done, in the Boston School style I believe, which makes sense given the time period.  I’ll post a picture later.

Then I found some very old photographs, and wondered who they all were.  I realize that I have to get my father down here to tell me what he remembers.  It wasn’t long before I found a journal, an indiscriminate gray cover, yellow pages.  But what is it?  Inside, here is the title page:


Ruth Lockhart Kimber Hardy, b. 1903, d. 1989


There are pages and pages of hand colored illustrations.  I’ll post more soon.












Rollers and Spoons

I went to Pam Lawson‘s for a printmaking class today.  It is an informal monotype class, a small group with lots of individual instruction.  I’m free to work on my ideas with the help of someone who knows what she’s doing and the added benefit of a press and lots of rollers.  With a big roller, you can ink up a plate with a pattern on it and transfer the pattern on top of a 2nd image, which is what I did below.  After the first one I used the ghost impression left on the plate as a guideline to make a new, more abstract version.  Mostly I wanted to get the hang of using the big roller.  In the first one the roller a jumped a bit, you can see it if you look at the bottom edge.  I’m going to try next time with a darker ink in the background, probably an indigo or a deep violet, and a lighter figure, to see if I can get more contrast.  The model is Peg Mulqueen, in Laguvajrasana.




The spoon and napkin here is from daily drawing practice.  Daily drawing is more of a goal than a reality, but I keep coming back to it.


Teapots and Hands


This is Ursula, in Ustrasana, the camel pose.

I’m taking some sessions with printmaker Pam Lawson.  It is a joy to have access to a press and the wisdom of an experienced printmaker to go along with it.  That night I told my husband the bad news, I’m going to need a press.  He says fine, stop fooling around and let’s fix up our house and sell it, and then I can have a press and maybe a space of my own to work.  The problem with that is that I’m up against time constraints.  When I start fixing up the interior of our house, that’s going to eat up my studio time, at least for a while.


Same pose, Peg Mulqueen this time.

There is so much potential here, I want to work with multiple plates, layering the figures in their yoga poses against Islamic tile patterns.  Meanwhile, Ellen Olson-Brown reminded me to get back to daily drawing, and I’ve been doing more or less that for a few weeks now.  Here are a few sketches.



After a few sketches the teapot wanted more attention, so I’ve been working on this one for several days:


The handle is a bugger, let me tell you.  What’s nagging me about the prints above top is the hands, I’m not drawing them terribly well and they need to be good, so once the teapot is done I’ll practice drawing the yoga poses for a bit, and try to get those hand positions down.  The two teapots here are a good illustration of a frustrating drawing phenomenon.  Quick sketches often have a life to them, a vibrancy that is hard to maintain in a longer more detailed drawing.  You can kill the darn thing so easily, and it becomes lifeless and dull.