Thursday, 27 February 2014

first steps towards magpie book .....

Yesterday was Wednesday and I had in mind to do another Wordless Wednesday post however by the end of the day I could not focus.  Now it is Thursday, I have spent the morning exploring a little further and made progress with the first of my prints (or three small prints) towards the many that will  be produced to print my magpie book.

The day was spent here in my studio with Fiona working on our 'birds, feathers, nests eggs book'.  We had planned to collaborate on this last year but then mum died and Fiona and Barry were so incredibly frantic last year, and so the idea was put forward to this year.

After literally months thinking up dozens of potentially wonderful ideas - I started out think about the 'bower' bird seeing I am one, then the guinea fowl as I adore its patterns, next thought was along the lines of birds without wings and I yet may come back to that - before finally changing from I could do this to I will do this.

As has been our experience in the collaboration, we end up being increasingly mindful of the work being intrinsically our style of working, work that holds true with the body of our work already produced.  This is not to say we don't push boundaries and change and adapt, but we are keen to keep working in manners which sit authentically with us and not try out things just for the fun of it.  Having said that I think one of the books we will collaborate on soon will take us completely out of our comfort zone.

Because we were spending the day together yesterday working on our books Fiona and I both HAD to settle on a decision.  Mine was made on Tuesday!  I decided that I would work out the kind of book I wanted to make, decided finally on the bird I was going to work with, chose my colour schemes and so forth - and now it seems the next two months I will be very hard at work with printmaking.

There was much chit chat back and forth, sorting out where we are heading with our collaborative work, how we want to proceed, what next steps were etc and generally mentoring each other through the ideas we had arrived at for this particular book.  We spoke too about other projects we are both involved in such as 'Pieces for Peace  WW1 14-18' to be held in Belgium and also an International exhibition of artists' books coordinated by Robyn Foster here in Brisbane about 'Personal Histories'. We were both reminded of how incredibly fortunate we are to have this precious partnership where we can mentor, guide, encourage and also work together occasionally.  Finally we both got down to some work.

It was a fine day.  And now we can move forward with our books which will meet on World Book Day on 23rd April - our second anniversary.

Below are photographs of a few of the bits and pieces to do with colour and design, preliminary thoughts I have had about the book.  So many of them, I decided the only way to tackle this book which will be made with a combination of etching, engraving and embossing, was to start with the smallest plates.  Magpie eggs.  In fact it is the colour of these eggs which will set the tone for the book as I did not want this to be a black and white book.

I had previously prepared some small plates with marks and texture.
These I am using for my eggs.
More plates I have been wanting to use -
they will become the background of finer work.

Bringing bits together - may not use all the ideas I have.

I will be using engravings and open bite work to 'rough' up my pages. I don't want a pristine book.

Thoughts about my colour scheme.

Eggs blocked out and plate ready for aquatint.

Upon inking I knew straight away this was not going to work well.
I had already applied aquatint twice.

A very poor result.

Re did the aquatint (third try) this morning.
A much happier result.

Think they will work nicely when inked in the appropriate colours.

So - first small plates done. Seems like five hundred to go though now that I have made a start I am very excited.  I have had to put all the work aside till next week as the next few days I need to focus on the Maleny Printmakers Exhibition - and my Journeys along the Shore work.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

towards journeys .....

Don't you just love copper based etchings ..... the plate tone, the imperfect marks, open biting, aquatint and so on ....

The process however is huge and all week I have been in the studio working hard, biting, proofing, grounding and making more marks, biting again, and trying to get plates together that suggest walks, or journeys, along the beach.  I would be very surprised if we haven't all been entranced by the marks left upon sand as the ocean retreats, and the flotsam that is thrown up along the beach at times.  

Over Easter the Maleny Printmakers are holding an exhibition titled 'Journeys' and we are all busily trying to get some work done for this in-between other exciting projects.

first proofs
second proofs
starting to get some ideas for inking of plates

actual print colour is not quite as sombre as this ... much softer ochre and grey

there are numbers of small plates not shown here

I may think of working with cool colours though I am real enjoying the grey and ochre.
Looking back over the prints I realise the colours are not represented well here - this is just a peek and I will post on the etchings for this exhibition once I have done the final work.

Monday, 17 February 2014

tarkine wilderness .....

From the inlet near Stanley down to Corinna on the west coast of Tasmania - dipping in and out of the Tarkine Wilderness - sublime. We returned to Beachside Inlet where we rented a little cabin on the edge of the inlet near the river mouth.  Having stayed here before and finding this area so exquisite we locked it away in our memory banks.  It is always a risk to revisit but we loved it just as much - different weather, different atmosphere but still glorious - especially at low tide in the evening light.  The mouth is very shallow and you can walk out along sandbanks for hours.  Very special.

Patterns and texture, lingering light - changing frequently over the days.  Wilderness wandering - made small by trees.  Perfect weather.  A shame really as the Myrtle and Sassafras forests would have looked even more intriguing shrouded in mist and moist underfoot.  The occasional Huon Pine towering above the tallest of Myrtle.  Ferns - longing for rain. Waterfalls dripping longing to gush.

Tracemarks is two years old today and I was unaware until I received notice from tumblr - which I started at the same time.  I had a peep back at my earliest postings and that was a treat - what we are all creating with our blogs is a wonderful diary isn't it?  This wasn't really my intention but is has become so.  Large gaps, but a record of moments especially in the studio that I would have otherwise forgotten. I was away walking and enjoying, restoring and haven't made any plans for a special posting - so please just enjoy the walk along with me.  Next year I will do something to celebrate.