Friday, March 26, 2010

Third Intaglio Plate

Above is my 3rd Intaglio print. This is the final, well so far it is the final version. The image is after a painting by Gustave Caillebotte, a French impressionist 1848-1894. His painting showed a gentleman walking his dog (a poodle). Our assignment was to take an "Old Master" and modify it in some way to make it humorous. While I know the French use pigs to hunt truffles I doubt they dress up for the occasion. The plate was etched twice. After the first etching I did a proof which I felt didn't have enough dark areas, so I reapplied a ground (a clear hard ground) and added more lines. The Instructor had boosted the etching solution by adding some citric acid to it and I was afraid that the plate was a bit over etched, it seems to be ok. I did add some dry point lines to the rear pant leg to make it as dark as the forward leg. It was the forward leg I was darkening in the 2nd effort and it came out a bit too dark in comparison. If I weren't so rushed (limited number of classes to get 6 plates finished) I probably would have reapplied ground and re-etched that leg. The dry point won't last through a lot of pressings, but I only need 4 good ones so I felt that was the fastest and easiest way to darken that area.

The ink color is Phthalo Viridian, I think it is a pretty blue/green which complements the composition of the plate. I have to say I am the adventurous one with color in the class, I am the one who drags out the different colored inks and tries them. After I have a go some to the other students will use something other then the dark grey or black inks that are standard. We can use any color we want, we just  have to use it for all 4 of our pressings. Since we have run out of black ink (unless a student purchases their own) more folks are going to have to start using different colors.

I am working on a new mandala with Egyptian motifs, not getting very far very quickly on this one, but the research has been fun. Also working on my Narrative Story poster for Graphic Design, and for Photography we have to take an ad and modify it in various ways. I am using a sewing machine ad from a couple of years ago. Not sure how that is going to turn out but, well we will see.

Last Saturday I went on the school sponsored bus trip to NY city, we visited the galleries down the in the Chelsea area first for about 2 hours and then went back uptown to the MET. The galleries were kind of fun, though I only saw a couple of artists that I really liked. One was an artist who uses large sheets of rice paper, and burns holes in it using a burning incense stick. The holes make pasterns, usually trees, or clouds or stars. In the right setting they would very impressive. Are they great art? Probably not, but they could really decorate a space. The other who I am kicking myself for not writing down his name, did lovely portraits, and cityscapes. He mainly used a warm though restricted color palate, but had great tonal variations, I loved his work. The portraits were very expressive but also enjoyed his cityscapes, usually either Paris or NYC. At the Met we viewed the Art of Illumination Exhibit, the pages of the Belles Heures of Jean De France, Duc De Berry done by the Limbourg Brothers in the 1400's. All I can say is that they are beautiful, even after 600 years the colors they used still glow, and I have no clue how they could work so small and in such detail without modern lighting. I have loved Illumination since I was in High School and it was a real treat to see this book. We also visited the room that is storing a lot of the American art work while they make changes to the American Exhibits. It was like wandering through an attic. I do wish they would get the paintings out of there, they are so hard to see through the glass of the cases, but it was sort of fun anyway. The photo above is one I took of the Met on Saturday, did I say it was warm in NYC? It was in the 70's and a perfectly beautiful day. Sorry this got so long, had more to say then I thought I would. Per usual comments are welcome. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Veggie Head

Just a short post today, I am busy trying to work on my homework for Graphic Design, and at this point see no way I am going to have it all done by Monday (sigh) Maybe if I hadn't taken any time off, but hey it is Spring BREAK - I felt I deserved a bit of a break. Anyway one bit of homework I did finish was the Veggie portrait above. This was homework for my Photography class, all shapes are vegetables that I then used the various select tools in Photoshop to crop out of the photos they were in. Hair is garlic chives, ears are fava beans, mouth is made up from a hot pepper, the whites of the eyes are white radishes, the pupils are blueberries, the nose is a squash, the eyebrows are snap peas and last but not least the face is a blue/white pumpkin. Isn't it cute? Well I think it is.  I didn't do any photo-editing other than being selective about what I selected.

Tomorrow I will be taking the school sponsored trip to NYC to visit either galleries and museums or just museums. Probably the latter, modern shock art doesn't really interest me all that much. I don't think I will haul the SLR camera, too large and I don't think the museums or galleries would like me having it. I will take the old Canon, but not sure if I will have any photos from the trip. The weather should be beautiful, sunny, warm, not very March like at all.

I have also been working on a new mandala design. This one has an Egyptian theme, well sort of.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Information Design Poster

Above is the final version of my Information Design poster for my Graphic Design II class. As I mentioned in other posts I chose to use my new camera as the subject of the poster. Obviously I had to limit what information I put on the poster so I confined myself to the Mode Dial, and the settings of shutter speed and aperture. I ignored white balance, ISO and whole bunch of buttons when selecting information for the poster.

This is the 3rd layout I created in Adobe In-Design. I rather liked the first one, a mistake, as my Instructor took it apart and sent me back to the computer to work up another version. The 2nd was OK, but I never really liked it. Viewing that file the Instructor asked me to move the shutter speed elements to the left and the mode dial illustration to the right so I did. I think this one works, finally.

This project is actually over-sized 18 x 20 inches and I need to take the file out and have it printed so I have it for class next Monday.  The image above is generated from the In-Design file and is not a photograph of a finished poster. The actual layout of the project was done using Adobe In-Design, all illustrations were done with Adobe Illustrator. Most are based on photographs I took of my camera, using my older Canon, but the icons were scanned out of my camera manual. The shutter opening is based on photo's of lenses I found on the web, but there are too many sections for it to be a real lens opening. Some artistic license there I fear, it was easier to use more sections for the illustration, and visually they gave me a smoother round opening. I am rather pleased with my camera illustrations, I left a lot of details out, but hopefully put in enough to make the camera identifiable.

That's it for this post. Not sure if there will be another this week. We are on school break and while I have lots of homework to work on I probably won't have anything finished. If I finish my Photography project I will post that one. It is to create a portrait using objects IE vegetables that we select out of photographs. The idea is to get us to refine our use of Photoshop select tools. Should be interesting.

Per usual comments are welcome.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Texture Photos and Braided Mandela

Above is my latest mandala. I am not sure what to call this, I used Celtic braiding techniques for some of the design elements but I also used other designs. I rather like the colors I used here.  I find it interesting the way colors can modify each other when they are placed together. The green band on top of the orange really disguises the orange background. I finished it over the weekend and am now at a bit of loose ends. Not sure what the next project is going to be, but I am fairly sure I am not quite finished exploring the possibilities of the mandala.

The next images I have for you are from my Photography class. I have to turn in 4 photos this Thursday, so far I have narrowed down my selection to the following 5 photos. Not sure which one will be the odd man out. Comments are welcome.

The goal for the assignment was an exploration of texture and light. I chose as my subject for most of my pictures a glass bowl that I have had forever, in it I have a collection of marbles and small glass floats. The marble on top of the stack is a hand-blown glass marble that I purchased at the local Brockton museum a few years ago when they had a marble exhibit. I managed to take the photos one morning during a brief period of sun. I had to move quickly to get them as I had to go to a class, but I rather like how they came out. I have a southeast facing window which was perfect for giving me the light I needed for the photos. I placed the bowl on a sheet of white foam board and tried to photograph the bowl from different angles. The shadows are from a couple of my many plants, one hangs in the window and the other sits on the floor.

My 5th photo is a view of some blooms on one of my Christmas Cactus taken with another Christmas Cactus in the foreground. The focus point for this one was the stem of the foreground plant. I took a couple of others with different focus points. This is the one I like the best.  Let me know which ones you like.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Intaglio Winter Tree

Above is my Winter Tree etching, this print was taken after I re-etched the plate adding more darks. I think it still needs more work, but I will wait until we get to the point in class where we will be doing  aquatinting. I want to darken the upper background a bit, but don't want to use just lines, I think lines would be too easily confused with the branches of the tree. Aquatint will give a different texture to the plate and let me darken areas without lines. I have done it before (when I first did printing) and it is very effective. That said I may ruin the plate - but don't really have anything to loose at this point.

I used Burnt Umber colored ink for my prints, I think it is softer looking then a black ink would be. The print was done on a vanilla colored (cream) paper. I like the combination.

I have finished the drawing work for my next plate. I still need to transfer it down onto the plate, do the drawing in the ground and put it through the etching solution so I can print it next week. Anyway our subject was to take an "old" master and modify it in some way. For example one student is taking the painting of the woman holding a ferret and have her holding a skunk instead. I am taking one of Gustave Caillebotte's paintings, Richard Gallo and his dog at Petit Gennevilliers, and substituting a pig for the dog. Caillebotte was a French Impressionist who had enough money to also become a patron of the arts instead of just a painter, I am sure his very correct gentleman walking his poodle would not be pleased with me. The above link will take you to a web page devoted to Caillebotte's paintings, the actual painting I am referencing is down at the bottom of the 3rd page.
I have to say that I rather like my pig. That is it for this update. I may have photographs later in the week depending on how my photography class goes. I am having fun taking pictures of some glass bobbles in a glass bowl in the meantime. 

Per usual comments are welcome.