Friday, March 1, 2024

MICAfest Art for Change: The M/others’ View

 "Three Women" and "Sunscreen" have been accepted to MICAfest Art for Change: The M/others’ View, a Visual/Performing/Literary Arts Festival coming to Northampton, MA in May. It will feature performances and visual art displays exploring non-traditional definitions and narratives of "m/otherhood," and will go on throughout the month of May at various venues to be announced.

I'll post more details as they become available.

Oil painting of three women on a porch, representing three generations. The daughter looks into the picture, across a valley with an old brick mill town with a Florentine tower. In the distance a thunder cloud looms. The mother is busy hanging a sheet on a clothes line, her gaze directed across the picture. The grandmother looks out of the picture, meeting our eyes with a quizzical expression.

Pastel painting of mother applying sunscreen to little daughter's nose. Behind them, a very large wave is breaking

PCC Memories - etching work in progress

This is the first proof I've gotten that looked decent enough to post. I've been tweaking the variables of the process - prepping the plate, applying the ground, inscribing the drawing, etching, inking, wiping, preparing the paper, and printing. Still pretty far from having a reliable procedure but starting to narrow it down. I'm using non-toxic, or at least less toxic materials - BIG Etching Ground, Akua ink, SoySolve, etc. I started out with a sandpaper aquatint, in which a hard ground is applied before running the plate through the press a few times with a sheet of sandpaper, then etched. I successively stopped out selected areas and re-etched to create a range of values, then did the lines and hatching as several separate states. Those dark black marks are deep holes that crept in during the first etch. I've tried scraping and burning them but that only seems to lighten the surrounding area making them stand out more. I'm wondering if they could be filled in with epoxy or something?

Etching of streetcar interior with pensive man in foreground, mother reading large book wile her daughter looks on, other passengers in background.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Mother Comforted by Child

Another recent pencil drawing that might become an etching. I've been struck in the past by scenes of upset parents consoled by children (including me by mine) in various places, and done sketches. I was surprised as this one from imagination started to take shape with such a dark Kollwitzian vibe, but then the child seemed to be channeling a more cheerful Cassatt energy, so we have a yinyang dialectic thing going on. I don't know what the water signifies.

Pencil drawing of sad-looking mother, immersed in waist-high water, holding child as he reaches up to touch her face.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

PCC Memories

 The latest version of the trolley picture, which I'm currently calling "PCC Memories," in honor of the old Boston streetcars. The most drastic change is the cropping of an inch on the left side, which I think is an improvement, but not one that I arrived at for artistic reasons. I have been considering this to be a design for an etching, and the earlier version was 11" x 7", which I had thought to be near the limit I could fit in my DIY vertical etching tank. Only after I had sized the plate using an experimental technique using my table saw to cut and bevel it on one pass, and followed with some filing and buffing, did I realize that my tank could actually only accommodate a 10" plate. After some consideration I ended up cutting both the drawing and the plate down to size, and I don't miss any of that stuff on left side at all. And the table saw technique worked well, making it a lot less onerous to have to redo the cut.

Pencil drawing of streetcar interior with pensive man in foreground, mother reading large book wile her daughter looks on, other passengers in background.

Pencil drawing of streetcar like the first image, but including section on left with vertical pole and other passengers.

DIY vertical etching tank made of plastic bucket enclosed in wooden frame.

Table saw set up to cut copper etching plate, with blade at 45 degree angle to bevel edge.

Close up of copper plate, showing beveled edge

Streetcar drawing taped to drafting table with same-sized copper plate below it.

Monday, January 8, 2024

First snowstorm, first snowstorm painting

This was done using a mixture of magnetite, chalk, and home-brewed linseed oil as an underpainting. It's good for that purpose because it dries quickly and has a nice feel, somewhere between charcoal and sumi ink. I was trying to primarily catch the movement of the snow and letting the static structures fall into place as the picture developed. , and a video of me in the act

oil sketch in gray paint of trees and climbing structure surrounded by swirling snow

pochade box on tripod in snowstorm, protected by plastic sheeting supported by metal file folder frame

My paintbox sheltered by Artistic In Tent