Happy New Year

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The creative juices flow in many different ways for me and, I imagine, for most people. In addition to working on the Seacoast Women series throughout 2015, I created my first group of handmade single signature books with original monotype covers and knit what ended up being a total of 22 pairs of socks for Christmas presents.

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Today I came across a poem, reprinted here from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush (page 5), which I am sharing with you to start the new year:

Boring to live without beauty,
Sadder songless to be,
Woe to lack the lusting of larks,
So hard joyless to live!

I, myself, create my own beauty,
And harbor my dearest joy,
Beauty with me I carry,
Red hues in my apronstrings,
Joy tucked between burdens.

I would rather forget all sleep,
And leave behind my slumbers,
Than that I forget beauty,
And lose my dearest joy. 

(Estonian Folk Song titled Beautymaker from the village Vaike-Maarja, the translation was sent to Nancy Bush by Rita Tubalkain.)

Cheers to a happy, healthy and creative 2016 to you and yours!

 

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Many thanks to the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center

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For me, it’s always fun to be on hand for an exhibit reception to meet people and talk about art and more. Last evening’s reception for the Button Factory Artists exhibit at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center was no exception. I met and chatted with Executive Director Russ Grazier and Marketing Coordinator Sydney Bilodeau. Fun to talk shop with several other Button Factory artists whose work also is on exhibit, including Painter/Printmaker Roger Goldenberg, Painter Jeannie Griffin-Pieerka and Painter Darlene Furbush-Ouellett.

Many thanks to the PMAC staff for creating a truly lovely, welcoming and elegant atmosphere in the gallery!

The Button Factory Artists exhibit at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, 973 Islington Street, continues through next Thursday, December 17.

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Boston Printmakers North American Print Biennial exhibit is top-notch

I had a chance to visit The Boston Printmakers 2015 North American Print Biennial exhibit while in Boston over the weekend. The four-color complimentary catalog includes reproductions of each and every one of the nearly 130 original prints with the name and location of the artist, medium, size and price. Also included in the catalog is a glossary with short descriptions: How Prints Are Made, Relief Printing, Intaglio Printing, Lithography, Screenprint, Monotypes & Monoprints, Digital Prints, Limited Editions.

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This biennial exhibit received nearly 2,000 submissions, including 699 artists from 49 states and 7 Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico and Cuba. My husband and I were simply blown away by the quality, creativity and, in some cases, humor and whimsy of the prints in this exhibit.

Another thing I liked about the exhibit: Each print was matted, not framed. I can really appreciate how much easier and less costly this is for the artists whose entries were accepted to the show. The prints in this exhibit are for sale and prices, in most cases, were surprisingly modest, perhaps assisted by the fact the pieces are unframed.

If you’re anywhere near Boston, run, don’t walk, to The Lunder Arts Center, at Lesley University, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge and see the The Boston Printmakers 2015 North American Print Biennial exhibit before it closes on December 12th.

This is a truly inspiring exhibit!

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Supporting the arts in so many different ways

Button Factory at PMAC 2015

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My one and only hope

Just heard from a new fan of The Caress of Her Hand. Ah, yes, ‘tis one of my favorites as well. This piece found a good home early on and, truthfully, this is my one and only hope: For my art to find a loving home.

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Autumn Art Jaunts (#2)

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If you love Winslow Homer’s art as much as I do, you’ll love touring his studio on Prouts Neck in Scarboro, Maine, which I did this past weekend. This is where Homer lived and worked for the last 27 years of his life. The Portland Museum of Art owns the Winslow Homer Studio and offers tours of this art lover’s mecca, April-October. So very inspiring!

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I’m looking forward to another day, come springtime, walking in the footsteps of Winslow Homer by visiting the PMA and viewing his work in their collection, heading over to Prouts Neck for lunch at the Black Point Inn, and ambling along the cliff walk to see the actual sea views shown in some Homer’s most spectacular paintings.

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Meanwhile I’ll study Homer’s watercolors, paintings, and illustrations with a deeper understanding of Winslow Homer as a person and as an artist.

 

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Autumn Art Jaunts (#1)

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Yesterday my husband Dave and I caught an early C&J bus into Boston to visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).

I’m a huge Vermeer fan, and was eager to see the MFA’s big new exhibit, Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, which opened less than two weeks ago (continues through January 18, 2016). Throughout half a dozen galleries of spectacular paintings and objects focusing on the three different 17th century Dutch classes (upper, middle, lower — sound familiar?), Class Distinctions offered up two oil paintings by Johannes Vermeer: The Astronomer (c. 1668) on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and A Lady Writing a Letter (c. 1665) on loan from the Musee du Louvre, Paris. So beautiful. So quiet. I also discovered a new favorite painting in the exhibit: “The Shipbuilder and his Wife”: Jan Rijcksen and his Wife, Griet Jans by Rembrandt van Rijn (1633). The man’s lace collar is painted in fine detail on the left and with exuberant dashes and swirls on the right. Wonderful!

I’m also a huge John Singer Sargent fan, and wanted to see the small exhibit Sincerely Yours, John S. Sargent before it closes on November 15th. Lots of handwritten letters, photographs, and sketches. The touch of the hand. Spontaneous. Immediate. Really brings Sargent to life as a person as well as an artist. By the by, the MFA recently became the fortunate recipient of The John Singer Sargent Archive and now will serve as a center for Sargent scholarship.

Next up: A tour of Winslow Homer’s studio on Prouts Neck in Maine with the Portland Museum of Art.

 

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Another way to print transfer monotypes

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As mentioned in my last post, I stumbled upon a new method of printing transfer monotypes last week by following these steps: #1. Rolled solid layer of ink on Plexiglas plate. #2. Using black Sharpie, traced original drawing on tracing paper. #3. Placed tracing paper with drawing face down on top of inked plate. #4. Traced over black Sharpie lines with end of brush handle. #5. Removed tracing paper and put aside (photo above). #6. Printed inked plate on a fresh piece of BFK Rives paper (first photo below) #7. Printed ghost from inked plate on a fresh piece of BFK Rives paper (second photo below). #8. Printed inked tracing paper on a fresh piece of BFK Rives paper (third photo below). #9. Dampened a fresh piece of BFK Rives paper and printed ghost from tracing paper (fourth photo below). Now I’ll look at each of these four transfer monotypes and ask myself, “Is this a finished monotype or is this an unfinished monotype I can use as an underpainting?”

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Transfer monotypes add new dimension to printmaking

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The merry month of May is drawing to a close, and I celebrated by devoting studio time to printing transfer monotypes (a first) as part of the Seacoast Women Project. I started off by printing a batch of transfer monotypes according to the traditional method: ink plate, place paper on plate, draw on back of paper, pull paper. No press needed. Then I put that same plate on the etching press and printed. Finally I printed the “ghost” of the same plate. A total of three transfer monotypes per “batch.”

On my next batch of transfer monotypes, I made a “mistake” and actually stumbled upon another method of printing transfer monotypes which I’ll describe in another post.

In the past couple of days, I printed about 20 transfer monotypes, experimenting with different papers (BFK Rives, Hahnemuhle Copperplate, rice paper). They’re all drying on big racks in the studio. I’ll begin using the transfer monotypes printed on rice paper next week in my hand bookbinding sessions.

This month’s printmaking felt like breakthrough sessions in the same vein as last July’s sessions when I began the Seacoast Women Project. Very exciting. Great fun!

 

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Monotypes + hand bookbinding = ?

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This week I worked in my friend Darlene’s third-floor corner Button Factory studio, trimming a bunch of little abstract monotypes which I had printed last November. An experiment: nine little monotypes on one full sheet of paper. I came upon these printed sheets and started trimming them while thinking about various ways I might be able to combine my monotypes with hand bookbinding.

This past week I finalized plans with Lynn Crocker to begin working on hand bookbinding projects on a regular basis in her second-floor studio in The Button Factory. I completed Lynne’s Hand Bookbinding workshop last September. Now I want to get into a rhythm of hand bookbinding. For me, working alongside Lynne in her studio seems the best way to refresh, maintain and surely strengthen my hand bookbinding skills.

Meanwhile I now have a stack of small trimmed monotypes awaiting some next step. I don’t know what I’m doing nor where this monotype + hand bookbinding combo will take me. It occurred to me, while I was trimming and thinking and trimming and thinking these past couple of days: the only way to create something totally new actually is to have no idea what you’re doing. Case in point, Henri Mattisse and his cut-outs.

Keep working and trust.

 

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