Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Stayin' Alive by Messin' Around

As you can see from previous posts I've had a lot of fun teaching lately. I haven't spent tons of time on my own work after having several shows from February through April. I've learned that I have to keep some art making going, no matter how busy I am with other projects. I've taken the last few weeks to mess around to keep my inspiration alive.

The other day I was visiting my daughter, Jane Kearney. She is a collage artist, jeweler, and photographer. She had in her possession something I hadn't seen before: Golden's Digital Medium for Non-Porous Surfaces, or some such. "Huh--whatsis?", I asked my progeny intelligently. Apparently this is some new-fangled medium for allowing us to put all kinds of stuff through our printers and get good results with the images printed on said stuff. Well, I had to get some the next time I was at the art store.

Today I confidently called my daughter, sure she could tell me how to use this new acquisition. She informed me she hadn't had time to try it much yet. So I was on my own. I went to the Golden website where I got more information. They advised that I not use this medium with a printer with pizza wheels. Or I could remove the pizza wheels. Well, I kind of know what the pizza wheels are inside the printer and I'm sure I have them. I'm certainly not going to perform any kind of major surgery on my third hand workhorse of an oversize printer. I asked my daughter what she did about the pizza wheel issue. She said, "Oh, I just ignored that." Wise child.

I did a few experiments. Here's a coated print on a page from a 1930's typing manual. I think it did come out brighter than if I had not coated the paper with the digital medium first. You have to put on two coats, letting them dry throughly in between coats. I speeded things up with my hair dryer. The directions didn't say you could do that, but they didn't say you couldn't..

then tried aluminum foil as suggested by the Golden company. I attached the foil to regular paper before putting it through the printer, then removed it after printing. It turned out interestingly, which you won't be able to tell from this scan. No way to reproduce the refection of the different tones.

My final experiment of the day was on (blush) part of a fast-food sandwich wrapper. I ironed the reverse side after giving the wrapper the two coats. It went through the printer just as it was. I think it looks pretty cool. I'll try other papers, but this was what was "to hand."

Has anyone else out there tried this new product?

This experiment came about last week when I visited Diane Havnen-Smith in her studio. She was experimenting with painting using a restricted palette, which included Payne's Gray. I don't know about you, but I have to admit I rarely spare a thought for Payne's Gray. I'm so crazy about warm earth tones that I had forgotten the value of this clever color. Below is a journal page I made at Diane's. Each color shown is mixed with Payne's Gray in it. The palette I used had no blue or green in it. I used: Hansa Yellow, Quinacridone Crimson, Titanium White, Zinc White, and Quinacradone Nickel in addition to the Payne's Gray. Thanks to Diane for this palette and for reminding me about P.G.

I tried similar experiments at my studio with the basic paints I use for classes. I get them two for the price of one at a local art store and they are generally quite good. Their Payne's Gray, however looked like a mix of black and white, without the special blueness found in Diane's Golden paint. So I had to get the real thing. (I'm not working for the Golden company, really.)

I've enjoyed and learned from messin' around. I hope my next post will show that I have plunged into preparing for my August show at Onda Gallery. The theme for the month at Onda will be Europe, so you can imagine I'm going to town with that! One inspiration will be the poet and courtesan Veronica Franco, one of the subjects of a recent PSU class I taught.

One last thing--23 Sandy Gallery has an incredible show of photographs made using antique methods. This stunning gallery has some of the most interesting and quality exhibits in town, in my opinion. Check them out!

(Note: I have to admit I don't know how to put in the links to people and places mentioned in this post. In the absence of a technologically adept family member, I will have to add the links later. Work by Jane Kearney can be accessed by clicking a link on the left of this blog. Diane's business is Innerstandings, and Golden and 23 Sandy can be found easily.)

Veronica and I will see you soon!

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