Tag Archives: monoprints

It Feels so Good to be Done!

So it hasn’t hit me yet, but my two major projects for exhibition – The Collograph in Miniature and Pervasive Plastic – are now up and ready for viewing!  They were just installed this morning.

A little backstory – last summer, Wendi Turchan, who’s an art lecturer at UW-Fond du Lac, asked me if I’d like to show at the UW’s gallery(ies).  WOULD I?!?!  What an honor!!  I’ve had work in university shows before, but never a solo exhibit (much less two)!  She said I could do one or both of the galleries.  Because it seemed (keyword: seemed) so far away at the time, I said, SURE!  Why not?

As is oftentimes the case for me, I began planning right away.  I knew I wanted to incorporate printmaking, as I had just procured my first etching press (yes, there have been more since).  I had another idea for the other show, and it was in the works until late December. EEK.  I thought I had it all figured out and would begin working on it in December, after all my other projects and classes were finished.

Well, I did indeed begin working on the projects in December – before, actually – but as is ALSO the case, the shows began to be tweaked here and there.  New ideas were forming, which happens to me a lot when I begin working on a project in earnest.  It’s also maddening, though, because these grandiose ideas have to stop somewhere!!  I had to start really working!

It was when I embraced my love of miniature work that my big show started coming together in a great way.  I love working small so much, but have always felt bad about it -like if I work small, then I’m not a true fine artist.  Feh!  I should stop thinking that way. So I did!  I made 48 tiny collographs, which consisted of a monoprint base (made with a tiny Plexiglas plate!), and then these plates on top of that:

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(Plus many more – I wound up making around 70 of these!)

Here’s one of my 48 collographs, all finished and framed:

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I made this one with a yellow-y monoprint, and a collograph plate made with plaster fabric.  🙂

My other show, Pervasive Plastic, started to form long before my Collograph in Miniature show.  Way back in October or November, I put out a call for some “Chairman Bob” plastic bags (those in the Midwest might remember these bags from the Roundy’s/Pick n’ Save grocery stores a while back).  I got an awesome response!  So I began making mandalas from these plastic bags and other styles, like the ubuquitous “thank you have a nice day” bags, Target bags, and some from a pet store, supplied by my friend Carolyn.  They’re quite large – larger than anything else I’ve ever worked on!  But even larger still is a “tree” that I created using a large branch that split from our ash tree in our yard and long strips of plastic bags that I’d cut.  Here’s the tree, in all of its plasticky glory – it’s over 7 feet tall!

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One HUGE lesson I learned throughout this entire process?  Perseverance.  There were many hurdles I encountered during my work time: moving my mom to assisted living, being sick for a week (like everyone else in our city!), taking my mom to the ER and her landing in the hospital for a week, and having our beloved Pomeranian, Dudley, pass away a little over two weeks ago.  But you just have to keep going, don’t you?  If anything, the work was a perfect panacea to the other things happening around me.  It’s the first time I’ve ever created work that was site-specific, the first time I’d ever worked in a large series (and I LOVE IT!), and the first time I’d ever created a large 3-D piece.  I don’t know how I’m going to top this show, but I’m surely going to do my best to try.  🙂

As I close, here are some shots of the show set-up from today!  🙂  I have to give a MAJOR shout-out to my wonderful husby, Brian, who was a tremendous help in the installation today – a laser level is a GODSEND, and he’s so good with measuring!  And Wendi Turchan created all of my labels and worked the lighting, and printed my posters for me!!  I couldn’t have done this without them!   🙂

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2016 – The Year in Highlights!

WHAT.

The year is over.

Okay, in many ways, the year was a long one.  I think that happens when you’re learning new things, and I sure did!  But when I think back to December 31 of 2015, it feels like a couple of weeks ago.  Back on that day, I had chosen a word to define what my year would mean, and that was “direction”. Indeed, my year took MANY directions!  It feels like each month brought a new and exciting chapter to my art, so that’s how it’ll be chronicled!

January – When I look back at last January, it comes to me in two words: Individual Art.  I had SO many of my one-on-one classes that month!  It was the perfect way to ease into the year.  I love my Individual Art classes, because not only do I get to hang out with some fabulous people and have them learn or perfect a skill they’ve wanted, but I also learn from them.  I know every teacher feels this way (or should!).  🙂  This month also marked the first time I taught at Moraine Park Technical College for Life-Long Learning!  What a great “first” for me.  SO fun.

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February – I had applied for a Wisconsin Visual Artists show at Villa Terrace back in January, and found out on February 4 that my piece, “Narcissus”, had been accepted!  I was THRILLED.  This was a huge deal for me, as I had just recently started painting and it felt great to have the piece liked enough to be included in this show.  It was a 3-group show called “Making a Scene”.  Definitely a highlight of my year!  🙂

 

This was an amazing month for another reason, too – my Detritus Project exhibit, which I created and curated, made its debut at the Langdon Divers Gallery inside the Fond du Lac Public Library!  I had the idea for this show way back in 2012, thanks to my great friends at Library as Incubator Project, but it finally became a reality as a community art exhibit in February.  I loved every single minute of this show.  🙂 Check out the AMAZING entries!  😀 This year also marked my second year of curating the Langdon every month.  It’s so great to see all of the different art and artists come through this lovely gallery!  🙂

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March – I was able to be a part of another fantastic show in March, this time with the super-cool Kate Mothes and her amazing youngspace.  This was one of Kate’s pop-up exhibits, which only ran for a few weeks in March at this great space on Main Street in Green Bay.  I feel like this show gave me street cred like I’d never had before!  Such fantastic artists involved, and most were much younger than I am (not difficult, at my age!).   The show was called Remote View and was juried by Kate and Claire Abitz (you’ll hear more about these two movers and shakers later in the year).  AWESOME.  🙂

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April – April brought with it yet another show, this time at one of my all-time favorite galleries, Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake!  The exhibit was called Altered States and the idea was for the artists selected to talk about a point in their art where they made an alteration, or change, in their way of working (or a new technique). My piece, “Fashion Plate”, was juried in!  🙂  I met so many of my Facebook friends this evening, and made some new ones, too!  This was one of those exhibits and evenings that just was so perfect. That same evening I participated in one of Knaak + Juarez Studio’s Blank Canvas events, and began my most ambitious art projects of 2016.  (More on that piece, later!)

 

May – I had the very distinct honor of jurying the student show at UW-Fond du Lac this year!  It was so fun, and really difficult!  Art professor Wendi Turchan and her students curated this show, and it was fantastic.  We wound up buying five pieces for ourselves!  This was the first time I’d ever juried a student show and the process was a life lesson for me as well.  As artists, we’ve ALL been there, where we either didn’t win an award or just not selected for a show, period.  I’d juried before, but never in person and it really is never about a piece being “good” or “bad”, as there are SO many variables!  You can see here how I had a difficult time choosing the award recipients!

I was also in Stevens Point in May for two reasons – I had a wonderful stint as Artist-in-Residence for Tosha Tessen-McDonald’s art classes at McDill Elementary for three days in the middle of May, and I was also in a show at Riverfront Art Center there called All About Trees!  I felt so welcomed in this delightful town – and what a surprise to run into a former Fond du Lacian, Casey French, who I ran into at the Portage County Library!  He was so kind as to give me a tour of UW-Steven Point’s art department, where his girlfriend was finishing up her art degree.  SO fun!  😀

 

The last “art thing” to happen in May was a game-changer in my studio…..

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(Check here for that blog post!)

June – ….and because I had purchased that game-changing etching press in May, June was ALL about classes on how to use it!  I took three classes in June at Jack Richeson, where I bought the press.  And since I’ve already blogged about it (see the link, above), I won’t rehash, but here’s another monotype I did in the class, which took about two seconds with a Q-tip and two colors of ink.  I can’t wait to delve further into the wonders of this press in 2017!  😀

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June also marked the beginning of Pop Up Fond du Lac, a new initiative that promotes “tactical urbanism”.  This group is great!  They have different “pop-ups” all over the city, and the first one was a two-day crêpe cafe in an unused building downtown.  I volunteered to be the curator for art on the walls, so it looked like a “real” café for two days!  I had awesome artists friends involved in the event, and the place looked great!  😀

 

 

July – YAY!  July was ALL about papermaking, which is one of my favorite things to do (and teach!).   I taught papermaking at Lakeshore Art Supplies in Sheboygan for a fantastic group of ladies, and I also taught papermaking with plant fibers at my friend Nicole Schauer’s CSA, Good Earth Farm for a group that had amazing ideas!  Then, after nearly three years of planning, the Idea Studio opened in the Fond du Lac Public Library!  This was a huge deal, as it’s one of the most innovative makerspaces in a library in the country.  I demo’d papermaking in the kitchen portion of the space, which as you can see is just incredible.  Everyone loved it!

Brian and I also had a joint show at Ubuntu Art Space!  It’s always fun to have a show but to be in a show with your talented husby?  It’s the best.  🙂 We had our reception during July’s Tour the Town Art Walk in downtown Fondy.  Thanks for having us, Sue!  🙂

August – Well, besides the most amazing week of my art career thus far at my residency at Standard Projects in Hortonville (which I documented here, here, here, here, here, and here), which I seriously cannot overstate what it did for me. I think the other highlight was teaching a solar printing class for some of the residents of Lake View Place, an assisted living/senior apartment complex right here in Fond du Lac.  I had met one of the arts & crafts coordinators at our annual Prairie Fest, and Karen asked me if I did solar printing.  Since I did, I told her I’d love to teach, and I did!  It was a wonderful experience, and as you can see, the residents did beautiful work.  🙂

 

September – This was sort of my “month off”.  I did a lot of biking this month, because it was SO beautiful.  I did create this linocut, which is actually a little corner of my living room!  I love how it turned out.

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I also taught another of my collage classes at MPTC!  I always have such a great group.

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October – this fall was amazingly awesome in terms of the sheer variety of classes, events, and exhibits I was involved with.  October started it out wonderfully!  I led a “Monoprints, Two Ways” class for some of the members of the Fond du Lac Artists’ Association – this was a full-day class where we created monoprints with the Gelli Plate in the morning….

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….and monoprints with my etching press in the afternoon!  I just love what transpired!  😀

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I also taught a Monoprint class at MPTC – the Gelli plate is a wonder, and everyone loves what it can do!  😀

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At the end of October, I set up my little corner of the Grand Kakalin in Kaukauna for the “Take me to the River” exhibit/event, which was put together by Jean Detjen.  This was the first time I’d met Jean, although we were Facebook friends before.  What a powerhouse!  It was such an amazing experience.  I can’t wait to work with her again.  And it was so fun to have so many of my Wisconsin Visual Artists – NE Chapter friends involved, too!  😀

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November – November was the month of shows! It started out with Warped Milwaukee, which is one of my favorite shows ever.  This was the 6th year that I was a part of it, and I hope to do more!  Here’s the piece that I made for this year’s show, where the theme was “Elements”.  I call it “Wild Calla Lilies”. It’s made with solar-printed fabric and found materials, and then machine-stitched (disregard those grid marks!)  😀

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The following week was the reception for “Adornments”, which was a show where I was featured at Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake.  I had a whole wall!!  This is one of my most favorite displays of my work EVER.  🙂 Thanks so much to Pat and Karen Robison for their support!  😀

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Later on in the month, I found out that my very ambitious 2-color reduction linocut that I had started in April (and finished in October), “A Canopy of Branches”, made it into the Small Print Exhibition at UW-Parkside!  This is such an amazing show, and it’s the first time I’d made it in! I am really happy about this.  The show starts in January – I can’t wait!

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December – the year rounded out in a really fun way – I taught a holiday card class at the Berlin Public Library….

….and an Encaustic Collage class at the Plymouth Art Center (you can read that blog post here!).  🙂

I also found out I’ll be in two more shows in January! The EcoSquared Show at Hatch Art House in Madison is another of my favorite shows – I’ve been in it 3 out of the last four years.  Here are the two pieces I made for the show!  The pieces need to be square and they need to be created from upcyclced materials.  I made these by printing vintage letterpress plates onto fabric and then embroidering them, and making the “buildings” from old clothing tags.  It was SO fun and I plan on making more!  😀

And last, but CERTAINLY not least – I found out that I was one of the 30 artists for the 30x30x30 show at the Var Gallery in Milwaukee!!  The gist of the show is that 30 artists create a piece a day for 30 days – a great exercise for a humdrum January!  I had an interloper in my photo showing my cut pieces that I’d start this month.  🙂

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Today marks my SEVENTH anniversary of being a full-time artist.  When I decided that day to make this a reality, I never would’ve imagined all of the amazing people, places, events, artwork, opportunities and experiences I’d have.  Never in a million years did I think it was going to be this fulfilling, rewarding, tough, and fun.  Here’s to another fantastic year!

Looking ahead to 2016

I love the week in between Christmas and New Year’s!  Maybe not as much as when I was a kid, when I would gleefully spend my mornings playing with my new toys and then watching the Paddington cartoons on PBS, but there’s still so much fun and promise in this week.

On January 2, I will be celebrating SIX years as a full-time artist!  It’s the longest that I’ve ever held a “job” in my life.  (You can’t really call what I do a “job”, or even a “career”; it’s more like a “pursuit”.)  😀  And every year, I like to reflect on the past year and think about what lies ahead.  New ideas/opportunities/techniques always pop up, and it’s exciting to me to think about what may happen, even though one can never fully “plan” as an artist.

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Last year, I made a goal for myself to carve a lino block a week and print it, and wound up creating a print exchange for myself and about 6 other people.  Well, we got about halfway through before other things took over – mainly, I got super busy with my own Individual Art classes and other art-related activities.  And while I’m sort of bummed that I didn’t finish, I still made 23 new little carvings that got me interested in other ways of utilizing my press and my prints.

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This year, I am going to try something new – a watercolor a week.  🙂  That was something else that I tried (and LOVED!) in 2015 – working with watercolors.  My friend Nicci and I made a trek to Jack Richeson back in February, and to my surprise I wound up purchasing a beautiful set of watercolors that were on sale.  (It helps to be good-quality paints right off the bat.)  I was also VERY surprised how much I loved making these little paintings and I would also like to explore this further.

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As I was cleaning my studio yesterday, I was inspired about 20 times by the monoprints and offset prints that were cluttering my desk.  I want to make more with these prints, too, as I did with this piece, called “Limbs” (which SOLD at my solo exhibit at the Langdon Divers Gallery this month! YAY!).  It’s just a matter of working with different collage pieces, much like a puzzle – something I learned from my friend Suze, who is extremely good at composition.

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And speaking of composition, here’s a piece I created during one of the Individual Art classes I was holding (I can’t say “teaching”, because I really don’t “teach” my “students” anything – I guide them and let them play with my toys, essentially).  It’s an encaustic collage, which is something else I learned this past year. I had done encaustic pieces like this before, but after I took a class led by Matt Luther, everything fell into place.  I love how this piece turned out and want to do more of these!

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Probably MOST surprising to me this year?  That I actually created some honest-to-god paintings!!  And it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. 😀   One of them actually was accepted into the Contemporary Views show at my alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, this past fall!  It was surely a highlight of my year.  This piece is half of a diptych called “Lead-out Scrawl” (acrylic, 18″ X 24″), and it’s a representation of a film frame in the leader film that’s sometimes shown before a countdown in a movie (here’s a great example of some of these little bits).  It essentially captures 1/24 of a second in time (film runs at 24 frames per second, or 1440 frames per minute).  I want to try more of this particular type of painting, because it combines three of my favorite things – film, ephemera, and making art.

Here’s to a new year of making more art, entering more shows, holding more classes, contributing to more books, curating more shows, and having even MORE fun!

 

Happy Accidents!

If you’re an artist, then you know the joy that comes from creating a piece that you just know is good.  Many times, those joys arrive in unexpected packages.  🙂

Take, for example, these two pieces!

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I created these two pieces completely by accident!  The first one, which I call “Coral Sea”, was created when I was cleaning my brayer after printing one of my 2X2″ lino blocks.  I love how I got the positive and the negative of the print!

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The second one, which I call “In the Clearing”, was also created after printing a block, but this time I also wiped the sides of my brayer on the sheet of paper, creating “branches”.  And here’s why having another pair of eyes critique your work is so important – when I brought this piece in to Gallery & Frame Shop to be framed, I had it positioned horizontally.  It took owner Julie and designer Rita to say, “This should be vertical!  It looks like the forest!”

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Because of these two pieces, I now scrutinize every “cleaning” that I’ve done.  Here are a few more of my “accidents”, which I’m seriously thinking of keeping and framing!  🙂

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Pat’s Monoprints!

YAY!!  I had my first Individual Art workshop last night!

In case you didn’t see this post, I created a unique workshop experience called Individual Art, whereby one can choose between seven different techniques: Collage, Printmaking, Monoprints, Embroidery, Encaustic, Dyeing, and Papermaking.  Here’s the poster for the workshops (and you can sign up HERE):

Individual Art poster PDF

Well, the same day that I announced I would be holding these workshops, my friend Pat signed up for the monoprinting medium!  It was fantastic.  We worked non-stop for three hours and he made some of the most beautifully striking monoprints!  Check out his prints, here:

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We worked exclusively with the Gelli Plate last night for our monoprints. I like the Gelli because it’s very forgiving and if you’re new to monoprinting, it just makes it more fun.

I was so inspired by these prints because Pat works differently than I do, and with a completely different palette. He did lots of layering and experiments with edgy lines and scratches. Watching him work made me want to try different colors myself!

Pat told me that as soon as he got home, he ordered the 8×10″ Gelli plate for himself. YAY! I count that as a successful workshop! Thanks, Pat! 🙂

Gelli Workshop Ahoy!

You know how, in the beginning of a new year, you can’t help but reflect on the one past and plan for the one ahead?

Sometimes as an artist, those plans get even better.  🙂

And it turns out that I’m going to be teaching some fun workshops in the near future, one of my favorite things that I get to do as an artist!

On Saturday, March 14th, I’ll be teaching Gelli Prints at Black-Eyed Press in Racine!  I love this place!  I’ve been here several times for our ATC (Artist Trading Card) meetings, but I also just ran an “Homage to Libraries” workshop there in January as part of the Artist of the Book series.  What a wonderful class that was, and I’m really excited to be back.  BEP’s owner, Samira Gdsis, is such a talented printmaker and I’m so very honored to be teaching at her studio!

Here are a couple of examples of the types of prints you can make with the Gelli Plate – no press or painting experience required!  Hope to see you there!  🙂

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