A Waste of Time? – Rethinking – Stalling

Okay an update from last week. I spend days trying to figure out how to get the shadows of leaves over other shadows. Thinking about the marks on the driveway. I made several transparency images in deep black to tape under the thin etching plates. Here they are keeping company with that deplorable pincushion that has escaped the company of like kind in the toilet paper drawer. But only to allow for daily jabs of frustration at his carelessness and stupidity. But I digress here, sorry.

And of course when I get a plan, I always assume it is going to work out just fine. So why bother to test out the theory with only one etched plate?

I make four the size of the image to be printed on the page. These I can use in different directions to look different. Then I make four small ones to use over text from a letter. These are tracings from asphalt patching marks that look very much like writing. And the good part is that I decide to use my Dremel tool to carve and scrape into the thin plates. There are going to be no clear lines, just shadowy blurs, which I thought at the time was a good thing.

They have to be taped onto the press bed because they are slipping and miss being directly over the photo image on the paper being passed through with them.

This is messy and very blurry and not always well lined up. But several sheets later I manage to get something that made me question why bother.

If I want the black image over the grey image, why not just do it all on the computer? It would line up easier. It would all be so much simpler. But it just misses that layering of messages that seems most important to what this book is about. And I think I would like to physically layer the marks on the page with stitching and/or cloth. What I have so far seems too cold, too letter press, too distant from the hand, the touch. So next might just be using those plates on cloth to fragment and stitch. Hand stitch the text….maybe.

So I am letting ideas percolate while I go back to other things. The plates are still laying there, handy and reminding me to find a perfect fabric. Also reminding me to just do a test page first and not assume just because it is a good thought, it is going to be a good product. Seems that is a hard lesson for some of us.

So I went back to the Specimen Journal pages.

This last image got me to thinking about the journaler’s tools. Here he is using the tweezers and magnifying glass. So the next several pages are all tools.

Besides all of this, I am watching the approach of Irma, trying to read a book called The 36 Hour Day about living with dementia, finishing off the latest Louise Penny Inspector Gamache novel, thinking about the pile of mending, getting involved in Australian students projects for next March, scheduling short times away from home, and wondering if I have lost the art of focusing.

Next week I am sure something more will get done and hopefully it will be done right. For now I will concentrate on just taking it a day at a time and make something even if it is only dinner and some cookies.

Til next week.

Trying to Decide the Marks to Make

I am back in the studio thinking about this limited edition book about the messages from the driveway. The images have been selected, adjusted and sized. Etching plates have been cut to the same size. I was thinking etchings in black line over selected parts of these shadowy images. But what kind of marks to make the etchings? What do the marks mean? Are they extrapolations of marks already there in shadow form?

Several prints on paper have been made while I draw in ink over them to see what looks right. So far…nothing. I don’t want to give up on the idea. There would be only an edition of ten books to make, but anything over one requires more planning.

I played on the computer more with the images…adjusting the contrast and darkness. The shadowy grey seems to be the best so far. But marking the etching plates is a hang up. How dense should they be? Should they be half on the image, half off? Should they be placed so as to read as text? And why does any of this matter?

It just plain matters to me. I want all the marks and image to be cohesive and address the content of messages from the driveway as I traverse it back and forth to retrieve messages from my mailbox. Just drawing something or writing about it is not right. I can draw and I can write but I want the images to speak for me.

So I looked through work to see how I make marks, what ones come naturally that seem autobiographical in some way. I found lots of marks and lots of ways to make them. So here are some.

Stitching into embossed and torn marks, then adding other objects.

Plaiting into an image.

Maybe just draw something found along the way to and from the mailbox. Just an etching that looks like an ink drawing of something just laying there. It could be sticks like the drawing above has or rocks, or…..whatever.

I would need to keep the marks simple like these done on fine paper, painted and sandwiched between two pieces of silk organza with varnishes and shellac. I wouldn’t do the messy part. I am just looking for marks.

Maybe stitching needs to be added to the print.

I seem to do it in lots of two dimensional work. There is something about this layering that seems a possibility for the messages from the driveway.


There is more of that here on another layered painting where I reuse a canvas by simply selecting the parts of the old I want to show through and then painting again…a different theme altogether. Here is the original of that piece.

And those time marking – tally marks – that I am still using. Maybe those should be in the messages from the driveway.

Or maybe a crow. They are always the messenger. We have loads of them here.

Like I said if this was not a small edition, but edition none the less, I could be more free with the layering, stitching, adding in bits.

Now I am thinking that chine colle might be just what I need. It would give the extra to the shadow image, the etching and the texture that for some reason, I think I am after. It certainly would add to the layered idea of hidden messages.

Anyway I need to stop. I need to think and maybe I need to quit looking at other works. Maybe I just need to experiment and not worry about wasting time and materials trying to make something look right.

If I get any further with this I will post it.