Sunday, May 29, 2005

back to the drawing board

This sort of fell off the wall while I worked on Solstice (now finished but for a sleeve and a label). When I put it back up tonight, it went up slightly differently. Still a work in progress, obviously. And the photo is slightly askew because I held the camera above my head and aimed. Oh, well, you should see the photos I didn't publish. Below is the previous version, which is slightly smaller: I am finding my way back to working larger after several years of working small. It is not easy.

IMG_1193

On another note, I treated my feet to a pedicure and bright pink polish yesterday -- something I should do more often. So why don't I? I could really have used a massage and a facial too, but will save that for another day.

Now I have to pay bills and pack supplies for my 5 days with Els van Baarle and batik later this week at Peters Valley. I think I'll pack my supplies first: a much more pleasant activity.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

art opening in Chelsea

Tonight was the opening of the NJ/NY SDA juried exhibit at the Phoenix Gallery in New York City. The place was mobbed and there was not enouogh time to talk to the people I wanted to see, but it was a very cool show. If you can't get there in person, here it is on-line. It's bettere than any pictures I could have taken at the reception - you would only have seen the backs of people's heads (which I usually manage to cut off in my photos, anyway). So, go visit the virtual one when you're done here. Apparently, the 4th Thursday all the galleries in Chelsea have openings and people were all over the sidewalks having a good time and inside enjoying some of the art. I say SOME because honestly, we walked into one place that looked like the local junior high school art students had put their experiments on the walls. I think it was one of those galleries where you pay to rent wall space for a month. Of course, unless you KNOW it is one of those 'pay to play' galleries, you ask yourself why on earth the pencil scribblings of a four-year old would end up in a NY gallery. On the other hand, we saw a Chuck Close exhibit at the Pace Wildenstein and it was very nice. Of course, the paintings are huge and unless you are far away, you can't tell whos portraits they are. They were all sold and they all cost over a million dollars each. De gustibus non disputandum est. Go visit the Phoenix Gallery instead. http://www.sdaexhibit.homestead.com/

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Thursday afternoon

IMG_1215 Originally uploaded by raynag.
This is a detail shot of a piece I just finished for an exhibit. I screened the first layer using torn newspaper and black paint but the black was too dark so I rinsed it out till it was gray. The gray & white fabric has been sitting around for months and last night, I knew what I needed to do with it. The trees are a screen I made from a picture I took last year in Bruges, and the layer of handwriting that seems to haunt my work, found its way onto the cloth as another layer. I cannot believe how quickly this piece came together. I quilted it in about 5 minutes, without thinking about it. This is unusual for me -- I normally agonize over every stitch. I should probably have been a printmaker but I just can't resist the feel of the cloth.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I'm back

IMG_1179 Originally uploaded by raynag.

It's been a long week of sandwich duty (see earlier post about sandwich generation). I am exhausted beyond belief and haven't had either the time or energy to post. I have missed you all! At any rate, I have had this THING sitting on my wall and thought I'd share the various permutations with you. I threw some fabric at my design wall and here's what stuck. *note gray felt which is not part of the piece.

rearranged pieces - 2nd version

next try

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now it is too busy and doesn't flow

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but we are getting somewhere with the last version...don't you think?

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Since I took thesee pictures I've continuted to add pieces but mostly they are parked there while I work on something else. My room is in disarray.

I have put my feet up, am about to make a strong cup of tea and am going to spend the rest of the evening reading Peter Robinson's latest mystery novel, "Strange Affair." If you haven't read his work, I highly recommend it. Extremely literate, characters that you can care about who are relatively complex human beings -- well written British police procedurals. Start with his early ones, since there is continuity in the background and relationships between the characters. And please let me know you've been here -- leave me a note. All this generational caregiving has left me desperate for contact with the outside world.

xxx Rayna

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Play day at the museum

IMG_1176 Originally uploaded by raynag.

Yesterday was another mental health day; my crit group (minus one) took over an empty studio at the museum and spent the entire day printing with thickened dyes and discharge paste. What a luxury to work someplace else besides our individual at-home studios! Being together led to cross-pollination, information exchange, and feedback while we worked. Everybody but me had brought finished or in-progress work and we did our crit at lunchtime. After lunch, I experimented with using wax as a resist on the screen rather than on the silk and am not sure how pleased I am with the results. Need to go back in and do another layer on the scarves. Toward the end of the day, we needed to use up the bits of thickened dyes, so I printed this piece which is not nearly as bright in person as it is on the screen. A bit disappointing, actually.

These other samples are pieces of the cloth I discharged and I am quite pleased since it is full of nice bits. My friend Judy goes back in and adds color to the discharged spots but I really love the color it became so I think I will leave it. Or most of it, anyway. Needs text.


IMG_1177 Originally uploaded by raynag.
I used a flash so this is not quite accurate color, but you get the idea. The one below is better.
IMG_1178 Originally uploaded by raynag.

Friday, May 13, 2005

November 1910 surface design?

There is nothing new under the sun. I was leafing through one of my magazines from almost 100 years ago looking for images, when I found an article entitled BLOCK PRINTING AND STENCILING. Of course, these poor ladies were printing with oil paint mixed with a mordant of one ouce of acetic acid, one ounce of oil of wintergreen, and one pint of turpentine to make it colorfast. OUCH! I hate to think about the deadly toxicity of this mixture. Herewith, dear readers, a few other quotes... 1910

The materials used in block printing are...silk, linen, crepe or cheese-cloth, etc...not so rough that the finer details of the pattern will be lost....these materials make splendid hangings and coverings.

...the motifs may be taken from flowers, fruit, trees...in fact, anything which is at hand......do not copy nature literally, but instead make the pattern an individual expression of your own idea. Make it symbolic, so that to you every shape means tomething, and do not be too easily satisfied.

stencils are cut from a heavy oiled paper. ...too much emphasis cannot be lid upon the fact that a large quantity of paint applied to a stencil will run on the background and blur the edges of the figure.

It is an excellent plan to try your stencil on a small piece of the material you wish to use. This will show how the colors contrast with the background and how much paint to apply. sometimes when a stencil is worked out, it looks quite different from what one imagined it would.

The (block) printing should be done on a pad made of several thicknesses of paper with a cloth smoothly stretched over it. Hit it several times with a hammer, as it gives a better result than the more or less uneven pressure of the hands.

A good thing to remember is that the most intense colors should be used in the smallest sopts. On linen-colored stuff, Prussian blue used for the large masses, the smaller spots red, orange and blue-green is a good combination; another is yellow-green for the darkest value, with intense spots of red and yellow; also red-violet for the dark, with notes of brilliant blue and red-orange...

If stencils or wood blocks are to be printed on a material that is positive in color, the paint should be dark and more neutral. In such a case, colored silks can be embroidered into the design with a finished border of the same.

Neatness of execution is desirable, as things carelessly done lose the artistic quality they might have were they more carefully done.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Ah - the angst

A Originally uploaded by raynag.
Here we go again -- moving stuff around on my design wall. Pieces I printed the other day have been dancing around on the wall, with no 'aha' yet. Thanks to my digital camera, I can see them side-by-side, so to speak -- and it gives me a little perspective. Back and forth and back and forth -- this is the creative process. I know which one works best for ME. But I am not finished yet.
B C

Sunday, May 08, 2005

mother's day memo

Hope you all had a lovely day today! We had brunch with my mother, daughter, and son-in-law in Sarabeth's at the Whitney Museum. Yum - and then we got to see the ART! Loved Tim Hawkinson's weird sculpture. His work is so interesting: when you walk beneath and around it, you create airwaves that make the thing move and make noise. Fascinating. You can get a good view of the exhibit at http://www.whitney.org/exhibition/feat_hawk.shtml . Then click on the link to the slideshow. -152d We also saw the Cy Twombley drawings and prints, which slightly resembled what my daughter Hilary did in nursery school. I thought her drawing was brilliant art but I doubt that it belongs on the walls of the Whitney. One thing about that museum -- it's never dull! Seeing all that art did make me want to get back into my studio. So what am I doing blogging????

Saturday, May 07, 2005

raw material

Originally uploaded by raynag.
Ah - the moment of truth: lifting the fabric off the plate. The pieces hanging on my design wall were all done with the same plate and have a family resemblance. Nancy, hard at work in the post below, had a variety of results. And then you'll see Maria's first piece. I love seeing how different everybody's results are, even though we are all working with the same basic process.

all in a day's work

Everybody had a great time experimenting today and went home with lots of raw material -- even me! This is one of Maria's pieces. Nancy hard at work on her gelatin prints.

Friday, May 06, 2005

you wanted a picture?

IMG_1114 Originally uploaded by raynag.
Here's the front of my geranium colored shirt, printed during the mental health day on Wed. First, a gelatin plate (the squiggles) and then screened Rachel's lady and some text. I wore it last night when my husband and I went out to dinner: he asked me whether I was planning on changing before we left. Should I be insulted?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

a mental health day

My friend Rachel came over this morning for a much-needed play day. We spent quite a bit of time with scanner, computer, scissors, and copy machine, till we finally were able to translate a copyright free engraved image into a high-contrast image that would make a good thermofax screen. Success! Rachel screened her image again and again on fabric till she got some good results; it takes just the 'right' touch to get a good image. Too much pressure or paint and it smears; too little and the image is uneven. It takes some practice because everybody's hand is different, you never do it the same way twice, and the results are unpredictable. To me, that's the best part, of course. While Rachel screened away, I did my own screening on one stained shirt and gelatin printed on another. Now I can wear them without embarrassment. I think. We broke for lunch and decided we were too tired to go back to printing, so we sat and discussed our impressions of the Quilt National '03 traveling exhibits we had each seen. She saw one part in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago and I saw one part in Massachusetts last weekend. Dinner tonight was tuna fish salad. Who has the energy to cook after a day of printing? We're looking forward to another play day in a couple of weeks with our crit group. We'll be gathering to work with thickened dyes and discharge paste and we'll do our usual sharing of works-in-process or finished pieces, picking each others' creative brains, and making a general ruckus. Today was a different kind of play day.

before and after

Remember the two scarves I posted a few days ago that I had dyed with a soy wax resist? Well, I went back into them yesterday. I like them better now. out of the frying pan IMG_1099 wax2 IMG_1101

Monday, May 02, 2005

home again, again

Back from Springfield and a wonderful 2 day workshop. Fortunately, the 10 mile traffic back-ups (no exaggeration) were in the opposite direction on both rounds of my trip. My worst nightmare: being stuck in one of those and having to use the restroom. What is your worst nightmare? Speaking of which, I am going to turn in early because one of the nights I was at the Holiday Inn in Springfield, people were partying in the hallway at 2:30 in the morning. I am still grouchy from lack of sleep and have an 8:15 am appointment tomorrow.