Lines of Inquiry II

I have been trying hard not to lose the sense of momentum that I gained from the Michael Brennand-Wood workshop I did earlier this month. Without the excitement of the class atmosphere I find it all too easy to fall back into familiar practices and patterns.

I was pretty excited to realise that one very direct response that I could take from the class was to use one of the pieces I produced for it’s original purpose, as a screen to print from.

The screen with cut and stitched sections.

The screen with cut and stitched sections.

In the workshop the screen had been the frame for exploration of 3D layers with connecting threads between them. When it came to printing I first put the thickened dyes I use onto the ‘back’ of the screen and then placed paper directly onto it, carefully pressing down to transfer the image. The result is a subtle background with a much stronger transfer of colour where the original image remains on the screen.

Stitched and cut screen image using thickened dye on Japanese paper, 9 October 2013.

Stitched and cut screen image using thickened dye on Japanese paper, 9 October 2013.

In order to use the ‘front’ of the screen, the normal approach, I had to cut those strings that prevented me from running the squeegee across the screen.

The 'front' of the screen prior to printing.

The ‘front’ of the screen prior to printing.

Because the screen already had an exposed image on it, the thickened dyes only transferred to the paper where the original image was and where the screen had been cut away. This resulted in a very different image from the one above. I like the large amount of white space in this piece.

Image resulting from the 'front' of the screen. 9 October 2013.

Image resulting from the ‘front’ of the screen. 9 October 2013.

I have continued to use the same screen for printing, modifying it as I go. Most recently I combined the use of certain sections of the screen with other techniques to produce this multi-layered approach.

A combination of printing approaches, using the manipulated screen and de-contructed screen printing, with masking and overlapping. 25 October 2013.

A combination of printing approaches, using the manipulated screen and de-contructed screen printing, with masking and overlapping. 25 October 2013.

I think this is a very fruitful approach and I intend to continue exploring this idea at my next sessions at Megalo.

Mega – soar!

Today I finally caught up with Canberra’s most controversial art work – The Skywhale. She was designed by Patricia Piccinini, one of Australia’s most recognised contemporary artists, but like the purchase of Blue Poles back in the 1970’s many were horrified that the ACT Government actually spent money (in this case $A172,000) on an artwork.

The Skywhale, in the arts precinct of Kingston, behind Megalo Print Studio and the Canberra Glassworks, 26 October 2013.

The Skywhale, in the arts precinct of Kingston, behind Megalo Print Studio and the Canberra Glassworks, 26 October 2013.

Having finally met her face to face, I’ve decided that I quite like her!

Below you can get some idea of the overall shape of the balloon, the pendulous breasts and the clawed tail.

The Skywhale,sitting in front of the Fitters Workshop, 26 October 2013.

The Skywhale,sitting in front of the Fitters Workshop, 26 October 2013.

I include this photo to help make some sense of my drawings of the Skywhale.

A 3/4 drawing of the Skywhale, 26 October 2013.

A 3/4 profile (from behind) drawing of the Skywhale, 26 October 2013.

Above you have roughly most of one side and the tail. I found the drawing difficult because even though she was tethered there was quite a bit of movement with the balloon.

The tail section of the Skywhale, 26 October 2013.

The tail section of the Skywhale, 26 October 2013.

I think drawing the seams of the balloon , in the following sketch, delivers a sense of the roundness of the inflated balloon.

Detailed view of the seams on the side of the Skywhale.

Detailed view of the seams on the side of the Skywhale.

We seem to have seen very little of the Skywhale since she first made her appearance in Canberra and  I look forward to seeing her again in the future. Alas, it appears that the Skywhale will be a transient art experience, as the Wikipedia entry on the Skywhale notes that she will have a lifespan of only some 100 flights.

Printing at Megalo

Back at the Megalo Studio this week for another session of printing. In the gallery there is a review show of all the 2012 Megalo artists-in-residency. Some lovely work including that of Jan Hogan, whose interactions with the landscape are always thoughtful.

The process I’m using works by building-up layers of images. I print in layers so sometimes good images come quickly, other times they may take all day. This time it was only after lunch that I found my best images of the day.

Image

Vessel image, a left-over from the previous printing session, 11 September 2013.

I was pleased with the results of my new stencil:

Image

Detail of a new stencil, 11 September 2013

An unexpected result was this very simple shape surrounding a landscape ‘found’ in the printing:

A landscape 'found' in the print, 11 September 2013

A landscape ‘found’ in the print, 11 September 2013

This reminded me of ‘landscape marble’ which is valued in China for its natural resemblance to Chinese brush painted landscapes.

Printing at Megalo

On Friday I spent my first day printing at Megalo, our public access print facility, for the first time in over a year. There have been big changes as they have recently moved to a newly renovated building. It’s full of light and very pleasant to work in.

I had no specific plan of what i would print so I decided to play around. I’m pretty much a screen printer, but I like to be fairly unstructured in my print making approach. I generally print with dyes rather than pigments which allows for some very free image making and the ability to use some water colour techniques as well.

Printing at Megalo. The plastic sheeting is needed to protect the print table from the dyes.

Printing at Megalo. The plastic sheeting is needed to protect the print table from the dyes.

To make things a bit easier for myself I chose to print on A4 size sheets of Stonehenge paper. I also decided that I would just do whatever doodles came into my mind, no preciousness allowed. Here are two of my prints.

Screen print using dyes, 26 July 2013

Screen print using dyes, 26 July 2013

Screen print using dyes, 26 July 2013

Screen print using dyes, 26 July 2013

I’m really pleased with the outcomes and I’m looking forward to my next printing session. I thought I handled the long days printing quite well – that is until I got home and promptly fell asleep in front of the TV.

Print run

One week after I finished my extended printing sessions at Megalo and I’m still feeling physically exhausted. I need some time and space to gather my thoughts on what I have done.

There was lots of energy generated working alongside other printers. The development ideas over a period of weeks was a very powerful experience.

Considering the energy I found it may not be surprising that one of the images that came to me was a burning sun – or maybe that was due to watching Stephen Hawking’s documentary series on over the same period on SBS.

Unrulysunne