Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's one of those embarrassing 'aha's that hit me. You know, the thing everyone else sees as obvious, but you miss because you're breathing it? For me, the obvious thing is that I am rolling in creative clover.

We have an art supply store. We have a yarn shop here too. I am in a loving and supportive relationship with my husband who regularly encourages me to play. I have time and spaces available for my play. And I have no constraints (clients, designers, specs, whatever) on how I do the creating.

It doesn't get much better than this.

For me, listing what we have right now is a figure/ground shift. I have been warding off attacks from conventional viewers and creators, the mainstream of what is "art." We have been in economic uncertainty with the shop for a long time now. These external influences had colored my perceptions to the point of blacking out the general background that now makes me jealous of myself. The background has come to the fore.

In this new perception's light, my painting is taking on new light as well. I am free! I have materials with which to play. I will play.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Screen printing!

I took a two day workshop this past weekend to learn silk screen printing. It is the latest "thing" for our customers, and I knew so little about it that I wasn't even sure what to supply. Now I know enough about it to have a reasonable supply. I cannot, contrary to my hopes, instruct customers in all the methods of using the media during their visit to the shop... it's pretty involved.

In the class, I went nuts printing because... you can. You can whip out copy after copy of the image until you've had enough of it and tried it on every surface you can think of and your classmates start to give you room just in case you find them sitting still long enough to print them. At least, that's how it was for me.

In order to stockpile prints to collage, and repurpose later, I printed on cardstock with and without designs, a canvas, watercolor paper, tinted pastel and charcoal papers, and velvet. I didn't print on clothes only because my designs were faces, and that seemed unclothing-like.

Today at the shop I prepared a screen with photo emulsion. This is the one technique we didn't learn in class, and the method that most of our customers are using. So, I'm going to try it on my own in the coming days. Right now the screen is drying.

I learned that with silk screens you can:

  • paint your design directly on the screen, do some mojo, and print it
  • paint directly on the screen what you don't want to print (reverse process)
  • use black markers, sumi-e ink, or whatever you want to draw and then reproduce that image
  • use ready made stencils or cut your own out of anything, including just freezer paper
  • print through a plain screen to print a colored background (and you can mess with that too)
Honestly, I was hoping that I'd learn the techniques and then be able to say, "This is nice, but it's not for me." Instead, I found I loved doing it, despite the messy, involved, cluttery thing that it is. So, you can expect some prints to be showing up in my images here in the future.