Tuesday, December 20, 2011


More artwork from this semester, just trying to catch up. These are the last pieces I made, we'll see where I go from here, huh? Each of these watercolors is a 9" x 22". Clearly, I'll be having a blue Christmas ;)

Blue 11

Blue 12

Blue 13

Blue 14

Blue 15

Sunday, December 11, 2011


*runs in* Here I am! Whew. And just in the the nick of time too...I have to get my semester final portfolio finished and burned onto a disc by Tuesday. So today, I have finally scanned and/or photographed (depending on size) each piece. I know I previously skipped around on here because of my fear of scanner malfunctions, but it worked today!

Images seen in my last post were created right before this group. The pieces here are all approximately 5" x 12". Some of the postcard paper I used was longer and thinner than others and #25 is an 11" x 14". Now that the technicalities are out of the way, here's more art I made. Some of these watercolor prints may resemble vaginas, I know (number 27, I'm looking at you). Although it's not intentional, I'm okay with it.

Beyond Rorschach - Test 25

Beyond Rorschach - Test 26

Beyond Rorschach - Test 27

Beyond Rorschach - Test 28

Beyond Rorschach - Test 29

Beyond Rorschach - Test 30

Beyond Rorschach - Test 31

(note to self, crop these a bit more)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Out of Order

I am just catching up on the scanning/photographing/editing phase of artmaking. This is the not-so-fun part in my opinion, thus I have been procrastinating. And rather than take the chance that my scanner would be temperamental today, I shot photos of the larger pieces I completed last in this series. In other words, I skipped a bunch.

Some of these are keepers, and some are not, the numbers may be changed later because of that fact, but I just wanted to keep updated on here. Some times I am more vocal than others, and this is clearly a down-time for me. I will have more images of the in-between pieces up soon though!

I am conceptually still working out my second visual thesis, I think it will be an "Ode to the Circle" which will encompass all of the work being done by other artists in collaboration with me (located on my other blog, http://artthatcirclestheearth.blogspot.com), as well. I will be trying to focus on the therapeutic aspects of the circle, most likely spanning psychology, and mental and emotional health.

So, here is some new work...

 Beyond Rorschach #32

 Beyond Rorschach #33

 Beyond Rorschach #34

 Beyond Rorschach #35

 Beyond Rorschach #36

 Beyond Rorschach #37


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

News from the Terry McCormick Gallery

Check out this event, coming up on December 10th at the Terry McCormick Gallery of Contemporary Fine and Folk Art in Milwaukee! This show will feature up and coming artists as well as myself and other Terry McCormick Gallery regulars. Looks good!

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Paintings, Beyond Rorschach

I spent the first few days of my mini-vacation painting my little heart out. Watercoloring, is there anything better? I say no. No there is not. It did take me a few days to seal these, and then scan and manipulate the scans so that the two images are together. You see, my scanner is unfortunately about a half an inch too narrow for both to fit at once. I had originally named these "Rorschach Tests", starting at eleven, but now I think they have gone beyond that, so I'm "interrupting" and changing the previous names of the few I finished before, with a "beyond".  The pieces I shared with you last year are here: http://artinshanaty.blogspot.com/2010/08/testing-testing-1-2-3.html

I had a ton of fun with these, it's so fulfilling for me to just play once in a while, I can't even tell you. I really needed this...

Beyond Rorschach - Test #17

Beyond Rorschach - Test #18

Beyond Rorschach - Test #19

Beyond Rorschach - Test #20 

Beyond Rorschach - Test #21 

 Beyond Rorschach - Test #22

Beyond Rorschach - Test #23

Beyond Rorschach - Test #24

Symmetry, it's so darn appealing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Y'all need to check out my other blog! Some really exciting things are brewing over there, and I feel as if I will be more active on there until at least May. I am seeing the collaborative art project that I helped conceive of over two years ago, grow. It's amazing to see, and be a part of and to write for. I am acting as a sort of project manager and this will be my second thesis project for graduate school.

This one is quite different than the last. First off, I needed a break from the heavy subject matter of last year. The DV stuff and the site and everything all but killed me inside. By the time I graduated I was a highly charged emotional fiend. I literally could have bit heads off, I was so frustrated and exhausted. Rather than put myself or anyone else through that again, I decided I would be focusing on my old, dear friend, the circle.

  photo taken outside of MICA PLACE, Baltimore

Ahhhhhh, she's like a stout drink of water to me, and I've been in the desert for a year. I am also tired of this blog consisting of mostly exhibition advertising. It couldn't be helped because I had so much physically going on, and I was so focused on making all of that work, for so long, that I couldn't even think, like really think. Besides, my guts were already on the paper, on the cardboard, in the prints that I was making, so there was no way to duplicate it in real time with this blog/venue, as well as all the others I was steadily working my way through.

So. Replenishment commences....mandalas and circles galore....a collaborative series that crosses physical boundaries, and beyond. Check it out, if you please, after all, it's just across the hall... 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Collograph Printmaking for YOU!

Last month I promised April Heding from the very fine organization Guildess, in Milwaukee, that I would put a collograph printmaking demonstration online for her, since she was unable to attend the one I had planned at the Riverwest Artists' Association. Unfortunately plans often go awry, and there was a motorcycle show blocking off Center Street in Milwaukee, and many other streets around it during the time I had scheduled the workshop. So maybe this was meant to live online after all.

Let me first say that I have worked through this process, collograph printing without a press, all year long. I finished the majority of my thesis work (4,000 individual prints) on the floor of my spare room/studio. I also used this workshop at least seven times in approximately five Baltimore City communities throughout the year. Many of those times the workshops were outside on the street, facilitated with youth and adults in mind, so I'm positive that if you follow these instructions you will make something awesome.

Collograph basically means "glue drawing" and this is an easy way to understand the concept if it's a foreign one. If you think of the plate as if it were a landscape, the things that get printed are the highest areas, such as mountains. The portions that will not get ink are your valleys. Depending on how steep the mountain, parts of the valley may or may not show. Remember that you can always adjust your plate after printing (just rip off the offending piece, re-do and reapply the medium), or you can start over, because the materials I am suggesting are inexpensive or even free. Let's start!

To create your plate you will need these things...

Cardboard. For this plate, I used recycled, corrugated cardboard. Cut the cardboard out in the shape you want your plate to be. You could make this any shape you want.

You will also need glue, acrylic medium, scissors and an old paintbrush. 

Here is the fun part, fabric or anything that has a nice texture, but is still relatively thin. Beyond just fabric I have used the plastic woven bags that veggies sometimes come in, yarn, different types of paper, glitter glue, sandpaper and more. You can use your imagination here and use whatever you think has the ultimate texture you want. Really play with this part of the process and feel your environment instead of looking at it. You will find that everything that you need is probably already living around you.

I chose to use a rectangle as my plate shape, because I am going to make an image of a row house. Here I am starting to apply pieces of thin, textured fabrics to create windows and doors for my habitat. For this, I am making everything as flat as possible, because everything that is on the plate, textured or not, shows up nicely if its thickness is even, throughout the surface area.

I have finished gluing my fabric onto the plate and have let it dry for a bit. Now I will use an old paintbrush to apply acrylic medium (or rhoplex) to the whole plate, front and back. Try to really get the medium into every crack, push/force it in there! Then smooth out the coat of medium as much as possible (with this method the cardboard will show up as a nice, solid, dark tone). Let the plate dry completely. You can speed this up with a hairdryer if you need to. 

Apply at least two thin coats on the front of the plate, letting each dry thoroughly before any additional applications.

Okay, so now your finished collograph plate is dry and we are ready for printing! Here's what you'll need for this part: 

- palette (I used a piece of thin plastic), and then taped down the edges. 
- block printing ink (approx. $5 per tube at the art store)
- brayer (approx. $5- $10, depending on the width, at the art store)
- palette knife (or a plastic knife would work)
- phone book or something else heavy that you can step on
- clean, old towels or washcloths
- bucket for submerging your paper in water OR a spray bottle filled with water, like you see here
- You will also need paper to print your image on. You could use any kind of paper, colored or white, or black. If you want this to be a "bleed print" you will cut your paper to be slightly smaller than the size of the plate. A bleed print would not give you any plain/solid boarders around the image. We will be using a surface roll-up method for inking our plates.

Start by wetting the paper on both sides, very thoroughly. You want the paper to still be damp when you print. If you have to re-wet it, that's perfectly fine. But wet the paper in some fashion, either by bucket or spritzer.

Blot the paper evenly, and then leave it inside your official blotting towel. It is a good idea to designate one towel for this job, so that it doesn't get ink all over it, and conversely, your clean paper. 

Add your ink to the palette (which you have already taped down).  A quarter-sized blob will create about three prints. I don't have a photo of this next step, but you'll want to take your palette knife (a plastic butter knife would work too!) and make the blob of ink into a line or trough. It is much easier to roll up the ink evenly from something more flat, rather than blobby.

In order to get an even coating, you will take/lift a bit of the ink from the trough with your brayer/roller. Pick up the ink and then lift the brayer up to start rolling from a position nearest your body. You'll want to roll the ink outward, or away from yourself, lifting up the brayer each time you complete a roll. In other words, do not roll back and forth. Once you have lifted the brayer and it is airborne, place the brayer back down where you started. Repeat this and roll the brayer at different angles until the ink is coating the brayer evenly and thinly. When you are rolling, if you are doing it correctly, you will hear the sound of tires on wet pavement. If the amount of ink that you grabbed is too much/too thick it will not make this slick sound, and so you'll know that you have too much ink on the brayer (to fix this if it occurs, roll some of the ink off onto your phone book/scrap paper, and then take it back to the palette).

Now we're rollin'! (pun intended)
Okay, so you'll need to ink up your plate now. Placing the plate on the unused portion of your palette is a good idea. Failing that, you can do it on a phone book/scrap paper. Make sure to get a good even coat on here, rolling away from you, in all different directions and angles, turning the plate if you need to. You may have to "recharge" or reload the brayer, depending on the size of your plate.

We're almost there! Your plate should be fully inked, and look a little something like this ^. Now we will start the layering process (incidentally, if your paper has dried, now is a good time to quickly re-wet and blot it).

Place a sheet of phone book/scrap paper down first.

Your plate goes "butter-side-up" on top of the scrap paper! (ink facing up)  
ETA: Now, go wash or wipe your hands before you handle the paper!

Next, place the damp paper down in one go (normally I would use both hands, but am holding the camera in one, so you see my dilemma). What does this mean? Use both hands to hold the paper, and hover it slightly above the plate in order to center it, then drop it. Basically, you are trying not to smudge the paper before you make the actual print.

Clean, old towel number two comes into play here. Gingerly place it here, on top of the paper.

Now it's phone book time. As you can see, my inky hands have been all over this one for the past year. It has served me well, and in many different ways. Place the phone book or something else that's heavy on top of clean old towel number two.

Step on it, literally. Use your own body weight to press the plate into your paper.

You are almost finished! Start taking apart your layers. As you can see, a slight embossing will happen, but that will work itself back out during drying time.

Peel back the paper from the print slowly....

OMG look at that nice collograph print! Hopefully yours turned out just as snazzy. But if you don't happen to like it, you can always reprint it, right away. Please note that the prints are always better the second time, it's why printmakers create a "proof" before any official printmaking is done on good paper. It's a nice way to gauge whether or not they are inking it the way they want, or if they need more ink etc. You can also block out portions of your plate by simply placing a shape (i.e. another piece of paper) on top of the inked plate, in between that and the paper you will print on.

Allow your print to dry thoroughly, and then press the paper again, lightly. You can use the phone book for this as well. They are multi-purpose!

Well, that's it from me, happy printing, y'all!