A long overdue revisitation

Scene of a country lane done with etching techniqueAlong A Path, 2011 (intaglio and aquatint)

I’ve just signed up —at long last— for another printmaking class! Difficult to believe it’s been seven years since my scholarship to learn copperplate etching (intaglio) at Manhattan Graphics Center, which was my first and only foray into this fantastic ancient method of picture-making.

The class begins in November, with my same instructor as last time. I’ve still got a huge slab of copper which I didn’t get to last time, and I hope it’s still in good nick. Gotta check out my supplies to see what else I’ll need to resume the practice.

This time, I’m keen to get more exploratory in my work. In 2011 I focused on pieces that were intricately detailed and traditional (as you can see from these two prints). My approach involved a lot of hand work, using a magnifying glass to see as I worked. It was incredibly time-consuming, even before the acid-etching stage— which is where a lot of magic can happen, much like going into the darkroom with one’s negatives.

Continue reading “A long overdue revisitation”

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Regard me as a Sink

old penmanship on a diary pageHere’s a page from an antique journal or diary of sorts— it’s from an old “Autographs” book that I purchased at the Antiquarian Book Fair last Sunday at the Brooklyn Expo in Greenpoint, and the majority of dates found within are between 1879-1884. It was a sacred collection of sentiments, photographs, and drawings of one Antoinette Reisse from St Louis, MO.

Above is a sentiment written to her by one of her true friends, Ida. The penmanship initially made a confounding mess of this, as it seems to read—

In the golden chaise of friendship,
Regard me as a Sink.

What are you on, Ida? That’s just nonsense!

On closer inspection, it appears Tony used a pencil to correct or clarify poor Ida’s handwriting, so that on balance one can see that it is meant to read—

In the golden chain of friendship,
Regard me as a link.

Ah, yes, much better. That makes sense. For a moment I thought Ida was an early surrealist or dada enthusiast, before such things were named.

Sunday morning, looking through old sketchbooks

pen and ink "Hello" script

It’s a fine Sunday, breezy and overcast; not bad qualities for a lazy morning at a window-side desk.

A long time ago I used to use crow quill dip pens for drawing and lettering. Though it can be a chore keeping those nibs clean enough to flow nicely, their character cannot be matched by the modern ink-filled pens that strive to emulate the look. It is, in part, the tension between the sharp metal and the paper that makes it unmistakable.

diminutive sketch of a woman with red raincoat and red umbrella

This little monochrome sketch has aways touched me. It somehow reminds me of Tove Jansson’s Fillyjonk character. I’ve been posting forgotten things from old sketchbooks on IG; follow me @edaggarart to see more.

Twin angels, their bisque trepanned; eyes empty

photo of two bisque dolls heads

This image, a detail of one of my assemblages involving old porcelain dolls. Their halos are of sterling wire.

two assemblages, with porcelain dolls and metal bits

Winter itself is exhausted; kicks and screams against its scheduled retreat nonetheless

ink drawing of a sick thing on the rocks

I think the original title of this was A sick thing upon the rocks in the very early morning. It’s from when I was a teenager in college. (I think the sketch that precipitated this ink drawing originated during an acid trip; that coming down feeling—)

As I see it now, looking through the archive, it looks to me like a personification of the tail end of winter. Fighting in vain against the sun; unwilling to exit stage left; refusing to retreat for its Persephone months—

Those during which she must return to where she’d been abducted. By absent-mindedly eating the pomegranate seeds proffered by Hades, she doomed herself to a third the year in the underworld, thereby depriving the surface of the world of green things growing during her absence.

That is Winter, which doesn’t like to take its leave quietly, gracefully.

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(TBH, the way I wrote the title of this post reminds me of nothing so much as the GOP, but that’s a different sort of post altogether.)

The subtle mental nausea of homesick

a scrap of writing I did when I was 21, summer after college. (a summer homesickness)

Here’s a scrap from one of my journals of youth. A page written when I was twenty-one, and newly out of college— my first summer spent in Brooklyn, as I’d always gone back to the farm in between the school years. Few of my schoolmates were in town that summer. I was broke, looking for work, renting a furnished room in a  sublet with two roommates who were rarely at home. It was a lonely summer. (It was when I first began taking long solitary wanders in this town.)

I can see that I’ve apparently always had a penchant to write in all caps (when not too hurried), and a flair for flowery or not very day-to-day wording, though over the years it has seeped into my speech. When they say write the way you speak, I wound up doing it the other way round, haha.

Anyway, as I shall be back at the farm in less then 48 hours, a little homesick nostalgia seemed a timely do-dad to pull from the archives for this Winter Solstice post.

The waning light turned gold and reflected in the windows

Painting of Amsterdam rooftops by E Daggar

Here is a painting from a small series I did back in 2007. (It’s hard to believe that was a decade ago!) This is Amsterdam II, and it has been sold! Its new home will be in California, and I’m very excited for its new adventure.

Though I love having my art in my own home, it’s really meant to go out into the world and be enjoyed by others, so I’m super happy that someone loved it enough to buy it. And in this case, he gets the bonus of an original hand-crafted Mad Framer floating frame in the deal.

A cozy brownstone at the end of the block

Once again I missed my Thursday post. I was at work late. We were shooting a little set up of cut paper buildings for a campaign, and they reminded me of this illustration I did for a holiday card a few years ago, which has sort of the look of cut paper.

Below is a close up (in black and white) of part of the scene we shot last night. One of my co-workers and I spent the batter part of two days cutting and assembling the layered structures.

Elegant instruments, arrayed in bowls

A sculpture in Florence
A sculpture in Florence

There is a room full of young women lounging in or at the edges of inviting pools of water. The room has an otherworldly atmosphere, with dim, colored lighting and biomorphic curves in the walls and ceilings. It feels, looks like a grotto; like some ethereal rendering of a subterranean brothel. On low ledges all around there are sleek bowls containing delicate and beautiful shapes that look at first inspection as if they are made of glass, but they feel gelatinous. There’s liquid or water in the bowls. The shapes float like jellyfish.

They are ornamented in impossibly-detailed patterns. I ask one of the women what they are, pointing to one near her; bell-shaped, and small. She informs me that this particular model is for cutting off one’s arm. I ask “Why on earth would anyone want to do that?” She doesn’t answer, but nearby I suddenly notice a bowl of fingers, small and red; transforming the liquid like ink blooming in water.

Insistent with my inquiry, I ask her how such a thing could possibly cut through an arm, or anything at all, as I lift one of the instruments out of a bowl and display its gelatinous quality, how soft and malleable. It has only enough density to hold its intended shape. This seems to interest her, and she looks at the object as I hold it, but doesn’t answer this either. I wonder if there’s some quality about the material of which I’m unaware— if sudden pressure is applied, perhaps it becomes more rigid, like quicksand, but maybe fine or sharp.

It remained a mystery, as did the nature or reason for the room itself, the girls, and the the other instruments. It struck me that some of the glass tools looked vaguely like those long-ago diminutive shoes for the footbound.

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(~2005; recently edited)

To visitors who’ve recently discovered this place

self-portrait in EdinburghWordPress Discover did me the honor of sharing one of my recent posts yesterday, for which I’m grateful. I’m happy to say Hi! and thanks for reading my work. It means a lot when my words or images connect with people. So, thank you again.

As a number of you’ve just arrived via the portal of a recent Thunderstorm*, I searched through the archives to find other posts that have a similar tone, timbre, or general feeling. Below— a few bits n bobs that may also resonate.

Enjoy! Also, if you like drawings, urban / rural photography, explore the rest of this site.

The bird in my kitchen, and other prophecies

Some thoughts from April in Baltimore

Returning from Riis Beach after a light rain warned of a coming storm

From here I can see the curve of of the earth

A quiet wander through a green wood (part the first)

A Spring rain, soon forgotten

A telegraph from Elysium

Like smoke suspended in the calm

Scaffolding for memory

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*It is odd timing that a post I wrote about a thunderstorm gained a wide new audience so shortly after the dreadful Hurricane that has done and continues to do so much damage in Houston. I’m sure the last thing anyone there cares to think about is rain, or storms, for a very long time— my heart and sympathies go to all who’ve been affected there.