Second week in the printmaking studio

drawing worked into hard ground on a copper plate

Here is a picture I took with my phone after working the drawing in the hard ground, then immersing the plate for three ‘bites’ in the acid. This plate will serve as my re-entry to the world and techniques of etching, since it’s been over 7 years since I took my first class, so I didn’t spend a ton of time on it

The way this process works:
1. Coat copper with ‘hard ground’ which is basically a sort of wax
2. Draw into the hard ground, exposing the copper
3. Immerse the plate (carefully, wearing gloves) into a bath of ferric-chloride solution. The longer it is in, the deeper and the acid ‘etches’ your lines into the copper, so they hold more ink.

It’s very similar to the photographic process in that way. So if you want some lines to stay very thin, you do a ‘first bite,’ then mask off some areas. Immerse for a second bite, etc.

This means that even though I used the same scribing tool on the whole plate, the result is three different line weights in the image, which will be more apparent when I do my test print.

Below is a sort of preview that I did just by inversing and using photoshop to fake it, but as this can’t show the depth of the lines, it’s not a true preview of a print.
Same image reversed and inverted in photoshop as a rough preview

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Soon there will be snow in the air and the grey will set in

cleaned-up ink version of house drawing

Here is the cleaned-up inked version of the house. Next is time to trace it and then transfer the revered version of this to the plate, below:

pencil tracing of the house drawing
Here is the tracing paper after transferring the image. As you can see, I replaced the original trees. I used a white charcoal pencil on the tracing paper to show up on the dark surface of the ‘wax’ ground into witch I’ll scratch the drawing. (I’m hoping the pre-made transfer paper I ordered will leave crisper lines, as this is fuzzy.)
the copper plate, with image transferred
After finishing the transfer to copper, I realized that I left all of my etching tools at the studio! So, I guess I’ll be working on that portion at class. I’ll try to take some decent photos of the line work in progress. You’ll see how impossibly fine the lines can be compared to pen or pencil. Stay tuned!

Superpowers

b&w photograph of people in a quiet sunny green parkObserving and Listening have become almost superpowers in the contemporary world. Such pursuits are almost the opposite of (though are often mistaken for) ‘consuming’, because to truly see and/or hear takes as much patience and skill as any act of creation. They are the wells that feed creation. Processes —both of observation and research— culminate in the process of making, which is, always, one of translation.

.   .   .

The above was born of a comment left on another artist’s blog; I’ve adapted it to a more generalized sentiment, as I find it to be true.

Apologies for the longer stretches between posts, lately. I’m in need of a schedule to stay on track here, as I re-learn living, and balance with the full time gig/ I’d rather expected more time for writing while I was upstate, but lots of family goings-on took precedence. Happy Summer, and thanks for reading and looking! 

Circling back to that red oak tree on the farm, amid snowfall

Beyond the Red Oak v6 from Elizabeth Daggar on Vimeo.

I haven’t had time the past two weeks to get much farther with this, but I’m hoping to get back to it on the weekend. Here’s where I left off in my motion tests and atmospheric meanderings.

Focal lengths and depth of field on pencil drawings

pencil snowscape with oak tree

Here are a couple stills from a scene into which I’m working that oak tree drawing and the landscape I’ve been working on. I’m still getting the hang of working with cameras, and messing about with focal lengths and such, to get the depth of field. It’s slow going, but enjoyable.

pencil snowscape with oak tree and fence

After a day where a sudden drop in tempurature causes green leaves to fall like the piano needles from Charlie Brown’s xmas tree

I must quiet my mind.

Sometimes it can be done with reading on the train. And sometimes it needs to be done by formulating, or finding, some clear thing out of the jumble of tangled strings and wires— the ones that formed knots in one’s head during the tumult of the day. 

Continue reading “After a day where a sudden drop in tempurature causes green leaves to fall like the piano needles from Charlie Brown’s xmas tree”

When time turns in upon itself, you question everything

I’ve been on a new trajectory. It’s great; it’s weird, It’s new. I love new.

I also love Old. That’s neither here nor there. I’ve been feeling like a teenager again, lately. In the sense where I’m acutely aware how temporary so many people in one’s life tend to be. It’s not a judgement call; only acknowledgement of reality.

Most folks are temporary. There’s a time during which you overlap. It ends.

The thing to always remember is that you’re permanent. Be permanent to yourself. A solid. And recognize those who exhibit permanent qualities in return— they’re your rocks. Will help get you to your True North. The Keepers.

 

The shapes created by the spaces between things

watercolor painting of poppies in sunlight
Poppies in sunlight (watercolor)

One of the reasons I enjoy poetry is because it comprises all of my favorite ways of making. It’s creating images with words, yes; a kind of storytelling. But it’s about so much more than just the correct or precise words —more than denotation or connotation— it’s also about design.

It’s about how the words interact with the space around them; make a composition, make aural and visual rhythms; remainders as important as omissions.

As in any kind of composition, the negative space is crucial.

watercolor painting: fraternal twins
Fraternal twins (watercolor)

Things bound with waxed sail thread and resin

drawing of mountains, riversMy subconscious has been working on a thesis for me lately; broadcasting things which on the surface (flattened and simplified by my waking mind) appear disparate, but on closer inspection are stitched together by a continuous thread.

Its thesis is about crafting sensible (or at least legible, recognizable) solutions, guides, codes to amorphous and unformed problems. Striving to find concrete solutions to riddles or puzzles only hinted at. Trying to map a place whose geography and even location is ever-shifting.

A reminder that, sometimes, the answers one wants or needs are unattainable because one is asking the wrong questions. It’s telegraphing this to me visually; that’s how I best understand the world. And the message coming through: I must widen my frame of reference, my view, in order to ask the right questions.

‘Maps for cephalopods’ is perhaps the most obvious— my subconscious’ version of hitting me over the head; a wry attempt at a movie-montage or voice-over exposition— and its point at least two-fold;

Continue reading “Things bound with waxed sail thread and resin”

Remember that project I mentioned? Inking fine lines

ink drawing portrait of a man
Here are some sneak peaks of the first two illustrations for the book I’m working on. These top to are photos showing much of the finished illustrations, and below are details of the scanned images.

ink drawing of a woman with long hair

I need to gain momentum; I’d like to complete 3-4 illustrations per week to keep this moving. Gotta stay motivated!
section of an ink drawing portraitsection of an ink drawing portrait
And here is a slice of the pencil for number two.