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April 18, 2013

Finding My Own Visual Language - Stamps and Drawings

Exercise 2 (Continued):  I made it!  I made 30 1" stamps based on a square - stretching my imagination to finish exercise 2 when I when was in doubt.  I don't work in series and I'm not a doodler - so this made me happy.  I'm afraid I might bore you posting the remaining stamps, but perhaps you can find an image you like, or be motivated to try the exercise yourself.

I switched from Speedy Carv to Moo Carve right before Stamp #25.  It is much softer and I had to master the pressure needed to carve smooth lines all over again.  Both of them are great for carving stamps and each had a learning curve for me.

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Exercise 3:  The instructions said to trace the black cut images from exercise 1 and in the process to convert them to line drawings.  My black images were all squares, so I wasn't sure this would be very interesting.  And I also didn't want to trace when I can always use drawing practice, so I selected a few stamps and made a line drawing of the image.  Some of them are the result of putting my 1" stamp together many times to create another image. 

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Spring Daffodils, Gelli Arts Printing, and a Breakthrough

Spring finally reached New York City and there are daffodils everywhere along the streets and avenues.  The tulips are just getting ready to bloom - they will be next week's paintings.

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Yesterday Teri, Pat, and Benedicte joined me at my dining room table for another play day making prints with Gelli Arts plates.  Here is a photo taken at the height of our printing - 4 plates, lots of paints, and numerous stamps, stencils, and other texturing tools.

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I don't especially like acrylic paints and need to experiment with different pens so I can draw over acrylics without immediately ruining each pen.  But I love making the prints, so I'm open to any and all suggestions for pens that you use successfully.  I can use a dip pen and India ink, but then I can't transport my tools easily because of fear of ink stains.Teri suggests Souffle and Glaze pens and gave me a Sharpie to try (Poster Paint).  This is one of the acrylic prints I made - using color copy paper. 

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But then I decided that I really needed to try to make a print with watercolor paint.  I have an inexpensive set of Reeves tube paints that Sydney uses with me and I used them in the same way that I used the craft acrylic paints.   I deliberately used a stencil, a stamp, sequin waste, and corrugated cardboard to texture the paint on the Gelli plate for my test and here is what printed!!

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I was so excited that I made several more - printing one of them in my current watercolor sketchbook.

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Last night I painted several more daffodils over the watercolor Gelli print using Winsor-Newton Gouache paints!  I am super-execited!  Now I can play with media and tools that I like better.  What other cheap, tube watercolors should I try??

April 15, 2013

New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert

My husband and I take some of our grandchildren to the NY Philharmonic Young People's Concert each year.  It is geared to 6-12 year olds and as soon as our grandsons turn 6, they join us for the series of 4 concerts.  This is 9 year old Henry's 4th year, 7 year old Robbie's 2nd year and 6 year old Callum's 1st year.  Note:  By their choice, I take our two grand daughters to the Nutcracker Ballet - where tickets for one performance are much more expensive than 4 Philharmonic Concerts!  

Before the one hour concert, there is a one hour educational session called Kidzone.  Members of the orchestra introduce 3 instruments to children and they get to try making sound with them.  And there are at least 4-5 other activities which the boys LOVE!  Robbie was at his first soccer game of the season on Saturday, but here are Henry and Callum learning about the trombone.  That is Henry in front and his little brother Callum behind him.

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The boys love learning about the instruments and try to guess what they will be for each concert.

Henry decided that he wanted to play the violin and drums, about the same time that he started attending the concerts, and is extremely musical and talented.  I sketched him while he was practicing the violin last month.  And then sketched him yesterday playing the trombone (from a photo that I took on Saturday).

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April 10, 2013

Quickie Bus/Subway Portraits

I continue to carry my small leather notebook so I can sketch fellow passengers on the Manhattan buses and subways.  Most of these are done in 2 minutes or less.  The stops are close together and passengers arrive and leave quickly.

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April 7, 2013

Finding My Own Visual Language

I'm still working on Exercise 2 from the Visual Language book pictured below.  It is an out of print book that I bought on Amazon.  In this exercise I need to take the square I "fractured" in exercise 1 and create one square stamp each day for 30 days.

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I think that these exercises are fun and important for abstract art - including collage and surface design on fabric.  I still worry that I won't be able to create another 1" square stamp, but as I work I find all new variations.  I rarely work in a series, but marvel at the creative benefits.  This is an open-ended project for me, and I will periodically post the exercises I'm doing.  Posting the exercises is as much for me as readers, to keep me inspired and on track.

 Here are stamps #7- 18

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I definitely feel more comfortable carving the stamps with Speedball Cutting Tools and Speedy Carve.  You can see the first Exercise and the initial 6 stamps from Exercise 2 in this blog category http://www.paperandthreads.com/2013/03/another_project_begins_1.php