Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rock Pieces II

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

TA DA!- the second half of the diptych! 

This fits to the right of the print you saw yesterday.

The last time you saw this one, we discussed what a diptych is and had some fun with math.

In a different post, we talked about how I made the two "Rock Pieces", ....um...., pieces, and looked at jigsawed blocks.

Instead of repeating all of that today, we'll let the print speak for its finished self.

If you would like to see it in person, the Evergreen Fair would be a really good time - it is this weekend at UNH!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rock Pieces I

© 2014 Hannah Phelps


The diptych is finally dry - HOORAY!

I bought frames for it months ago, so it is all set to go to the Evergreen Fair this coming weekend - Double HOORAY!

I added another layer of white in the foam. It used to look like this.

You can see the second half tomorrow. Or you can come to my booth at the Fair Thursday through Sunday...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Prints and Forever Homes

© 2012 Hannah Phelps

This print was among the things that sold today at Paradise City Marlborough.

The buyer is a docent at a museum and had never bought a print before. I am honored.

More in Booth 320 tomorrow so come say hello!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Birch - May

© 2009 Hannah Phelps

While we are on the topic of "plein air printmaking" (and we are - remember the Low Tide Seat story and Wave on a Perfect Day?), this birch tree is outside my window. When I created the block for this print, I worked from direct observation. I often sit in the same spot when I print from it too.

This particular impression is from May, so bright sunny greens fill the background. Fun to look at on a cold day like today!

All of these prints are coming to Paradise City Marlborough this weekend, so come by and see them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wave on a Perfect Day at Odiorne Point State Park

© 2011 Hannah Phelps

This white-line woodcut was created the same week as the print you saw yesterday

The wave was not as nice of a model as the gull - it was in constant movement. 

Good thing I am used to that.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Low Tide Seat - classic block

© 2011 Hannah Phelps

In the last post, you saw a new print from one of the first white-line woodcuts. This block isn't quite as old, but it's also a "classic" at this point. 

Yesterday, I printed a new impression for the Paradise City Art Festival in Marlborough, MA this coming weekend. And reminisced about its creation.

Wanna hear the fun story behind this block?

Odiorne Point State Park, in Rye, NH, hosted an event for artists a few years ago. We could have access to the seaside park for a week to paint or draw or whatever we liked. On the last day, there was a small exhibit of finished pieces.

Instead of painting, I completed two white-line woodcuts from start to finish - plein air printmaking!

While I was drawing and deciding which rock and tide pool combo to immortalize in wood, I noticed that this gull stuck around for a long time. Long enough to sketch for sure. But I was certain that if I started drawing him, he would fly off. So I tried to interest myself in other things.... and he stayed on that rock.... 

Inviting or teasing?

Finally, I turned to a blank piece of paper and scratched away with a pencil. The gull didn't move until the drawing - rocks, water, weed and all - was complete. He flew away before I carved the block, but that was fine. I had what I needed and in the final print, he'll sit there forever.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Low Tide - the latest

© 2009 Hannah Phelps

This block has been around for 5 years, but this print is brand new - just released from the wood last week. 

It is a little brighter than some of the others in the edition. As always, it is up to you to decide which ones you like the best. You can see the other available version here.

Both of these are coming to Paradise City Marlborough for the fair on November 21, 22 and 23. Maybe you'll come by Booth 320 for a visit.

Of course, that means there will be more framing and bagging and tagging going on around here than anything else for the next week or so. 

We'll try to get some more work done too though. At the very least, more Solar Waves are in the works today, so you will see anything exciting that happens with that.

Did you miss the video I posted yesterday? Printmaking in action with fast action and slow motion and captions. If you like Bright Wave, you will love the video




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Printing "Bright Day"



Yes, I made a video when I was printing Bright Day.

Printing jigsaw reliefs is such a complicated exercise - the only way to clearly explain that is to show you how it works.

This little demo shows you my tools, piles of ink, paper, and workspace. Plus, you can see all the pieces of the block, from the large and simple to the teeny tiny nub that actually did get lost down the drain when the edition was done and the block cleaned for the last time.

The block you saw yesterday and the block for Marsh Spring are just like this one and will be printed the same way. 

Will there be more video? That mostly depends on whether or not you all like this one....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Pieces

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

Just because there are unfinished prints all over the place around here, doesn't mean new things aren't happening.

This is that soft kut stuff you've seen before - I used this for Bright Wave and Marsh Spring. It started as a 9"x12" rectangle. But after some quality time with a utility knife, it has been transformed into a set of interlocking shapes.

This is what blocks look like before printing starts. Ink has not yet touched its grey surface. 

Just like the other two jigsaw prints from this rubbery stuff, the final print will be one layer of many colors on kinwashi paper. That's the kind with the little fibers in it.

Since this print and Bright Wave are in the same printmaking family, there will be a special surprise tomorrow.

That is all I am going to tell you today.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Print in Progress - Appledore Spray Layer 5

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

First things first: To all veterans and active military folk who happen to read an art blog, thank you. 

Because you do what you do, I can enjoy the natural world and create big messes in my studio trying to make ink and paint replicate what I see. You are appreciated and honored all year, not just on this day.

As far as printmaking is concerned, the plan for last weekend was to let the bottle jack press show off its mad skills during the open studio.

What really happened was that every time I picked up roller, pallette knife or print, a visitor walked in the door. Welcoming visitors is the true goal of an open studio, so I am not complaining. 

I finished printing the latest layer on this piece yesterday.  Looks good so far, if I do say so myself. There might be just one layer left.... We will have to see. 

(Hey! I just noticed that the green in this photo looks fine. The last two times I have shared this print the green in the wave looks radioactive. It doesn't in real life, I promise.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Print in Progress - Boothbay Harbor House 2

© Hannah Phelps


This is what the Boothbay Harbor print looks like right now. It used to look like this.

The block is in five pieces (can you figure them out?) and there are three layers of ink. Except in the foreground water. I messed up a little and had to add a fourth layer.

Very soon, I will add some white to the sky, green in the trees, dark brown in the rocks and some variety in the water and background hills.

Short post today after a fun but tiring open studio over the weekend...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Steady Tide

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

I painted at the coast A LOT in August, September and October - driving all the way over there at least twice a week.

July was so cold and rainy that I wondered if the whole season was over early. Even a snow lover like me wants a tiny bit of  summer.

In August, the sun and warmth returned, and I jumped on it. Nothing like weeks of icky weather to motivate a painter to drop everything else and seize the day when the skies finally clear. Plus, I had a buddy to meet up with almost every time.

Most of the work from those weeks is sketchy. It was great exercise and the results will lead to some exciting prints, but not much of it can be called "great painting."

This one is different - just that much above its compatriots in quality and “doneness”. I haven’t touched is since it left the rocks and it is still standing up as a nice painting.

While I was painting this piece, my friend and I remarked that the tide seemed to pause at high for a while. We didn’t talk about it long - we still worked furiously to take advantage of the phenomenon

It might be the only evidence you will see on the blog that I was painting as much as I claim....

But if you come by for the open studio this weekend...


November 8 & 9
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 10 am - 5 pm 

325 Twin Bridge Road
New Boston, NH 03070

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Print in Progress - Appledore Spray Layer 4

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This print is finally dry and ready for another layer! 

And I will add one during my open studio this weekend - you can see me printing it on my little press. 

Last time I worked on it, I couldn’t decide if the lower part of the wave was dark enough.  Just like our last view of this print, the green looks very strange on the blog, but fine on my computer. Just trust me when I say that I slapped down any urge to go neon on this piece. 

But even the tamer, darker green/purple mix in the real life print needed the lightest light next to it to help me make a solid, confident decision.

Instead of carving anything, I masked off part of the block with a stencil and added white, the lightest color in the whole print.


I was also unhappy with the saturation of ink in the rock area, so I reprinted it - I just added another layer of the same brown.

What will happen to it next? You will see for yourself if you come by this weekend. Other than that, you will have to wait until the next post about it.

November 8 & 9
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 10 am - 5 pm 

325 Twin Bridge Road
New Boston, NH 03070

Can't wait to meet you!






Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Solar Wave - Now In Color

number 2 off the press
all images © 2014 Hannah Phelps

Yesterday, you saw a sepia version of this print. 

Sticking to one color is a little difficult for me, as you can imagine, so I added color using a technique called "a la poupée". 

According to the National Gallery of Art's website:

"À la poupée (literally, "with the doll") describes a method of inking intaglio prints in which two or more inks of different colors are selectively applied to different parts of a single copperplate. The inked plate is then printed in a single pass through the press. The method takes its name from the poupée (doll), the small ball-shaped wad of fabric that is used to ink the plate."

This is one layer color printmaking, like white-line woodcuts, so it feels familiar. But the way the ink gets to the paper is very different.


number 6 off the press

White-line woodcuts are reliefs - the ink is on the raised portions of the block. When we apply pressure with a baren or spoon or a press, the ink from those raised areas is transferred to the paper.

In contrast, solarplate etchings are (like copper etchings) intaglio plates. This means that ink accumulates in small grooves and is then forced into paper under very high pressure. We really need a press to print.

To ink an intaglio plate, we cover the whole thing with color - smearing it all over the surface with a small card or our doll. Then, using a series of wiping techniques, we force the ink into the little recesses while removing most of it from the smooth areas.
 
If we are comfortable with a little bedlam on our plate, we can gob on as many colors as we want. These colors mix and spread out all over the plate when we wipe. 

For this print, I chose three hues - brown, blue and yellow. I mixed some of the yellow and blue on my pallette to give myself a bright green. I mostly put yellow and green in the wave, blue in the background (top) and brown on the bottom in the foreground rocks. After printing the plate nine times, I had nine different images.

number 9 off the press

I knew this would happen and I like the surprise involved in this inking method. Which means I am going to keep printing them.





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Solar Wave

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This autumn I'm playing with a different printmaking method. One that uses the power of light to create plates. 

I had done one little print of Hattie as a puppy using a Solarplate a few years ago, but I want to explore the process a little more. When everything works out well, it seems miraculous.

"Solarplate" printmaking starts with a drawing on something transparent - some artists use frosted glass, others print something off their computer onto a transparency. I use frosted mylar and pencils.  

Of course, there's nothing new about pencils on a smooth, 2-D material. It's during the next step that things get interesting.

The plate goes into a box with a special UV bulb - the same kind a tanning place would use to bronze your skin in preparation for your winter Florida vacation. The surface of the plate is water soluble, but it hardens when exposed to UV radiation.

When a frosted mylar drawing comes between the plate and the light, the radiation is partially blocked by the pencil marks. UV light hardens all the little bits of the plate it can reach. A little water washes away the softer material, corresponding to your drawing.

Now the plate works like an intaglio copper etching - it has cracks, grooves and divots to trap ink. Tomorrow, we'll talk about how that ink transfers to paper.

At first, I used a sepia color for some prints, like the one pictured here.
 

I always intended to do something else with this image, though, so the next time I printed, I messed around with color. 

I'll tell you what I mean tomorrow.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Print in Progress - Appledore Spray Layer 3

print by Hannah Phelps
© 2014 Hannah Phelps

Another layer added to the square print of a foamy wave on Appledore Island. The light blue, darker brown and light green are all new. The last layer can be seen here.

Next up? More blue, more brown and some, hmmm, we'll see.
 
I have no idea what this looks like on your computer, but the photo I have here looks too yellow on the blog, but fine in my files. I am not going to worry about it in this post.  Interesting thing to keep an eye on though...

Quick calendar update:

I have been invited by McGowan Fine Art to paint on site this Saturday (August 9th) from 10 am - 3 pm at LaBelle Winery in Amherst, NH, so come by and say hi!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Assembled Diptych in Progress

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This diptych has been a long, drawn out project.

It was supposed to be an ingenious idea that would simplify my printmaking process. Sigh.


 both blocks cut into pieces


My goal was to create a white-line woodcut that was easier to edition consistently than the traditional method of printing one at a time by hand. I thought I could cut a block, roll oil ink on the pieces (instead of painting watercolor with a brush) and use my bottle-jack press to print them (instead of rubbing with a spoon).


rollers - traditional and invented - and ink


I have done this exact thing before using a soft material instead of wood. (Remember Bright Day and Marsh Spring?) That other stuff is a lot easier to cut up than wood, especially into tiny pieces. Knowing that cutting very small bits would be hard, I didn't try. I separated some shapes with just a carved line, as if it was a white-line woodcut. I thought this gap would help ink stay in its proper place while rolling.

It did. But some of the shapes were too small for any commercially available roller that I could find. Maybe I should have taken the hint. But I didn't - I made miniature rollers out of bamboo skewers and mechanical pencil erasers. 

I wouldn't kid about this.

In the end, each print took a solid half hour to load with ink each time. For a print this size, that's just ridiculous, considering a regular jigsaw takes me between 5-10 minutes to roll up.

The bigger disappointment is that I need to add something to these and I really wanted this to be a one layer operation. Well, two when I realized I'd really like purple under everything. Now we are up to three and there will be at least one more. The whites in the foam need work, so I am adding some highlights. 

In the meantime, I thought you'd like to see the process and progress. Especially since I won't be doing this again. Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Print In Progress - The Other Half of the Untitled Diptych - With Bonus Math

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

If you put this print to the right of the one you saw in the last post, it makes a bigger complete image. When 2 small prints create a larger composition it is called a diptych.

You could do the same thing with more than 2 pieces - there are triptychs (3 parts) and tetraptychs (4 parts). Instead of going too far with this, after 4 you can just say polyptych.

The trick when creating an image out of smaller pieces is that all the pieces need to be able to stand on their own AND work in the whole, finished piece. 

You end up with more art possibilities that way. To put it mathematically (you know, for fun):

Number of complete art ideas from an n-tych, in which n equals the number of component images = n + 1

In our case, n = 2, so we have 3 art ideas:

                    1. both pieces together 
                    2. the left half alone
                    3. the right half alone

Now that I am thinking about it, I suppose when n is greater than 2 you could hang some component images and not others.... Hmmm.

So a more accurate equation would be:

Number of complete art ideas from an n-tych = n! + 1 

Remember from math class that:

 n! = n x (n-1) x (n-2) x ...(n-(n-1))

But that equation assumes that any of the smaller component images would look nice next any of the others.....

Ok, ok, I know I have totally lost some of you and this is not a math blog, it is an art blog, so we will start over in the next post by posting these two prints together in their proper order and talking about how I made them and there won't be any math. 

Deal?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Print In Progress - One Half of an Untitled Diptych

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

You knew there were multiple prints in progress here, but you have never seen two of them before. Even though they began their lives back in November!

I was trying to make a white-line type print using rollers and a press on a jigsawed block. At first, I wanted just one layer, but I ended up adding a purple-grey background. Two layers - not so bad. 

But I will be adding another layer. Before I claim that is the last one, we'll wait and see how it looks.

This print has a buddy - the other half of the diptych. You'll see that soon along with some pictures of the cut up blocks and the crazy tools I had to make to print these.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Print in Progress - Boothbay Harbor House

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

Because layers of ink don't dry overnight (or even in a week), I like to work on a few things at once. Like the print you saw in the last post, this image is a 12" x 12" jigsaw reduction woodcut with a layer of a pale color (pink this time), under the three bolder hues you can see here. 

To see where I hope to go with this print, you can look at the little study for it here.

During rainy weeks like this, it is great to have some work to do inside!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Print in Progress - Appledore Spray

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

Here is one of the jigsaw reduction prints I am currently working on using the homemade press I showed you yesterday. It has a light yellow under the three colors you can easily see. 


Not too much to say about it now. The next layer goes on next week because I have three other compositions that are sharing press time. Maybe you'll see a photo of one of those tomorrow... 

In the meantime, you might get a kick out of this video showing the construction of a bottle jack press.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bottle Jack Press

© 2014 Hannah Phelps


You were promised a picture of my little homemade press a month ago. Please accept my apologies for the late delivery, but here it is.

While I built this myself, I did not invent it. Printmaker Charles Morgan designed this handy tool and has published plans online. You can see them here.

I have been using my bottle jack press since November or so. I haven't finished anything except last year's Collector's Card. But I have some good starts. 

I am not going to promise you a photo of one my works-in-progress tomorrow, but I can try really hard to post one. Really.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Large Print in Progress Part 6

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

Yes, we skipped one. I forgot to photograph the layer just before this one when I added dark brown to the yellow rocks and light blue to the middle part of the water. You'll have to use your imagination to fill in the gap.

This layer is all about drama - the dark blue at the top grabs attention and solidifies the composition by tying into the dark browns. 

I love the seaweed on the left-hand rocks, if I do say so myself. Nice shapes with plenty of life in them.

At least three things need to happen now - a little something to all that pink at the bottom*, a darker green to the middle water, and another layer at the top too. 

Too much time past between the last layer and this one. I tweaked the ink formula slightly and the ink dried faster. I think I will be able to work on it again as early as next week!

* Don't doubt my pinks here - when you get to stand on the granite coast of NH, you will see how pink it really is.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Large Print in Progress part 4?

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This print has some new ink. I added some lighter blue to the top and some darker pink to the bottom. It looked like this before.

As the ink builds up, each layer takes a little longer to dry, so progress is slow. When I have a new photo, I'll show you one.

I have started another small one to work on at home on my little press. 

Wait, haven't I shown you my little press? Ooooh - you are going to love seeing this. Next time.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Point of Impact 4

© 2012 Hannah Phelps

The fourth print from the Point of Impact block. The colors are a little deeper in this one. Not better, just different.

The next thing I want to show you is the most recent layer on the big print I've been working on for a few months. The last time you saw it, it looked like this. Next week, I will show you how it looks today.

And don't forget, all of the finished prints and paintings are available. Some, like Point of Impact, are in the Etsy store.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Point of Impact 3

© 2012 Hannah Phelps

When I started printing white-line woodcuts quite a few years ago, I just printed something from the block and signed it. I didn't decide on an edition number or a limit. 

Since these prints are created one at a time, it is nearly impossible to make two the same. And it is fun to experiment with each one as I print it.

Then, I caved to some pressure (pun?) and did edition some of them. I try very hard to copy previous efforts whenever I print from these blocks. When I have reached the limit (10 for most of them), I will retire them. Maybe sell the blocks. 

In the meantime, I started some new blocks and I am going back to my original plan. It is more enjoyable for me and I think more exciting for collectors and looky-loos.

So I will share each one as I go, and with your discriminating eye, you can decide which ones you like best.

Next time, I will show you the 4th print from the Point of Impact block. Or you can see it/buy it on Etsy.

The first two have sold. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

First Watch 2

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This is the second print from a new white-line block. I showed you the first one in the last post

Toggle back and forth to enjoy the differences. Have a favorite?

They are both available on Etsy!

Friday, March 28, 2014

First Watch

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This is the newest white-line print. It isn't very big, but there is a lot of movement packed into it. I think the wood grain running parallel to the wave provides some extra energy. 

There are two of these so far. I will show you the other one next time.

If you absolutely can't wait, you can see it here on etsy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

View from Robert's House

© 2010 Hannah Phelps

The other night Olympic alpine skier, Julia Mancuso, said she loved water in all forms - snow, waves, rain - all of it.  She was a little lost for words while trying to describe her feelings. 

Even though she couldn't quite explain it, I totally understood because I adore it all too. Instead of using words, I paint it. No matter what shape it takes.


 Water in Three States, oil on canvas, sold
 
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

On the Shelf

© 2010 Hannah Phelps

Here is a little seascape painted a few years ago. While the wave is assaulting the rocks, there is also water running all over the place from a previous attack. Just they way I like it.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sunset from Quincy

© 2010 Hannah Phelps

Another "classic" painting. Again, Quincy, Massachusetts. 

More sand and water patterns created by tidal currents. But, the dramatic sky is a bit unusual for me. I embraced the pink and I think it worked out alright.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Retreat

© 2010 Hannah Phelps


The lens I use to shoot photos of my paintings and prints is off on a little spa trip to refresh and update itself. Until it gets back, you are going to see some classic stuff. Like this painting.
 
This marshy area is in Quincy, Massachusetts. I used to visit that town occasionally. 

I did not paint this on site - I drew a lot of little sketches and painted it in the studio. Low tide water patterns are one of my favorite thing to observe and paint.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another Week, Another Layer



© 2014 Hannah Phelps

Remember the block for this print right after it was carved for a new layer? Here is the print after a trip to the press in Manchester. 

What's new? There are some yellows and greens in the middle of the composition. To see the previous layers, revisit this post.

What's next? More ink for the top and bottom shapes. If this ink dries fast enough, that might happen this week.

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Unfinished Projects

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

I've been experimenting with a bunch of different things. Exciting for sure, but nothing is ready for a "Ta Da!"

These blocks were the object of obsessive energy for a few weeks. Until I was finally able to pull two proofs. And they weren't quite right and I didn't know what to do about it. So I am still thinking. 

This week, I tried to invent something to help me carry my stuff to and from the printmaking studio. After hours with materials and tools, I have a prototype that is just "ok." Round 2 will have to wait until next week. 

Until then, I will play with my dogs in an agility trial and enjoy the snow.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weather Together

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

These trees just seem sort of happy in the sun. Maybe they are snow lovers like me.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Tree Slope

© 2014 Hannah Phelps

This little tree on the edge of the woods needs to weather the cold and snow alone. Somehow, it seems pretty cheery anyway.

More snow is falling. That means more snow paintings!

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