Monday, May 16, 2016

Smooth Printing

© 2016 Hannah Phelps

The bottle jack press is cranking away on these little crashing waves! Maybe it missed our time together last summer when there was no big C-24 etching press for me to visit a few times a week.

Whatever the reason, layer two with its white on top of grey, green on top of light yellow, and middle lovely reddish brown on top of orangey-gold is working out quite well.

Economy is the buzz word for this print. Let's see how quickly and efficiently an elegant idea can emerge from piles of ink and plywood. 

That is always my goal, but a few prints have needed too much attention lately, so I am laser focused on it this time. Plus there are three prints in progress around here and I just want to finish something. 

Right now, this one and the other little seascape are behaving and I am having fun with them. One or two more layers on each and we might have TWO finished prints!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Old Problem Made New Again

 © 2016 Hannah Phelps

"I just like to start paintings - I like the big shapes and the clean colors and the loose brushwork." 

I was whining and I knew it, but I couldn't stop it in time.

"Then just keep doing that," my instructor supportively countered.

That was about ten years ago in my first outdoor plein air workshop with painter Stan Moeller. We were scattered around the grounds of the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, many of us attempting to paint the very old and extremely quirky bright yellow house. My composition included some blue water in the tidal bay and a little island. I had smeared colors in three large shapes on my canvas first - unabashed lemon, blue straight out of the ultramarine tube and vibrant purples. And I had really liked it. The composition was balanced and the whole picture had a liveliness about it that I didn't want to ruin. The start excited me so much that I had a hard time doing anything but dab at it for while.

That is when Stan offered me that great tidbit. It has helped me start and complete some great little paintings on site that feel fresh to me even after a couple of hours worth of hard work.

Lately, I realized I was whining again about the same thing. But this time, I keep it mostly to myself and the medium is printmaking.

I love the first layers:

Simple shapes with interesting color relationships. 

 They are full of so much promise.

I often rush to get the second layer going because the whole thing is so much fun. Usually, layer three is ok too.

But by layer four, I feel that I should be getting closer to finishing a piece and instead I find myself figuring out how to add more layers. Adding more layers that will complicate the energy between hues and become opportunities for prints to slide or have mysterious registration problems. Turning something that was just "not quite right" to all out ruined.

I'm afraid that the only way to stay loose and excited it to remember to stay loose and excited. Strangely, this is taking a lot of practice. Remembering my painting lesson helps. I am hoping that telling you all about it (whiny or not), will help too.

The little wave is working out so far. Layer two is pictured at the top of the post and layer three has been printed:

 (upper left + bottom = upper right)

We still have movement, nice colors and pleasing shapes. 

I have another opportunity to practice my positive attitude on my new little one too. That one gets more ink tomorrow!
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