Posts tagged ‘dancing in the rain’

Dancing in the Rain- Take two: a Photo Essay

These are the photos I wanted to upload into the last post but couldn’t. All for the better. I think it was too long anyways ;P

Nature Relief print

Ok, it doesn't look soo good as a picture and I couldn't scan it

early stages of experimentation

Still trying to find out possitions and how much ink to use. At this point I wasn't sure if I wanted a solid silhouette or more of a care free line drawing feel. The great thing about printing is that you put a huge amount of effort and time into just one piece and you can make endless coppies and go back into it again and again without damaging the origonal so you never have to worry about loosing something that was good due to a mistake. These were made from the same thing even though they were in two diferent positions. I had acutally forgotten to put ink on the socond leg for the right one 😛 (shhh, just between you and me ;P)

Trial runs

The result of too much pressure or two much water.
Another mistake on another print

Here the problem was not enough pressure, and that the cuts weren't deep enough

No it's not Barney

Another failure

The metal etching

This is the metal version

The one on the left wasn't very deeply cut.

The passerbies

The passerbies in metal

inspiration for "Dancer"

We had to do research. This is mine for the Dancer. I looked at different poses and styles, real life, photos, paintings and so on.

Stumbled across this pic and my mind was made up on what to do. You can see my pencil lines as I got the feel of the dancer, and though I used a lot of other pics to get the view right, this picture and its saying was the one that really made my mind up between this idea and another which had more of a musical theme

the first generation of my final piece. THis was with no preparation or research... hence the very wonky lifted legs and right angle arms.

or a moment in time.

The final piece. Don't quite know what to call it. The idea was supposed to be that it was a collage, hence the torn pages and the paper mache background. It was supposed to show all the bits that make up our lives. The entire thing, minus the time I spent working on the prints and getting them right, just putting it all together took over 10 hours. I just wish I could have gotten the dancer better. I'm thinking of taker her off and just doing it again via painting... what do you think?

A close up on the engraved pieces of the final piece

The second half of the skyline rubbed off when I put another layer of the paper mache over…  I should have used the proper ink, but its very strong and you can’t use it bare handed, For the passer byes I used it, and so they turned out well, The dancer however, as you can tell I could only use ink, not printing ink because we only had black. So the ink from previous layers dissolved into the paper each time I re-wet it.

3 photocopies

3 photocopies with different brightnesses. It was of the "dancer" at an early stage. I used the dark setting to see if I was cutting deep enough. You can see there are parts where you can hardly see cuts like on the lifted theigh and the bodice. I knew I needed to cut deeper there and on the face. The supporting leg was deep enough

Violin original

This was on of the first etching prints I did, about six months ago. It actually wasn't bad, and the prints came out quite well, but because we were just experimenting with prints we were using a really tough card like material that was coated thinly in metal leaf. You can see bits where I wen't so deep to get it the darkest possible that the leaf actually came off. Unfortunately after a few times and a few washes the material kinda started disintegrating. You'll see some prints from then later

Violin print

The first attempt on putting the violin print through the press. I still needed to experiment somewhat to find the right amount of ink and the right depth. As you can see it didnt yet include the lightest of lights and the darkest of darks. Also the edges were fuzzy from where I was too scared to go very close to the image.

I think

I think this was the best version I got of it. I had some more but its hard to tell from pictures. Anyways its still pretty good. If I had still been able to work into the origonal it could have been much better, but it was still better than the last one!

I did a drawing of my violin observationally in charcol, then i made a photocopy so I would not damage the drawing, and then I held this onto the sheet I was using to make the print. Lightly with a pencil I redrew the picture just strongly enough to leave an imprint on the bottom sheet. Then I used the needle like tool to scratch the design in deeper.

Worn down violin

This is the quality of print I got from that same piece after about 10 prints. The upside of metal is that though it might be a lot harder to work into than whatever this was or wood is that its alot more durable and lasts through many more turns through the press and a lot longer. This was after coming back to this piece after about...6 months.

No its not that the camera was shaky. the picture isn’t blurry. The material i was working on disintegrated from soaking up too much water and after being pressed too many times. It lost its sharpness. 😦 a shame too! cause it was actually decent!

From when the print was still good

This was from when the print was still good. I thought the brown might come out well on the blue paper... not so much...

Now another type of print. You can take a piece of linoleum and make what we call a Lino cut. This works the other way to what you saw above. Here you take a knife and cut into the linoleum so its backwards. What you take away will be white, or the collour of your background. But its excellent for exploring different textures What you don’t touch at all will be darkest and the deeper you cut the less ink gets on it so the lighter and hence the deepest is the colour of the paper you press it on. You also use a different consistency ink for this type of printing. Because  you don’t put it through the printing press and only use your hands or even a dictionary 😛 (but shhhh! Don’t tell the English teachers!) The type we used above was thinner though the one I used for the passing men was thicker even then what we use for Lino Cuts. Enough chit chat though! You want to see pictures! (or at least you should if you are still looking at this post after so long…)

picture and cut

The brown one is the linoleum. The whit is the picture I drew first to see what I wanted to draw. Its hard to see what it will look like when you are working with lino. It was supposed to be a tree though. ANd this was from when I was...12 or 13 years old.

5 different versions

5 trees. Each a different colour (or three) and with different colour backgrounds.

yellow tree, black background

Yellow tree, black background. My favourite. At this point you can see the poor quality. I wasn't very experienced with the lino or the knife, though I can proudly say Im the only one who didn't cut myself that entire year! You can see my inexperience by the lack of inbetween the inky and inkless.

My love of the sea shining through

Even when we were specificly told to do something regarding land (trees) as much as I love forests and trees and nature, i just cant go a tpic without somehow tying it to the sea. My teacher at the time laughed when I produced this. But hey! I thought It looked like an anemoni like this! (yes... i spelt it wrong :P)

For once I was happy with our project...somewhat

For this section (it was this year) our teacher brought in real fish and we had to do observational drawings. not thee best smelling lesson. from our drawing we had to make a lino cut. on top is the print when i had only done the fish. i later decided to go back into print and make it a fish swiming in a stream. However I never finished it becasue this was a different type of linoleum and MAN was it hard! I litterally used a blowdrier to partially melt it before taking the knife to it!

Well thats about it. All the prints I have done so far.  Hope you enjoyed!

Feel free to ask any questions, though I’m no pro I seriously could have used someone to ask questions to when I was travelling these uncharted waters… 🙂

Dancing in the rain

Yes, that is one of my favourite things to do. And one of my favourite sayings.

However this year I took this to a whole new level.

When I first started this blog I had just started etching and engraving. Now I love it. Though I haven’t done any lessons and have done very little, I have a wide assortment of  drawings and sketches that I hope to re do onto sheets of metal so that I can make etches of them so I can make prints of them.

I’m very fortunate to have an art teacher who has been trained in the fine arts and who supports each of our individual talents. This year, I chose to use some of my etches in my end of year exam. They weren’t exactly of a high standard, and mostly just looked like line drawings on a sheet of metal, though I didn’t have all the necessarily equipment and only had 3 sheets of copper to work on. what we did have was left over from when our teacher tried to get his students into etching some years ago. As no one was interested he didn’t order any equipment, but now we have a printing press. He’s promised me that when we go back in September I’ll have more colours of printing ink, more utensils and a wider selection of metal sheets and sizes. We were thinking of also getting the masking and chemicals that some engravers use.

See there are many different ways that one can make a print. They all revolve around different textures and heights by either adding or removing material. When we made relief prints in class, I took a painting I had made of a forest and stripped twigs of their bark and crushed leaves to re-create the image from natural materials. It didn’t actually work in the end as I could not apply ink to my work without taking off a great deal of the leaves and then if I did managed to get ink down, it would be too fragile or thick to go through the press. In the end I like it as it is. I sprayed it with some spray mount I got off one of the teachers and it gave the leaves a wonderful frosted effect besides sticking them down more securely.

I really like working with natural materials to make any sort of art, and that’s one of the draws that Indian and Native American art has for me. The vivid colours and the shapes all using and inspired by what they had around them. An artist from today’s world would have to lug around canvas, brushes, paints, pallets and even water containers if they wanted to do an observational drawing of a landscape. A native American artist in pre collonial times would be able to go any where with no supplies and find everything he needed to make a masterpiece. I find the concept enchanting, and would love to learn some of their art, but unfortunately the opportunities have yet to present themselves.

So I thought I would finally put up some more pictures. Some of my engravings and some of the relief I made.

But first, lets clarify the difference between etching and engraving. An Engraving is made by simply pushing away the metal and smoothing out bits, using an instrument to push it off. The technique can be rather complicated, and the traditional way is extremely complicated. The right hand is supposed to hold the tool and stay still and the left hand, with the help of a round pillow underneath the metal, is supposed to move the metal to make the shapes and design. I really dont have that steady a hand and would never be able to accomplish this. Which is why I love the modern meaning of artist. It means you can do whatever you want. No one can tell me I’m doing it wrong (though I know I am, I simply can’t do any better at the present) and you can invent your own way that works for you. (oh, and in engraving you can work on wood as well… or any other material for that matter)

Etching is slightly different and much easier. In etching you coat the metal with a film of masking. Artists use masking all the time to cover a piece or section of a work, which they want to preserve while working into another. Its particularly common in water colour painting. If you want to keep one area white white (or a certain other shade you have) but want to do a wash to deepen the other colours you simply put a mask on and then rub it off once you are done and it is dry. The masking an etcher would use would be much stronger though, and chemically based. They would then take a tool and pull away the mask fromt he areas they want to deepen and so make the design. Next they leave the metal in an acid to corrode the exposed area. The mask keeps it from being corroded evenly, so that you only get the indentations you want. An artist might have to repeat the proccess many times to get the fluctuations in texture they require.

Another huge difference between the two is that and engraver can smooth out his work and so “erase” a mistake or flaw. An etcher has to watch his work constantly while it is in the acid. If the acid cuts too deep the entire piece is ruined.

Both, however, can be used to make prints by coating them with printing ink and rolling them through a printing press.

My technique is more similar to that of an etcher save the acid and masking. The only thing I dont like about engraving/etching is the noise. Its horrible! Imagine nails on a chalk board or a knife on a plate constantly for half an hour, an hour, a day. Also, because I’m only using a tool, or on occasion a mechanical tool, it takes a lot of muscle, and so is very physically and emotionally draining. You have to be patient and move slowly enough that you wont make an irrevocable fault, but with enough force that you will actually make a cut. The tools slipped away from me numerous times. THe fortunate thing is that you can prevent these faults from showing because after you coat the entire piece with ink you take away the majority so that it is only held in the groves. You have to wet the paper you are imposing your image on so that it takes the ink out of the groves.

The hardest parts of what I was doing was getting the right amount of ink off, or rather leaving the right amount on and where I wanted it. The other variables that it took a bit of experiences and mistakes to get right was the amount of pressure on the press and the wetness of the paper. Too wet or too much pressure give the same effect and take the ink all over the place so you just have a blob and not an image.

Anyways, to get to the point of this very long, very big post, I decided to make my Exam piece “Dancing in the Rain”.

And as it turns out, I can’t upload all the pictures I had to show, so I’ll upload them as a photo essay in ‘Dancing in the Rain- Take two”


I hate it when the thunder interupts my Yoga routine, but God, I love this weather!

I’m spending this portion of my summer in Greece. So I thought I would tell you all a little about what its like here right now.

Well for starters? Its REALLY weird! Greece is normally borderline desert in a lot of places, due to the intensity of the sun and the lack of precipitation. Naturally the land is pretty dry, and the green bits you see on google earth are the developed bits. See all over Greece, land owners are selling their large chunks of land, or else developing it themselves to make condo or maisonette type complexes. These come with nice little patches of green grass that is laid over the earth with a web and is kept alive by doggy sprinkler systems (or by possessive housewives with a hose, or else they have their hired help do it for them).  Sense the sarcasm.

And thats on the mainland. All year round. Now lets talk about the islands and summer. Everyone associates Greece with beaches. But the beaches aren’t accessible everywhere. Sure they are only 45 minutes from where I’m staying now, and its fine for a little outing. However so many houses, and new houses/developments/hotels on the islands all have their own pools. And they aren’t all small. This furthers the problem.

Can you see the problem with this? Well, I hope you can, because people here are in denial about the harm they are doing to the environment. They think its worthless to do their small part in helping the environment because they think it will have no different, but thats exactly the point. If EVERYONE in Greece cut down their water consumption just a bit, that would make the entire situation a great deal better. Why do you think we have all the problems with forest fires in the summers? Yes I know they are started by anarchists, but if the forests weren’t so dry, they wouldn’t spred so much, or at least so quickly.

Which is why I love the weather Greece has been getting lately. More than enough sun to be happy with, soak up your healthy dose of Vit. D. but there has also been a great deal of rain lately. I know so many people complaining about it. OHhh, that limits my time to go to the beach (not that they would even be at the beach then, they just want the opption of going whenever they want- sorry, but mother nature holds the reigns) Ohh, its not so warm when it rains(sorry, but I rreally dont like feeling like I’m in an oven). Whatever stupid excuses people come up with for why they DON’T want it to rain when it is so desperately needed, I say they can just get over themselves and realize that they aren’t king of the world and the universe doesn’t revolve around what they would like to do. Every summer Greece goes into a water crisis because there are so many tourists, taking extra long showers, splashing around in a pool and not to mention putting a lot of strain on drinking water.In some tourism towns, there is a noticeable dip at about 3-4 p.m. when everyone has come home from the beach to relax in the A.C. and take a nice cool, long shower to get the sand off.

Of course there is also the Power problem. Many times throughout the summer one can count on encountering a power cut, particularly if you are staying on the mainland near Athens. There are so many people with their air conditioning on full blast, not that I blame them in the city where it is horribly stiflingly hot. Who I DO blame is the shops. You can walk around the commercial areas in the summer, where ever there are clusters of shops, and you might actually feel cool with the noon time sun beating down on you. Because all the stores, boutiques, and shops have their air conditioning on full blast and leave the doors wide open.I wonder what goes through their minds, from and economic and environmental point of view.

So why do I love the weather they are getting right now? Its a warm pressure system, so its windy, which would be bad if there were any fires, but its also rainy, and the air isn’t as dry. The clouds aren’t always in full coverage, so you can still enjoy the natural light without the harsh glare of the naked sun in your eyes. Its beautiful like this. The thunder and lightning is also  beautiful to hear and see. Its a beauty Greeks don’t always appreciate, yet I love it. Hopefully having all this rain so late in the year this year will help them out a bit. Keep the reservoirs filled, tourists happy, and the forests healthy.

Happy and Healthy. That’s all our parent’s wish for us, and that’s all Mother Nature wishes for her lands. So quite complaining, and embrace this weather Greeks. Get out there and Dance in the rain!