Friday, March 25, 2011

Timeless techniques - and less time to do them.

My egg tempera demo was a lot of fun, thanks to everyone who came even though parking was a challenge and the action looked more "spirited" across the street in the 3 bars celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Above is a little panel I did using egg tempera of the yellow mounds in the South Dakota Badlands where I was artist in residence back in 2002. I'm hoping to keep working in egg tempera, but it might be more of a winter medium. I'm anxious to get back to oils now that the weather is more reasonable and my studio less frozen.

I've also taken some printmaking classes this winter at the AS220 printshop:
Walter Feldman at the Vandercook press
The first was Woodblock Printmaking with Walter Feldman. It's such a treat when you sign up for a class and it exceeds your expectations. I knew Walter Feldman was a master woodcut artist, but I didn't know he would be so inspiring as a teacher. It's not that he gives and exhaustive blueprint of the printing process, but he imparts a love of the medium, a respect for the tools, and an appreciation that woodcut is an art form onto itself. "Let the block speak to you" he says, as he runs his printer's hand over the wood's surface. But don't get the idea that he's one of those artists who hear voices, he's down to earth enough to warn you not to get a fingerprint on the paper "Then you won't be able to sell it".

I took another woodblock class last year that taught how to use a laser cutter to cut the block, but while interesting, is not the way I'm going with this. Laser is surely capable of cutting just about any line, but the hand is the better tool, in my opinion.

I'm also now taking a refresher etching class, the toxic kind. I took the non-toxic intaglio class but once again, toxic is better. The concession to health and environment is to use ferric chloride instead of acid, but I even miss hanging over the acid bath brushing the air bubbles off the plate with a feather.  Not good for you though.

Why am I learning even more techniques when I don't have time to use the techniques I already use? 

No answer to that question but to change the subject. Hey, look over there! Wonderful landscapes, check them out!


  1. Thanks for the link to Weimar. Amazing.

    word verif... gratin. Everything's better with a little cheese on top.

  2. I have just been reading Thomas Hart Benton's two autobiographies. He refers to and was a compadre with John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood (all three despised as "regionalists." I also am fascinated with Charles Burchfield and Maynard Dixon (when he isn't doing Noble West Horses). I'm trying to make sense of Benton's technical processes -- his murals are wacky in perspective and seemingly perfectly organized in their jumbles of scenes.

    Thanks for the amazing link. And have fun with woodblock carving. I did two or three carvings at a workshop once and loved it. Alas, too much to learn about painting to take up anything else.

    But I'm pursuing Benton and Pollock (Jackson, I mean) who may hold all the secrets of the universe. Or may not.... --snort--


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