Saturday, June 27, 2009

While We Are On The Subject of Intaglio Printing...

Magical Secrets About Line Etching and Engraving: The Step-by-Step Art of Incised Lines by Catherine Brooks

Magical Secrets About Aquatint: Spit Bite, Sugar lift & Other Etched Tones Step-by-Step by Emily York

Intaglio printing involves creating lines and tones on a zinc or copper plate and then printing that plate onto paper using a press. It is a lovely and versatile process that has been used by artists for over five hundred years. Two new books focused on the "how to's" of intaglio have been published recently by Crown Point Press in San Francisco and they are fabulous.

Intaglio Class Canceled at Long Beach City College

The Lonely Intaglio Press

Despite a healthy enrollment, Art 71: Introduction to Intaglio, has been canceled for the upcoming fall semester as part of the sweep of deep cuts made in efforts to keep the school afloat during these difficult financial times in California and across the nation. The loss of this course is especially sad because it was the only Intaglio course offered by LBCC's Art Department and has been part of the popular Printmaking Program there for more than thirty years.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today's Science Lesson

A swap meet find, these drawings were surely a school project. Artistically, I like them for their bright colors, traditional, straight-forward format, clarity of message (despite misspellings), and personal style. Also, they've taught me things I didn't know.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our Own D.J. Hall Portrait

Cynthia Evans and I headed to McKenna's at the local marina recently for one of our mid day "mini-vacations." We shared our usual plate of roasted vegetables and a glass of wine (one each, NOT shared) in celebration of summer and other happy milestones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who Knew We'd Become The Beauties We Are Today?

Cathy Baird

Ann Stromquist

Classmates and good friends throughout grade school and part of junior high in Pittsburg, Kansas, Cathy Baird and I have recently found each other after all these years. Turns out we both live in California and visit family in Kansas frequently. It has been such a delight to reconnect and catch up on our life stories thus far.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Great Summer Exhibitions Everywhere!

Here is a partial list of current exhibitions around the country catching my interest:

1. A Black-and-White World: The Art and Lessons of Chinese Rubbings
-at the Seattle Asian Art Museum (

2. Sensitive Vision: The Prints of Beth Van Hoesen

-at the Portland (Oregon) Art Museum (

3. Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities

Paul Klee: Social Creatures

Art in the Atrium: Kerry James Marshall

-at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (

4. Visual Delight: Ornament and Pattern in Modern and Contemporary Design
-at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (

A Sign of the Times

For years, on my morning walks, I've passed this house (and the twin partly visable beside it) languishing on a busy street in an unfinished, unchanged and uninhabitable state. I can't imagine it was somebody's dream home, so unattractive, so boxy, so cheaply constructed, so poorly placed. I always wonder: was it part of a big, fast property investment scheme? Something that looked good on the spreadsheet for investors (all that was required of it)? Did it find it's way into the real estate portion of my mutual fund? Was it bundled into some derivative offering? And what will happen to it now?

Meet My New Friend, Edna

Edna, 2009
screenprint by Roger O'Leary-Archer

Isn't she terrific? Roger took up screenprinting only five months ago, as a student in my intro class. His work was impressive and prolific. Now that the class is over, he has created an ideal studio in his basement and has continued screenprinting there. And that is where Edna was born, just this week.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Demo for Screenprinting Class

Summer brings more time for studio work and I've set up a huge creative agenda for the next couple of months. To warm up, I began with a new demonstration print for next fall's class which illustrates a lot of skills and techniques in one fell swoop.

The photo above shows three "spot" colors being printed at the same time using three squeegees of various sizes, each for one color. The challenge was to keep the inks separate during the printing process. I printed 40 prints without a hitch!

The Dreamer, 2009

This demo print was made using the "master image" technique. The main image was created on transparency from a collage of hand drawing, a photograph, and found imagery. Once the transparency was finished, it was used as a guide for making paper and blockout filler stencils for the first few layers of color, building the print. First printed layer: the background tranparent green. Second layer: the transparent purplish color of the flowers and leaves. Third layer: the dark green of the vines. Fourth layer: red lips, yellow dress, and blue sky, all printed in succession on the same screen and requiring a lot of finesse (seen in the first photo above). And then finally, layer five: the master image produced in a photo-emulsion stencil, in the dark mauvey color, finished and defined the image.

The Dreamer (version 2), 2009

This screenprint is the same except for lack of green background color. When I was printing the first layer (green), I had many problems achieving a smooth, even tone, the filler used to create parts of the stencil weakened and came out as I printed, and ink kept drying in my screen. It was frustrating! I stopped printing after the 15th print, with 25 more sheets to go. As with many things in art and life, when problems were encountered with Plan A, I had to rethink things. Plan B: Continue printing the rest of the layers on all 35 sheets, resulting in two versions of the screenprint.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Handy Kitchen Guide from the Gas Company, circa 1950

With chapter titles like "Cooking is Like Dancing," "Blue Ribbon Broiling," "Roasts to Boast Of," and "Let's Entertain At Home!" this little primer is full of helpful advice for cooks. In the chapter called, "When Speed's the Need," ten quick menus are outlined for those busy days when dinner preparation is last minute. My favorite is Menu 5 - Fish Cakes, Broccoli, Carrot and Pineapple Salad, and Chocolate Refrigerator Cake, a meal taking only 25 minutes to prepare, according to the booklet, by using the following directions: "Make fish cakes. Wash and trim broccoli and cook. Grate or shred carrots and mix with shredded pineapple and salad dressing. Make Chocolate Refrigerator Cake the night before."

Julia Child,we certainly needed you...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sophie's Present To Us... a partially eaten bird carcass with intestines intact. Don't miss the feathers and severed claw nearby.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cy Twombly Says...

"When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The High Design of The Lowly Clothes Hanger

Beautiful design contributes to good life. Isn't it a pleasure when you see something with visual appeal?

Yuji Hiratsuka and Contemporary Impressions

Subscribers to Contemporary Impressions, a journal of the American Print Alliance, receive a free original print with their yearly subscription. It is a terrific way to collect art.

This year's print is a color etching with chin colle from a suite of 16 created by internationally-known artist, Yuji Hiratsuka. Incredibly, each of the 16 etchings has been printed in an edition of 75. What a lot of printing!

The fall/winter 2008 issue of Contemporary Impressions includes an interview with Mr. Hiratsuka, who has created his own unique approach to color etching. In the interview, the artist describes his technique as well as the meaning and motivation behind his imagery.

For more information about Contemporary Impressions, visit For more information about Yuji Hiratsuka, simply google him.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

They Did It!

Three weeks and 300 miles later, Rees Hughes and Taylor Smith completed their goal yesterday of walking a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail from Idyllwild through Big Bear to Agua Dolce, California. They celebrated with showers (having had only one in route), clean clothes, pizza and ice cream. And by the time Joe and I arrived in Agua Dolce to pick them up, it was early evening and so we all ate more good food at Maria Bonita's Mexican Restaurant before heading back to our house. Today, they transition to normal life: Taylor flies home to the midwest and Rees drives home to northern California.

Evidence of the challenging course: worn out walking shoes. On the trail, Rees and Taylor met other PCT hikers, encountered rattlesnacks and more wildlife, discovered remote hot springs, and enjoyed gracious gifts left by Trail "Angels," including a lounge chair and bucket of fresh fruit left in a spot with a beautiful view. Although each was visably thinner after the trip, neither hiker would have missed this amazing experience for anything.