You can say April Fools now

For a few minutes I hoped that my teacher played an elaborate and evil April Fools joke on me. But it wasn’t a trick. Gordon was severely cracked because I didn’t cover him after shellac-ing him. My teacher came in later and showed me how to mix dry powdered clay with Elmers glue so I could glue him back together. This method was successful on the hairline cracks, but also problematic for the big cracks in the legs. We eventually used an epoxy type material and I cannot for the life of me remember the name.

Enjoy the process of making a rubber mold and shell below in this slideshow. :-)

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Next stop, casting.


Casting process: Shellac him

Yesterday, Christine and I called what we charmingly refer to as the Polytek materials hotline. We were trying to discern how to use the materials and how to apply them on my sculpture…and then discuss the issues with the armature.

The pipe is coming out….eventually. I need to play the mold on one side to stabilize the sculpture and then take out the pipe.

Here are the casting materials:

  • Poly 1511,1512, & 1512x Liquid Plastic parts A& B
  • Poly 74 RTV series Liquid Rubber
  • Polyfiber II
  • Pol-Ease 2300 Release Agent

Rubber molds want to stick to clay, so it’s imperative to seal the sculpture with something such as shellac.

I sprayed quite liberally until his body glistened. 

Clay Gordon, complete!

Spring finally decided to make an appearance, and everyone in Georgia is ecstatic. Today was especially gorgeous.

I promised said I would not touch anything on my sculpture, but I checked to see if he was drying properly and the clay was at a perfect stage to make a few MINOR tweaks. But he is now done. Finished.

Obviously one of the obstacles when casting my sculpture will be the pipe. Traditionally, the pipe of the armature resides in the small of the back. When I sculpted the body, it just ended up like this:

I’m wondering if we’ll try to get the pipe out or saw it off or….I don’t know. If I was making a plaster mold and casting it in plaster, it would be easy to fix this, but we are using something different. Lots of think about.

Now I am controlling how fast he dries to a leather hard state. During the process, his left leg cracked twice along the knee cap. I have lightly sprayed towels over the sculpture (which will also add interesting surface texture as it dries) and added some plastic on top. I’m checking on it every day. So far, I have not seen any signs of the clay cracking again. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Ongoing projects and a possible early case of Senioritis

Posting has been a bit irregular, I know. The pictures I take for this blog are from my iPhone, which I now use for studio music (my old iPod is dead), so I keep forgetting to take pictures of art processes. But here, at best are some updates:

+Gordon (the sculpture) is done.

He looks good. I want to fix the surface texture a little, and if I’m seriously meticulous-and in this case it may be so- I might fix little details that only I seem to notice.

Why can’t you see him? Whoops. I forgot to take pictures. Well, all except a week-old picture of the fingernails I decided to add.

+Etching is all fun until you smell too many chemicals.

After doing multi-coloring printing, everything else seems easy. Etching involves waiting. We spend most of our time counting seconds for an aqua tint, or staring aimlessly at the wall while waiting for your plate to etch in a pool of acid for 35+ minutes. And the smell. UGH! The combination of smells from the hard ground, mineral spirits, ink, and acid gave me instant headaches.

We had two etching to complete. Our first is a self-portrait. The second is whatever subject we want, just make sure it’s good.

I feel I may have rushed the etching process, and  did not particularly like the final pieces.

think the self-portrait was ultimately successful, but there’s a distracting dark line under the chin that I need to burnish out or extend around the chin.

I began and completed the etching of a poppy the day before it was due (senioritis, anyone?). I only did a small line etch and the rest was aqua tint. I’m having a problem with some areas being too much of the same grayscale. I’m going to go back on my zinc plate and use a dry-point tool to scratch in lines to make areas darker on my plate.

I will fix these problems, reprint, and then post the full etching process I’ve meant to post for a week now.

+Finally a post from Drawing 2?

Drawing 2 is spent doodling, sketching, and conversing about next year’s Senior exhibition. So we solve problems and work through our anxiety and stress by drawing. I’ve sketched fairly abstract and non-objective forms.

I’m not sure where this is going, but I’m excited to see whatever it is emerge and take form.

Giotto uncovered

There’s a really interesting article about a project using “non-invasive diagnostics” (some sort of ultraviolet ray) conducted to “ascertain the condition” of Giotto’s paintings in the Peruzzi Chapel. What they discovered was amazing, rich details not visible to the naked eye…because it was painted in 1320!

Click HERE for the story!


Spring Break

Brenau’s spring break is incredibly early. The last week before my break included the start of a new Printmaking project, two midterm exams- which included my first Aesthetics and Criticism test- and the never-ending sculpture.

Printmaking’s etching project is…another self-portrait. I should have found another interesting idea instead of just my face, but I forgot over the weekend and just quickly found a picture already in my possession. I wrote down in my notes that I was supposed to draw my image on a zinc plate. But I was wrong, of course. We transfer the image from a line drawing on a paper to the zinc. Whoops. So my teacher gave me tracing paper to trace my drawing on the zinc. I erased and washed my zinc and transferred the image. Afterwards we etched in our drawing into the zinc and set the plate in acid. Thirty- five minutes later, the image was etched. I proceeded to then to ink the plate, wipe off the surface and print on some leftover crappy paper. This was the result.

I’m still not sure how everything will work out, but I’m not going to worry about it this week.

The never-ending sculpture is still not finished. Every time I think I’m nearing the end, I find something wrong. This week I got slightly angry about the arm and hand draped over the head. After a some consideration I took a tool and cut off his hand and reworked the arm.

I managed to fix the arm and begin to model the hand.

I’m not going to see my sculpture for a whole week so in preparation I sprayed the equivalent of a bucket of water on my sculpture and wrapped it until it couldn’t breathe. I think it will be safe by the time I return. Just in case, fingers crossed!

Battle scars, snow, and the really long Printmaking post from Hell

No joke, I’ve spent twenty minutes just trying to write this first sentence. I was searching for something witty or profound to start this post, but I’ve got nothing. All I can think of is that I’m tired. SO TIRED.

So, printmaking. The project is a multicolored print. The subject is our decision. Parameters? The final print must have at least 5 different colors. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. I looked through the gazillion or so pictures I took this summer on my visit to San Francisco and found this:

When my friend and I went to Chinatown, we stopped in an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese restaurant. The place was cramped with tons of people. The walls were barren, not very appealing. This window display was the most eye-catching thing in the room (besides the food, of course!) I loved how there were tons of plants, the string lights hanging over the window, the OPEN sign illuminating everything. I loved the intention and effort of making something in the room inviting. There’s something gaudy and odd about it, but there’s also beautiful and unique about it too.

So last week is when we began, and I spent most of that time drawing out the print, trying to figure out how many colors I wanted to attempt. I wanted fifteen. I settled for nine.

This is how multicolored printmaking works

FIRST: White

If you have white in your image, that’s the first thing you cut out. Then, going from light to dark, you pick you next color. After I drew the image I carved out the white.


The first color to print will be the next lightest color, which in my case is pink.

I made the color pretty easily, but after a few test prints I decided I wanted more white. TWICE I cleaned my linoleum off with mineral spirits and carved. My stubbornness was worth it when I cranked out these beauties:

Yeah, the color burns the retinas, but not long after I print the next colors.

THIRD: Light Blue

To prepare for the next color, I went back to the linoleum and carved out everything I wanted to stay pink in the picture.

Mixing a very LIGHT blue took forever because I didn’t want to  use all the white. I kept adding white in small drops until I got the right color. I added a glob of Cobalt Dryer to the mix, which helps the ink dry faster.

I need to stress at this point that putting a GLOB of Cobalt Dryer is a BAD IDEA. If you do, your color gets a grayish tinge and the ink application is sticky and appears scaly on your print. Definitely not awesome. Instead, a DROP or two is more than enough.

I was so annoyed with the print that I left without doing another color like I planned (that and it was also 11 at night when I finished).


FOURTH: Light Purple

Next day I got over the Light Blue failure and figured that I could add another blue color. So the grand total of colors became ten (including white). With that in mind, I determined to get at least two colors printed.

I carved out what I wanted to stay Light Blue. Then I mixed a light purple.

Printing went very smoothly and I was happy with the results.

I left for two hours to get lunch (so the ink would dry) and came back to start the next color.

FIFTH: Lightish Blue

As always I carved out what I wanted to stay purple. Carving is a lengthy process. Reflecting back on the project I think carving caused me more grief than anything else.

I really liked this blue color.

It was a very successful printing day. I was so relieved. :-)

SIXTH: Toothpaste Green

Weather Channel predicted that Georgia would get snow. Usually if the Weather Channel predicts snow, it does not snow. But I was very surprised when it began snowing heavily while I walked to the Printmaking lab.

Carving out what I wanted to stay light blue took some time since there is much of this color in the picture. As I was carving I kept stealing peeks out the window:

After noticing that the snow was accumulating on the sidewalks and roads, I decided to run back to the dorm room to get the snow shoes my parents brought me the day before just incase I needed them. Walking to the dorm in my tennis shoes was a very difficult task. I slipped and almost fell five times before arriving safely at my dorm.

The snow shoes were brilliant and I easily walked back to the Printmaking lab. You can see the footprints made by the snow shoes below.

These snow shoes were fantastic.
When I got back to the lab this was the view out of the window:

By the time it got dark outside, I finally finished carving my linoleum block and proceeded to make the light green. It reminded me of toothpaste. It was one of the things that first struck me odd when we went inside the restaurant. The wall color was horrendous.

After carving and mixing the ink color, printing is a breeze.

It was 9 PM when I finished printing so I decided to call it a night and enjoy the snow day I missed. I walked around campus and took the best pictures I could with my iPhone camera.

Outside the Burd Center, where the Printmaking lab is.

A lamppost on front campus. Very Chronicles of Narnia-esque. I couldn’t pass it up. :-)

On front campus, The Pearce Auditorium.

In Sorority Circle. See the snowman? One of many I saw on campus…oddly lots of them were half-made and then left.

Awesome day. We seldom get snow like this in Georgia.

SEVENTH: Darker Blue

I woke up near noon. The snow was melting away in huge clumps.

I realized that I was running out of time. I had two days to finish four colors. I went into the Printmaking lab carved out what I wanted to stay Toothpaste Green and made my last blue color.

It took me a while to make a color that would compliment the light blues in the piece and  the odd toothpaste green and still work as the contrast in the work. I think the end effect was successful.

EIGHTH: Dark Green

After carving out what I wanted to stay that Darker Blue, I realized how little of the linoleum was left and that there wasn’t that much work left to do.

Mixing the dark green went smoothly.

But, of course, when everything is going right, something always goes wrong. On my practice print, I noticed that the ink that got on the linoleum that I already carved out made a very unwelcome appearance on my print. A fellow printmaking student told me that after I ink the linoleum I need to tape over the places where ink got on the carved out linoleum.

Seems simple enough, right? Well…not really. The tape hardly stuck to the linoleum and I had to work around the small details. Such a pain.
I eventually got so annoyed and started to carve out the inked places and stupidly sliced the side of my pointer finger.

After an annoying, labor (and emotionally) intensive process these prints were the result:

Finished by midnight. Last two colors to go.

NINTH: Brown

After carving, I made a brown color. After printing two, I decided to make it a little bit lighter by adding more yellow.

The lighter brown suited the picture better.

TENTH: Purple

I forgot to take a picture of the purple color. But I think you get the general idea from the next pictures.

After printing two, I decided that I did not like the dark color over the sign and in the mirror.

Good for me, I got to carve out most of the linoleum, which makes taping down the linoleum a little easier.

After printing…FINALLY finished.

After a week of printing this , and another week just getting around to write this post…I’m done. Finished. And really tired of this project. Onto the next one.