Saturday, September 29, 2007

No. 2 Experimental Gocco print, day 4

Last I left off, I was working on having words flow out of the center of volcano. But that looked too contrived so I scraped that. So here I'm still working pretty intuitively. I added the green 'goo' on the right, the red 'bubbles' oozing out to the left, and the orange 'smoke' coming out the middle:

Decided I liked the orange smoke, so more must be better, right?

Then I started to add the words. First, I wrote 'WORDS.' I did not have any idea what this was eventually going to say, it was completely make-it-up-as-I-go. Then I wrote 'MAKE.' At this point, I was thinking maybe 'make words, not war.' But eventually decided against it...I'm just not into political messages. Then I wrote 'ERUPT.' I was still thinking volcanos. And then for some reason, 'MAKE WORDS ERUPT LIKE A BIG CABBAGE ROSE' just seemed like the right thing to say.

Here I've gotten to 'MAKE WORDS ERUPT LIKE A.' I was planning to finish tonight, and I think I could've, except at 11pm, I got an email asking where my exhibit proposal for 2008 was! This is for an exhibit I'm putting together at the G&V Art Center in Hillsboro. There was a disconnect somewhere and I never received a date for a deadline, I don't think. Anyhow, that got me all in a frazzle! And realizing that I still have to pack for my weekend trip, and prepare to teach my class for when I get back from my trip, and I decided to bag it for the night.

So here's the print. I'll have to finish it when I get back, and after I get the proposal in the mail!

I have NOT flashed a new screen for this print at all. This is completely printed with 2 old screens where all the emulsions have been removed. All the words have been cut with self-adhesive stencils. The splotchiness was created by brushing pva on the screen, some of which came up after the first printing & cleaning, and is now left with this splotchy look. My plan is to complete this print without flashing a screen at all.

For the previous 3 days of experiments, see No. 2 Exp...., day 1, day 2, and day 3.

Oh right, the Tribune interview. It went ok. I'm not sure how interesting he found my work, but I certainly talked a lot (not sure if that's good or bad). The photographer took a lot of photos. So we'll see what happens. The article comes out Oct 9.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Let me gush about the weather for just a moment...

Yes, a whole extra entry just so I can finish sipping my coffee and gush about this fabulous Portland rain!

Yes, the rain has arrived, and that makes me happy. Especially when it's accompanied by a breeze; that's the best kind.

I love that cool, moist breeze that comes in through the window and hitting me in the face. It feels wonderful as I'm falling asleep and as I'm waking up.

The breeze makes the venetian blind clink against the window, and it sounds like wind chimes.

The plants like it too.

OK, enough gushing, and my coffee is almost gone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Falling behind on my print

I didn't print today! Which was not at all my intention.

The yard truly, really, desperately needed some attention, so I finally mowed the lawn (which is really more moss than lawn), cleaned up some of the weed patches, and chopped up more fallen branches from previous years. Then it was errands. Then a neighbor, her daughter, and the daughter's boyfriend came by for a studio visit. The daughter just read about the gocco classes at IPRC and was excited to learn from her mom and we were neighbors. After that, it was time to go into town to meet Mike for dinner and opera. (I do wish I had gotten a picture of the yard, it cleans up nice.)

So here's why you should not applaud after every aria, duet, chorus, whatever -- so Don Jose finishes his declaration of love to Carmen and sits down at her feet. The music quiets down and the moment is magic. You marvel at the power of such obsessive and all consuming love. Suddenly, the lout 3 seats down starts to clap like thunder & lightning and shouts 'bravo!', 'bravo!', and you're back in a theater with a couple of thousand people.

Now, that's just plain rude!

So tomorrow will be a busy day. If possible, I'd like to finish printing, which undoubtedly will be late at night by the time I finish. The reporter from the Tribune is coming over with a photographer in the afternoon, and I have to get ready to leave for a 4 day weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No. 2 Experimental Gocco print, day 3

As I added the white layers over the magenta+yellow today, ideas started to gel about the print.

After Theresa brought up the horse project in reference to my horse print, I really wanted this print to be about another aspect of Portland that makes Portland really special. I went through several ideas but kept on coming back to books. And when I printed the white layers, it started to look very much like the core of a volcano (for sure I was influenced by the Oregonian article about St. Helens), and I started thinking about words that come flowing out of the core and down the sides.

Here's where the print is now, with 1 layer of white (the top one), and then a 2nd layer of white (bottom). To create the texture for the 2nd layer, I just used a spatula and lifted up some of the ink.

The white takes a LONG time to dry so I'm waiting until tomorrow to print the next layer. In the mean time, I'm working in illustrator to create the words that will come out of the core and flow down the sides.

And more research on web hosting, mailing list stuff today too. And for some reason, at 11pm, I'm feeling exhausted. I shouldn't be...oh, now I remember, I was up past 2am this morning and now it's catching up with me.

No. 2 Experimental Gocco print, day 2

So I'm still Just Playing at this point, don't really have any idea where I'm going with this. I do know that I wanted a 'light' area in the middle that has a orange glow on the inside. To get that started, I printed this magenta layer with the process magenta, and I hit it twice. I inked it up with the open screen, again, and just spread the ink on free-hand with a palette knife.

Ditto with the process yellow. Also printed twice. The 2nd layer just went on there, so I think that's the shine on there. Although, it's interesting that the 'shiny' parts correspond with the printed gray underneath. We'll see what it looks like once it dries tomorrow.

The rest of the day was playing with the new mailing list stuff again. Mike suddenly realized that I was going to pay $15/mo for Constant Contact and suggested that we could just run majordomo or mailman on our computer at home. Well, that works for me, especially since he's offered to set it up. So of course that means spending a few hours creating my own template and stuff.

The movie tonight was In The Valley of Elah, a moving story of how a war dehumanizes, but somehow the movie itself did not quite work for me. It focused so much on what a 'good soldier' Tommy Lee Jones's character was by showing him making the perfect bed, polishing his shoes, 'pressing' his pants against the table's edge, etc, etc, I started ticking off the items, oh yup, he's done that one...ok, and that one too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Constant Contact

After the fiasco after I sent out my last exhibit announcement, I started looking at Constant Contact much more seriously. Several other artists I know use it and are pretty happy with it. So I spent most of the day fooling around with it, creating and sending out a test announcement, and also trying to make some sense out of my existing mailing lists.

I'm not exactly the most organized person. For example, all those people who have come to my events and signed guests books and asked to be added to my mailing list? Well, I've never actually added any of them to my mailing list. The thought of trying to type those in from the guest books is just more than I can handle.

All those people who have taken my classes? Well, some of them were on my list and others weren't, and don't ask me how I decided whom to add and whom not to add. (Is that even a proper sentence?)

The attraction of Constant Contact is that I no longer have to deal with it! Everyone just takes care of themselves. But lets hope there isn't a stampede to unsubscribe.

So I had my secret telephone interview this morning. And now that it's happened, and I know more of what they're doing, I've calmed down quite a bit. It's still all very exciting, but I'm not hyperventilating any more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

No. 2 Experimental Gocco print, day 1

After much procrastination, I finally got started on my next experimental gocco print, partly because the Tribune reporter and photographer are coming over this coming week so I'd like to be in the middle of a print when they're here, and also because I instigated this simultaneous print project on the gocco-printers group, so I better get something printed.

I was dragging my feet a little getting this started -- I kept waffling between a few different choices on what this print was going to be about and just couldn't make up my mind. One thing about getting it started, it kind of makes up its mind for you.

So here's the first layer. Once again, I'm using the same screen I've been using since Feb 2006 for Fatherland, a couple of small gocco prints in 2006, and also for the horse print. I wanted to see how complex a shape I could cut with the self-adhesive labels. I'm finding that labels that had gone through the inkjet printer does not seem to cut well with an X-acto knife, although a pair of scissors still worked. This was cut with a pair of small scissors.

And here's how it printed.

Then I got out another old screen (again, from the rejected Dentistry CMYK print) and painted on some PVA with a brush. Here's what it looks like on the light box. I wanted to see how much brush texture I could create with this. I removed all the emulsion from this screen by peeling it off using some packing tape.

Inked up and in the gocco:

And here are 2 prints with different results. First, I used some light gray I had mixed and saved a while ago. Half way through printing, I started to run low on ink. I mixed up another batch but it's a little darker. Since this was just a texture for the background, I wasn't too concerned about that.

Here's a detail of the part created with the brushed on PVA.

I decided to try to PVA rather than the gel medium because it's a little more fluid and I could brush it on like a liquid. I got the texture that I was after, so I'm happy. When I cleaned up though, the PVA softened and started to come up, although it did not come up completely. It'd be interesting to see how it would print next. I imagine gel medium would have a similar problem. Nail polish might be the most suitable for this– 1) it's pretty fluid so I can paint it on and get the brush strokes texture, 2) once dried, it does not soften when wet, and 3) I can remove it with nail polish remover.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thank god for Free Geek

It finally got to me, all those half-functioning monitors, broken UPS's, ancient computers/laptops, all sitting around in the 'family room'. And when I got the new printer a couple weeks ago, it became a crisis...where oh where would I put the HP Laserjet 4M Plus if I want to keep it around still?

So off they went to Free Geek, a most fabulous resource here in Portland. They take in old computer equipment, refurbish it (or recycle it, cannibalize it), and for x amount of volunteer hours, you get to take home a piece of refurbished equipment.

So I met with Josephine today for the Asian Reporter article. We've met several times before and have chatted for various projects or other, so it was an easy couple of hours. We talked about my recently finished pieces and also the memory loss project that I'm starting. Showed her the experiments that I'm working on with the tulle for the Tennessee show next year. Which, btw, is turning out to be a bit of trouble -- the cut edges of the tulle want to stick to each other, and when you lift up one 'page', the next page comes up with it. I'll need to finish the edges somehow so that they don't stick, maybe coating it with a light coat of gel medium or something. Or maybe finish the edges with bias tape...ooooh, that might work -- make the bias tape with old fabric. I'm liking this idea. I'm just thinking about this as I type, obviously. That would also make it much easier to register; and to bind the pages together, I can bind the fabric edges together at the spine, I can even use a traditional book binding stitch to do that! Oooh...

This is a good idea on another front -- my iron is saved from further abuse. I was using the iron to try to fuse the raw edges this afternoon, and that was not working out so well.

Went to the Portland Taiko concert tonight. My favorite piece, by far, was a piece done using paper as percussion. This is not paper mounted on drums, but just the sounds paper makes when folded, unfolded, slapped against itself, slapped against your hands and other surfaces, and waved around in the air. Very interesting piece.

Everything's coming up roses...

I probably shouldn't sing this song until my eggs hatch, or whatever the saying is.

But, I do have a few good things to report, the Press Trifecta Plus, of sorts --

1) I was notified today that 2 of my 4 entries were accepted into the 500 Handmade Books book, provided that they don't run into trouble while laying out the book and need to unaccept my accepted entries.

2) A reporter for the Asian Reporter is coming over for a visit tomorrow. I hadn't figured that they would visit me this year, since they did a feature 3 years ago, but I guess that was long enough ago. This is part of Portland Open Studios' publicity machine, all thanks to Bonnie Meltzer.

3) Another reporter from the Tribune emailed and wants to do a studio visit next week. Sounds good to me. Thanks to Bonnie again.

4) Now, this one, I can't quite say yet, because I don't want to jinx it. I'm sure it's one of those things where they'll talk to 20 people and then pick and choose what/who they will include, but when they first contacted me, I started hyperventilating. Now keep your fingers crossed that I don't sound like a idiot during the interview.

More PR stuff for the Open Studios today -- Debra arranged to have a bunch of artists show and talk about their work at the LO New Seasons this afternoon. I had the noon-2pm shift. It was pretty slow to start, but got better by the end of my shift. I noticed the next 2 artists were pretty busy talking to folks later. Played around with the web site's Classes page some more. I think I'm done for the time being.

Definitely have to start making my next print Real Soon Now...

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Portland Open Studios is really good for...

Portland Open Studios is always such a good incentive for doing a lot of things, like cleaning up the front entry way, and updating my own web site.

Hopefully, the web site is a little easier to read than before. Put up some new pictures on the home page, and also split up the exhibits, classes, and flash & swap into 3 different pages. Added the information for the gocco classes that I'll be teaching out of the studio (one holiday cards class, and one spiral-bound notebooks class!); I've been getting queries for more classes, and also the Portland Open Studios weekend is a good time to attract students.

The front deck/entry way was last cleaned, yup, last year around this time, right before the 2006 Portland Open Studios. Lots and lots of leaves, needles, and other stuff had collected since. I finally swept that all up...and cleaned up all the needles between the planks. I still need to scrub it down, as it's quite slippery when it rains.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The complete account of the horse print...

Yes, I was derelict in my duties last night, but I was exhausted, not to mention I did just about no work in the studio yesterday. So here's the make-up entry -- basically a rehash of the experimental print in process, but all in one and not spread out over six entries so it's easier for me to reference (although links to the daily details are still necessary).

So here's a better photo of the finished print:

Day 1: Freehand printing using an open screen. I created the open screen by flashing it with a completely black output from the laser printer. I'm calling it 'open screen' because the mesh is completely open. I first used this open screen to create Fatherland in 2006. You can read about the creation of Fatherland here; just scroll to the bottom.

'Freehand printing' just refers to the fact that I'm 'drawing' directly onto the screen by squeezing the inks onto the screen in the shapes that I want. Here, I've drawn some circles and some oblong shapes. These were done in two passes -- first the red circles then the orange oblong shapes.

See this entry for more pictures from this day and a detailed description.

Day 2: I layered over what I printed on Day 1 with some texture. Again, I'm using the open screen. Here I've put the ink on and then created patterns just by swirling my palette knife around in the ink.

See this entry for more photos and images of the print in progress.

Day 3: Still using the open screen, I created the blue/gray shape by cutting the shape out of a sheet of self-adhesive label and using that as a stencil.

For more photos and descriptions, see this entry.

Day 4: Again, the open screen and self-adhesive labels punched with a hole puncher.

More photos and details here.

Day 5: Still working with the open screen, I cut this horse shape from a self-adhesive label as well and printed this horse twice on each print. Printing it twice gave me better coverage.

More photos and details here.

And finally, the the last day, which resulted in the print you see at the top of this entry.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2 hour gocco class

Tonight was the 2 hour beginning gocco class I was teaching at IPRC; that's about 1/2 the time that I usually allow for a beginning class, but we got through! It wasn't so much project oriented, it was more about getting them to flash a screen and make some prints. I couldn't really demo some of the things that I normally do for the beginning class, but the subjects came up anyhow, so after everyone flashed their screens and made a few prints, there was a rush to answer all their questions. It was a full 2 hours.

It was sure nice to NOT have to schlep all the goccos and materials to the class though. I just showed up, with a bag of sample materials, and we went to work.

Cleaned up the studio a bit today; it's amazing how dusty it gets in there, I don't know why. Reframed the Keane print I bought at Dawn's benefit. It was in a very large frame (much larger than necessary), and I just didn't have the space for it.

The movie tonight was 3:10 to Yuma. What can I say, you really just can't lose with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tennessee show

The critique group met tonight to talk about what we're all showing at the Tennessee show next Feb. The other 5 have gone through some of this already during their last meeting, a meeting I missed because I tripped and fell flat on my face and was stiff, sore, and swollen. Not sure that we have a cohesive theme particularly, but that wasn't part of the agreement, so we're fine in that regard. I really liked a couple of the ideas people presented and they seemed to like my pillow books idea too. So, forging ahead.

Citizens was able to scan the 127 (or was it the 120?) film only, leaving me with the other 10 rolls to deal with. I originally thought I would scan them on the transparency flatbed scanner, which would be a painfully slow process; and in either case, the only mac that works with the scanner seems to be having loads of problems. So I put the negatives on the lightbox and used my new handy dandy Rebel to get the images to the computer that way. Not exactly high resolution, but that serves my purpose just fine.

Here are 2 shots from 1 roll (I'm not using these 2 images):

Here it is inverted back to the positive:

I'm so amazed that these look as good as they do. They've been sitting around in their cans for 30 years, under who knows what conditions, and just got processed last week.

I really like the negative image, but I'm not sure using them as negatives would be meaningful in any way. I'm going through the images on the 13 rolls of film and selecting 4 to gocco print onto tulle as pages of 4 books. The books will be stitched onto pillow cases (that I'll also make), so the pillows will form the substrates for the tulle books. Right now I'm thinking that I'll paint the pillow cases, although I may not have enough time. But, if I come up with some imagery that's just the perfect metaphor, I'd do it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Harvest time

Even though I still have some problems to fix on the silk road flowers site, I decided to take the day off and catch up on some yard work. So this was a weedy patch that I cleaned up today. It's the new compost pile for the winter, and I'll probably move the raspberries here next year...although it might be too shady, I'm not sure. It's on a slope, thus the wall of concrete chunks. (I have piles of concrete chunks sitting around, ready at a moments notice for such yard projects.)

The corn stalks are starting to fall over, so I picked 3 ears today.

Unfortunately, they were a disappointment! Not very sweet at all, and quite starchy, I thought. Mike thought the weather this summer was not so great for corn, so not-fab was more or less what he was expecting.

But dinner tonight was the quite the home-grown affair -- corn, green beans, chili pepper, and basil from the garden; the garlic was from Eliza. Only the onion and the chicken were from the store. Next year, I think I'll plant pole beans rather than bush beans. The bugs were getting to most of my beans before I could get to them. Today was the first time I was able to pick enough beans for both of us. Usually, I could only pick enough for myself (which I'd eat for lunch).

Cleaned up the viburnum prunings from early summer. I'm just too cheap to pay the extra $1.50 for extra yard debris bags so I stockpile my yard debris. And now that it's September, I'm almost rid of all of the prunings from this year! And in another 2 months, I'll start to generate more prunings again.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Milestones & breakthroughs

1. I ate chicken feet today. Actually, just 1 foot, and not even the whole thing, just a part of a foot.

We were taken out for dimsum today, and for some reason, after years of thinking how gross chicken feet were (was? it is the name of a dish...), for some reason, I decided to give it a try. I had this idea that I would eat it and suddenly realize what a mistake I had made, that all these years I had been missing some earth shattering experience...well, I have to say that it did not do much for me. It wasn't bad or awful, it just wasn't all that good. I doubt that I'd bother again.

2. The silk road flowers site went live today.

Rebecca finally set up the web hosting yesterday and I uploaded the web site. We still have more to fix up, and I found a couple of problems -- IE 6.xx does not know how to deal with transparent backgrounds in .png files...what a bummer, and I need to check the style sheet, the fonts are a bit screwed up, and it's a common font. We all met at Caffe Uno this afternoon, with Carolyn supplying the laptop, and had a ribbon cutting ceremony -- a real ribbon was involved. For some reason, I still can't see the site here at home (I can see it by entering the ip address directly, but not by the domain name).

3. And pillows it's gonna be for the Tennessee exhibit.

I looked at the images on the CD this afternoon, and there's definitely usable stuff on there. I still have to check out the negatives that they could not scan, and I imagine there will be more things on there I can use too. I'm now really settled on the idea of pillows -- a. I like the idea that it cradles the head, the physical location of our memories, b. I LOVE the idea that memories and sleep are so closely linked, and c. it's a nice book-like structure.

Theresa came by for a visit yesterday; saw the gocco horse print I just finished, and thought of the toy horses that you find hitched up to the sidewalks in Portland! I love that connection! Even though that wasn't my original intention, I think I like her interpretation better. Much better.

Long day with lots of activities

Lots of phone calls/chit chats about classes, events; picked up my negatives and CD from Citizens, but haven't had a chance to take a look yet (this is the film from the 60's and 70's that I just had processed, and am hoping to use for the Tennessee show); picked up all my framed pieces from Rake Art in time for the reporters studio visits next week and for Portland Open Studios; went to Alex's reception at OHSU for the official unveiling of her large fused glass privacy screen (beautiful screen, wonderful food, visited with lots of folks); more work on the silk road flowers site.

For the Tennessee show, now I'm thinking of making books in the form of pillows; I like the idea of something that cradles the head; and also, it would give me a structure where pages can be turned. My original quilt idea didn't give me the option of having pages that could be turned. And that's actually important, because I want the image to disappear as the pages are turned. This will happen because the pages will be made of organza or tulle; stacked up and printed with the same image, the image will be visible. But as you turn the pages, there are fewer and fewer pages stacked up, and the image becomes less and less readable.

The day just flew by and I'm done!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wrapping up the grant application

Yay! Got a confirmation back from Kathy today that my slight change of schedule is ok, and also they'll be able to display the books and the screens at the Rose Schnitzer Manor. So tomorrow, I'll update RACC with the information.

More admin stuff today -- sent off the contract for the Bainbridge show (before the deadline too), and started checking out Constant Contact for managing my email list. I've just been sending out show announcements and such with a mailing list alias, but with the last announcement, a few people started responding to the alias, which of course got sent to everyone. I hate it when that happens. So I'm looking at alternatives.

More work on the silk road flowers site. Finally finished the banner off -- just the final details, no big changes.

In the evening, went to a William Kentridge film that's part of the TBA festival. This was 9 short animations, drawn with charcoals and pastels, on the same pieces of paper. So he's erasing and redrawing to create each frame. When you think about that, it's really pretty incredible -- he destroys one frame (at least partially) before he can create the next frame, so he's got a really good image of what he's doing in his head. Although I have to say, I was good with 7 short animations; the last 2 were just a bit too much. Plus I was pretty hungry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Final project summary

So I've been talking about this 'memory project' for months now. It really has a name, Moment in Time, and here's the project summary which I turned in back in the middle of August for my grant application (it's exactly 1092 characters long, their maximum):

"I will create 6 artist books in collaboration with 6 people with early-stage progressive memory loss. Each book will be a work of art, a keepsake, and a recorded moment in time. Together, they will comprise a series that documents the urgency of communication and preservation of self in the face of increasing cognitive dysfunction, a testimonial to 6 lives lived on the precipice of identity loss. My collaborators will choose vignettes from their lives to record in text and image in screen prints. Using a silkscreen Gocco printer, calligraphy, photography, and other techniques, we will print and decide upon the sequence of prints in each book as a team of 2. Working alone, I will then complete the design of the 6 books, which will incorporate my own artwork based on my interactions with my partners. I will bind and edition each book in 20 copies, 7 of which will go to each collaborator. I will reserve the prints from 2 editions to incorporate into 2 custom-made folding screens that will both serve as a metaphor for memory loss and make the books accessible to larger audiences."

It's pretty terse, and I got a lot of help from a grant writer to get all the information in there in a clear and concise paragraph. I'm actually still waiting for a confirmation from Kathy for some dates, and I'll send that in as supplemental materials. Then I'm truly done. Well, actually, not quite -- I do need to be looking at other grant opportunities too.

But anyhow, went to another Alzheimer's talk today -- part of my preparations for this project. Then it's more work on the silk road flowers site. It's coming along, although there are things I'd do differently if it were my site, but it's not.

I'm also trying to instigate a gocco project on the gocco-printers group -- Everybody Gocco Prints! For the next 2 weeks, I'm hoping as many of the gocco-printers will make a print and upload their prints on the group's photo section. This all started when another member and I were printing and doing very similar things at almost the identical time. As it turns out, she had seen my blog and got inspired by what I was doing and started experimenting too, so maybe it wasn't so much of a coincidence, but I still thought it was pretty cool, and thought it'd be great if lots more people could be gocco printing at the same time in the next 2 weeks. Here's a link to what she was doing. To see what I was doing, start with the August archives and look for the entries labeled 'Experimental gocco print', days 1-5; then day 6 is in September.

Memory project

I've talked about this project on and and off, but never really detailed it here. And well, I'm still not going to detail it today, because it's pretty late and I need to get to bed so I can get to a 10am class tomorrow (also related to the memory project). But soon I'll dig out my project summary and add it here.

Anyhow, today's activities were related to that. Went to Citizen's to pick up the old 120 and 127 film that I dropped off to be processed. These were shot in the late 60's and early 70's and never processed. I was hoping that there would be ghostly images on there that I can use for something...a 'something' that I hope to show at the Tennessee show next Jan. It looks like quite a few of the images were still clearly visible, but I'll have to scan them and see.

In the afternoon, there was the 'Getting Started' talk at the Alzheimer's Association. It's an introductory class for people who work with people with Alzheimer. I'm taking these classes to prepare for the memory project next year. It was very, very informative and everyone seemed excited about the project (the people in the class and the people teaching the class).

Dropped off my print for the Middle East Print Exchange at Print Arts; worked on the silk road flowers site; didn't get to play with my new camera. So sad, but it was a pretty full day as it was.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yet another new toy!

My new-to-me Canon Rebel XTi showed up today. Didn't have much of a chance to play with it, just made sure that all my Canon accessories do indeed work with it, and took a few shots. Just found one issue -- things do not come into focus through the viewfinder, although the focus indicator does come on.

But, turns out, I'm quite the dinosaur and it's quite fancy-pants -- there's this dioptric adjustment you make to the viewfinder, and voila, things now come into focus! So far so good!

Worked on the silk road flowers site some more, and more credit card research. And that was the day.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Day of little accomplishment

I've said this before, and I'll say it again -- whenever I take some time off, I just can't seem to get back to work very easily again. Although it's true that today is Sunday, so there were lots of chores and the Sunday NYT to read, but the day feels a little distracted and empty. Wrote up the piece about Dawn's benefit for the Portland Open Studios blog, did about 15 minutes of work on the silk road flowers site, and caught up on some work related emails. And that's all that I have to report.

String 'em up by their toenails

Go see No End In Sight and I'm sure you'll feel the same about a certain "president" (who was not elected in the first place) and his incompetent cronies.

Well, the rest of the day -- didn't get much accomplished. Mr. Fingers and I went to Marion Forks to meet my mom and Marion (!) for lunch. 4 hour trip and a couple of hours for lunch. Mr. Fingers also helped with trying to figure out the printer, and immediately found that there's a newer version of the printer/scanner driver software available than what came with the package. That fixed one of the problems. The other problem, no printing screened output, he thinks he can come up with some solution, for a mere $2000. I offered him a smooch instead. (Hey, I didn't get even a smooch for the nifty little coil bound book I made him!)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Artist community

Between getting a late start in the morning, the weight room, and more credit card research (which is starting to wear me down) today, I didn't get into the studio. Then this afternoon/evening was the benefit for Dawn McConnell, who's very ill with 4th stage lung and liver cancer. Many artists, particularly from Portland Open Studios donated art and bought art (Dawn participated in the PDX Open Studios for many years). I donated a framed rooster screen print, which went for almost $200 over the listed price(!), so I was really thrilled. I bought a framed screen print by Keane Rathbun and a necklace by Bonnie Meltzer. What I REALLY would have liked was this vanity painted by Dawn:

This was a vintage vanity that Dawn stripped and repainted. It's been in a few exhibits here and is much more lovely than the photo shows. I'll put up more information on the Portland Open Studios blog this weekend, along with images of her other painted furniture, and a painted bike (looks like a fixed gear or single speed bike, I can't tell the difference).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More fun with the coil binder

Wow, seems like the coil binder is really hitting a chord with everyone! Even Mike -- who's typically not impressed with anything too cutesy, or anything gocco'ed (yes, that's right!) -- thought the notebooks were pretty good. I tried to sell him one for $10, but I guess he didn't think they were $10-good; I gave it to him instead. What a tough customer. Carolyn came by and saw the binder, and exclaimed, "I want one!"

Instant gratification in bookmaking, or maybe just in office supplies, seems to be deeply satisfying for many people. I wonder if it's just from school days, or if it goes further back? Did our cavemen and cavewomen ancestors like office supplies? Are there evolutionary advantages to liking office supplies, and thus leaving many of us with that trait?

I finished my gocco sampler books today. There are 11 copies, and they're all slightly different, but each has 15 pages (plus gocco printed cover). Coil bound, of course:

Spent the rest of the day -- no, not wrestling with the printer -- researching merchant accounts (for taking credit cards). They make things pretty complicated alright.

Just realized this morning that I better start working on whatever it is that I'll be exhibiting in Tennessee next January with my critique group. Since I've been thinking about the memory loss project for next year, my mind is still on that track, and I remembered those rolls of undeveloped film my dad gave me. They were from the late 60's and early 70's. I did have 4 rolls processed already last year, and there's definitely something there, although I can't tell how much. I took the rest of them (10 more rolls) in to Citizens today. We'll see what's all on there. But I'm thinking of using whatever ghostly images that might remain for something. Either gocco printed onto gray organza or tulle, and making a 3D piece. Something like a large quilt, but with lots of folds, like the brain. OK, just my first thoughts. I'm sure whatever I do, it will be a lot different than what I just said.

(My spell checker just complained about 'cavewomen', but not 'cavemen'. In fact, it's "correction" for 'cavewomen' was 'cavemen'. Huh?)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fun & Not Fun

Fun first --

Made a bunch of little sketch books with Rives Lightweight trimmings and some reject gocco cards. Here they are, along with the big black sketch book I first made the other day, and the coil binder.

I also printed a cover for the gocco sample booklets that I'm making. I used a printout from the new laser printer (HP 3050) to flash the screen...which leads us to the Not Fun part. I struggled with setting up the printer most of the afternoon. Problems --

1) Seems like half of the features are available only on Windows and not on the Mac. Grrrrh.

2) And I think that it's postscript emulation and not native is causing me some grief. Texts seem to get rasterized; there maybe other problems too.

3) There's a bit of smudging on the bottom sides of everything; probably because it doesn't heat up quite as hot (as compared to our older printer). This doesn't seem to have caused any trouble for making the gocco screen through.

4) I can't seem to scan to file (which it's supposed to be able to); it just automatically creates an email attachement instead. I bet this is part of complaint #1 above. And I don't seem to have any control over the file type, it just creates a pdf file.

5) I can't seem to control the dot screen setting in photoshop anymore. Regardless of what I set the lines per inch to, everything comes out the same! Now this is big trouble, and maybe related to complaint #2 above. Not sure yet.

6) Various dumb mistakes in the manual -- like saying the document needs to face up when it really needs to face down. Even the icon on the control panel is incorrect. Yes, I tried it both ways, and it needs to be face down to scan and to copy. And like buttons listed in the manual are not always called the same things in the actual software. Very sloppy product management.

On the positive side, it's way faster than our 12 years old HP Laserjet 4M Plus. And the copy feature works just fine.

We have 2 weeks to return the printer, according the Office Depot, as long as we have all original packaging. This seems kind of surprising, given that we'd be using the toner cartridge and they really have no control over how much anyone would use it. Not sure if I'll keep it or not, that will probably depend on whether we figure out complaint #5 or not. But then again, our options might be pretty limited, unless I want to spend a ton of money, which I don't really want to do.

Her cravings MUST be satisfied!

I've been thinking about sweet sesame soup for days. When I was at Uwajimaya's last night, I looked for some prepackaged versions, but everything had lots of sugar in it. So instead of working in the studio today, I dug out the Chinese snacks cookbook and made myself some black sesame concoction.

You see, I can never follow recipes. To start out with, I never seem to have the right ingredients. The recipe asked for white sesames; all I have on hand is black. And on my way to the page with the sweet sesame soup recipe, I saw the sweet peanut soup recipe, and since I did have some peanuts, I decided to combine the two. And since I have some red dates, why, might as well throw those in too.

Mike thinks it looks like a bowl of mud with lumps in it, but I think it looks more like a bowl of tar. The project actually took a few hours -- the raw peanuts had to be blanched and the skins removed. And peanuts skins don't come off as easily as almond skins do.

I really did spend a little time in the studio, working on the gocco samples book. The new prints are signed and dated, and I'm amazed that the top layer of black is still feeling a little bit on the sticky side, so they're still on the print rack. I'm thinking about my next print, which will be a revisit of another image from a couple of years ago.

The new printer is plugged in, and now that I'm looking at it, I realize that it's not a flatbed copier/canner, which I suppose is ok, but I won't be able to copy/scan anything in the sketchbook, the pages will have to be torn out first. Sigh. AND, although the spec said it's 'network capable' (them tricky words), apparently, you need to buy a slightly different version to have it come 'network ready'. Bummer. But Mike says we can get around that fine.

The movie tonight was Becoming Jane, basically the Pride and Prejudice story with Jane's life plugged in. Not sure how biographical it really is, but it was a sweet movie.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hike, swim, shop (the new triathlon!)

Went on the long walk with a neighbor today and we decided to go exploring in the greenbelt in the neighborhood too. It's pretty neat -- very wild -- you'd never know that you're in the middle of a residential neighborhood. There's a ravine with a creek, but we couldn't quite get there because of the thick blackberries.

Cleaned up the clutter a bit (I get so behind with mail and stuff), and then went shopping for the printer and the memory card that I was so studiously researching yesterday. Then we went swimming! Something that I haven't done all year. I'm not really a swimmer at all, but we took swimming lessons last year and at least now I'm comfortable floating in the water. Mike's really gotten into it, swims almost everyday, even has fins!

Hardly even stepped into the studio today, I'm afraid.

Tools of the trade, aka toys

Spent most of the day shopping. I have been needing a digital camera to photograph art work since the previous digital camera went kaput; and our laser printer is on its last legs; plus my scanner (as much as I love this wonderful Powerlook III scanner) is so old that it will not run with the new macs, and I have to keep booting up the old PowerMac 7600 in order to run it, and now the PowerMac is having lots of problems and is probably not going to last too much longer.

This being holiday weekend, there are lots of sales going on, so I've been looking at ads and researching what to get.

The camera -- I had thought I'd get a nice compact one, but after looking around, looks like I can get the Canon Rebel body for not much more than a good compact. Since the Rebel XT uses all my EOS accessories, even the remote, I decided that was the thing to do. I found an used XTi on Amazon, in "like new" condition. I googled the seller and found his photo gallery on aol. Looks like his other camera is a $5000(!) EOS, so he probably took good care of the Rebel, I hope. So I'm getting a digital SLR after all.

The printer/copier/scanner/fax all in one -- I actually started looking because I wanted a laser copier. I'd like to have small gocco classes here at the house and needed a copier for that to work. As it turns out, the output from the Brother Inkjet that we have will make gocco screens as well, but the text is just not as crisp coming out of the inkjet as the laser. And also because the current laser printer is really old and on its last legs, AND the scanner may not be accessible easily for much longer, so it would seem that all things point to a new laser all in one. We'll probably end up buying this HP all in one.

Put together a small sketch book with a big stack of Rives Lightweight trimmings (leftover from cutting paper for the new prints) and the coil binder. I had covered 2 boards with some scrap prints, thinking that I'd use the boards to cover the sketch book. Well, the coil binder is smarter than I am! There's a inner slot that prevents anything too thick from entering. You can insert the boards, but not far enough to where the punches are. So I'll have to use the boards on some other project. In the mean time, I used some scrap black Arches Cover for the sketch book. So it looks rather plain, but I'll gussy it up eventually.

I've always saved coils from coil bound books that I no longer need, and always wondered what the heck I'd do with them. Well, I was able to use one of those coils for the sketch book today!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Experimental gocco print, day 6

But first, some garden pictures. This last winter, the 3 Doug Firs towering over our house dropped some huge branches on the roof and broke the skylights. I removed the branches but just dumped them in the backyard and never dealt with them. So today, I dealt with them. Here's the big pile, along with some tall weeds; you can hardly see the fig tree the weeds are so tall:

The branches are gone! All cut up and in the yard debris can. Weeds are gone. And you can sort of see the fig tree. It's got lots of figs, but I'm not sure that they'll ripen before it gets too cold:

More treasures that I scored from a neighbor. He had taken out a couple of trees and left these root stumps by his yard. So we hauled them back last week. The neighbor kept on warning me how heavy they were, and wasn't even sure that Mike and I together could move them. Well, guess what!? I could move them by myself! They're definitely not very heavy. Right now I'm thinking 1) a birdbath, or 2) some kind of a critter/barbie fort. I'm leaning towards the critter/barbie fort, a One Million Years BC in the backyard:

More weeding and pruning, and this path is now visible! I hadn't been able to walk this way all year:

Back in the studio. I inked up the horse again and printed over the existing horse, this time in black. But I printed very lightly and quickly. This is a before and after shot; the top had just been printed with the black layer, and the bottom hadn't yet been printed (both of these are rejects though):

And a finished print:

Spent the rest of the afternoon going through old rejected prints and cutting them up to make little booklets of sample gocco prints from them. Using the coil binder, of course! The rejects from this horse print (as yet untitled) will be sample fodder as well.