Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nearly the end of the year

Wow, didn't post for over a month! The sale went pretty well, and I had fun meeting the other members. I sold a bunch of the magnets, but nothing else.
Since then I haven't gone to the studio, partly because I was sick. I've been concentrating on doing online stuff, like putting the magnets on my etsy site. My etsy name is tarazara.
I'm not sure how to drive traffic to it, so feel free to send the link to anyone you like!
I caught the very end of a documentary on the Independent Film Channel about a woman who does miniature knitting - 1/12 scale, for dollhouse dolls, and is now doing dollhouse scale for dollhouses - 1/144 scale! The finished sweaters fit on a dime! See them here: Bugknits
I was so impressed, I decided to start working again on my miniature crochet. I used to do these about 20 years ago, and I like them because they are so quick to make. My sister asked me to make a miniature piece of pie for a friend...I didn't have the right size thread, so it isn't as refined as some of the older pieces, but I hope to do a whole food series. I don't know what I'll do with them, as usual. Here are pix of the older pieces - mostly cups and saucers.

This one is about the size of a nickel:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The art sale begins

Yesterday was the first day of the art sale, and I was there all afternoon helping. For some reason I was assigned the task of calling in credit cards for approval, which wasn't too bad. I didn't have to deal directly with the public, and I had considerable time to cruise around and look at other people's work. It was great to see all the various styles and techniques, and it did give me inspiration.
The prints that seemed to sell the best had a local flavor - local subjects like plants and flowers, people or places. Also, a lot of color...I guess we in Hawai'i are used to seeing color everywhere, so we want it in our art. As much as I love black and white, especially black ink, I also love to work in color. In other cities I lived, serious printmakers tended to work only in black and white, but now I think my color sense can take off!
Interesting side note: Neil Abercrombie, Hawai'i Representative to the U.S. Senate (elected governor of Hawa'i in 2010), showed up near closing time and pored over the art very carefully. We stayed open a little longer to let him see everything. I knew him back in the hippie days, so I went to talk to him, and he said he remembered me (he may have just been being diplomatic). I remembered him living in a house with no front door, just a curtain. He said, "those were innocent times..." He always was a really sweet guy, and politics has not made him hard. He bought 6 or 7 pieces (some rather expensive - alas, none of mine) and he wrote a little note on his business card for each of the artists. That would be a nice thing to have in your portfolio!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More prints for the sale

I figure this is as good a time as any to scan all my prints, though there are some monoprints I forgot to scan before I took them to the studio...I guess I'll go take pictures of them so I'll have some documentations. Here's some more of the prints I put in the sale.

Mona Redux
(2.75" x 3.5")
This print has line etching, aquatint, white ground etching and some open bite. I wasn't trying to make her look like the Mona Lisa, but once it was done, I thought that's what she looked like.

(1.75" x 3.75")
Pohaku can mean either rock or thunder in Hawaiian, but either works for this print.

Salt and Pepper
(7.5" x 2.75")
This is all open-bite etching...a technique which takes careful timing when putting the plate in the acid.

(2" x 4")
I just love this print...I like making lots of fine lines.

Carp Dream
(10" x 6")
One of only two lithographs I ever did. Besides the fact that litho is a tedious process, and the only part that is fun is actually drawing on the stone, I had a horrible experience with the teacher in my litho class, and he made me never want to do litho again. He hated this print, and the other one I did. His actual words at the class critique were, "I don't know why you even bother." He was such an asshole, and I only found out later that he didn't like me because the head of the printmaking department thought I was a genius and I guess he saw me as competition. Everyone else who has seen this print loved it, but I still get a sick feeling thinking about that critique.

Friday, November 14, 2008


When you think of an artist, you think they are creating art or thinking about don't imagine what goes into getting ready for a show or sale. I used a P-touch printer to print out what seemed like a zillion labels. I needed inventory tags for each item, prices, and titles. For the Fine Art for the Fridge magnets I printed out labels for, now I have to set up a web site in the next two weeks just in case anyone wants to order more...which entails scanning all the available prints and working out some kind of order system.
But I delivered all the prints to the studio today - whew! There were 44 magnets and 40 other prints of various sizes. The hardest part was pricing them - I probably priced them too low, but I'd like to sell a lot, to get my name out there and to get a lot of inventory off my hands. Here's a few of the prints I have in the show...Nancy helped me with some of the titles. Sometimes I do a print with no clear plan in mind, usually somewhat abstract, then I can't even decide which side is up. I always like to have other people, especially non-artists, tell me what they think and suggest a title.

(4" x 2.75")
This has always been one of my favorites; I had a lot of fun making the plate...various techniques of aquatint and open bite.

"...and the wind blew the sky into her hair..."
(6" x 4.75")
This one has the longest title ever, and I'm not sure why...someone in a printmaking workshop may have suggested it.

Planet Dancing
(9" x 4")
A collagraph - the plate is made from two layers of mat board covered in layers of acrylic gloss medium. It's quick and easy to make a plate this way (if you don't count the drying time between layers of medium), plus it's non-toxic.

(6" x 4")
Ah, my lovely punks...the girl on the right is another portrait of my old printmaking buddy Mo Lea, whom I wish I could get in touch with again. [Note: I just googled and found her! She teaches art at a college in Bedfordshire, UK! I emailed her and I hope she writes back.] I hope she is still doing etchings, because she was a genius. I have to find the print she gave me and post it here.

The Piano Lesson
(5" x 8")
Nancy suggested the title for this, after turning it vertical...I had always looked it horizontally and it never really made a whole lot of sense.

They look like they are all the same size on the screen, so I added the dimensions to give an idea of their actual sizes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Printmaking Studio

I recently joined a printmaking group, and the studio is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. As a night person, that's the best time for me. I went last week and this week, and besides getting a lot of printing done, I met a bunch of nice people. The group is having a sale at the end of the month, so everyone's getting ready. Some are working on a special project; images of I'olani Palace, the only royal palace in the U.S.
I joined a little too late for this project, but I'm printing some of my old plates, especially the miniatures. I used to market them in little magnet frames as "Fine Art for the Fridge" but this was pre-internet, and I couldn't find any premade frames I liked. I had to make the frames myself, and that took forever, so it wasn't as profitable as it could have been. Now with the help of the web, I found the perfect lightweight magnet frames, so I'm going to start selling them again. Everyone oohed and aahed over my little prints, which made me feel great - they especially liked the nudes - and said I would do well at the sale.
I printed some slightly larger prints, partly to test them out. Riverbend is one of my all-time favorites, partly because of the beautiful black areas. This was when I was new to printmaking, and testing out my aquatint skills (aquatint is an etching method to produce tonal results; has nothing to do with water color as some people assume). I was very pleased with the result.The Geckos also feature aquatint, but this time I was going for a speckled effect. I love geckos, and they are considered a symbol of good luck in Hawai'i, partly because they eat bugs, so you want one or two living in your house. They are usually shades of beige and tan, about 2 inches long, and they have gold eyes, so I usually gold-leaf the eyes in this etching.
I love printmaking, and watching the others at the studio working on other methods makes me want to do some monoprints and even delve into methods I haven't done before, like woodcut. One of the women in the studio was doing these large (24" x 30") woodcuts of beautiful Polynesian women...I don't think I would work that large, but I liked her method for printing multiple colors.
It's very tiring working at the studio, my back and feet always hurt when I come home. I'm hoping that doing it on a regular basis, I will get used to it. If I can make some money selling my miniatures (watch for an announcement when I put them up on my etsy site), I'll be at the studio every week.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tiny etchings

I've always loved tiny things, but my tiny etchings were inspired by two things: laziness and thrift. I was in a weekly printmaking workshop where we had no lockers or anywhere to leave our tools and plates during the week, so we had to schlep everything each time. Zinc plates can be heavy, and I didn't like carrying around a heavy bag. There was a large metal cutter called a guillotine in the studio, where you could cut a plate down to the size you needed. One day I noticed that there were long narrow strips of zinc on the floor beneath the cutter, so I picked them up and cut them into pieces about 1x1 inch or a little bigger. Not only were they free, they were lightweight! So my long series of miniature works began.
This one one of my first minis - it's loosely a portrait of my friend Mo Lea, who was in the workshop with me. She had an outrageous blond mohawk and a penchant for skulls and bones, both in her work and her jewelry.
I always liked doing sketches of girls wearing sunglasses, and this girl has miniature sunglass pin on her within mini.

When I was in high school, there was a phone on a small shelf in the upstairs hallway of my house; we used the wall above the shelf for notes and phone numbers, but sometimes I would draw these silly-looking birds. My mother finally painted over the notes and numbers, but she left the birds. When I did this etching, I thought my birds were not really serious enough for an etching, but my papermaking mentor Harriet Germain loved this etching best of all of mine - she called it "the chickens." It has a special place in my heart because Harriet is long gone and she meant so much to me.

Drawings that pop out of my pen

Sometimes, when I'm doing nothing in particular, like waiting on hold on the phone (or, in the old days of the internet, waiting for a file to download) these little drawings pop out of my pen. I use whatever pen is handy, whatever little scraps of paper are on hand. I usually don't have a subject idea or a reason, they just appear. This bunch are done on small pieces of mat board, leftovers from framing; the pen was probably a very fine Sharpie or something similar. I haven't done many of these lately - I hope some more pop out of my pen soon.
I did these in Seattle on a rainy day, although real Seattlites rarely use umbrellas.

Nostalgia for Hawaiian nights...Cherries on a cloth...I've done various versions of this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Repeat repeat repeat

Here's some more repeat patterns - I did a series for stationery and gift wrap, and some for my own amusement.
Simple Roses
Mod Flowers

This last one was once the background of my web site, back in the day when I had the time and energy to change my site every couple of months. Now I'm lucky if I get to it every five years! It's good, though, because that means I have lots of other work to do, so I guess all that time I spent fiddling with my portfolio site paid off...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Art and such

This blog is to show and sell my art, particularly small pieces. Pen refers to my scribbles, doodles and little drawings, the sort I like to say "just popped out of my pen." Press refers to my printmaking; etchings, collagraphs, and monoprints, which I print on an etching press.
I recently moved, and in the packing and unpacking process, discovered I had lots of small etchings on hand - most are less
than 2 inches square - that I used to sell in magnet frames as "Fine Art for the Fridge." I might make some into cards, or magnets, or other items, or sell them just as tiny frameable art.
My pen drawings have been scanned and sometimes digitally colored, and I plan to sell them in various forms. I might even take requests, if someone wants them on a card, button, pocket mirror, etc.
I know things will change as I go along, so let's get started! I haven't decided exactly what to do with each piece, so I'm going to post the images and think about it later...

This little drawing was originally done in ink and colored pencil on frosted mylar. Drawing on mylar is fun because you can view it from either side and see different effects. It might make a good greeting card, or a magnet.
Dogwood - a repeat pattern I did for a gift wrap company (I don't know if they ever used it).

This repeat of garden tools came from a series of mini etchings from my "Fine Art for the Fridge" series.

I guess that's all for today!