Friday, August 26, 2016

Artist Residency at Ottawa School of Art - Week 1

What an adventure my first week in Ottawa has already been. I left for Ottawa on August 20th, first thing in the morning. Packed up Heloise (our blue Mazda 3) with materials, provisions and my bicycle. 

The first leg of the Journey was going to be the longer one, I drove all the way to Quebec city already. Stayed at a rather shady Air BnB for the night and headed out again the next morning. After an uneventful trip, and covering over 1500 kilometres in 2 days I arrived in Ottawa at my dear friend Anne-Marie's place. As Anne-Marie needed someone to house-sit her condo anyways I get to spend a week with her and then take care of her place the remainder of my stay. It's the perfect arrangement. And it has been an absolute pleasure spending some time with her and her cutie-pie puppy Peeta.

The Ottawa School of Art has invited me to spend 3 weeks in their printshop as an artist in residence. Other than a lot of printing we have a few fun things planned. Next week Friday and Saturday I will be teaching two one day workshops. Open to anyone. Check out their website for details.

The following week on September 8th I will be giving an artist talk at OSA, showing my work and as a great opportunity to ask me questions about what I do. Last but not least I will be doing some demo printing during their open house on September 10th. I will then head to Montreal for a few days before my return to Halifax.

As part of my daily ritual I bike for half an hour to get to OSA from Anne-Marie's place. After three days of having google maps guide me this complicated route I think I have finally internalized it.

Adjusting to a new printshop environment is always a bit of a challenge for me. When I did my residency at Zea Mays they gave me a space that I was able to set up in and spread out and work without having to pack up my stuff for the duration of the residency. I think that best case scenario has spoiled me. When I arrived at OSA it became clear that this is a school printshop, so even though it's a quiet time of the year everything has to be put away at the end of each day and then set up again the next. This is the first residency I have done where that was the case, and it's amazing how much extra energy this takes when you go in every day to print and it's like starting over on everything from set up to clean up.  Of course this is nothing new for a printshop environment.
But after my 30 min bike ride and then setting everything up for working in the printshop, by the time this happens most of the morning has been used up and I feel exhausted enough to want to take a nap.

I always think that I am good at adapting to most situations and just find a new routine, but then I don't really allow myself to actual take time to find that new routine and get comfortable with it. So the first week at OSA was a bit frustrating, but for no reason than my own stubborn self. I started cutting corners in my process and didn't take the time to really think things through properly. The results... less than satisfying. So yesterday I took a step back and said ok. Lets just spend the day mixing inks. And that's what I did. Now I have a proper palette to work with again. No more short cuts! The next goal is to cut paper and then do a bunch of proofing with my new batch of inks until I find the right colour combinations for new batch of 6 lino-blocks. Today I am allowing myself a late morning because I am tired. Afterall this is not a race. 

What I did accomplish this week is to pull a proof of all 6 small linocuts and carve out the detail that I wanted. Here some photos:

First proofs pulled. Now back to carving more. 

Top was the before I carved more, bottom is the after. 

Definitely needed to add more detail to this block. 

That's much better.


I always love seeing what innovative solutions print shops have found for the various difficult equipment needed. I love this graining sink that is actually a bathtub with a wooden grate on top. Brilliant solution! And the faucet is hooked up to hose that can be used for washing out screens in the washout booth next to the sink, or moved back to the sink for rinsing off litho stones. 

Ink mixing party. 

A solid days work. Feeling pretty good about this.

Anne-Marie's dog Peeta finds it fascinating that I make my own ice cream. 

Anne-Marie told me Peeta never jumps up on anyone except her and maybe sometimes her partner Mathieu. 2 Minutes later Peeta hopped up and we had a good doggy cuddle. ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Colour Monotype Workshop at Visual Voice in Truro

On August 18th, I returned to Visual Voice Fine Art in Truro to teach the Colour Monotype Workshop. As expected it was a lot of fun and all 5 participants enjoyed it thoroughly. 

First major field trip for my not quite so little table top etching press. In this case more like a "pedestal-top".

Little sample prints for this workshop.

Inks, rollers and all that ready for action.

Corinne brought beautiful plants from her garden for her Monotype experiments.

She also made a three layer Monotype with the reductive wiping method.

Rosemary experimented with cut paper pieces to print silhouettes of birds onto a blue background.

Victor is working on many beautifully composed monotypes. The various foliage he borrowed from Corinne turned out like a small forest.

Rachelle came up with some innovative techniques, including rolling a golfball around on a plate to create unique marks.

Rachelle's prints

Harmonia is a big fan of Maple leaves, she made them part of all of her prints.

Harmonia's prints.

More of Victor's prints.

 Corinne enjoyed experimenting with all the little treasures she brought from her garden. 

Corinne's prints.

Overall it was a big success and a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone who so enthusiastically participated and of course thank you to Visual Voice for hosting the workshop. Nuri did a great job taking many of these photos. Thank you Nuri! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reductive Relief Printing Workshop in Wolfville

On August 13th, I returned to the Gaspereau Valley and Shipston Designs Studios for the second workshop in our workshop series. This all day session focussed on the reductive method of relief printmaking, which means that you print multiple colour layers from a single block.

I had prepared the blocks of Marmoleum for this workshop two nights before the workshop and promptly forgot to bring it. Julie was very accommodating and offered I cut a piece from her Marmoleum flooring in the studio. It worked great! 

Julie captured the awesome shot of my hands glowing in the sun, while I was trimming the Marmoleum down to the correct block size.  

Let the fun begin, little introduction session. 

Everyone working hard.

The recent print I did using Akua inks, I held on to one print from each colour layer to show the gradual change of the image, as well as show what the original colour was before it was printed overtop the others. 

Perry working hard on carving his Seagull. 

Messy work table is a great sign of much productivity. 

Different colour choices and combinations of the Akua Inks that we are using.  

Louise inking up her block for the first time. 

Using Louise's block to demonstrate how printing on Julie's beautiful printing press works. 

Louise is ready to edition her yellow layer. 

Sian's first layer printed. 

Chelsea inking her first layer, which she carved out of Komatex. 

Well done Chelsea!

All first layers are done, now back to carving more from the same block. 

Chelsea touching up her final layer.

Sian carving the second layer of her swan print. 

Louise's two different stages and her block. The image are two cats fighting.

Perry - being a fun printmaker.

Perry's print with the final layer printed. 

Perry's two color reductive seagull print. 

Stephane and Perry working hard. 

Stephane's two colour print.

Chelsea inking her block.

Chelsea's finished two colour reduction print using Komatex. 

Sian's Swan print.
First layer on it's own on the left, second layer on top of the first on the right. 

Sian signing her lovely finished prints. 

Chelsea, Perry, Stephane, Louise, Maria and Sian.
The proud participants with their prints.

Two amazing workshops down, one more to go on September 17th. If you are interested in participating, there are still seats left. 

Thank you kindly to Peter Rosvall and Julie Rosvall for being their usual kind souls and generous hosts! Many of the photos in this post were taken by Julie, she also did an amazing job posting about the progress of the workshop online, and spreading the word about it. Thank you Julie!

Julie multi-tasking.