Blog Archives

Back to the Sixties

It’s been an extremely busy couple of weeks for me. I’ve a new series of works in the “pipeline” inspired by designs and colors found in psychedelic art from the sixties (and seventies). I’ve always loved the swirling lines, trippy designs with day-glo dazzling, vibrating colors that make your eyes go wonky.

The images I am working upon came from one small drawing that I’ve manipulated ad nauseum like I always manage to do. I have decided upon a total of three patterns (1966, 1967 and 1968) that will comprise a suite of large paintings. A variety of other designs will be used for assorted drawings and prints.

I began this series with a 2-color laser-cut relief print (1966) to see if I liked the concept well enough to go for it. Turns out, I liked it just fine. 1966 will also be done in a variety of relief print iterations. One I am excited about is a tie-dye version.  It’s on the schedule for next week at Santo Press and I can’t wait to see the edition. We’ve only done a couple of proofs and are still tweaking it, but it will look very much as the image below shows.

The first in the series of what I hope will be 3 large paintings, 1967 provided me a very steep learning curve and a good reminder of the wisdom behind the saying use it or loose it. Quite frankly, I haven’t painted in a very long time–and it took me a while to get my painting hand back in shape. After spending over 40 hours painting, I think I’m just about back to my desired skill level.

The next problem I had to sort out was which painting medium to use. I wanted to get the flat, matte paint surface of gouache (I love gouache), but didn’t want to deal with the various problems associated with using that medium on a large scale painting. After a bit of research I discovered a product made by Turner (a Japanese company) called Acryl Gouache. It is a water soluble, acrylic-based paint that handles like gouache and looks exactly like gouache when dry, but allows you to overpaint areas without disturbing the bottom layer of paint–which is a huge benefit over gouache. Plus, once it dries it is impervious to water–yet another benefit. It took me a few trial runs, but I got the hang of it and think it has given me exactly the look and finish I wanted.

Here are a few images of the newest work in my studio.

Travel back to the sixties with me!

1966, 2-color multi-block laser-cut relief print, edition of 50, 8″ x 7″ on paper 11″ x 9.5″, 2017

1967, acrylic gouache on paper, 32″ x 32″, 2017

1967 (detail), acrylic gouache on paper, 32″ x 32″, 2017

1966, archival digital print with laser-cut linoleum block, edition of 10, 8″ x 7″ on paper 13″ x 11″ 2017

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My Newest Edition from Santo Press!

This one is so new it is not even signed yet! Just printed and published by Brent Bond and his marvelous and incredibly busy Santo Press, this 3-color reduction lino print was both laser-cut and hand-cut. It also has some offset hand inking using sheets of wrinkled wax paper.

While trying to come up with an unusual background texture for this print, (and many failed attempts) I was inspired to create an unusual way to crease the wax paper. It dawned on me that I could try creasing the wax paper the same way silk is creased to form wrinkles in Shibori textile dyeing. This provided an unusual and delicate pattern on the wax paper which I call  Shibori-esque. I rolled a sheet of wax paper on a narrow wooden dowel and then pushed the paper down exactly like the pole-wrapping  technique (minus the string) used in Japan to dye textiles.

Brent masterfully incorporated the wrinkles of the wax paper with it’s lacey creases in an overlay of pale yellow on a darker orange ground. This print is the second of what will be a series of three 3-color reduction linocuts published by Santo Press. You can read about Web Mesh, the first print of the series here.

Web Pathway, Print by Janet Towbin, Web Pathway; 2017, reduction linocut; 10″ x 8″ on 14″ x 11″ paper; variable edition of 30; published by SantoPress.

Shibori technique wax paper sampleA close look at the Shibori-esque wax paper filled with delicate crinkles and patterns.

Brent Bond placing the wax paperPlacing the Shibori-esque wax paper on inked plate for 3rd color off-set.

Brent Bond using a roller to off-set print the 3rd colorBrent using a roller to offset print the 3rd color. The hand pressure exerted by the brayer causes the crinkled wax paper to push into the ink, leaving it’s crazed, lace-like markings in the ink.

brent 3The wax paper is removed, taking away a layer of ink–and leaving the crinkled impression behind. The 2-color print is then run through the press transferring the Shibori-esque, crinkled texture of the wax paper as the third and final color.

 

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Kaleidoscope at Andaz Scottsdale

My art is now in every room of the most fabulous new resort in Scottsdale. Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa recently opened featuring work by the artists of the Cattle Track Arts compound. Mark McDowell and Brent Bond were both instrumental in getting my work seen and selected by the designers of the Andaz property. I have them to thank for this wonderful opportunity to have Kaleidoscope and a lot of other work featured at the resort.

Kaleidoscope began life as a simple drawing of triangles and lines in a tiny sketchbook. I then enlarged the drawing by mirroring it and flipping the orientation into a larger and more complex symmetrical composition. This iteration of the drawing was made into a series of etchings with Cindi Ettinger of C.R. Ettinger Studio of Philadelphia. Some of the etchings were purely line etchings while others combined line and aquatint in several colors. Additionally some of the prints were hand-worked, adding color and texture through collage and/or watercolor.

Kaleidoscope was selected by the designers of Andaz Scottsdale to appear in all of their 206 guest rooms. The work chosen was a unique print created by hand-painting areas with iridescent copper watercolor, collaging triangles of textured brown Japanese paper and drawing lines with graphite (see image below). I photographed the hand-worked print and digitally manipulated the colors in Photoshop. This provided the Andaz design team with a wide range of color stylings to choose from that would compliment the color palette of Alexander Girard’s mid-century textiles that appear throughout the property.

The four different color stylings of the manipulated unique print were digitally printed (archival inkjet) by the amazing Carlos Mandelveitia and mounted on Masonite board. The Andaz quartet of Kaleidoscope prints are available for purchase unmounted. They may be special ordered in two sizes: Approximately 15.5″ x 24″ and 36″ x 48″. Prices upon request.

Kaleidoscope AKaleidoscope A; 36″ x 48″, archival inkjet print; 2016.

Kaleidoscope BKaleidoscope B; 36″ x 48″, archival inkjet print; 2016.

Kaleidoscope CKaleidoscope C; 36″ x 48″, archival inkjet print; 2016.

Kaleidoscope DKaleidoscope D; 36″ x 48″, archival inkjet print; 2016.

This is the original drawing made in a small sketchbook:Kaleidoscope (original sketch)

And a larger study of the drawing mirrored and flipped 4 times:Kaleidoscope Drawing

The unique print selected by the Andaz design team with a detail below:Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope (detail)

Kaleidoscope is a series I have been working on for close to a decade. There are many different states of the print in editions as well as a dozen or more unique works. Many may be seen here on my website.

 

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Facets

Last week I signed two new print editions at Santo Press. That makes them the 47th and 48th editions printed by Brent Bond since our collaboration began in August, 2015. I know that is a record for both of us! I wouldn’t have been able to be this prolific without Brent’s expertise and hard work on my behalf. There are at least 5 more editions in “the queue” and I think I will be signing them very soon. Like next week!

The first print, Facets (blush) was printed in an edition of 50 for the 2017 Mesa Contemporary Art Museum’s 8th Calendar. It is a 2-color photopolymer relief with laser-cut woodblock. The 2017 Calendar will be available December 9 through the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum’s website. If you pre-order now, you get off $5.00 of every calendar purchased. It is a great way to collect prints by local artists and to support the museum.

The second print is Facets (B&W), edition of 10. Facets (B&W) is a one-color photopolymer relief print.  $80.00

Facets (Blush)Facets (blush), 2016; photopolymer relief with laser cut woodblock; edition of 50; 7.5″ x 6″ image on 11″ x 9″ paper

 

Facets (B&W)Facets (B&W), 2016; edition of 10; photopolymer relief; 7.5″ x 6″ image on 11″ x 9″ paper.

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