Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Melinda: My Papers Are Not in Order


It's true. When I wake up in the morning, I am aware that I get up with 15,000 years of connection to this land, but when I think of leaving the house, I wonder what incident I might witness or experience.

And, I'm not even Hispanic, except as a Native American cousin. And, I'm half English. And, I'm only a first generation American because of the British mother who came here after marrying a mixed heritage man from the southwest.

Go figure. I still don't have my papers in order. The studio is a mess--papers everywhere, canvas and paint splatters abound, and solarplates littering my walkway. This solarplate image is about 3" x 4 1/2" on Somerset paper.

But, la fortaleza es segura.

For awhile, I'd like to suggest that you consider avoiding Arizona until we resolve the turmoil here.

btw: Thanks to all who have so generously commented and occasionally linked back to my blog. Your friendship and art support are u-wo-du-hi, you are buena gente, and if I do say so myself, quite brill.

I saw this and thought a lighter view is also in order* (whoops). From the Daily Show

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Melinda and the Magical Mechanical Pentel Pencil

Is anything sacred anymore? I mean, what is sacred? This being Earth Day and all, it would be a good idea to take a moment to reaffirm that earth is sacred. How many of you out there remember how wacky people were thought to be on the first celebration of Earth Day in 1970?!

We've come a long way, in some ways good, others devastatingly worrisome.

I'm a saver. We artists hang on to things, don't we, knowing that we might need them for a future project?

Sometime in the last century, a really long time ago, a friend gave me a Pentel Mechanical Pencil as a gift. At the time, it was very expensive and I thought pencils were pencils.

They are not. Some of them are sacred, like many of the things you hold dear over the years.

Waxing nostalgic isn't always a bad thing. I went looking for my sacred pencil and did not find it. I bought a surrogate because, while I know my old friend will show up one day to surprise me, I'm missing what a good pencil can do.

Maybe it can't compete with this drawing and subsequent stained glass commission I worked on in the 1980s, but I can hope. When I see this window, I remember the day I was commissioned to build stained glass to fill a space. I sat staring at a very bright, very blank piece of white paper, with a deadline over my head. Then, I picked up the mechanical pencil and made a small mark. A woman's head and shoulders began to appear and the pencil carried the line all the way around the edges of her skirt. My eyes followed the line and I was stunned and grateful to see the image.

Today, with this newer pencil, I am drawing differently, but with the same purpose as before. This image is of a Norfolk pine branch that I've manipulated slightly in Photoshop. As soon as the clouds travel east, I'll make a solarplate of the image and finish the mail art piece.

No matter how enlightened we are about our mythology, I'll bet we can all agree that on this Earth Day, she (earth) is sacred and worthy of honor. So is your talent and the work you do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mail Art Experiment, Solarplate Marking a Day in Tucson


It was a warm and quiet day. The sky was clear, the quail, the grackles, the rabbits and the desert finches owned the yard of Fuerte y Claro. I'm good with that.

I've had an idea for a mail art piece again and this time it included solarplate prints. Guess I'm approaching this thing backwards because I've got photos to share of today's work, even though I'm only just beginning the project. This next one is the first small cactus image on white paper.



This second one is of a landscape I've never actually visited, but the image was a public one and I manipulated it enough to use it in my work. Each image is approximately 3" x 4".

You can see that I was thrifty with the paper and, I'm happy to report, the solarplates that have been sitting in the dark for a couple of years (at least!), actually produced images.

Mirabile dictu:

I took some photos.
Manipulated the images in Photoshop.
Visited the local office supply store and had transparencies printed of my images.
Dug out the old solarplates and cut them to size.
Put them altogether in the glass sandwich and exposed them to the sun for 2 minutes, 34 seconds.
Washed the plates in cool water for 5 minutes.
Found scraps of BFK Rives paper and dampened them in the bathtub.
Inked the plates with black relief ink.
Printed the images in the Ettan press (how I've missed the dear press and how lovely she prints.

Et, voila!

I'm seeing that I've been away for way too long. Goodness, guess that Life in Hell cartoon I found the other day

hit me a bit harder than I'd thought...And gee, after such a fun time with the last post. Sheesh. Hey, we can laugh and cry about this.

Hope you're all feeling energized with spring and happily working on meaningful art.
UPDATE
Here are photos of two of the solarplates I used. You can see how thin the plates are and the polymer side with faint image: