Friday, May 7, 2010

Off To Wonderland

Another semester is over, portfolios are scattered around the studio, Wonderland exchange portfolios have been distributed, and the shop is clean and ready for a new crew. The above image is the colophon page for the exchange portfolio. Since the portfolios do no not contain every print by every one involved, but rather ten random prints, all of the impressions are reproduced on the colophon so that everyone at least has a 'history' of the images created. Based on past exchanges, I didn't think the Wonderland theme was our strongest.

The discussion of the portfolio started by generating ideas within the entire group. In the course of throwing out possible themes, someone suggested "Alice in Wonderland." During the brainstorming session that was distilled down to just Wonderland, which has all kinds of potential. But there were some who embraced Alice's journey nevertheless, so there are a number of prints in that land and some that ventured into new territory.

Each participant printed an edition of eleven, and many of those editions were very well printed, with only slight variations. A few were questionable and could have used a few more impressions from which to cull a solid edition of eleven, but all in all, it was a good project and a rewarding portfolio. I hope all who participanted are happy with the collection of prints they received.

Enjoy the spring and summer wonderland.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fine Arts Open House

The Dirt Bags Art Club is hosting the 2nd annual IUS Fine Arts Department open house on Friday evening from 6:00-8:00. Please bring in some of your prints if they're not already in the shop so we can put some out in the hallway and in the pritnshop. Bring your friends and family. It was a blast last year going from studio to studio seeing what everyone was creating. Good music and food, and creative fellowship. Hope you can make it. Click on the image above to see the particulars of the event.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It's a new week in the printshop, the last push toward the end of a busy semester. David packed up on Saturday and headed back north to Indy/Herron. The printshop feels a little different this morning, although there are remnants of the energy from last week. After the last color was printed on Friday afternoon, we gave a big push to get things cleaned and packed so David could get an early start.

The prints were collected off the tables and loaded onto the drawing rack.

Even managed to catch Donna off guard for one the rare photos of her, couldn't pass up sharing it with you.

Rob was very focused on getting the ink slab cleaned and the roller. He was especially helpful during the week and soon after he and David started printing earlier in the week, they had developed a very efficient process. I figure the press saw around 800 runs, from stretching paper to the final color.

This is the final run next to the final print.

Another of Donna loading prints onto the drying rack.

This is the group of drawings on frosted Mylar that David executed during the week and that were exposed to the photo positive plates to develop the image. They are sitting on a light table.

It was a very rewarding experience for all of the printmaking students to see David working and fully explaining what he was doing and why he was doing it. I think the experience will inspire more lithography in the coming semesters. The drawing students, from beginning to advanced, also benefitted from the numerous presentations by David, showing his work from his undergraduate days and how his process and content grew over the years to his present concerns.

Thank you, David, for everything!

Friday, April 16, 2010

David Morrison's visit/day 5

This has been a super week in the printshop with David working on the print below. The final color (maybe) is being printed today, a deep charcoal grey. It makes the image come to life with light and movement.

David also added more transitional passages of value to the final color that makes the space both more real and more surreal.

David studying the final proof before printing the last run of color. Of the two versions here, the left is the one he's going after. It was not as heavy since he changed the exposure of the plate and pulled back away from the darker color. It's a beautiful print.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

David Morrison's visit/day 4

We're at day 4 in the printshop with David, and he and Rob have run two more colors since yesterday's post. Shawn was in there as well yesterday helping to get a warm grey printed, and then a white was added this morning, early this morning. David responded that it was the first time he had printed white, opaque white, over previous colors that may have been still slightly damp. What it did to the previous colors is pretty amazing, all kids of subtleties, light, and space are beginning to move. We both saw a slight visual connection the the landscape of Avatar.

David is working on yet another drawing for a later run of color. He consistently refines the image through the drawing process, considering each move in relation to what has happened to the image so far.

The row of state proofs lines the wall, showing each individual run and its effect on the previous stage of the image.

All of the prints are now sitting out on most of the surfaces to expedite the drying time. The plan is to begin printing again around 2:00 this afternoon after the prints have had some time to 'rest' and dry.

The current printing has moved from the Brand Litho press to the Takach press since it's more accommodating for stone.

This isn't a great shot of where we are now, but it's not bad. The image is beginning to have an internal glow.

Since last evening's print session ended earlier to allow for some drying time, David was taken to the local brew house, the New Albanian, where he discovered that they had one of his favorite beers on tap, Delirium, that he had been introduced to in Belgium, and amazingly it was on tap in New Albany, IN. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

David Morrison's visit/day 3

Another image and run of color was printed last evening after yesterday's post, so there are now three colors/layers to the image. David is considering several possibilities for subsequent printings. So far the above stages have been printed off of plates, but he is thinking about a run off of stone today. Click on any of the images to see more detail.

Here are some of the drawing paraphernalia essential to developing each of the images that are being layered. The box of doughnuts are especially vital to the process.

This is the stone on which David created the key image, but it may be printed as an earlier run rather than the later. The proof to the right shows the 'musicality' of the image, and the subtle transitions of value moving through the complexity of the line work.

David's hand at work, drawing on frosted Mylar on the light table. It will be used as a positive to expose on the photo plate for subsequent printing.

It's been an amazing few days so far in the printshop. David and Rob are printing machines, pulling around 60 impressions for each layer, and running each of those layers in one session. It's been especially inspiring also for this 'intaglio-guy', who is now considering the possibilities of a litho. What? Yes, I may have to get on the litho press soon. There is a much more profound reconsideration of the process when you can witness the workings and the critical thinking process of an artist who is a master lithographer. Too much fun!

Besides all of the drawing and printing that's going on, David is also doing presentation after presentation to various groups of students who stop by the shop to witness the activity. Yesterday afternoon he presented a PowerPoint to Susan's drawing class, taking us back to some of his undergraduate work, through graduate school, various residencies, and up to his current work. A fascinating journey.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

David Morrison's visit/day 2

Rob Woolley sponging the plate.

Rob attaching a first run proof to the registration system while David supervises.

Two impressions, the left a first run and on the right a combination of the first and second.

David Morrison rolling up the plate.

The ink slab, roller, and colors used.

David arrived yesterday and spent the day getting unpacked, acclimated to the shop, presenting work and his plans for the week to the print class, stretching paper (60 sheets with each running through the press three times), preparing the registration on each sheet, and then printing the first run of color, a flat. It was a pretty busy day. Today, he and Rob are well into the second run, and already it is a beautiful image. It's pretty exciting to have this kind of energy in the shop and to see one of David's images developing from the initial idea/drawing.

Yesterday he explained that on a recent residency to the Banff Centre he had an initial plan going in, but after experiencing the awe-inspiring vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the lush landscape, he refocused into a new direction, completing a series of drawings. This new work is the inspiration for his new prints, based on nature, obstructions, music, and gesture, they are gestural and lyrical.

I will try to keep abreast with the work-in-progress and post the information and images over the next three days.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rob's Thesis

The images below are installation shots of Rob Woolley's thesis exhibition.

Rob Woolley and Sara Jones opened their thesis exhibitions last night. There was a big crowd in the course of the two hour reception, good food, and lots of interesting discussion. Rob, as many of your know, is graduating with a BFA in printmaking. He's the third BFA printmaker from our program since it started in 2003. Brett Ernst and Diana Hatchett are the other two. Rob has been accepted into graduate programs at the University of Florida, The University of Cincinnati, and the Herron School of Art at IUPUI in Indianapolis. He has accepted Herron's offer. Coincidentally, David Morrison, our Rolling Knob Press Visiting Artist coming in next week, oversees the Herron MFA program in printmaking. It's going to be an exciting week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Relief Prints

Some new relief prints hot off the presses. Some are for an edition of four and some are for an edition of 11 for our Wonderland exchange portfolio.

Danny Palafox

Mel Smith

Will Goolsby

Tatum Park

Pako Martin

Miranda Becht

Jerry Abshear

Greg Truesdel

Daphne Dohoney

Daniel Marshal

Connie Goodwin

Aberlyn May

Lithography Press Woes

Our Charles Brand Lithography press had been inoperable for the past three weeks after the warp plate that sits under neath the press bed finally warped. We've had the press around 30 years and never had any problems. Then one day, as the bed was passing over the center roller, a shotgun blast sound came from under the press. Apparently the warp plate, a 1/8 inch sheet of steel, had finally stretched enough that is had no place to stretch to, so it would recoil with a considerable percussion.

This is the "new" litho press, repaired just in time for David Morrison's visit to our shop and Rolling Knob press. We don't have time to sand and paint, but at least it'll be functional for intensive printing next week.

Rob and Shawn are positioning the 30" x 50" steel press bed at the end of the litho press for reinstallation. The press bed is about an inch thick and weighs several hundred pounds. It sits on top of the warp plate.

This is the way the press looked for about a week after we removed the bed in order to extract the warp plate. Diversified Sheet Metal, Inc. made the new warp plate in a very expeditious time so we could meet the Morrison deadline. They were great to work with.

Thanks to all who helped, risking limbs and digits, to get our press up and running again: Rob Woolley, Shawn McPheron, Danny Palafox, Will Goolsby, Greg Truesdel, Pako Martin, and Jeffrey Purlee, Daniel Marshall, and Troy Haggard.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Rob Woolley and Sara Jones will be opening their BFA Thesis exhibitions on Thursday in the Barr Gallery. The reception is from 5:00 - 7:00. It's going to be a beautiful show, come check it out. If you can't make the opening, the exhibit continues until May 26.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


The Indiana University Southeast Printmaking Department and Rolling Knob Press are excited to be hosting a four day visit by David Morrison to our shop, April 12 - 16. David will be creating an edition for Rolling Knob Press, a multi-plate/stone lithograph, and meeting with drawing and printmaking students to discuss their work. Below are two of David's prints that were exhibited in the Passion and Process: Impressions from America's Master Printmakers at Louisville's Water Tower in 2006.

Iconic Bracelet No. 1

Iconic Bracelet No. 2

David is currently Professor of Art at the Herron School of Art, Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis. His work has shown in numerous international, national, and solo exhibitions in which he has received over seventy awards. His work is included in numerous public and private collections and he has been a visiting lecturer and guest artist at a number of universities. David graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 with Master of Fine Arts and from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1981.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This semester's group portfolio project is based on the theme of Wonderland. The paper size will be 8.5" x 11", and the image size will be any scale that successfully addresses that idea through the selected process, including bleed. The edition size will be 11 so that everyone will receive a complete portfolio with ten randomly selected prints with one complete set going to the print shop collection.

Wonderland offers the potential for many different interpretations as long as the obvious isn't settled on as the best alternative to the problem. Try to generate as many solutions as possible before you decide on the direction of your print. Also give consideration to the medium/media you select as it will have a big effect on your edition. The final trial proof will come in on April 5, with final editions due on April 28. We need to also think about the actual portfolio container and the design and medium of the colophon page.

Reworked Intaglio

The S240 group began the semester by picking out an abandoned plate from a previous semester, pulling a proof of the plate, and then selecting a 4" x 6" section of the image to transform into another image but also utilizing part of the original image. After they found the area to work with, they cut the plate, cropping down to the 4 by 6 section. Learning how to utilize their scraper and burnishing tools, they removed the part of the metal plate they wanted to transform, and then added additional imagery by etching in line work, aquatint, soft ground. By pulling working proofs of their plates in progress, they also learned how to ink and wipe intaglio plates, and print on the etching presses. The below selections were particularly successful in transforming the original zinc plates into new matrixes that yielded some pretty interesting impressions. You can click on the images for greater detail.

This is Troy's reworked intaglio plate, with the original impression on the right and the new version on the left. He did a lot of scraping, sugar lift, aquatint, and line etch, transforming the image from the crouched figure to an "A-Bomb." If you look closely at the background, you'll see the mountain range he included in his image.

Tatum pulled some existing shapes out of the heavily etched plate, the original impression is on the bottom, she did some scraping and burnishing and then some open-bite to create an abstract pattern of positives and negatives.

Pako found in his original impression, the bottom image, a car buried in lots of dark texture. He pulled that out with scraping, burnishing, and sanding, and then added some text and additional imagery.

Daphne selected a deeply etched plate of shapes suggesting fingers, the bottom impression. There was a lot of open-bite, so she continued with that approach by adding imagery of a "polaroid" shape and some vine, and added a subtle aquatint into the image area of the polaroid.

Danny found a skull buried in this deeply etched plate, bottom impression, and used his scraper and burnisher to bring out that feature. Then he got rid of all the other information by scraping, burnishing, and sanding. After getting the plate back to a nearly clean surface, he added another scull and other shapes set off by a lightly etched aquatint.

Connie found a plate that reminded her of her camping experiences, the right impression. She pulled out features that suggested to her a camp-fire by sanding, scraping, burnishing, and etching. She then added some hand coloring with water colors.