Monday, November 19, 2012

Oscar's return visit

Oscar has decided to incorporate two more plates into his engraving, so he is back home in Peroria completing the mezzotints that will carry the lush colors (looking forward to the Oscar Red). He'll return on December 1 and 2 for a print-a-thon in the shop with the usual band of Rolling Knob Press printers. We're all pretty excited about that. We learned so much while he was here, so everyone is working on engravings and mezzotint collagraphs to keep the momentum going. Thanks, Oscar, and we'll see you in a few weeks.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oscar Gillespie's Visit

Oscar has been working in the shop all week, cutting away on a large zinc plate that's polished to a jeweler's perfection. He's also taught my students how to engrave and many are cutting away on their plates. Yesterday he presented his work and influences to about 50 students and faculty. It's been a busy week so far.

Oscar is preparing copper plates to so that color can be added to the engraving he's been working on. The proof below is where the plate was yesterday afternoon, but there has been a lot more cutting since then so I suspect that it's much more lush with Oscar's distinctive line work.

Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may provide an intaglio printing plate line work for printing images on paper as prints; these images are called engravings.

Engraving was a historically important method of producing images on paper, both in artistic printmaking, and also for commercial reproductions and illustrations for books and magazines. Partly because of the difficulty of learning the technique, is much less common in printmaking today. However, traditional engraving, by hand with a burin, continues to be practised by goldsmiths, glass engravers, gunsmiths, and Oscar Gillespie!

The works below are examples of Oscar Gillespie's print work that he has shown to numerous students and faculty during his visit. These are only a few of the many prints he brought with him to share. 

This engraving with aquatint (maybe even some mezzotint) has the intense "Oscar-Red" that adds a very unique quality to his work.

The above reductive relief print was a demonstration impression that Oscar created for his students. I was glad that he brought it with him as my beginning students are currently working on relief prints, so seeing other possibilities other than simply black and white was good for them to experience.

This is one of a series of circular engravings created by Oscar, the fluidity of the line work is amazing.

Check back later to see the final impression.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oscar Gillespie Rolling Knob Visiting Printmaker

Oscar J. Gillespie is a Professor of Art at Bradley University, where he has been a member of the faculty since January of 1986. He teaches printmaking and drawing. As a printmaker, he is noted for his expertise in monotypes and in intaglio, especially metal-plate engraving.

Born in Arizona in 1952 and raised in Holbrook near the Navajo Reservation, he holds an M.F.A. degree in Printmaking from Arizona State University (1983), and a B.F.A. in Printmaking from Northern Arizona University (1977).

From 1986 to 1991 he directed three biennial Bradley National Print and Drawing Exhibitions. Since 1991, he has guided Bradley’s Cradle Oak Press as Printer and Coordinator for a program that invites noted artists to campus for the purpose of collaborating with faculty and students in the creation and publishing of hand-printed editions.

Exhibiting widely since 1974, he has shown his work in more than 300 solo, group, invitational and juried exhibitions. His work may be found in more than 60 public collections, including the Fogg Museum, Harvard; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Denver Art Museum; the Lauren Rogers Museum, Laurel, Mississippi; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, the New York Public Library; the Plains Museum, Fargo, North Dakota; and the National Museum of Posnan, Poland.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Congrats to Wende

Night In by David Dreisbach

David Dreisbach recently celebrated his 90th birthday. For those of you unfamiliar with Dreisbach's work, he has been an exhibiting artist since 1949 and an educator from 1952 to 1991. He studied with Mauricio Lasansky and Stanley William Hayter. He has exhibited in over 250 one man shows and a very large number of national and international juried and invitational exhibitions and workshops.
David has a lifetime of artistic endeavors and is well respected as an educator who instilled strong artistic commitments in a large impressive group of students. He is an internationaly known expert and innovator in the printmaking field who helped to create technical advances in color viscosity printing.
Joy Peterson of Louisville is the sister of David. She wanted to honor David's 90th birthday by awarding a 'scholarship' gift to a deserving student in printmaking. Joy contacted me for recommendations. I told her that I had several deserving students, but I suspected that since it was to honor her brother that one who had a strong background in etching would be a good match for Joy's intentions. I recommended Wende for this honor and Joy was very excited about that selection. I sent some of Wende's images to her, but I am also going to include some her and invite Joy to visit our blog. Please extend a congratulations to Wende, and enjoy some of her intaglio prints.

Making Love


Jelly Fish


Wende Cudmore holding the card from Joy Peterson

Wende is a senior in the Fine Arts Program and will be graduating in the spring with a BFA in Printmaking. Her work explores nature and it's patterns and those influences on our world, both subtle and overt.  She is currently involved with the tradition of creating "quilts", but rather than employing fabric, Wende is composing her quilts out of printed images from etchings and collagraphs.  They will function as objects rather that the traditional utilitarian bed cover. Wende is also very involved with vegetable papyrus, creating wall hangings, bowls, and most prominently, hats.

Kiwi Hat


Thursday, September 27, 2012


Lots of interesting dialogue yesterday during the upper level critique. Besides hitting on the usual kinds of things that printmakers like to talk about - process - we got into some of the motivations that inspired  creative investigations. I think it is highly important that such exchanges encourage a thorough grounding in the broad range of traditional, contemporary, and innovative printmaking techniques. It also encourages everyone to formulate and articulate philosophical and personal concepts and to move them into the visual. Although we have a relaxed studio environment, we also have an intensive studio experience with critical and theoretical dialogue, and that was very present yesterday. I appreciate the candor of dialogue. The goal of helping one another was healthy and constructive.

I hope some of the suggestions that were offered are thoroughly considered, especially in regard to context. Who are you as an artists and why do you do the things you do? Who else might be doing something similar and why are they doing it? Is there a difference between art and craft and how does it relate to the art and craft of printmaking? What about the traditions of your work and how does it relate to the contemporary?

Fear was an unexpected topic, and that evolved into some intense exchanges. Creativity and fear are strange bed fellows, so to say, with fear being the destructive counterpart. In fact, fear is perhaps the biggest block to creativity. Fear of making mistakes, of being criticized, of disturbing traditions and making changes, of losing the security of habit. It can go on and on. A change of focus will surely help alleviate such anxieties.

Looking forward to the continued exchanges, both formally and informally. See you in the shop.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Integrating Media/Alternative Methods

Our new printmakers began their journey into Intaglio last evening with most having plates filed and grounded by the end of the evening. Each is exploring a different theme that they will develop and evolve through the different processes they will be exploring during the semester. I'll have some new images from them to post soon.

The old guard is exploring some new approaches to their work this semester and some of the results are pretty interesting.  Alex has a box of broken glass that resemble diamonds, and, of course, I'm always a sucker for things that sparkle. He's placing them directly onto the exposure unit and then placing a photopolymer plate on top. The results are beautiful surfaces of texture that he will continue to explore and incorporate into other images, possible linking that with some of his body impressions.

Anna is working on some new ideas by creating textural surfaces that she will be cutting and mounting onto various sized wooden cubes. The image above was created by applying gesso to a canvas board and marking into the surface while it was wet. Some of that inspiration may come from the work of Yaacov Agam, where the artwork can be touched, moved, and manipulated by the viewer. It will be a challenging process.

Dani is continuing her work with the monotype process exploring identity issues through aggressive and uncomfortable images of emotional responses. Working in very transparent layers, she builds the images into psychological narratives of considerable strength.

Stasha is still searching out her vision through experimentations with mixed media, such as water and graphite powder, tusche, and color printing. Not sure yet where she will be taking this research, but as the scale increases and movement becomes less confined, her discoveries will be engaging.

Wende is a printing machine. She has several large matricies created as collagraphs that she's processing as as intaglio, some following with surface rolls, and some just printed as reliefs. They are printed in various combinations, looking for uniquely personal patterns that she will incorporate into various quilted images.

Laura is working an a relief print. I couldn't include an image today as there were no proofs available to shoot. I'll catch one on the next go-around. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thought I'd add some more of the monotypes since the first batch didn't generate any discussion. Maybe by having all of them on the discussion will be more involved.

Ayla utilized an older drawing from a previous studio class and added some new elements. A few points were discussed during critique that may help to strengthen the final image.

Chasson also went back in time to a project from his drawing class, building a figure from the skeleton and adding layers of muscle and tissue. He wasn't as happy with the print as he was the drawing, but then that is one of the corners we find ourselves in when we try to retranslate an image from one medium to another.

Edwin is looking at Mucha.

Jeremy went to a previous semester and restated a drawing through the monotype process. Now that everyone has experienced that process twice, the first being the collaborative impression, concepts will evolve through the monotype process better. 

Joseph's angel is pretty vibrant. I could see some transparent neutrals incorporated.

Kat is telling a story about a fox, although more detail may be necessary.

Kayla reinterpreted an earlier drawing by pushing the negative areas into richer darks. Some spatial pushing could move us into the image a bit more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Last evening the beginning group discussed the first monotype project, and I have to say that it was one of the most productive discussions at this level that I've experienced in some time. Most everyone contributed critical feedback to the work we were viewing. Very sound recommendations were offered regarding the process and ways to utilize it to strengthen the work. There were healthy disagreements as well. Some of the images, though executed competently, suffered from drawing issues. those individuals will want to spend more time trying to resolve future images before they are committed to the printmaking process we happen to be exploring at the time, and current work is always going to be stronger that pulling out drawings from a few years ago. We will discuss some thematic options on Thursday so that future work is current and relevant to the artist.

Brady created this monotype referencing Superman and super heroes, calling into question the whole idea of Heroes and what that designation really means.

Hope's monotype was based on a cluster of trees that were reflecting into a pool of water.

Jessica referenced a drawing that she spent considerable time on in a previous class, an alternative self-portrait.

Josh also mined the past with an image he created in drawing class last semester, although in this case he cropped in more tightly, enlarging the skeleton for a more dynamic composition.

Lexi's image of a woman bearing a pail of water raised some interesting discussion regarding it's content, possibly referencing several stories and myths.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A New Year for Prints

We're into September 2012. That's a long time since the last posting. I had taken a hiatus from this blog due to the inactivity. I was a bit tired of only communicating with myself and responding to my own posts. But some interest has been expressed to resurrect INTAYLO, contribute more posts and include more images from the two groups of printmakers. I'm hopeful we'll have more online discussions/critiques.

There's a beginning and advanced group. The advanced group has already been working pretty steadily so I have a few images to share from those efforts. The beginning group in in the midst of the three color separation monotype process, so after this evening, there'll be some images to share from those efforts.

The advanced group is already very involved in their new work. I've changed some things around this semester hoping to make the printshop a more collaborative, interactive, and innovative arena. We started the semester with some collaborative projects, teaming up small groups of two to create prints from nontraditional matricies. There are some pretty interesting results that I hope will fuel further investigations. I teamed up with Dani, and we layered several kinds of surfaces, such as a screen door guard, shower mat, carpenter's square, stamps, and a few floor mats.

Wende and Anna created a layered impressions from shelf liners, doilies, and twine. They offset those impressions onto a sheet of sheer paper and then waxed it to hang over the original impressions, creating a veil of color and texture.

Alex and Stasha inked up a sheet of mylar, placed it on a sheet of paper and placed it under a car. They then drove back and forth over it. The remaining image on the mylar was then printed onto another sheet of paper.

Laura and Emily printed a flat of yellow, then inked up string and printed it in layers over the surface, with each layer getting more and more vague. They finished with a layer of transparent magenta that has Saran wrap textures impressed in the surface.

Brian and Dani

Wende and Anna

Stasha and Alex

Laura and Emily

Each of these collaborative experimentations examined less conventional approaches to creating images through a printmaking sensibility. There was ink and pressure and layers and paper. Aside from the work each individual will be exploring and discussing throughout the semester, we will also continue to push for more innovation through collaborative efforts and critical dialogue.