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A printmaker's progress


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Tuesday Tales – Summer’s End


Summer's End

Summer’s End

As we cherish the last few days of summer, there is a crispness in the air that brings on feelings of nostalgia for times gone by.

This piece was created for my first solo show, In Her Eyes, and I talked about doing the photo shoot that produced this image in the lead-up to the show. As I look at it now, I am reminded of the tremendous fun and feelings of empowerment that the shoot engendered. More than that, I am reminded of a  friend that I cherish and, hopefully, honour with this piece. The title of the piece was inspired by this Foo Fighters song of the same name. It has that same feeling of nostalgia and remembrance.

That first solo show was over four years ago and it’s been over three years since my last one.  Perhaps it’s time to think about doing another.

Summer’s End, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 15″x20″ paper, is offered this week at $250.
Contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com for further info or if you’d like to purchase it.


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What You Build


What You Build

What You Build

It has been a while since I have posted about my artwork. Family matters have kept me occupied and away from my computer. It has been a good time, with my son getting married and my sisters coming for an extended visit, but it has ended on a bittersweet note with a lot of departures, including both of my children leaving for parts East as they embark on new adventures. My house, a-flurry with people and belongings for several months, is now a quiet refuge from which I can refocus my creative energies.

When thinking about a piece to present for my Tuesday Tales postings, this piece kept coming into my head, yet, for the longest time, I couldn’t fathom why. It is an older piece, almost five years old, which was part of my first solo show, entitled In Her Eyes. I have talked about that show here, here and here. This is a small image of my son, the photo taken while he was rebuilding our deck, hence the protective glasses. The title, What You Build, alludes to not only what he is doing but to the act, and art, of building a life, hopefully surrounded by family and loved ones. As I thought about the title I realized why this piece kept coming into my mind. With all the recent events and changes in my life I was naturally thinking about the life I had built around and for my children. And just as my son learned the tools and techniques to build a deck I knew that he had developed the tools needed to build his life as a married man, and I hoped that I had helped in that process.

It struck me, though, that I was not only thinking of my family but about my art and this blog. What You Build had been one of many works in a show in which community played a tremendous role. While a significant focus of my blog has been to share and document my art and art process, I now see that an equally important goal for me is to build a community, one that loves to share and revel in the creative force that lies in all of us. And I see that the communication has been woefully one sided and focused on my perspectives. So I have decided to change things up a bit and post more spontaneously on art related subjects, spotlighting not only my own but the creative works of others and welcoming greater imput and discussion from my readers. I will continue to post my Tuesday Tales as new works are created but these posts will be less regular.

So with this in mind, I welcome you, dear readers, to share some fabulous creative work you have done or come across recently.

And today I would like to share this post, Waiting For Michael, about Kate McGloughlin, a painter/printmaker whose work I came just across. Not only is her work wonderful, but the post eloquentfully illustrates the healing power of art.

 


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Tuesday Tales – We Are All Made of Stars


Stardust

Stardust

Starlight

Starlight

Starglass

Starglass

These three pieces are from a series of small, four inch square monotypes I made, using the ghost imagery of the previous work to build upon for the next. I created the works using two mylar circles of varying sizes which I inked and placed in different parts of the square whole. I used only two colors, black and yellow ochre in the pieces. The textures were created both by the printing process and the use of talcum powder as a resist. I liked the translucency achieved and from the first monotype I knew I would be creating heavenly bodies in space.

I once had the chance to chat with a Hungarian astronaut who had been out in space. I asked him about the light out there and he told me it was extraordinary yet hard to describe. It had a brightness and clarity that was not perceivable on earth because of our atmosphere, and it filled up space, with the dark areas serving as a wonderful foil to the light. I thought of this as I made these pieces, remembering that space was not dark and empty but a place filled with light and possibility.

I turned these pieces into the triptych below, wrapping the paper around wooden blocks, and called it Stars 3. The pieces are available individually for $50 each or all three for $110.

Stars 3

Stars 3

You can contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further information.


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Tuesday Tales – Making My Mark


Bookmarks 1

Bookmarks 1-5

I love bookmarks. I enjoy finding those with special artworks at galleries and bookstores.  I find the artwork enhances the reading experience immensely for it begins and ends the reading session with a lovely visual experience. I especially enjoy handmake bookmarks created with care by artists I admire.

I began making my own bookmarks a few years back when I decided to recycle some older, less successful artwork and sell them for a few dollars at my studio tour. They were good sellers, so I slowly improved on them until I finally arrived at the ones I do today. These are no longer cut up old works but instead are images from carefully selected segments of etching plates that I feel work well in the long vertical format. I ink each plate especially for the bookmark with my oil-based inks and I print them on 300lb Arches watercolour paper, using the lovely natural deckel edge for the bottom of the bookmark. This paper is very firm and durable, yet takes the print beautifully under the etching press after being softened with water. The bookmarks are left to dry under a heavy weight overnight, allowing them to return to their beautiful firmness.

Each bookmark is unique, just like my prints, for each one is inked with its own, unreproduceable blend of colors. In fact I like to call them mini art scrolls, for they resemble the Asian style of painting on long vertical paper scrolls. The long vertical format is also quite popular with art galleries when announcing their shows on banners. These banners often show a cropped glimpse of the artwork on display inside. When I saw the banners below in front of the Louvre in Paris I was inspired to do the same on a much smaller scale.

Louvre, France

Louvre, France

Hence some of the figurative bookmarks below.

Bookmarks 2

Bookmarks 6-9

Bookmarks are in essence my own mini announcements, giving the purchaser a glimpse into my creative world. They make excellent small gifts on their own or add a special touch tucked inside a book. My website is written in pencil at the bottom on the back, leaving lots of room for a personal inscription. The bookmarks above and below are the latest batch I have completed.  They are numbered left to right for easy identification. They are 7″ x 2 1/4″ and are offered at $10 each or three for $25. They come packaged in individual, fitted, clear plastic sleeves.  Previous bookmarks were shown here. Many have been sold, but if you would like any of those images or more than one of the same image of any bookmark, I can make them to order, though each will have it’s own distinctive , and somewhat unpredictable coloring.  Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com if you would like to purchase any of these.

Bookmarks 10-15

Bookmarks 10-14

Bookmarks 16-18

Bookmarks 15-18

 


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Tuesday Tales – Morning Tea


Ocha No Asa, center

Ocha No Asa, center

                                                                                  Fuji cools the sky
                                                                          Reflected in the rice fields
                                                                                            I sip my o-cha

Ocha No Asa (Morning Tea) is an artist book I made a few years back. It is quite a complex piece which depicts one of my favorite subjects, tea, in one of my favorite places, Japan. The tea cups above and below are shaped after some I bought in Japan. These above are placed on a backdrop of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest and most famous mountain. Its peak was visible from my first apartment in Tokyo, rising gloriously over the cityscape in the most amazing sunsets.

The calligraphy panels on either side are reminiscent of waka, classical Japanese poetry that is visually evocative and often difficult to decifer for the artistic rendering of the words.

Ocha No Asa, center

Ocha No Asa, center

The front panels of the book, see below, echoes the noren, or divided hangings, found at the entrance of restaurants. The circle is a common symbol found on noren. These panels are meant to open and invite you in for a cup of tea.

Ocha No Asa, front

Ocha No Asa, front

The back of the book features two more cups, collaged handmade papers and the title of the book in both Romaji and Japanese hiragana.

Ocha No Asa, back view

Ocha No Asa, back view

Ocha No Asa, back

Ocha No Asa, back

Ocha No Asa, an 8″x7″ artist book, is offered this week for $150. You can contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com for further info or to purchase.


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Tuesday Tales – In Their Element


In Their Element

In Their Element

In Their Element is an image of a place nearby that is not easily accessed. The beach depicted is privately owned and is one of many tiny gems on this lovely property. The place is Point No Point, a resort on Vancouver Island that is so named for its many points, none of which extend further than any other, hence the unusual name. The resort has a series of trails that lead through forest paths to several lookouts and beautiful beaches with crashing waves. It is an altogether magical place. My images of Point No Point can be seen here.

For this print I decided to reverse the image so that the sea was on the left. I also warmed up the colors of the rocks to compliment the blue of the sea. The  rocks jut into prominence yet the angles and waves draw you into the picture to arrive at the man and his dog, who are not immediately noticed at first, but who lend a life and sense of scale to the landscape.

In Their Element, a 5″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 11″x14″ paper, is offered this week at $90 unframed. Contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further information.


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Tuesday Tales – Tsukubai


Tsukubai

Tsukubai

A tsukubai is a small basin usually set at the entrance to Buddhist temples and gardens in Japan. They are meant for a ritual washing of the hands as an act of purification, often before entering into the tea ceremony room. The use of natural materials, such as stone for the basin and bamboo for the cups and cup rests reflect the Buddhist appreciation for nature. The low height of the basin requires the visitor to crouch thereby encouraging humility and reverence. In fact the word tsukubai means “to crouch”. Sometimes the water for a tsukubai will be piped in through a bamboo reed, the shishi-odoshi, which falls onto another levered piece of bamboo that, when filled drops down and then rebounds with a clack onto the stone. The repetition of this sound of water falling and the sharp clap has a meditative effect. It’s power is shown famously in the beautifully filmed fight scene from the movie, Kill Bill, below. You can hear the shishi-odoshi at the start of the scene and it gains prominence around the 5 minute mark.

The tsukubai in my piece was shot in Japan when I lived there. The photograph was very dark but I loved the composition with the criss-crossing lines and reflections. The darkness of the image allowed me to bring up lots of texture which was enhanced by the single exposure technique I used in creating the photo etching plate. Inking the plate had its own challenges for both lights and darks were washed out and I had to paint some of the lines and color back in. This resulted in a more painterly and abstracted image in the final print which I am quite happy with.

Tsukubai is a 9″x12″ mixed-media monoprint wrapped around an 8″x10″x1.5″ board, so the edges of the image are on the sides of the board, as shown below.

Tsukubai

Tsukubai

It is offered this week for $100. Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further info.


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Tuesday Tales – Homecoming


Coming Home, 2

Coming Home, 2

Returning home after an extended holiday abroad always leaves me with a somewhat disconnected and discomfitted feeling. Apart from the jetlag and often the climate change, the readjustment to the quotidian can be difficult. While there is comfort in things old and familiar, there is no longer the excitement of new discoveries and experiences. More than that, there is no longer a strong sense of making the most of every day, of capturing memories and living in pursuit of pleasure. There is an invariable feeling of sadness and loss that accompanies that realization.

But there is an even larger shift. Meeting new people is replaced by the return to friends and family. And that is when the strongest readjustment happens. For I am no longer who I was before I went away. My experience has changed me in subtle ways I myself am slow to realize. My horizons have expanded while my sense of place has diminished, for I find myself filled with the discovery of distance realities while trying to reacquaint myself with the familiar. And the people at home have changed too, for they have adjusted to living without me for a time.

Strangest of all is the shift in my routine with my travelling partner. Our adventure together has ended and we are once again returning to the exigencies of our daily lives, together but settling back at our own pace into our own new rhythms.

Yet while I get on with the business of my days, and adjust to the change and unrest my experience abroad has brought into my life, I also appreciate the good fortune of being able to travel. And I acknowledge that change is a good thing, for I realize that it has enriched my life in ways I will be discovering for a long time.

I’ve just returned from Middle Earth (or New Zealand as some call it), so I will end with this quote from a little hobbit you may be familiar with. “It’s a dangerous business…going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R.Tolkien

Coming Home, 2 is a 5″x7″ photo etching on 10″x11″ paper. It is an image of a very lovely place I stayed in while travelling through France two years ago. I like how the sunlight appears to welcome the weary traveller, shining its light on the road that leads to home.

It is offered this week at $70, unframed. Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further info.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have any homecoming experience or insight you would like to share?


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Tuesday Tales – The Art of The Selfie – Part Three


unbound a

Unbound

Unbound is a print fron an early selfie that I shot with a timer. I was just experimenting with the camera but when I saw this shot I knew I wanted to make a photo etching from it. It had an air of quiet strength and determination that I responded to immediately. I liked the saucy pose and sassy tilt of the body, the confident hands holding the string, and the anonymity of the person represented. This was every woman’s stand for freedom and self governance, with boldness and assurance.

This piece has resonated with others quite strongly and positively, and I’m happy to say it has been mostly women. The image above was the first print I made and it sold almost immediately. It also garnered a Juror’s Choice Award at the Sidney Fine Art Show in  2009. I have since sold two more prints, a mini version of it, and the multi-layered piece titled Fire And Rain seen below.

Fire And Rain

Fire And Rain

I have three versions remaining that are still available. They are shown below.

Unbound 5

Unbound 5

Unbound 6

Unbound 6

Unbound 6

Unbound 6

Unbound 6 has the poem “Playing hide and seek

In dreams and deeds defining” on the sides.

The final piece this image shows up in is below. It is called Coming Loose, and you can see that I have combined it with several images, including one featured in last week’s post.

Coming Loose

Coming Loose

Unbound 5, an 8″x8″ monoprint on 15″x20″ paper, is offered this week at $250 unframed
Unbound 6, an 8″x8″x1.5″ mixed-media monoprint on board, is offered this week at $120.
Coming Loose, a 14″x15″ mixed-media monoprint, is offered this week at $450 unframed, or $600 framed.

This ends the selfie series of posts (for the time being, as I undoubtedly will showcase more in the future).

No questions today though as always I welcome your thoughts and feedback.


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Tuesday Tales – The Art of The Selfie, Part Two


Fore And Aft, side a

Fore And Aft, side a

Fore And Aft, side b

Fore And Aft, side b

This artist book includes two selfies that I shot myself using a timer. The images are repeated several times in different color schemes, and the book is folded in such a way that when it lies flat three of the images are seen together as one, as shown below.

Fore And Aft

Fore And Aft

Fore And Aft

Fore And Aft

The concept for the piece began with the idea of a folded book that would allow partial views of the images when closed or seen from certain angles. I then thought it might be interesting to have the images repeat, with variations in mood and presentation. This is something I like to do with my prints, to explore many possible presentations and interpretations of one image. To do so in one piece would be an interesting challenge.

When I came upon the design I realized the book would have complementary fronts and backs and it was an obvious next step to show front and back profiles of a person. I chose these quite suggestive images as a presentation and affirmation of female sensuality and empowerment. I considered adding some poetry to the piece but I decided the blank spaces gave the imagery some breathing room and I preferred to allow the viewer to experience the images without the distraction of words. The title itself, is both obvious and subtly multilayered.

Of course I didn’t stop there. I created a new piece with the ghost imagery from the “fore” image, and added some imagery around it to create the piece below. This is probably the most daring selfie I have turned into artwork. It was a challenge, both to create and exhibit, and the artwork itself symbolizes that challenge to norms and acceptability that artists do and must put out to the world.

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet

Fore And Aft, an 8″  by 22″  artist book on a 24″ juniper base by Detlef Grundmann, is offered this week at $550.
The Guantlet, an 8″x10″ monoprint on 15″x22′ paper, is offered this week at $200.

What challenges do you face most frequently in creating your art? And how do you work through them?

Do you think an investment of self is necessary in creating art that resonates?

Do you think an artist’s role is to challenge societal norms and ideas?  If so, how do you do it in your artistic practises?