Troubleshooting

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Exposing. 

As easy as cyanotypes are, they can be touchy about a few things… This project has led to a lot of troubleshooting, but since I feel very strongly about the idea I will continue until I get it right.

This project involves printing politicians faces on menstrual pads. To start, I had to find images (that didn’t have copyrights) on the internet and make negatives out of them. The transparencies I found are a little lacking in quality, and may need to be upgraded before this project reaches completion, but for now I think they will work!

The first attempt at this project back in January(ish) I used just the pads I had available and attempted to expose using black/uv lights indoors. Two problems with this, the pad I had did not contain enough cotton so the chemicals rinsed out with the water (I don’t know how I didn’t think of this). And the UV light exposed the image too slowly to capture the contrast I needed.

Second attempt, I got 100% cotton single use pads. Now, something happened during the drying process, either the area they were hanging in got too humid, or the chemicals went bad in the heat of the week I made them. Either way, the chemicals were almost completely exposed by the time they were dry. I tried to expose them anyway (above image) and discovered that the chemicals stayed, but the pads were exposed and no image was visible. The last problem I ran into, was that the pad began to fall apart during the rinse.

So, my plan over the next few days: I am going to get cotton, reusable pads. Cloth. These will be sensitized and dried in an area that has better (and less humid) circulation. I will test only one to start, just in case my chemicals have gone bad. Then expose from there!

I am weirdly loving this frustrating challenge and I cannot wait to show off the results. After posting this image on Instagram I have gotten a lot of positive responses for the project, which just pushes and inspires me to make this the best I can. Wait for more updates on this project!!

Feeling Blue… Cyan Specifically

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Cyanotype making! 

One of my very favorite photographic processes is the Cyanotype. It’s probably one of the most simple processes – Add equal parts solution A to solution B, a small dash of C if you want some contrast, coat or soak, dry, expose, rinse with water. Thats it. Children can do it. I love the simplicity because it gives me so much more room to experiment with concepts, what the chemicals are going on, i.e. fabric, paper, really anything that can soak up liquid and hold dye, and the infinite possibilities that those hold.

My favorite thing to use is fabric, because it holds the chemicals so well and can be easily folded, embroidered on, have previous patterns show through, etc. It brings in a whole new set of possibilities that paper just can’t always offer.

Currently, I am working on an idea thats a little more experimental and also a little political. Yesterday I was doing some more tests, the last batch failed, so hopefully I made the proper adjustments! The medium will be drying today and within the next few days or so I will expose them and post again, so watch for the next steps!

 

I use the term “studio” loosely…

As a recently graduated, definitely in debt, artist I do not have a studio space. So, creating impromptu studio space around my one bedroom apartment is usually how I work. But, I believe having a work space that inspires you and creates minimal distraction is very important. For me that entails…

  1. being in the room my significant other is not.
  2. surrounding myself with materials, inspiration, anything I may need.
  3. making myself comfortable.

I am easily distracted by sounds, so something I usually do is turn off any tv, music, all that. I find that music and tv distract me from my process, I can’t think in depth about what I’m working on if I’m singing along with my favorite tunage. That said, I don’t work in a sensory deprivation chamber. I usually have pretty lights strung up, other art I’ve made, books, any visual inspiration totally surrounding me.

My work space this morning, notice my stack of book references, extra pens, extra birds, and of course coffee!

Continued Progress

I have continued work on the various drawing series that I previously posted and I have been enjoying them immensely. Even though I have never thought of myself as a drawer, this has become the media in which I have been working most. I am still learning a little bit in this media, but the process has been something that I love.

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Supposed to be skinny, Pen drawing, 2018
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So fucking sad, Pen drawing, 2018
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It is what it is, Pen drawing, 2018
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A monster, Pen drawing, 2018
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House Sparrow, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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Mourning Dove, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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Great Blue Heron, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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Oriole, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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Goldfinch, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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Chickadee, Pen and Watercolor pastels, 2018
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I believed you, Pen drawing, 2018
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So I stayed, Pen drawing, 2018
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It wasn’t, Pen drawing, 2018
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You never wanted me, Pen drawing, 2018

 

BadBrainPress

My best friend and soul mate is an extremely talented printmaker based in Texas, and when she sent me a literal box of her artwork I couldn’t have been more excited to share them. This particular series, titled “Imprints,” is my favorite of what she sent me. These specific pieces were created through a technique called blind embossing (embossing creates a raised texture through pressure instead of ink).

 

Though this process is specifically supposed to get a raised texture, I am so totally in love with the indents on the opposite sides. Delicate and sad, they are a memory of the plant that was used to create each piece. They are what remains, both in shape and with the actual leavings from each plant. I love that you can feel where each plant was, feel its shape, feel how prickly or hard it was even though the paper its self is soft.

BadBrainPress makes a huge variety of artwork, beautiful, funny, bold, sassy.

Check her out at:

https://www.instagram.com/badbrainpress/?hl=en

and

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BadBrainPress

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“Imprints” Blind embossing on handmade cotton paper using native Texan plant
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“Imprints” Blind embossing on handmade cotton paper using native Texan plant
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“Imprints” Blind embossing on handmade cotton paper using native Texan plant
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“Imprints” Blind embossing on handmade cotton paper using native Texan plant
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“Imprints” Blind embossing on handmade cotton paper using native Texan plant
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“Imprints” Blind embossing on handmade cotton paper using native Texan plant

 

Things He Taught Me

I have started yet another little group of drawings. I have pushed my self a bit more out of my comfort zone and I am trying to use color (watercolor pastels), because I think its necessary to the work. I am not very familiar with this media, so a lot of these are still just me testing out the material.

Anyway! This little group of drawings is about things that my father has taught me. My dad is a bit of a bird enthusiast and I spent a lot of time handling, caring for, looking at, and just generally being around them. My father also enjoys moths and butterflies, so most summers were spent finding caterpillars and raising them into butterflies in our homemade habitat. I combined the creatures I learned about and the things I learned to make these drawings. This is just the very beginning of this project and I hope to improve my abilities with the color media as well as expand the series as much as possible!

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Killdeer, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018

 

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Monarch Butterfly, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018
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Guinea Fowl, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018
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American Robin, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018

Mental Illness

I have been really embracing my drawings lately, as you can probably tell, and this is a new series I started on accident. I was talking to my best friend and she was telling me about how she had to explain her mental illness (anxiety and depression) to a neuro-typical person. I was so inspired by the way she described it, I needed to pair it with a drawing of her. I began to do this with other people in my life with mental illness, talking to them about it, drawing them and captioning it with what stood out most about what they said. This series is definitely in process, but I am so excited to see where it takes me and who it takes me to.

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Only Constantly, Pen Drawing, 2018
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It’s Hard to Think of Anything Else, Pen Drawing, 2018
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I Don’t Know It’s Even There, Pen Drawing, 2018
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You Think About It Constantly, Pen Drawing, 2018
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Everyone Just Assumed, Pen Drawing, 2018