Progress! Sweet progress!

There was a lot of testing done. And over the last two weeks I have spent a lot of time with this little machine.


After spending many hours one Sunday making test strips out of polymer plates, I knew I was close with the exposure times.


Results like this kept me going. Not perfect, but better. I started testing plates that were just a little larger. I know that this series will have layered images. But I was uncertain how that would translate to this medium. I realized there were two approaches I could use. 1. To make the layered image in Photoshop and print a transparency with them layered like I want, and make a plate from that. Though I figured that would be challenging due to the fact that layering images in Photoshop can make some areas very dense, making a difficult image to make a plate from. Option 2. would be to split up the two images, make a separate transparency and separate plate of each and do the image layering on the press. I knew this would be a challenge to get the images to blend together smoothly, and registration of plates so they lined up during printing could be a night mare.

I started playing with images, and trying both ideas. It also gave me a chance to play with ink tones and colors a bit. Everything was helping, and getting me closer to what I wanted. I could see that. But nothing was “it”. ┬áThe exposures were decent, but the images were fuzzy, and spotty. I started doing more research through blogs to troubleshoot what was happening.

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Once I had learned more about what could be going wrong, and after a pretty rough week, I decided to try one more plate. I was somewhat confident that I knew what was happening, that my aquatint screen and my image transparency were not making good enough contact, due in part to the fact that I was using a smaller plate to test, but not necessarily using a smaller screen or image. I was trying to save money in plate material to test, but it wasn’t necessarily giving me proper tests.

So I took a deep breath, and jumped in. Stay tuned for how that turned out!

Self-care

When I get busy putting together a new show for a gallery, or trying to finish a book project, I often forget to give myself a break, and don’t take care of myself enough.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, having a steady yoga practice has taught me how important self-care really is, not just for me physically, but mentally as well.

Sometimes it is still hard for me to listen, and the beginning of my summer break was no exception. I skipped yoga class a few too many times in favor of long days in my studio, and I was getting burned out, overly stressed, and sick.

Memorial Day Weekend came around and I was a mess. But thanks to plans we had made with friends, I was forced to have some down time and get back into a normal, slower routine.

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Among other weekend events, we joined a couple of friends at their family’s cabin for the weekend. I’ll write another post soon dedicated to the photos I took while we were there. But this was the turning point. Sitting in my kayak on a lake is one of the most peaceful places I have found on this earth. Getting back home after our time there, I started falling back into the rush and craziness of getting work ready for my upcoming show…until I forced myself to stop, and remember these moments.

I started a small challenge of seeing how many times per week I can make it to yoga class during this month. This past weekend I went to a new class for a style of yoga I have not tried before, and I loved it. I’m going to go back as often as I can before my day job starts up again in August.

After forcing myself to slow down again, I am making much more progress on getting work ready for my show. I install everything on the 23rd, and I am almost ready. I can’t wait…I am very proud of the work I am making now.

More about that to come soon.

Moving right along

This week I get to share with you that my #Mississippi book is now also included in the permanent collection at the Minnesota Historical Society! It is so exciting to have that book travel so many places, and be seen by so many people. I never dreamed that would happen!

I have been busy the last few days editing film scans of photos from our trip last month, and working on a new series of artwork. I have more plans for this year, though it is a bit too early to share them now. It is an exciting and full year, in all the best ways!

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be sharing many film photos from our trip this week, as well as a couple of work-in-progress photos from the artwork series I am working on.

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Art-a-Whirl already

Wow, a post about Art-a-Whirl already? We haven’t even made it to March, though it has felt like spring around here this week. Yes, for many of us, plans for the huge art weekend in Minneapolis are already being made. I have begun planning what new work I will have to bring, and what new demos I can do at FK Art Glass this year. But the biggest news I have so far is that one of my images will be on the cover of the Art-a-Whirl directory as well as the posters and many other advertisements. I am so thrilled, and honored that they picked my artwork out of the large number of submissions they received! Apparently, this is the first time in 11 years that photography work has been chosen for the cover as well. Here is a sneak peek of what the cover will look like:

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So save the date! Art-a-Whirl is always the 3rd weekend in May. This year it will be May 20th 5-10pm, May 21st 12-8pm, and May 22nd 12-5pm.

 

Things I have learned

I had a chance to take a workshop with Wing Young Huie a few years back. To any fellow photographers that might be reading this, if you have a chance to do the same, take it. Do it. You won’t regret it. I could gush about him for awhile. One piece of wisdom he told us is to give yourself time when photographing a place. Stay longer than 1/2 and hour. Stay longer than an hour. Stay two hours. Or three. But be there, be present, and give yourself time. You will like the images you get more, the longer you are there, because you are seeing past the surface of the place, and into the details. When life gets busy, and I feel like I am just “squeezing” in time for my artwork, it is hard to feel I have the luxury of time. But I often think back to that workshop, and somehow make time. I did that on Sunday when I was photographing. I stayed out there, walking around, taking photos. I stayed out for over 2 hours, I think…really, I lost track of time. But I stayed. And I got images I really like. And I will make something cool out of them.

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I currently work at a community college, as most of you probably already know. I am often surprised at what I learn at work, not just from the department faculty, but from the students as well. One student, whom happens to be wise beyond his years, said to me to not think about more time than you can handle. He said there was a time in his life that he was working on just making things work in 5 minute increments. He then proudly stated that currently, he is up to about a week at a time. And he is right. Currently, I think I am at 10 minute increments. Maybe tomorrow will be longer, maybe shorter. But I can handle 10 minutes, and that’s pretty good right now.

 

 

Darkroom days are the best days

2 rolls of black and white film developed

3 rolls of C41 film developed

25 proof sheets printed

#stampburners items printed (haven’t been mailed yet, but it is early!)

1 long walk taken with a friend and her puppy

Lego Movie watched with John

I definitely kicked butt on my Made Here Mn project to-do list today!

Here’s to hoping the rest of the week is as productive!

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Also finished journal page 1/100 for the #100DaysProject!

Another weekend

The reception at Konawerks Saturday night was lovely. It was very encouraging to me – that everything I am trying to do and juggle is worth it, and there are people who notice.

I love the snow we have been getting – the soft flakes, the not terribly cold weather. I love this season.

Recently, I have spent some time printing again, working on my little press down by the fire place, getting reacquainted with my studio. That is one of many things making me happy.

And my Christmas Cactus is blooming!

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More May-ness

Truly, May always seems like a crazy busy month in the art world.

Saturday was Craftstravaganza and it was great! One of the best years we have had there in a while! We sold a lot of pottery, and I sold a lot of cards and one of the journals I had worked on leading up to the show. Thursday I was on tv to help promote the show, and it really did pay off! We met many fun people, and had a great time. I try to do as much of my shopping locally as I can, so I did pick up a few things for myself, including new dish towels from Batch Dry Goods, a Dinosaur Planter from Scuttlebug, and some of the garden markers I have planned on getting for two years from 7 by 7 glass!

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After the festival, John promised to take me out to dinner and one of our local taprooms. I had been so busy leading up to this festival, that I had missed a few outings with his co-workers, and he wanted to make it up to me a bit. We had a lovely dinner, and then instead of going to the taproom, we went to a new-ish local book store – Eat My Words Bookstore – and bought a few treasures there instead. I love how that worked out!

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Sunday I had a bit of time between Mother’s Day events to actually plant the herbs I had purchased at the Farmer’s market last week, and get some of my new garden markers in the ground.

I spent time with my mom, and my mother-in-law on Sunday, and really enjoyed the day. It was the first in 17 years of not having to work at the restaurant on Mother’s Day, and it was a great switch!

Today is back to photo jobs, organizing to-do lists, finishing work on my new book to bring to class Thursday night, and of course getting ready for Art-a-Whirl. It will be another busy week, but I adore what I am doing and that makes such a difference!

Our Etsy pottery shop is back open! I had to close for a few days because of Craftstravaganza, but it is back with a few new things listed!

A Yellow Mix-and-pour bowl with green details and an Orange and Green vase.

Also, just listed in my photography Etsy shop: Autumn – a handmade book and Winter – a handmade book.