Monday, August 23, 2010


TIP I. I read in a book somewhere that you could use a SHARPIE pen as an acid resist. I was a bit skeptical (as I am about most things - except climate change). But !! on the weekend I made a test plate using my new batch of ferric chloride, and I used a SHARPIE pen to rule up the squares, and write the minute numbering in each square (mirrored of course). And..... lo and behold - when I had finished and cleaned up the plate, the lines and numbers masked by the SHARPIE ink were untouched by the ferric chloride. Surely a technique worth further experimentation.

Tip II. I bought the above mentioned ferric chloride in liquid form from Neil Wallace - In the past I have made it up from crystals - buying it ready made wins hands down in my book (I haven't done a cost analysis). * The liquid can't be mailed - so if you can't get to Melb you're stuck with mail order crystals OR (TIP III) ask you know who if she'll get you some next time she goes up :-). JM

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Having a go at Mono-types

(above) First print off.

(above) This is the plate inked, wiped and ready for printing.

(above) Ghost print. I added some ink for the nostril, but I should have wiped in back a bit so it wouldn't be so dominant.

(below) Scary Baby take 1 and Scary Baby take 2 - are they horns or fingerprints?)

Hi every-one,

Well I finally got to have a play on my press today! I was really meant to be concentrating on getting some paintings done for the 12 x 12 exhibition, but what the hell! I was inspired to try and do some mono-types asdemonstrated on the video that Gaye downloaded on to this site. The results can be seen above.

I don't know if I would call them successful, as the baby I was trying to draw is cute and the resulting baby is quite scary. Strangely I do like them.

I rolled the ink on to acetate and wiped it back with a rag and cotton buds. The ink seemed to come off easier on the video. It was like wrestling! The paper I used was only cheap and grainy - but good for experimenting with. I know these aren't fantastic, but it is good to show the good and the bad and the ugly. Hopefully you can be witness to my improvement as time goes on!

I would love to see what others are up to, so try and post something.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Still not sure I've got this beat, I thought I just posted something but it all vanished again. Love your new press Robyn, I'm SOOO jealous, sounded a bargain too!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Well I went and picked up my press on Saturday and I must say it a visually pleasing piece of work! I chose the Junior Etching Press. It specifications are : overall weight 45 kg, roller diameter 65mm top and 55mm bottom, bed length 800mm, width 400mm, bed thickness 20mm. I upgraded to a solid ground steel bed. Basically I can print up to a A3 sheet of paper which will suit me for now. It is a portable press if needed - two people can lift it. I purchased it from Neil Wallace Printmaking Supplies in Fitzroy in Victoria and most presses are made on the premises. Cost was $1115 and it came with a 3mm blanket, two tins of ink, and a plastic sheet for registration. I also purchased a thicker blanket of 6mm for an extra $46 (I think). If you type Neil Wallace into your google searcher you will find the site.

Here are some photos. It sits very solidly on the table - eventually I may bolt it directly on. You can buy a stand for it for an extra $200 odd dollars, but I felt I could get away with it.

Lets see what I can produce.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Re: exhibition blues

Gaye, That is a great article and provides much food for thought. The point that I appreciated was to be ready and accepting of the reality but also never stop the dreaming if that is what you indeed want. The point that seemed to be somewhat glossed over is to always remember why you "create" and the pleasure that gives you - exhibiting and selling may just be extra icing

Post Exhibition Blues

This article was reproduced with the kind permission of Sylvia White and

Almost everyone has experienced loss in one form or another at some point in their lives. After the tragedy on September 11th, most of us don't have to look very far to find someone who has been touched by loss. For artists, learning how to recognize and cope with loss will help them in understanding the common phenomenon known as post exhibition blues.

It is normal to experience the sense of loss that accompanies grief when we are confronted with the death of a relative, friend or even a pet but, artists need to learn how to recognize the importance of grieving, when confronted with loss of an expectation or fantasy. Regardless of how unrealistic we may acknowledge it to be.

I realized after receiving a post-exhibition phone call from a distraught, depressed artist, that what she was experiencing was very similar to the crash I felt 10 days after losing a dear friend. After all, for most artists, an exhibition represents years of hard work, an investment in not only time and money, but tremendous emotional commitment. Most importantly, to the educated viewer, it provides a glimpse into who you are as a person. This is a pretty scary concept to most people who spend their lives trying to orchestrate the way they are viewed by the world. Whether you are aware of it or not, you carry with you certain expectations in mounting an exhibition. These expectations can range from hoping your mother is proud of you, to getting a good review in the New York Times. Your job, as a mature artist, is to figure out what these expectations are for yourself, how realistic they are to achieve, and what you can do to help yourself get through the mourning process with as little damage as possible.

For me, loss starts with denial. A period of time when I refuse to believe that whatever it is I have lost is really, really gone permanently. Next, comes the anger looking at everyone and everything to blame. Then, one day, without notice, I find myself so depressed I am limp. Next thing I know I'm crying uncontrollably. All I want to do is curl up in bed and disappear. Then, as if some miracle has occurred, after I have given myself the luxury to grieve, (which is really another way of saying "reflect on my loss") I can get up feeling refreshed, whole and healed. These are not secret strategies that I have invented. These are common sense strategies to help deal with your loss by acknowledging it and confronting it. Applying this strategy to artists, during the culmination of an exciting and stressful time in their career, provides a positive way to identify and understand this very common phenomenon.

Artists who are driven to make art are wired differently than the rest of us. Their need for survival is based on food, shelter and their need to create .For many artists I meet, to deprive them of art making would be the equivalent of depriving them of oxygen. Nothing made this quite so evident, as the movie Quills, when the Marquis de Sade was deprived of a writing utensil. His drive to create was so strong; he pierced his fingers and used his own blood to write. When we learn to recognize that an artist's creative product is borne from such a powerful inner drive, the huge significance of the creative product becomes somewhat easier to understand. Frequently, during the preparations for an exhibition, all the emphasis remains on the product the painting, the book, the play, whatever. Often times the enormous effect mounting an exhibition has on the psyche of the artist is often ignored. But, when an artist's work is held up to public scrutiny, it is in essence, a major loss. The studio is empty, the artwork now out of your control, strangers eyeing it, talking about it maybe even taking it home! It is virtually impossible not to have fantasies and expectations about people's reactions to the work, as well as the possibility of "getting discovered." It is the part of human nature that makes everyone who buys a lottery ticket feel convinced that they are going to be the next winner. And regardless of whether the exhibition is considered a "success" or not, many artists may experience post exhibition blues and should learn to prepare for it.

This phenomenon becomes even more complicated as we look at how each individual artist defines success. Take a good hard look at your expectations. A good exercise for artists preparing for an exhibition is to create a list of the long term and short-term goals they wish to achieve by having this show. You need to write these down. Writing them and reading them will give you a more accurate sense of reality. You can fantasize about wanting a show at the Whitney Museum and know intellectually that you don't really expect it to come as a result of this show but forcing yourself to write it on your list of long-term goals will give you a more accurate pulse of how realistic your goals really are. These will help you to understand the terms by which you define success for yourself. Allow yourself to go the full spectrum from humble to grandiose. I firmly believe that it is impossible to achieve your goals, if you are unable to visualize them go for the gold! The trick is, keeping everything in perspective. Examples of some common goals may include:

* Seeing your work in a public, professional context
* Pride at having friends and relatives acknowledge an important part of who you are
* Hearing strangers talk about your work (for better or for worse)
* Getting a review
* Having sales, how many?
* Getting important collectors, critics and curators to see the show
* Getting recognized by another gallery

Now, evaluate your list and assign a number value 1-5 that reflects how realistic these goals are for you. 1 being the most realistic, 5 being your best-case scenario. Don't forget to distinguish between those goals that are within your control i.e., sending out press packets to 40 writers and those things, which are out of your control getting a review published. Only those things that are within your control can be 1's. Doing this exercise will help you develop a sense of what is both realistic and within your control. Although it will help you to understand the underlying cause of the blues, it may not help to prevent them.

Lots of artists have developed different strategies for dealing with the blues you will need to identify your expectations first, then work on finding the tools to deal with them.

Here are a few suggestions that other artists have used. Feel free to use these, or develop your own strategies.

* Hold back the very last painting you have finished. Keep it in your studio as a springboard to future work instead of including it in the show.
* Take a trip/vacation immediately after the opening.
* Schedule meeting times at the gallery with friends, during the course of the exhibition, to allow yourself the opportunity to talk about the work with a receptive listener.
* Put out a guest book and encourage comments
* Start a new series of work before the work for the show is removed from your studio

In any case, your best defense against "Post Exhibition Blues" is your willingness to recognize and accept this very natural step in the creative process., founded in 1979 by Sylvia White, in Los Angeles, is one of the few management consulting firms specializing in the career development of visual artists. They advise artists on all matters related to business, exhibitions, and marketing. In 1986 they expanded their consulting services to represent selected artists. In addition to their Los Angeles gallery space, they utilize associates in San Francisco, Chicago and New York to help us familiarize galleries, museums, collectors, critics, and curators with the work of emerging, mid-career, and established artists, their artists have participated in hundreds of exhibitions, nationally and internationally. Sylvia White currently serves on the advisory boards for, and