Stepping Out the Process

Mono print process - finished

Another 6″ x 6″ monoprint and this time I have a few stepouts to hopefully help explain my process.

These are the colors I used for this monoprint.

Mono print process colours

I almost always start with large shapes and work down to the smallest shapes. So, to get started, I roll a thin layer of paint over the entire plate. I use a registration board to keep each printed layer in line so I cover the edges of the board with tape while I apply paint. That keeps paint off the registration board and, when I remove the tape prior to printing, no paint will transfer to the print paper.

This image shows a single, transparent, layer of Indian Yellow Hue applied to the plate prior to printing.

Mono print process 2

Next, I usually work on the sky adding layers of different colors until I get the soft random value changes that I like. I work back and forth between colors until I’m satisified. I have a dry, clean brush nearby so after I print, if there are too many harsh edges on the printed layer, I’ll gently sweep some of those hard edges to soften them. And if the print starts to get too gummy, I let it dry overnight.

Here are a couple of shots of the first sky layer of soft green followed by a blue layer (shown on the print).

Mono print process 3

Mono print process 4

At some point, I’ll add an overall color to the land then start building layers of color letting some of the original yellow show through.

Mono print process 5

With the larger shapes filled in, I then start adding smaller shapes using a smaller brush. The green in the image above was applied with a three inch bristle brush; the highlights in the final print were painted on the plate with a #4 flat.

I use a lot of brushes – one brush for every color, and I don’t rinse or wash the brushes until I’m finished with the print. The only other tools I use are shishkabob skewers to create caligraphic marks (and to scratch back into shape an over-sized blob of color), and old credit cards for fine lines.

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Deciding What To Do With The Skins

Tree line

This painting started with a little texture and whole bunch of random blue acrylic skins. I liked the skins so much that I filled the canvas. That turned the painting ugly.

Tree line 2

So I opened a jar of light molding paste and, with a palette knife, spread the paste over most of the canvas leaving only a couple of inches of the blue skins near the top.

Tree line 3

Then, over a period of several days, I used a dry housepainting brush and some analogous color to fill the top and bottom of the canvas. I held the brush almost flat to the surface and lightly scumbled in color to make the most of the textured patterns created in the molding paste.

I switched to a smaller brush to create some of the highlights on the cliff top edge and the background blues and I darkened some the blue areas to create contrast.

Then, after a final toning of the violet, I was done…five days later but happy with the effort.

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It Starts With A Can Of Paint

Tray

Maybe it comes from looking in the mirror every morning when I’m brushing my teeth, but I’m becoming partial to old stuff.

Distressed, crackled, stained, antiqued, I’m on a mission to age almost everything I touch. I’m eyeing the dining room furniture right now. The set came from my wife’s grandmother so it’s old already, but it still has clean lines and smooth surfaces. I want to change that.

So I bought a can of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue. My wife’s first reaction was “who would ever paint their furniture duck egg blue?”. But with a little antiquing, a little distressing, I think I’ll be able to win her over.

I’m starting small to convince her.  I found this round tin tray in the same store where I bought the paint. I covered it with two coats of duck egg blue. Then, instead of ageing the tray, I added a contemporary stamped design on the floor and a wiggly black line of acrylic ink around the outside base. To create the stamp, I drew poplar trees on a piece of foam; cut out the foam and applied a metallic blue/green paint to the tree stamp using a sponge to create texture then pressed the foam, painted side down, onto the tray. That’s it! Real simple.

And my plan may have been successful. My wife purchased the bird cage at Michael’s and she made the table topper to match. Next step, the furniture.  I’ll start with the inside of the hutch!

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Blurred Lines

Valentines

I was so proud of myself. I took a photo of every step in creating this monoprint. Then I went to load them into my computer, pushed some random button, and now I can't find the photos anywhere. So we'll make do with just this one picture of the completed design.

This is "Blurred Lines" a 6" x 6" monoprint created using a Gelli plate and Golden Open Acrylics. This is my Valentines card to my wife. To me, the landscape is the perfect subject for a painting. Whether I envision that landscape large or micro, the subject always carries significant meaning to me. And I painted that meaning bolder this time by wrapping the landscape in a large heart.

Even though I don't have the stepped photos, here are the colors I used – Quinacridone Magenta; Cadmium Red Medium; Sap Green; Titanium White; Teal; Bronze Irridescent. 

And these are the applicators – a roller, a stiff-bristled brush, a small flat, a credit card and a bamboo stick. While most applicators are obvious, I used the edge of the credit card to create the smaller, horizontal shapes. The bamboo stick I used to create some vertical texture both by scraping off paint from the printed image and by adding paint either to the gel plate or the printed image. 

I started with red rolled over the entire plate then built values of red using additions of white and/or sap green. A little bit of pure white and pure teal finished the piece. I then rolled the gel plate with sap plus red; placed a heart cut from paper over the plate then pulled a last print.

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Keeping It Old

Bridgewater school

The school photograph is from 1890 so the challenge was to make the rest of the painting look old as well.

But first, I needed to create a photo transfer of the original picture. I photocopied the picture and applied a coat a day of Golden Soft Gel medium for about four or five days. I brushed the gel medium right over the image. Once the gel was set on the last day I wet the back of the image and started rubbing to remove the paper.  After two or three attempts at removing the paper I was left with a transparent image which I glued to the canvas with polymer medium.  You can paint the canvas first, and the colors you brush onto the canvas will show through the photo transfer. But I left my background white.

Next came Golden’s Crackle Paste. I applied this with a palette knife and made it thick enough that the cracks would develop. A thin application won’t show cracks. The product recommendation is that crackle paste be applied to a solid background such as Masonite or cradle board, rather than canvas. But I’ve found that if I don’t apply the paste too thickly and I varnish the completed painting to hold everything in place, then I seem to be able to use the paste on stretched canvas.

When the crackle paste dried (after a couple of days), I again used a palette knife and applied Golden’s Light Molding Paste. I applied the paste roughly to get some ridges and valleys.

When all the mediums were dry, I took sandpaper and sanded back any spots that were too thick or too rough. I paid particular attention around the edge of the transfer.

Next, I brushed Payne’s Grey acrylic over the entire piece and immediately wiped the color back using a damp shop towel. The objective was to leave a darker value in the valleys and cracks.

I brushed a glaze of Transparent Red Oxide over the photo transfer then added some stamped, stencilled and collaged elements to complete the piece.

This painting “Bridgewater School” is to be part of a group exhibition at a local gallery featuring many of the old schools of the area. The Bridgewater building still exists and is used as a community center but most of the others have disappeared.

 

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Picking Up and a New Start

A Letter HomeWow, March flew by. My solo show at the Parrott Gallery ran through the month of March and today it’s down and I’m picking up the unsold pieces, some to be displayed elsewhere, others to be stored for future shows. And I’m well underway with a new series of paintings, a little looser, a little different in color palette. Should be a lot of fun.

This painting “A Letter Home”; acrylic; graphite, charcoal; 40″ x 30″ sold at the show opening. The opening was enjoyable – lots of people, much conversation, people I hadn’t seen in years – and a couple of people cried when they looked at my paintings. Amazing how art can appeal on such an emotional level. And, by the way, they were sad tears, but good tears.

Couple of new directions for me in the next months. More later.

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It’s On Its Way

Tulips

Ahhh, spring. For those of us in the northern part of the northern hemisphere there’s probably still snow on the ground. But soon, soon, it will be spring. And to get us in the mood, here’s a painting of some early bloomers.

If you want to get in the mood as well, this painting is available in print format from Fine Art America.

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Time

Tulip clockLooking out my studio window there’s still a foot of snow. But yesterday, the sun shone, the temperature started rising, (well, it rose about one degree but at least it’s going in the right direction), and the local radio station reminded me that we move our clocks forward this weekend for daylight savings.

All these conspired to convince me it’s now spring. And thoughts of spring bring thoughts of softer, lighter colors and, of course, spring flowers. And the flowers became the inspiration for this small CD clock I made for a gift.

It’s a 6″ x 6″ stretched canvas with a painted CD glued on top. I used DecoArt Americana paints for this project.The canvas was painted in Terra Cotta and drybrushed in Butter. The CD was painted (sanded with a coarse grit first) with Medium Flesh then sponged with Antique White. Flowers were painted with Melon and a little Butter drybrushed on the right to highlight and the leaves were painted with Celery Green. Then everything was outlined with Lamp Black. The CD was glued to the canvas the a hole was drilled through the center; the clock works were attached, and voila, a quick, simple gift was finished.

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Come See My New Work

Winters DayBob Pennycook: New Work is the title of my new solo exhibition at the Parrott Gallery, Belleville Public Library, in Belleville, ON from March 7 to 30. Official opening is Saturday, March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. I’ll be there…because there’s food!

This show is a series of contemporary landscapes painted over the last two years. Each painting had its start from the view outside my studio window, but the painting process took each image a little further.

This piece is called “A Winter’s Day”. Painted in acrylic, graphite and charcoal, It’s 24″ x 24″.

If you’re in the area, drop by and have a look at the show. Gallery hours can be found here.

I’m also teaching a workshop at the Gallery on March 15 and 16, sponsored by the Belleville Art Association. I believe there are four spaces left. If you’re interested, contact the Belleville Art Association.

 

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