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Author: Alan Smith (Page 2 of 3)

the revolver continues

Last night after work I began printing with the intention of laying down only a violet/pink split roll across the night sky of seven prints from the Revolver edition.

But… I finished those then decided to mix up a dark grey to lay over a lighter grey printed earlier in the week. At the end of the night I had printed out seventy passes through the press in total. I’m not sure how often that is going to happen, but it sure is nice to know how hard I can crank them out if I need or want to in the future.

 

revolver progress

Happy Saturday!

I work a day job 8-5 Monday through Friday.

When the weekend comes around it is typically full on print making mode. This weekend I’ll be cranking out as many color layers possible for a new edition.

The finished image depicts a revolver wielding maniac. This image comes from a pile of quick sort of practice carves I did awhile back as a sort of throwaway. But once I started to plug colors in  it was clear that I had to make a fun little variable edition.

Here is a shot from last night, off the bed of my press.

 

well, hello again

In the time since my last update I received my own printing press in the mail. That’s right, I bought a 22×44 bed Conrad Monotype printing press which I paid for in November and received in March.

Prints come out so smooth and my output is so much increased that I almost can’t believe it. I’ve recently been working out some full color prints and feel excited about developing larger pieces in the near future. Right now I print from a crammed bedroom but later in the month will be moving into a way larger space to…print out of a much larger bedroom! It’s going to be nice having everything spread out and accessible.

Here’s video of the print layers to Acero. Acero is my dungeons and dragons character. I did this quick carve awhile back just messing around, but decided to add color layers and give them out at the next to last session of a campaign I began with some friends just before lockdown started up.

I think this owning my own press thing is going to be a lot of fun!

more minis

Hello,

Following up on my last post with another handful of practice carves.  Continung the work on the figure adding in some armor pieces this time around.

 

 

many minis

Towards the end of 2020 I decided to take time for focus on finally developing my understanding of the head, face, and figure. I had come to a realization that I was constantly focused on producing finished work and so wanted to slow down and develop important fundementals I had bypassed. 

I watched some Proko videos, picked up a couple Andrew Loomis books, and spent the past handful of months sketching different parts of the anatomy.

Below are some crude examples from the earliest exercises. Soon I’ll post more recent work to compare against. While these exercises have been fun the point hasn’t been to create finalized work but to exercise through practice the different concepts I’ve been studying:

updates from the outskirts of a cityscape

Hello from the tail end of five days off from work. What a long strange trip its been! I have spent the past four days printing and carving like a possessed maniac. 

Yesterday I spent ten hours carving back over nearly the entire cityscape master block. I had attempted a print by hand on some nice mulberry paper, but the edges were coming out blurred. I realized that I was finally going to either settle for really bad prints or bite the bullet and just re-carve the thing.

The problem here was that I began carving the block in summer of 2019 before I really knew much of anything about keeping your tools sharp. I think this was in part due to working for so long in that buttery soft lino  from Speedball. Speedy Carve? Something like that.

Along the way I decided to remove the pupils from  all the lurking creatures. There was a certain comical appeal to leaving the pupils in, but I feel more satisfied with the increased creepiness.

Many buildings were also edited in large or small ways as were most of the creature and human faces.  I think that all of these decisions brought more life, variety, and visual balance to the image.

“Cityscape” 2020. One color 18×24 linocut print on 22×28 page.

This afternoon I spent who knows how many hours rubbing a wooden spoon across the back of some thick Stonehenge paper. Stuff is great on a press and I could see pulling smaller images by hand, but my elbow would fall off from any more of this. I think I’ll hold the copy below for the final edition and pull the rest on thinner papers. Once these black and white copies are out of the way I can get going on some color variations before finally moving on to new large scale pieces.

 

A Personal Note: Eulogy for Lady

Lady was an extraordinary being who brought extraordinary joy into the lives of so many. I first met Lady as my friend Caitlin’s dog when we were roommates many years ago. One night myself and our friend/roommate Shane declared that her new name would be Butt Cheeks. We stood at one end of the room calling “Butt Cheeks!” with Caitlin at the other calling “Lady!” Though I forget the outcome I do recall her confusion and how hilarious the whole situation was to me.

The difficult circumstances of life eventually led Lady into my care where she remained for about the last eight years of her life. I feel eternally grateful to have been provided this blessed opportunity which has quite deeply effected my well being through the years.

If I am to be correct Lady was born and grew up in Red Bluff, CA. Lady was initially the pet to her previous owner’s mom’s partner, but care was quickly taken over by Caitlin, who absolutely loved the little nugget on sight; a love that never diminished with their eventual distance apart. I remember the depth that I saw in Lady’s life and emotional capacity after our friend Lelania first told me that Lady had had two litters in her younger age and provided me the details of their life trajectories.

This afternoon a friend in Germany told me that just yesterday she had thought of Lady when seeing another pup “patiently waiting for table scraps.” I laughed and said that while it was nice to hear Lady’s spirit was brought to Germany I didn’t think that Lady would ever wait patiently for food.

Early on in my care for her it clicked in my head that of course dogs can eat more than dog food man! I began to buy her little baby carrots to crunch on. She could chew watermelon and bananas all day and would run circles around my room, working herself into a fit, if I ever ate a bowl of spaghetti around her. I used to slip her little crumbs (maybe slightly more than crumbs) of mint chocolate Newman-O’s as well. Pistachios were also a favorite. And, if you asked Lady, whoever could forgo dropping bits of their pizza crust into her begging maw  ought to reassess their priorities and perhaps have charges of animal abuse placed against them.

Lady detested skateboards. I have two antecdotes on this matter. The first being that, back when I used to drink I was enjoying some alcohol with friends on the porch. She was out there with us that night and at some point bolted down the steps and then off to the left of the house and out of sight. What in the Hell we must have said in one way or another perplexed by the sudden zero to lightspeed blast off of the furball we loved. Before we could stand up and follow after her a skateboarder with headphones passes the porch heading in the opposite direction with Lady now chasing behind and barking at his heels. He appeared completely unaware. I had to run and wave my arms at this guy, before he led her into the busy intersection just ahead, for him to realize and stop.

The second being when I was in a parking lot with friends as someone comes through on a longboard. Before I spot him and pick her up she launches herself like a fur covered cruise missile into his ankles. More due to being caught off guard than any real force of Lady’s attack the skateboarder stumbles off his deck.

When it would snow in Portland I always took her out on a walk for as long as she could take it. She seemed to really enjoy the snow and exploring the transformed landscape of peculiar cold soft layers of white. She once tread upon a small frozen over shrub. The ice broke and she fell through to my laughing at her surprise.

About five years back I took her on a flight back to California for a friend’s wedding. The steward allowed me to unzip the carrier and let Lady’s head peek out to stare over the clouds. She seemed unimpressed, but perhaps she was just left speechless by this spectacular first time sight.

One of the last times her previous owner came to visit Lady we fed her a ton of watermelon. I kept saying more was fine because the moment between them felt so right; full of love and joy. It was quite some time later before I admitted to Caitlin that the over-abundance, which was my mistake entirely, had led Lady to get the poops and a growling tummy for a few days. I bet Lady thought it was worth it.

Her final hours were spent wrapped in a bundle of blankets as I carried her through my neighborhood to sit on the edge of a steep hill overlooking the industrial district and beyond to a forested sort of area further out. It was a beautiful day with a warm sun shining down on us both.

Lady passed back home in my arms to the sound of wind chimes and birds chirping as the occassional squirrel ran along the fence or through the yard. What an incredible being and what an incredible loss, but what an extraordinary and positive effect upon so many lives that needed nothing more than everything you had to offer.

Goodbye dear sweet friend,

My love is forever yours

progress shots: Cityscape

I’ve been chipping away at this cityscape print for over a year now.

I currently hold membership at a shared printmaking studio, but between the pandemic and my vehicle finally kicking the bucket I’ve been printing from my home basement for the past few months. Without a printing press at home I’ve been relegated to forging prints from the limited pressure of a handheld wooden spoon…

The cityscape was a block print that was turned into a black light responsive screen print. Though the posters were pretty wild under black light I was never completely happy with those posters. 

When the pandemic hit I decided that I would take what I had learned from multi-color screenprinting and teach myself to better multicolor print in relief.

I have multiple color schemes planned which I would like to edition out in extremely small numbers…someday…

 
 

 

rearview mirror

Rearview Mirror is a linocut I did a couple years back about regret and dwelling on the past. Maybe I’ll get around to editioning out the full color version one of these days. I always enjoyed the energy of the line work on this image.

“Rearview Mirror” 2019. One color 8×10 linocut print on 11×14 page. Draft.

clothespins in the basement man

Over the weekend I finally got around to nailing clothespins into my basement rafter beams. I didn’t have the correct size nails, so a little tape wrapped around the excess keeps the clothespins from moving about.

 

This allows me to hang prints to dry between layers. Previously I would just lay them…wherever I could. Not such a big deal when working on say an edition of 5×7 prints, but once you begin working on 22×28 sheets yeah man you’re gonna need some clothespins in your basement man

 

 

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