Today's postings

  1. [Baren 44877] making art (Linda Beeman)
  2. [Baren 44878] Re: making art (Aron Insinga)
  3. [Baren 44879] Re: making art ("Ellen Shipley")
  4. [Baren 44880] Sketchbooks (jennifermartindale #
  5. [Baren 44881] Re: Sketchbooks (Georgina Leahy)
  6. [Baren 44882] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification (Blog Manager)
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Message 1
From: Linda Beeman
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 14:36:50 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44877] making art
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I have enjoyed the discussion of late. It is what I imagine the "salon" gatherings back in the early 20th century were like. Exciting, heated, challenging our outlooks and beliefs.

For myself, the call of moku hanga came through the quiet. After a lifetime of noise and stress, moku hanga gave me peace. I get lost in the carving of wood, the smell of the nori, the soft brushing of the ink onto block. The process draws me in.
My husband, ever on the quest for something mechanical to make it faster and easier, wants to build me a set up like Mike Lyons. When I told him of this discussion about laser cutting he perked right up! While I appreciate the innovation and ease of use, until I can no longer hand carve I will continue as I do now.

Regarding perfection vs flaws. My work is always flawed. I think it is the Amish community that makes it a point to always have a flaw in their work because they are taught that only God is perfect. It is so ingrained in me that When I mess up carving I usually keep it that way. A little voice says, "There is the flaw, God is honored, now make the rest the best you can." But that's just me and the voices in my head!

Peace to you all in the New Year!

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Message 2
From: Aron Insinga
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 16:09:00 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44878] Re: making art
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Thank you all for the interesting discussion. As a newbie to the list,
I found it especially timely.

The comments that newer tools are useful to people with limited mobility
or strength echoed my first thoughts on the subject. When I was in
college, way back before you could just walk into a store and simply buy
a computer, another student built a music synthesizer and connected it
to one of the computers in our lab. It was used some by children who
could not play a traditional musical instrument due to various
limitations, but who could slowly hunt-and-peck on a computer keyboard,
enabling them to compose and play music for the first time.

I am a computer programmer, but I am interested in moku hanga (along
with raku pottery, stained glass, and other media) not only out of an
interest in history and culture but also as a creative outlet that I can
(by choice) practice *without* a computer. I have written cell phone
camera software, but I kept using my film cameras until the last shutter
spring died.

A pottery teacher of mine once said that an "honest pot" has an outside
shape that reflects the inside shape, i.e. the wall thickness is even,
so that the part of the vessel you see reflects the functional part of
the vessel in which you put something.

I don't know if printmaking has a similar concept of an "honest print"
being one that reflects the process by which it was made.

So, I'm not a professional artist, art critic, or collector, but I think
that using any tool and process is fine, as long as you are up front
about it.

My wife is a professional illustrator ( who
uses various media. When she does scratchboard, she still does it by
hand, but sometimes she adds color in the computer. She named one of
her computers Rembrandt so that she could continue to say that she
didn't use any tools that Rembrandt didn't have. :-) :-) But as
illustration, her work is not the finished product, the image in the
magazine is the finished product, and that is obviously reproduced by
commercial printing technology.

- Aron Insinga
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Message 3
From: "Ellen Shipley"
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 16:55:42 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44879] Re: making art
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I love your wife's work! Her work is beautiful and her subject matter
speaks to my medieval heart. ;-] Scratchboard is an under appreciated art
form, and I love how she adds color.

To my mind any tool is to be used, as long as the artist's spirit comes

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Message 4
From: jennifermartindale #
Date: Sun, 01 Jan 2012 09:37:42 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44880] Sketchbooks
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As part of the discussions In Praise of the Handmade someone commented on the difference between planning an image in one's head versus filling a sketchbook and taking the best one to copy. This came as a relief to me as my tutor for the Open College Printmaking course is wanting more and more preparatory sketchbooks, which I find tiresome to do. A lifetime of fitting the art into a busy life has made me skilled at planning designs and separations in my head with just a very few try-out sketches before diving in, and sometimes amending on the way. I also take a lot of photographs and piece them together in new ways. I would be interested in how others 'prepare' their images.

As to the technique discussion, I would say the important thing is honesty of declaration. I get quite angry when presented with 'a fine-art print' at a high price and numbered which is actually a giclee reproduction. Just because it is expensive does not make it valuable! Cards and repros are just great when honestly declared, so we all must continue to educate. It is the skill of the artist I value, the technique should be declared and not confused.

I will get off my soap box now and wish you all happiness for the coming year, and to thank you all for being in my life.
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Message 5
From: Georgina Leahy
Date: Sun, 01 Jan 2012 11:56:23 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44881] Re: Sketchbooks
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Some of my favourite work has been without any preparation. I cut one print, took 6 weeks and had no idea how it would turn out, it was detailed, complicated and an excellent, fully resolved image.

I believe in allowing the art part of your brain to work and letting it run free. Theory and planning are excellent devices, but at some point I presonally find it best to gamble it all and just follow that inspiration or madness.....and yes I have totally destroyed work, but I have also been really happy with a lot of outcomes.

When i was at artschool I used to have to give a talk about my conceptual concerns, inspirations etc...I would really have to make it up because I knew that my best art just happened through subconscious processes but you could never say that outloud. And yes I had to keep diaries...I just kept them because we had to, in some subjects they would actually mark them!

I considered cutting without any real plan 'hard drawing' you are making permanent marks, why is that any less valid than a print worked up from a sketch? it is much more risky and exciting!

Digest Appendix

Postings made on [Baren] members' blogs
over the past 24 hours ...

Subject: Silence?
Posted by: Dave Bull

I was talking with a fellow printmaker by Skype this morning, just as he approached the final minutes of his year (over in the US) and I was getting ready for New Year day lunch, and he asked "Where have you been? Are you OK?"

Well, I had thought that over the year-end period most people were probably too busy with their own affairs to concern themselves with printmaker's blogs or webcams, so I haven't been doing much updating during the past couple of weeks (although I have been on the webcam quite a bit, actually). But it doesn't mean that we haven't been busy!

There's more here waiting to post about than I possibly have time for ... Let's touch on a few of the main items ...

(entry continues here ...)

This item is taken from the blog Woodblock RoundTable.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.

Subject: Happy Year of the Dragon
Posted by: Annie B

Year of the Dragon by Annie Bissett, woodcut and digital, 2012
2011. What a challenging, strange, difficult and sometimes wonderful year. Here in New England we had big snow, tons of rain, a tornado, a hurricane that washed out roads, and a freak October blizzard that felled many beautiful old trees (Lynn and I spent thousands of our 2011 dollars dealing with water and weather issues). I attended an unsettling number of funerals this year, and watched some friends, including friends in Japan, go through difficult times. In the political world there were revolutions and protests everywhere, and here in the U.S. the sudden urgency of Occupy Wall Street. Meanwhile, the economy continues to feel frighteningly unstable.

Yet 2011 wasn't all bad. I got to go to Japan for the First International Mokuhanga Conference in 2011. I started a new print series that looks like it will continue well into 2012. My family and I are all healthy and employed and doing OK, and I have a large "family" of friends as well. I'm grateful to have good people in the river with me as we ride these waves of change together.

Overall I'm glad to see 2011 go. But I worry that 2012 won't be any easier, and when I found out that 2012 is The Year of the . . .
[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog woodblock dreams.
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Subject: Happy New Year
Posted by: Andrew Stone

Wishing all a happy and healthy, productive and creative New Year.
Hope any who need direction will find it and those who already are where they want to be will share coherent directions.

Auguri and Best Wishes,


This item is taken from the blog Lacrime di Rospo.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.