Daily Archives: May 1, 2014

Timeout for Art: Stages



There is a special joy in sitting down to sketch that – from selecting a subject to finished image – it all happens together.

That is rare, in art.

The “percolating” stage comes first. Ideas lead to sketches and variations and planning and trials. Sometimes months or even years go by from the time the first kernel of an idea develops until it becomes something tangible.

Execution is next: the gathering of materials and digging in to the selected medium. Whether paint or printer’s ink or clay, the process is long. There is always waiting…thinking…stages leading to completion.

Anticipation is a big part of the process.

I’ve been working on several large paintings that dominate my studio space and make any other activities impossible. With the finish in sight, I’m anxious to be able to access my printing press again. Last week I cleared my drafting table and started adding color to several collagraph images, to make them ready for their final printing.

These were first printed last winter, and were just black-ink outlines with texture. The addition of watercolor is a simple process – most of the excitement comes from selecting the colors – similar, I think, to a child’s coloring book activity. I’m showing them now so that you’ll share in the surprise later.

The thrill will come when these are next run though the press. The plate will be prepared with printing ink – for these I’ll mix a dark blue-black – and these papers will be dampened to prepare them for printing. There are technical aspects: registration and tension and viscosity of the ink.

Mostly, though, it is MAGIC.