Timeout for Art: Stages

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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.

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

14 responses »

    • Thanks, Kimberly! I like the “magic” aspect so well, I set things up, when possible, for surprises to happen. That’s especially easy to do in ceramics, because of the firing process, but possible in other media as well. When it happens, it’s almost always lots better than anything I could have thought of! Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

    • Thanks, Bob! I like this plate very much but it’s not an easy one to print…too much deep texture in that star burst area. I’m trying to account for that in the way I’m using colors, and will have to be careful to wipe that area especially well before running it through the press. High hopes right now, though!

  1. I love reading about an artist’s process. That percolating stage you describe is something special, isn’t it? I’m not in situations that require much of it now, but I remember it well from my paper writing days in college. Very hard to describe, but you can feel your brain subconsciously putting together all the little pieces…it might take a few hours or a few days, but suddenly you just KNOW it’s time to create. Then when you finish and actually see a finished product you think, “Dang…where did this come from? I think i channeled it!”
    Creativity fascinates me! thanks so much for this great post!

    • Oh, I percolate a lot when it comes to writing, too! Until I work through things in my mind, it seems silly to try to get it down on paper. When I’m ready, it does seem to flow, as if someone else is “pulling the strings”. Thanks for reading, Karen, and for your comments!

  2. i’m pulling up the rear again but happy to be online! it took forever to load – internet connection fault and not yours – but wow, i loved that it doled out the images little by little!!!

    you are so right – sometimes we are at war w/the work in progress and other times it just flows… yesterday i gave the reins to the work, and presto, all went well after that!

    a friend dropped by this morning, and i smirked as we looked at the new paitning.. i said, ‘look what i birthed last night!’

    back offline for a few days…
    so glad to see this!

    z

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