Archive for July, 2015

I recently had a chance to take a three-day relief printing workshop with a teacher who brought about 40 carved mandala blocks for us to print from. My first mandala came out pretty well, I think.


We printed on generous-sized printmaking paper, so it took some maneuvering to scan the original in parts on my ordinary home-use scanner, then re-assemble the two halves.

I like this mandala so well that I want to do lots of different things with it. Where to start? It’s square-ish ….

By the way, after I printed this mandala, I went right off the rails and printed all kinds of un-symmetrical things for the next two days. Had a blast.


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I received a gift of collage materials today: a high-end auction catalog, a museum magazine, a floral calendar, several “solutions” pages from a crossword puzzle book printed on nice paper, and two beaten up commercial vocabulary cards. The mind boggles.


The original card was very creased, so I scanned it and worked with a copy. I added a border [very hard to see], a Holga-camera filter [the shadowy corners and some color changes], and a speckle effect. Then I printed the new image.


My printer abruptly ran out of cyan ink, so I got an unusual two-tone effect. I’m OK with it. In a final step, I created some found poetry from the crossword puzzle pages and fiddled around with a rubber stamp and some pens and markers.



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I decided to make a copy of an image of a Tsogo gong, an artifact from Gabon in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). I used an index card and made this my index-card-a-day effort for this day.

The choice of a pink index card, though, was uninspired. If index cards are manufactured in cream or buff tones, I’d like to see them. On the right of my pink copy is another with the pink turned into brown digitally.

Copying an image, then viewing it side by side with the original, is very interesting. I see lots of things to change if I make another copy.
In the VMFA magazine where I found this photograph, I read that the pale coloring indicates the spirit realm and the diamond shapes indicate how one’s life passes from stage to stage. I’d like to hear this gong struck; it’s made of wood, and it stands 17 inches tall.

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Right out of the blue, I received an add-and-pass collage in the mail from Fiji. It is 8.5 by 11 inches, folded into a trifold, and I am the 3rd person invited to alter it and mail it to someone else.

The sparse instructions are to pass it on forever. That’s mail art for you. It’s not meant to stick around. It will go back out today.

Click the image to enlarge if you want to see any detail.

I altered the color and the size ratio digitally in the image above. You can also see a larger, less manipulated version on Flickr. Here’s how I physically altered the original:

1. Added a Tetley Tea tag, a prehistoric bird, a fork (hard to miss), and some text fragments (“Quality Control,” “A Victory for Free Speech,” and “Good Finds.”)
2. Pasted on some bits – that’s collage-speak for little snippets of stuff that are not explicitly pictorial.
3. Outlined, drew, and scribbled with brush pens and gel pens.
4. Added a couple small pieces of tape – not many, because the tape is more vivid than the piece overall.
5. Tested a couple new rubber stamps: a set of three loops (4x) and a philodendron leaf (2x).

How do you know when you’re done? The answer to that burning question is “Yes.” Perhaps I’ll start an add-and-pass of my own.

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Primary Colors

A couple of postcards created to theme. The striped one made my fingers very sticky.

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It was a treat to receive mail art from Pamela Gerard, the writer of the blog Cappuccino and Art Journal. Here’s the envelope. Pamela has a large collection of rubber stamps! So do I, but I like hers better. Isn’t that always the way?

2015-07-08-from pamelag
Inside the envelope was a collaged card with a hand-written note on the verso. I too have a good collection of Indiana Ticket company tickets, thanks to my purchases of unsuccessful 50-50 raffle tickets at baseball games.
2015-07-08-from pamelag2
If you send mail art, you get mail art…

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I score no points for creativity for this postcard, just points for curation. Walking past the free books at Downtown Books, I spotted a thick old paperback sociology reader with a nifty graphical cover. I think I’ll get 4 postcards out of it.

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