Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mariann Johansen Ellis: Etsy photos - what's good and what's bad?

click on the link below to go to my "other" blog, xx

Mariann Johansen Ellis: Etsy photos - what's good and what's bad?

Give away...... or no give away??

Hens linocut reduction
not that long ago, I had a draw for this lino reduction and the winner........ never got in touch with me??? So this is your last chance, as I think, hmmmm, not so fair to the rest, so I'll do the draw again and find a new winner!!
Does this mean you can enter the draw.... sure..... :o)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Etching your Aquatint, timing is important!

Aquatint etching by Mariann Johansen-Ellis
If you are one of those people, like me, who stand there looking at your plate in the acid, thinking,
"a bit more is better", then think again! When it comes to aquatint, I think this is the most common mistake when you start out, to simply overdo the timing in the acid!
In Ferric Chloride at 15 degrees Baume, you should need no more than 30 sec for the first tone,
add a minute for the second tone, add 2 minutes for the next tone and finish off with maybe 2 - 3 more minutes for your really darks. Try this and you will see that it is much easier to be successful....
I have to confess, to having succumbed to the "more is better" (true to my nature) and forgetting that not in this case. Back on the straight and narrow now, and getting good results again.......
The Baume thermometer ( is it can be called that?) is also a really good investment for measuring the strength of your acid, when I started out doing etching, I used nitric acid and was forever fiddling about with adding a bit more, no, too strong, a bit more water in a very non technical way. Temperature had a lot to do with results etc etc...... so switching to the much more environmentally friendly, and above all, fume free ferric chloride, was great. It does not "go off", in the same way, it is very dependable and you know exactly how long to leave your plate in.
Nitric acid, still has a place in my studio though, (yep, non toxic it ain't!!) for biting out a plate or for relief work...... I am a bit confounded that the use of acid is now like the devil appearing.... non toxic is great, I am all for it, if it gives me the results I want! There is a place for the non toxic as well, it has to be treated with great respect , not fear and panic making, and has to be utilized and disposed of in a correct way. None of this is difficult, there are places that come and get your old acid to neutralize and dispose of it in a proper manner. Keeping acid in your studio, does not make your teeth fall out, or your fingers drop off, unless you are handling it in a very stupid way. So in my quiet little out of the way Cascada Studio, I keep my acid close by, stored properly, maybe even over safely knowing it is a dangerous, but for me, necessary tool in my printmaking endeavour.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hen picked, linocut reduction

Linocut reduction in 7 colors "Pecking Order"
Busy weekend, with a lot of rain coming down, it was the perfect occasion to spend the whole weekend in the studio, preparing and printing a new linocut. I am a bit farm at this time, hens,
rustic, country life, the images keep coming, and I would love to find the time to make some more prints on this theme.... as well as kitchen, maybe because I am starting the renovation of a new house, and hey, we have not even started knocking the walls down, before I am thinking of what to hang on the new ones :o))) well.... for me, a wall, is for hanging art, a a rainy weekend is for creating it!
My bulging washing basket begs to disagree, the perfect artist life would be, hmmm, well, naked I guess, as I find washing such a bore...... although...hmmmm..... have not tried that as a lino reduction....... :o)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Draw is finally done!!

linocut reduction with hens , "Scratch"
Thank you so much for your patience!! the Draw...(that I had completely forgotten about, yes, it is sad, but true...... that's what happens when there is tooooo much to do.....) is done, and lovely Francesca Whetnall has won the draw!! Congratulations, and look forward to hearing from you!

linocut reductions at Cascada Studio

Linocut reduction with fish "Big Blue"
after a super weekend of exhibition with ceramist  Agneta Larsen it is straight back to work for yours
truly, my new linocut with fish , the "Big Blue" is done, a 6 color linocut reduction, in a couple of variations is ready to be numbered and signed and go on sale in my etsy shop , next is printing more Christmas cards, and a couple of fun people in the studio learning some printmaking, a busy busy November ahead, before I hang my work in the Town Hall in Mijas for the month of December.
No time to sleep!! Lovely!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good intentions!

Tree of Life, linocut on handmade paper
I had all the good intentions in the world about blogging at least once a week, and really practical printmaking, and yes, I am going to, and no I haven't yet ;o)))
Why? I am in a very very creative phase, working away, putting out my little "Please, Don't Disturb" sign outside my door, as I live very centrally, and just getting down to the nitty gritty of turning out some new work!
So this is a little excuse, and it is also a little explanation, and more than anything it is in the knowledge that tyou know exactly what I mean, sometimes you have to just GO......
back soon ........

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Linoreduction, last 2 passes

cutting the last of the dark greens away
finally, down to cutting away the last of the dark greens, the plate is getting "sloppier" and harder to handle, think about that when positioning it in the matrix for printing, that it is in the right place.....
this time I have "lined" the matrix with brown tape, why? because, with a bigger piece of paper, it does make it easier as the paper slides better into position on the tape, than it does on the bare cardboard.
favorite at the moment colour, and Becky giving the basket a good whipping!
inking up the last colour, the one that makes it all come together (hopefully ;o) right now, I am in love with dark aubergine... it gives a lovely finish, sometimes black is not the thing, it depends of course on the print very much...... I am fickle when it comes to colours.... favorites slide in and out of use.
first finished print off the press
and here it is, the first finished print off the press, not gonna rock the world, but I am happy, it has come out very nice, and I like it.
Remember when you ink up so many colours, that if it goes quite fast with the colours, and they don't have time to dry totally in between, you can get previous colours transferring back onto the plate, making the last colour not so dense as you might wish, now, I like this, I like the peeping through of colours, but not everybody does, the answer to this is of course to clean the plate in between printings, or... wait for the ink to dry more before applying the last inking.
I can see that the plate lends itself to cutting out the hens to make something with...... I always have a look at the plate, even if the plate as a whole does not work anymore, parts of it might, bits of it can be great in a collagraph or monoprint.....
I am doodling around with materials other than cardboard for the matrix, it does "extend" a little bit in the printing process, and the hole becomes a bit bigger, but I still prefer it, as rarely are any of my plates the same size, which makes the use of wood, or plastic, a lot more expensive.... there is always a trade off between easy and difficult in printmaking..... part of what makes it so fun!
Happy printing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Linocut reduction, algarrobo and hens, part 2

blue and gray goes on
day 2 of my linoreduction, which is starting to be called "somebody has to be the boss" was a real knuckle down day and get on with it...... first thing in the morning, I rolled up the bright blue and the soft gray in one go....following on yesterdays several colours experiment, that I quite liked... of course, I should have realised that you would see them through, duhhh.... sometimes printmaking makes me laugh, you think you've got it.....hmmmm... sounds awfully like golf doesn't it?
third run through the press
so in a bit of a tizzy about seeing the colours, what do to but revert to good old inking up the whole plate.... well, not so much a tizzy, as a wanting to take advantage of the light green in many places.
As a good little artist, I should of course have coloursampled etc.... to see how things go together, if they cover right, if they blend good, and all that... but I am a bad little artist in that respect, I just go for it and correct as I am printing, I kind of like that.... it teaches me something new every time, every print, every colour , all stored away in that mental log book of mine, (see part one for that ramble) for future use.....
the RED

inking up the plate in red, felt like I saw it for the first time
 most of the time, when doing reduction printing, somewhere in the middle, I loose heart, it does not look like anything, it does not feel right, I doubt my ability to make the right colours come true, and all that stuff..... but weirdly, and thankfully, rolling up the plate in red, it kind of revealed itself, showed itself to me for the first time, and I thought DARN..... if I had inked it up once in red before I cut away the light green leaves, I could have pulled some prints only in red, as it had a very finished look, and would have felt good at that stage as a free standing print.... but TOO LATE! the leaf stems on the cut away light green leaves just looked silly..... arrgh
mid green goes on
and yes, here it is...mid way doubts hmmmm, naw.... don't know..... really?
My only advice at this stage is: STOP THINKING, and just do........ there is no other way past this point..... I call it my "believe in miracles stage"  in a reduction print.....
oh, and the good registrations were going faster than Fosters at an Aussie barbie..... not so fun! Think 4 colours in a long day might have been to blame!
Tomorrow is a new day, and tomorrow is finish day......:o)) See you then!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Linocut reduction printing, ink management

inking up the first 3 colours in one go
Starting on my new lino reduction, I decided to try something new (for me) and ink up the 3 first colours all in one go, and this made me think of ink management! Ink management I can hear you say, what the heck would that be a in a creative world?? Well... I use it a lot, deciding in a very controled way how much ink to apply to the plate as it goes through the stages, you are in charge of the roller, remember, it is not in charge of you, you decide how much ink to roll up, you decide on where to put it, and you also decide on what pressure to put the plate through the press..... all of these things play a part in the finished print.
A lot of times, newcomers to the world of lino reductions, look at the roller like there is a little gremlin living in it, that applied too much ink (messy) or too little ink (nothing) or uneven, stripy, blotchy, yes, there are many variations of applying ink ;o)) Sorry, no gremlin, just you...... so I always talk about the internal logbook you need to keep as a printmaker, the log book you refer to, when you wonder if there is enough ink on the roller, the sound the roller makes when it is perfect, the look of the ink on the roll up board, ( it looks like finest sandpaper) and you store that way.... so that next time, you can open your log and look back and use that knowledge, that experience...... it takes a while to get used to constantly be thinking whilst you work, there are so many things to remember,
not least the darn b-ggery registration.....  but try... really try... make written notes, although I find that  irritating and that it breaks my rhytm, but this is about you... about you finding a way, a method of storing what you learn as you print, a conscious, thought out storing file cabinet for all the stuff that is needed when it comes to printing a 6 - 7 - 7 or maybe even 10 colour lino reduction. I know, it is easy for me to say, I do this every day (almost), and repetition of course, makes you better at it, but still, a log book...... give it a try!
the lino plate inked
 I decided to not be so fiddly about the colours but seeing a little bit what would happen if I inked it up quite loose with overlaps etc.....
the print after the first run through the press
 This is the first print, the marker, that I draw with on the lino, tends to lift off on the first pieces of paper, but gets covered eventually as the ink application continues.

tomorrow....... great strides with 4 colours in one day!! See you......

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My first, but not last give away!

3 color lino reduction for sale in my etsy shop!
Participate in my first Printmaking in Spain give away! Just become a follower of my new blog,
and you are in the draw!! :o) Mariann

Monday, August 13, 2012

Registration of linocut reductions

my now quite old film about linocut reduction is still the way I register a linocut..... and it works great!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Printmaking tips from Spain

normal soysauce applied with a soft sponge

you can clearly see where the soy sauce has not been!
When doing aquatint, at Cascada Studio, as a student, I tend to ask, that you proof the plate in between all the various tones, this is quite cumbersome, but done for a couple of reasons:
1) If new to aquatint, you get to see the print "build up"
2) You get to apply the aquatint more than just once
3) You get to proof the plate, as in using the press, inking up, wetting
paper etc, all to go in your little mental logbook for later, when you come to the editioning.

When we degrease the plate the first time, I use pumice powder, quick and clean and environmentally safe.
For subsequent degreasing, I brought back a tips from Asia, I use soy sauce, that's right, I apply a coat of soy sauce to the plate with a soft sponge and work it in, this is a super gentle way of degreasing,
Aquatint etching
that does not interfere with even the finest of aquatints! And again, readily available, clean, environmentally safe, and oh.... god for marinating chicken wings!! :o)