Archive for the ‘Art process’ Category

Reduction Lino Printing

February 2, 2015

I have been teaching printmaking for the last five months now. Recently though we took a run at reduction printing. Reduction printing is a multicoloured print where all colours are made from the same plate. In our case I suggested white, the colour of the paper, and then two colours on that, giving the appearance of a three-colour print, kind of. So how does this work?

Basically, there are two steps. First you carve away, we worked in lino, everything you want to be white, or the first colour. The trick with reduction printing is that the second colour goes ON TOP of the first colour. That means that your second colour needs to be either opaque or darker than the first. I did a raven. Honestly, if I had known this was going to work so well I would have chosen a cooler image.

First colour

First colour


Once you have a run of prints made, generally you will lose some of the original prints during the registration process, which we will cover later. I suggested to the students that we might get 50% total in the end. So if you want 10 good prints, then print 20 of your first colour.

The next bit is to carve away everything you want to keep from the first colour. Whatever is carved away here will not get inked and printed onto the previous prints. This whole process was mapped out prior to starting so once here there shouldn’t be too much mystery as to what is being carved away.

The hardest thing in this was figuring out how to do the registration. Registration is putting a print down on the newly cut plate so they line up perfectly. If your print is laid down on the plate even 1mm off it will show as the two images will be skewed from each other. This was the most stressful part of this. Although I am sure that the solution to this is on the internet, I really wanted to solve this problem myself (isn’t that half the fun?!?!?!). After a few ideas I came up with our eventual solution. Our lino plates are 6X8 and our paper is 8X10 to fit our 8X10 display frames. I took a piece of mat board, close to 8X10 and measured 1” from the top and 1” from one side. I laid the lino on those two lines and traced around the lino block. Then I cut away the mat board and the lino fit into the hole I cut. I then used double-sided tape and adhered the lino and the mat board to a larger mat board. The purpose of this is to stop any sliding while running it through the printing press (we use a hand cranked small press on a table top). It is important that the corner of the cut mat board and the lino are both 90 degrees and equal to each other. The other bits don’t matter for printing. Once these three parts are adhered to each other I could ink the plate and lay the paper down in that 90 degree corner and as long as the top of the paper stayed in line with the top of the mat board and the side of the paper lined with the mat board running down then when I do the second colour they should match up.

The corner of the lino plate and the corner of the mat board both need to line up and be 90 degrees

The corner of the lino plate and the corner of the mat board both need to line up and be 90 degrees

I used double-sided tape to adhere the lino and the black mat board to a larger white mat board.

I used double-sided tape to adhere the lino and the black mat board to a larger white mat board.

Once I had the second cutting of the lino done I did a print of it.

This is a print of the second cutting of the lino, of just what I wanted to print black only

This is a print of the second cutting of the lino, of just what I wanted to print black only

Then I was ready to print on the previously printed sheets.

I am ridiculously pleased that all the edges lined up perfectly.

I am ridiculously pleased that all the edges lined up perfectly.


Sorry I don’t have any process photos to share. It was pretty hairy during the printing sessions and I honestly wasn’t sure any of this was going to work so I didn’t document the process at all.


The Bleach T-shirt Print

October 19, 2014

I’m teaching Printmaking this semester and have been enjoying the learning curve that comes with teaching a new course. I am focusing on four types of printmaking: relief, intaglio, planography, stencil. Under the stencil category I had the students choose some kind of image that would lend itself to this type of printmaking. Technically this may not fall under the traditional definition of a print, in the sense that you can recreate the image again and again. This would be more of a monoprint style, although you may be able to use your stencil more than once. I haven’t tried that yet.

When I created a prototype for the students to see I used airbrush frisket. It produced some interesting and unforeseen results. The effect is cool in that it creates a lunar feel.

T-shirt bleaching with a stencil.

T-shirt bleaching with a stencil.


T-shirt bleaching with a stencil.

With the students we used Mask It, which worked really well. I made another t-shirt today and want to share the process so you can make these as well.

Step 1 – choose and image and transfer it onto the Mask It using a pencil or marker. Avoid fine image lines as the bleach will sometimes migrate under the stencil and blotch out your detail. I now know that’s what happened with my first attempt.

Step 1 - choose an image and get it on the Mask It

Step 1 – choose an image and get it on the Mask It

Step 2 – transfer the image onto the t-shirt (100% cotton works well, this shirts change quickly thicker ones take more time. I had a student use 50% cotton 50% modai (?) and it worked really well), or whatever you are using. I had two students use pillow cases! Make sure to mask off any areas you do not want to bleach. In both examples I enclosed the piece inside of a circle. You can easily do the reverse and have the bleach “splatter” out as well.

Step 2 - transfer the image and protect anything you do not want to bleach.

Step 2 &3 – transfer the image and protect anything you do not want to bleach.

Step 3 – the bleaching. I recommend using gloves here and opening a window. Some people are really sensitive to bleach or even allergic. I use an old bug spray bottle (CLEARLY MARKED THAT IT’S NOT BUG SPRAY). Some people will use a normal spray bottle, but I like things refined so a small spray is more to my liking. This step is where the magic happens. Spray your piece and then lay some paper towel over the image to soak up the bleach so it does not migrate under the stencil. This is key to keeping your image sharp. For this shirt I just let the bleach sit on the shirt for 4-6 minutes between sprays. I probably sprayed it 4 or 5 times. The students lack the patience for this so they would spray, paper towel, repeat until they were happy with the amount of bleaching. This worked well also, but time gives the bleach the ability to eat the colour more than “more bleach” does.

Step 4 – remove the stencil. This part is important also because you want to make sure there is no bleach left on your stencil or it will transfer to the shirt, discolouring whatever it touches. Once the stencil is removed it’s time to pull out the hair dryer to dry the shirt fully before the final step. I helped my girlfriend make a shirt and was so excited for her that I went to step 5 too early and it ruined the shirt. Let the hair dryer do its thing on your shirt for a few minutes. I actually tucked the hair dryer into my shirt and let it blow for five minutes or so and then turned it to blow on the other half of the image. You will see the image changing colour as you go. Once the whole image is the same colour, or dryness, it’s time for the next step.

Step 4 - removing the stencil and drying the shirt.

Step 4 – removing the stencil and drying the shirt.

Step 5 – the home stretch. Put it in the dryer for 30 minutes. Once the shirt is dry enough that when you put it in the actual dryer it won’t bleach other areas of the shirt (this is what I did to the gf’s shirt 😦  ). There are tiny bleach crystals that form on the shirt and tossing it in the dryer will knock those off. Once the buzzer goes on the dryer, voila!!! you have a new custom t-shirt to add to your collection of awesome t’s.

Finished product. A cool new T to add to my collection.

Finished product. A cool new T to add to my collection.

Here is a student’s piece. This style is easier in the sense that you do not need to quarantine the rest of the shirt off! You can also get a neat effect with the splatter dots that randomly show up.





Altered Book Art, and catch up

September 9, 2014

Wow, it has been a long time since I have posted anything. Of course, a lot has been created since then. Off the top of my head, I created a bunch of pieces for an art show I co-curated this previous March called “The Art of Paper” where the pieces in the show had to be made of/from paper. Here is one of my favourites, a piece called “The Sacred Within”. It is paper cut approximately 36″x50″.



I have also written five classical guitar pieces, small pieces. You can see those here.

In August I had a piece in the Terrace Art Gallery’s summer member show. The piece I entered is called “We Give OURSELVES Permission to Kill You” and came from this realisation that we are the ones that say it is okay to kill other people. It is an altered book.

We Give Ourselves Permission to Kill You

We Give OURSELVES Permission to Kill You


Thanks for reading. Keep on letting out the artist you are into this world. We need you to be YOU.



Art as an expression of Essence

January 7, 2013

So I’ve been a Professional Coach for a couple years now and not ironically, I guess, have been hired by a number of artists to support the expansion of their art and life.

The most profound experience I’ve had through working with these amazing creators is how their art changes as a result of connecting in a clearer way to their essence; the most fundamental reflection of their being, their light, their true nature. It shows up in their paintings as their “voice”. Some call it style, but I’m not sure that captures it because you can work in different styles and yet be creating through your essence. It’s an expression deeper than the style or medium chosen.

I watched Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” movie last night and I got even more clarity on this process. My analogy is a tube between your deepest self and your medium (canvas, paper, instrument, etc). The clearer the tube the clearer the true expression of your essence. Then I started realising that we are all at different levels of clarity within our own “tubes”. So even when an artist paints and the result isn’t their clearest expression, it may just be perfect for someone else who is at that exact level of clarity in relationship to their own essence. I now wonder if that’s part of what happens when an artist is unhappy with their work, but others are blown away by it. If the negative self talk is not involved, then maybe that artist just knows that their tube had some translucence to it instead of transparency?

If you are an artist and looking to clear the tube between your deepest self and your medium I’d be honoured to work with you. This is open to the artist working in their home studio who never shows their work to the established artist making a living through their work.

Make 2013 the year of you. Make it the greatest year of your life. You won’t get it back, and you can only run this calendar once my friends.


Summoning Love & Strength

May 13, 2011

Summoning Love & Strength

I completed a commission this week and thought I’d write a blog post about it. It is for a wedding, and when I was told about the couple my mind wandered around about what marriage takes to be successful. I came upon two supports: Love & Strength. Here’s the letter I wrote to the couple.

Dear Jon and Jessica,

What is created when two individuals join in marriage? I believe that when two whole and complete people come together to celebrate their individuality their relationship becomes an expression of the greatness of each person. This union brings forth something to the world that was not there before.

There are two components, or halves, to any relationship: Love & Strength. The circles in this piece represent your individuality, your tapped and untapped potential. You are coming together to create an interlock of your individual beauty and expression. The hearts express the two unique shapes of each of your personalities that, when together, create something new that cannot be created alone. You are surrounded by your love for each other. Your love can also been seen through you (the hearts are visible through the centre of the circle of your individuality).

You two are embarking on a life together that with both inspire others with your love and your strength. Love as the expression of the divine within each of you as well as the divine love created with your union. Strength for the times when challenges surface within life and your relationship. I wish you both the greatest life you can possibly create together. It has been an honour to ponder the power of love and strength while creating this art for you.

peace and love,


Since I enjoy seeing artists through their process, I am going to share a couple photos of the journey and then the finished product.


Other side

As usual, feel free to comment in the space provided.


Summoning Wholeness

January 2, 2011

I recently completed a commission. The piece was ordered for a doctor and my instructions were simple, “Carve an egg for me as a gift to my surgeon.” The great thing about this commission was that there were no guidelines. I could create whatever I wanted. I immediately had an idea that I liked a great deal. I worked through some design ideas but nothing was working. My ideas just couldn’t take form. I thought this was weird because I was jazzed up about what I had planned. I struggled with it for a couple of sessions and then had to reevaluate.

While in the reevaluation state, I ended up thinking about a previous piece, Summoning Intuition, which I had completed for the December show in Terrace Art Gallery. I found out that I wasn’t done with the driving force for that piece yet. When I started to think about it again a flood of ideas came pouring into my head at once, competing for the limited space available there. I then spent some time pondering why these empty circles were so powerful for me. This is what I came up with.

“I am currently fascinated by the potentiality of empty space. Space that appears to contain nothing which actually contains everything. A simple example that everyone can relate to is the empty space of a womb. A swimmer and an egg are both floating in this empty space and BAM, a human life begins the process of becoming. This happens in the realm of potentiality, or comes from the realm of potentiality (?). Out of this nothing comes something. There is this magic potential which is always available. Every single thing in this universe at one time only existed in the realm of potential. This fascination of mine has surfaced in the circles found in my current series of goose eggs.”

I created Summoning Wholeness, photographed it, and delivered it. With the delivery came a letter to the surgeon who will be receiving this piece. Here is a portion of that letter for you to read.

“I have always created circles in my art, but have also always filled them with something. I think the circle is a beautiful shape: strong, symmetrical, infinite. Recently though, I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about potential. I began a series of carvings that build around circles unfilled. The emptiness in them represents the potential nature of that particular piece. Your piece, Summoning Wholeness, has three circles. Because you live the in the healing arts, these three represent body, mind, and spirit. These are the essentials of wholeness, the feeling/sense of being a healthy and whole human. Each circle contains within it the potential of unbounded health in those three areas. You have the potential to inspire people. To approach these three platforms for healing and initiate change that alters the course of their lives. This has been very inspiring for me to ponder while working through the design phase of this egg.”

I thought I’d include photos of the process for this piece. I hope you enjoy them.



Riding the Carousel

December 27, 2010

There are five stages to creating the eggs I do. The first stage is the design. For the Carousel no.1 that was already done. This piece is a reproduction piece that I make available on a regular basis. They sell for $125 plus shipping unless you are close enough to pick it up, or have it delivered. So, the design is already taken care of. For some eggs, like The Guardians Among Us, the design portion can take many many hours. Each angel in that piece was created in the negative space by arranging the flowers and leaves in such a manner to create the lines of the angel.

The second stage of creating Carousel no.1 was to draw it on the egg. I do this by eyeballing the top and bottom of the egg and marking these two points with an X in pencil. Then I put masking tape down and redraw the X. I measure the egg top to bottom in millimeters and divide it by two. I grab my trusty compass and attempt to mark the halfway of the egg by making a mark from both the top and the bottom with the compass. If the two meet, then I do the same on the other side. If those also meet, which doesn’t happen very often, then I know that I have found the center of the egg and go ahead and use the compass to draw a circle around the circumference of the egg. If it doesn’t work, which is most of the time, then I have to adjust either the top X of the bottom X, and sometimes both. Now the egg is divided exactly into two halves. From here I measure the other horizontal lines in a proportionally decreasing fashion so they will taper as they move up the egg. I then disect the egg into however many parts there are. For example, Carousel no.1 has five points on it. So I measure the circumference at the bottom and divide it into five equal parts. From there I then do the same for each horizontal ring. Even though this is a production piece, each egg has to be made from scratch because goose eggs come in quite a variety of shapes and sizes. So the numbers I use for one will not work on another.

Once I have each layer broken down I create a paper template of the shape for each point. You can see that I had a bump while using this template. This line will be cleaned up prior to the third stage. The template takes quite some time to create because the one template must fit exactly five times around the egg.

Once all the drawing is done I am ready for stage three.

Stage three is etching. This is where I carve the lines that I have drawn onto the egg. Technically I carve just on the outside of the drawn line because I want the space between the lines to be the width of the line from pencil to pencil. I just realised that I don’t have a photo of Carousel no.1 in the etched stage so I’ll show you what Summoning Intuition looked like at this stage just to give you a visual.

From this point I can start to see home plate, but I never get excited here because there is still a lot of work to do. I can now clean the egg using soap and water, and sometimes a scrub brush or toothbrush to get the pencil off. Once the egg is clean we are on to stage four. Stage four is the carving stage. This is where all my work so far begins to show. At this point it’s too late to make design changes. That’s why stage one and two are almost the most important stages in this process. Carving involves a quiet mind and a still hand. The carving process can take many hours depending on the egg.

Once the carving is done and the lines are cleaned up with my drill, I am ready for cleaning. This is a stage I don’t take lightly anymore. Many years ago I had a completely carved rhea egg. It was a beautiful piece called The Clouds of Alyssum. It was filled with these tiny carved flowers. Anyway, I had it tied to a string so I could lower it into the bleach water (a few drops of bleach in a can of water to kill the bacteria and help remove the inner lining of the egg). It was completely finished and I lifted it up by the wooden rod holding the string and the string came loose. The egg fell into the can of bleach separating into many pieces. I was in a pretty good place spiritually back then so the event didn’t get much attention other than a soft farewell. I always had the motto that I was more interested in the process than the result.

After the egg is put through the bleach water I wash it many times in regular water to clean off any bleach residue. Then it’s time to finish it. Carousel no.1 gets a top glued on and then a gold ring put through the tiny loop hole. I then hang it from one of the walnut based hanging stands and it’s ready for a new home.

That’s my carving process for Carousel, which is pretty close to the process for all my eggs depending on their design.






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