Making my ‘Rufus in the Tall Grass’ print, with the help of three experts.

I’ve been admiring the work of printmakers since I was a small girl and this summer’s project emulates three people whose work has influenced me. I’ve been collecting samples of the work of Andrea Lauren lately. She does small, two color prints using two separate blocks.

ac476be42e5e8dd66ea76d7dcbae43a2

Andrea uses two separate blocks and prints one over the other.

woodyjackson4

You could cut a block into more pieces as well and ink each piece separately. That’s what Woody Jackson did early in his career when he started cutting up zinc etching plates, inking each piece, and putting them back together like puzzles before printing.

I’ve loved Mary Azarian’s work since I was a teenager. Her hand-colored woodcuts of Vermont scenes and her illustrated books influenced my illustration work enormously.

b-barn

I am teaching at Hollins University again this summer-this time I designed a course called Printmaking for Illustration. To make a sample for my students I used all three of my printmaking idols as inspiration.

My new puppy Rufus has a foxy look similar to Andrea’s print, so I chose one of the dozens of reference photos I have and started designing my own two color linocut.

20170626_151955

I decided to use one block and cut it apart into two pieces-Woody Jackson style-right around Rufus. That made getting perfect registration a breeze.

 

20170626_160300

I start by coating the “inside” cut-out of Rufus in black ink with a rubber brayer.

20170702_131130_001

Then I mixed a yellow and a dark green and used them both to ink the grasses on the “outside” block. Sometimes the two colors mixed on the brayer, but I didn’t care-I wanted each print to be one of a kind.

I placed both parts of the inked up block into a custom cut cardboard jig, or frame, to hold them steady, then laid my paper on top.

20170702_131217

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make a print I’m merely rubbing the back of the paper firmly with an ordinary wooden spoon. I keep it fairly parallel to the paper so that it presses evenly and doesn’t rip this delicate sheet.

20170702_130947

I made a small edition of 20 prints using 2 colors of oil based ink.

20170702_150553

When these are dry I’ll hand color each one with watercolors, making them truly one of a kind, just like Mary Azarian does.

Three printmakers-four counting me-all different but with so much in common!

paintedprint

Advertisements

It’s Halloween Season

skeletons

Having a border collie as my alter ego has always been useful and fun, but never more so that at Halloween. All three of my dogs have been black and white, though Tula had a little brown too.

This color scheme lends itself so beautifully to the imagery of this season.

skeleton spiderweb

And blends beautifully with pumpkin-orange.

MissBPumpkinwebpumpkinstackweb

HalloweenMaskweb

Halloweenghost

harlequinweb

Even in disguise, we’ll always recognize that tail!

starrymoon_2

StarryMoon_1

Even an alter ego needs her own familiar–a cat just won’t do, so an owl it is!

Happy Halloween from Ashley, Pumpkin, Lucy, Tula and the owls

Life with Dogs: Part 10-Tula

Tula came to me as a scared, skinny runaway from Chico, CA, age unknown.

She’d recently given birth, had a dry, raggedy coat and kept her tail permanently tucked between her legs.

She refused to jump into a car, but broke three (empty) bowls by jumping onto the kitchen counter in search of food to filch.

She’d had a hard life to that point.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took her to Holly Park on her first day in Bernal Heights so she could get  a view of her new neighborhood.

Tula&Ida

Tula never met another dog she didn’t like, or at least tolerate. I saw her growl only a few times, and she had to be taught how to bark again.

Tula&girls

Though she always kept an eye on me, She liked and tolerated children of all ages too.

JA&Tula_2

Tula got around.

As my black and white shadow, she traveled from California to points all over the East Coast.

searanch

On the Pacific Coast at The Sea Ranch,

POZ&Tula

At the Brooklyn Bridge with Illustrator Paul O Zelinsky.

mtabeweb

And on top of Vermont’s Mt Abraham with Sabin Russell.

TulainCreek_web Tula’s favorite spot was belly deep in some body of water.

tulasnow

but she was happy in all weather as long as I was there too.

Tulasunset2

After any encounter with moisture, she would joyfully roll in grass or sand or the dusty driveway.

TulaHammonassett

Tula was the sweetest dog I’ve ever had and she will be profoundly missed.

ash&Tula_1

Life with Dogs-Part 8: We Love Lucy

Every kid needs a pet.

I knew I was lucky to grow up with dogs and wanted the same for my boys. Lucy made our family complete.

ro&Lu1997web

Even though I insisted we get a female dog so there’d be another b**** in our House of Boyz, Lucy had all the skills they admired.

She was good at messing around in boats,

Stormweb

She had the patience to fish,fishingweb

She loved to snorkel,
pumpkinsnorkel-web

and most important, she had game.

She never tired of the game of catch-of trying to catch the baseball, and of chasing it down when it got away.

limantourweb

Lucy was becoming an excellent new muse.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

Life With Dogs-Part 2: Adopting a Dog as my Alter Ego

I was Crazy about Pumpkin.

A&Pumpkin?patchweb

She was my first Border Collie and I was thrilled with her intelligence and empathy. She became my constant companion. I was still an art student when I got her and she went to all my classes with me.

canoeing1979web

She used to cuddle by tucking her head up under my chin.

Pumpkin@Landing'80web

 

I loved to draw her.

Pumpkin1980s

Soon I was anthropomorphizing her-I couldn’t help myself.

artistweb

It was uncanny how she loved to do all the same things I did.

chaise

Pumpkin traveled the world for close to a year. She shared a picnic at Hanging Rock with a koala in Australia.

pumpkinhangingrock

She rode a camel on the Great Wall of China.

pumpkingreatwall

And caught a flounder in Istanbul, Turkey.

pumpkinturkey

Later she even got pregnant,

pumpkinheartbeatpumpkinscalepumpkincandyhearts

Meanwhile, over in Bookland, Pumpkin began appearing in my children’s books from the very beginning.

Here we are making snow angels in A Year of Birds. I am still a carefree child, making Sabin do all the work as my father.

AYOB.8-9

In my next post I will reveal how Pumpkin changed my life.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

 

Making my own Advent Calendar~Part 2

I grew up with “Sweet” paper Advent Calendars like this one

Advent Calendars 1The numbered openings are scattered all over, and the pictures outside bore no relation to what was underneath the perforated squares.

You got a lot of glitter outside, and dopey illustrations of stars, bells and candles inside the windows.

This annoyed me as a child. I already craved storytelling and wanted the outside and the inside to add up to something greater.

Nowadays, cool DIY Advent Calendars are all the rage. Many have candy and/or REAL gifts in them.

AdventKraftPaperParcels

But that is now. Back in 1986 I was thinking strictly 2-D, so I decided to make my own paper calendar. It was going to be fun to look at AND tell a story.

icicles_webI grew up in a cozy neighborhood in town, in a modern-looking, chalet style house designed by my parents. But my child alter-ego lived in a pale yellow farm house somewhere out in the country.

I needed at least 24 windows and doors on my imaginary house and barn in order to create the world within the calendar.

adventcalendar_1

I included characters from my three, published picture books:

orangecat

Nutkin, the marmalade cat from Only The Cat Saw

snowmanEllie, the little girl from A Year of Birds and A Year of Beasts, and her Border Collie Pumpkin

And later, I copied parts of my old calendar into books created far into the future like When Lucy Goes Out Walking!

JanuarytreeI wanted the picture you saw when you opened the door or window to make sense and tell a little bit more about this home and family.

adventcalendar_2

So when you open doors 1, 10 and 18, you see into the front hall, the kitchen and the back hall.

adventcalendar_5

The only window that did not fall within a real opening is in the woodpile.

adventcalendar_4but when you open it, the scene inside is still real to the location, even if the mice are enormous next to the cat!

Happy Advent!adventcalendar_6

Though this calendar is out of print, I still have a stash and am selling them here.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar.