The plate for this print was made with a strip of a dog food bag turned inside out. The technical name for this material is BoPET, or biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate. I glued the strip to a piece of mat board, then scratched the image onto the surface with a scalpel. The roughened areas where the dog food had abraded the BoPET left a nice texture that caused the ink to adhere to the plate, so the marks on the wall behind the spider thread were built in before I drew the image.
Once again, I've used a pasta maker as a printing press.
- Pasta maker
- Printmaking paper
- Akua Intaglio Ink
- A scalpel or other sharp tool
- A piece of clear plastic from a food container (it should say PET somewhere on the container)
- Newsprint for protecting your work surface
- Tissue paper for wiping
- A drawing or photo to trace
- A piece of card stock or other heavy paper
- Sandpaper (optional)
I have been experimenting with a printmaking technique called Drypoint. Instead of working on a traditional metal etching plate, I've scratched a piece of plastic with the tip of a scalpel to create the image. When intaglio ink is spread onto the plate and rubbed away with a piece of tissue paper, the scratches retain the ink.
Since I don't have a printing press, I've used a pasta maker to roll a damp piece of Stonehenge printmaking paper against the plastic. The rollers provide enough pressure to transfer the inked image onto the paper. Here's the result:
In this series, I continue my exploration of surrealism. For me, this way of painting is about placing subjects in unexpected settings. In the past I’ve focused on animals. This year I’ve turned to a styrene wig stand, a cast-off brought home by my daughter many years ago. Since I also paint portraits, I’ve been unable to look at this wig stand without thinking that it’s a face asking to be painted.
Humans anthropomorphize objects, especially objects made in our own image. From the moment we receive our first doll, stuffed toy, or action figure, we begin to think of this thing as another personality: a personality capable of reflecting our own feelings back to us. When we see a blank-faced wig stand in an unexpected environment, we can’t help but impose our own emotions onto it. We imagine that “it” is in fact a “she” and that she actually has something on her mind. If she’s lying in a puddle, or at the side of the road, she’s been thrown away. If she’s sitting on a table facing a window, she must be looking through that window, and she must be seeing what is in front of her. We know very well that she is made of plastic foam, but still we can’t stop empathizing with her.
As for the balloons, they are symbols of hope, a literal rising beyond earthly constraints. A head without a body can’t go anywhere, but a head watching balloons in the sky is a head that is dreaming, possibly of better things.
This is a commissioned painting of an armoured vehicle towing a damaged tank in Afghanistan. It's an unusual subject for me, but it was a true pleasure to paint from the excellent photos provided by my client.
Acrylic on muslin laid on birch panel, 24 x 36" (Commission)
Most of the work shown here is available for purchase at Village Studios, 24 Downie Street, Stratford, Ontario. To inquire about prices or shipping, please call Village Studios at 519-271-7231. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.