Street Art: Peace Stencil

I came across this little dude completely by accident:  I was walking down the street in my neighborhood, and this dog was sitting on the sidewalk.  As I stopped to take a picture,  I didn’t realize that the dog was off its leash… at some point the dog came over to me.  As I was taking a picture, I didn’t see the dog and– with a yelp (from me and the dog) I fell over on the sidewalk.  I was okay, the dog was ok, but as I tried to get up, I noticed a little stencil near the ground.  And there was “the little peace dude” (at least that’s what I called it when I showed it to my partner later that night.)  This stencil is really small, probably about 5 inches high, and right on the bottom corner of a huge building.  There are other stencils on the wall, which is probably why I never noticed it.

 

Art: “Swept”

16"x 20", Mixed Media on canvas

Here’s what I’ve been working on this month instead of my journal.  I was working on it to finish it for a friends birthday present.  She’s been wanting something I’ve made for a while, and I finally had the time to make it for her.  I wanted to make something calming for her, and so I chose blues and greens.  I’ve been on a weird Picasso-esque cubist faces kick lately, so that made its way into the painting too.

Its hard to give something away that you’ve made.  I knew it was going to be a gift, but now that its done, I’m attached to it.  I can’t keep everything I make, but it never gets easier when I sell or give something away as a gift.  I don’t know if it will ever get easier either…

From the Antiques Market

Yesterday, my partner and I went to the Aberfoyle Antiques Market.  I had never been before, it was great!  Besides getting the worst sunburn I’ve ever had(!) I also picked up these great wooden crates and these printing press stamps.   The stamps are so cool, they come from a 1930’s printing press (which wasn’t for sale).  They are solid metal, and super heavy.  I’m going to use the crates to organize my growing collection of epherma, and paints.  I’m not sure what I’ll use the stamps for yet.  D was really sweet when we bought them, he was like, “you could use those stamps in your mixed media!”

Street Art: “Be Happy” Stencil

There is a prolific stencil artist in my neighborhood.  And I love what they do.  People have really strong opinions about graffiti and graffiti art– and that’s cool.  But you can’t deny that this little stencil can make you smile… I found it while I was having a really bad day, and it perked me up. I love the nice surprises you can find when going for a walk.

Learning Linocutting

Tools of the trade

I started learning about linocut a little while ago.

From Wikipeda: “Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.”  I found  great easy-cut linocut sheets at the art store.  They are softer than the sheet I first learned with.  Because they are softer though, its harder to get the amount of details you can get from tougher linoleum sheets.  The easy-cut sheets are also a little more expensive, but my less-cut-up fingers are thankful for this invention.

Before I took a class on linocutting, I tried to get the look of blockprinting without the tools.  It turned out okay, but it didn’t look as neat as the linocut does. I’ve been trying to find different materials to print with.  As a lesson for my students, we looked at printing, and created prints of our own.  Since linocut is not for people under the age of 12, we used styrofoam meat trays and a ball point pen as a stylus.  It was a good substitute, and the kids enjoyed it.  I still use Styrofoam for some prints, especially if I don’t want to keep the stamp I’ve made.

I enjoy cutting lino though.  There’s something about carving into a blank square and creating a picture out of it.  Cutting the block is kind of a zen thing for me.  I zone out, and can spend hours just cutting stamps.  I love the rough look of a print.

I use linocut in a lot in my mixed media work.  I created a tutorial about blockprinting, its located in the tutorials page, or you can click here.

I hope you give it a try.