6, December 2010 § 2 Comments
When I first came to The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts, I had very clear ideas about who I was, what I liked to do, and what I was coming for. I was a writer. I loved to write. And I was coming to write.
Then, in the early days of the Italy adventure, Liz approached me and said, “I noticed you didn’t check photography on your application as something you are interested in.”
“It isn’t that I’m not interested,” I said. “But I thought I’d focus on art history, writing, and literature.” Again, I was a writer. I loved to write. And I was coming to write. After spending so much time trying to do anything except write, I had finally given in and mustered up the courage to go after my passion. Art history and literature would complement it. Everything else was a distraction.
“Well, if you like taking pictures, you should at least take the camera course,” she said. “It’ll help you take better pictures.”
I didn’t give her answer right away. I was so set on exactly what I was going to take and what my focus was going to be. Then, in my side discussions with other professors and students, I let it slip that I wished I could draw and take beautiful photographs. Soon I was hearing professors and students encouraging me. Just give it a try was a phrase I was beginning to hear a lot. And suddenly, I found myself attending the camera course, basic drawing, and watercolor.
Yet I was still hesitant. I had never done anything like this before. So I told myself that once on Paros, I would go back to my original plan of taking only art history, writing and literature.
However, once you try one new thing, it tends to open the door for other thing, and once on Paros, I found myself taking, in addition to the original plan, figure drawing and digital photography (even though I don’t have a digital camera). I also spent some time learning darkroom basics.
I have come to realize that no one is going to judge me or ridicule my artistic abilities. Being able to do something well doesn’t come without practice. Besides, this experience is about discovery, and no one expects anything out of me except the willingness to try something new. Maybe next semester I will try painting or printmaking….
4, December 2010 § 1 Comment
The thing I love about Printmaking is that there are so many changes you can make to the plate. Even though the idea of the printing press was to create duplicates, each time it’s printed it comes out a little differently.
Here at the Aegean Center we have learned how to add an aquatint, how to scratch out, and how to use a soft ground. Every day the work of the class is constantly changing and evolving. With each layer our plates transform into beautiful works of art. We also learned how to wipe out mistakes and elements that are competing with the composition. In the beginning of the semester I thought of Printmaking as an art form that was restricting, but after learning all the changes that can be made to the plate it has opened new doors. I also have been working on a collagraph plate. This is a method used with found materials collaged and painted over. This kind of plate is not as easy to change as a zinc plate. Nevertheless I have managed to achieve very different prints just by varying the methods in which I ink the plate. For the first print, I used a little bit of liquin in the ink, an amazing trick I learned from Jane, the Queen of printmaking. This loosens the ink and makes it easer to spread it into the recessions. The next print was inked in relief. Just rolling the ink over the whole plate. It came out very dark, which gives the image a different emotion. Then I printed one with both methods combined. I inked the plate, then rolled on dark ink over just the birds, trying to achieve a stamped on effect. When that did not give me the effect I was looking for. I took a print out of the studio and painted the bird forms onto the print itself. All prints have a different feeling and style. I am still not sure what I like the best or what way is most effective. I am enjoying the Printmaking class and am excited about the changes that I will continue to discover. -Hannah Merrill