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In 2012 I was fortunate to have Master Printer Leslie Sutcliffe Cohn invite me to contribute to her 20/20 Project at El Moro Editions.

The 20/20 Project, begun in 2011, will include an etching by each of El Moro’s visiting artists until the year 2020. These prints will be produced in an edition of 40. Twenty suites of prints will be distributed to the participating artists; some of the suites will become part of the permanent collections of various institutions and the remainder will be available to the public. It is our hope that the 20/20 Project will foster a dialogue between the participating artists as well as an enhanced interest in and understanding of etching processes and their place in the digital age.

image etching pressEL MORO EDITIONS PRESS

Here is a link to the Facebook for El Moro Editions: https://www.facebook.com/El-Moro-Editions-214966545344434/

The relationship between the printer and the artist is -essentially- a collaboration. Leslie is an amazing artist herself, teaches art history and printmaking at Cuesta College and is able to figure out what her artists are trying to do.  I started with a small zinc plate, 5-1/2 by 8-7/8in. We thought we should print on a grey paper like I used on my ink drawings. Leslie found a beautiful light grey Stonehenge and tore it to size.

On LITTLE BUDDHA we used only hard ground and a little bit of drypoint and burnishing. I worked in a way that is similar to my small ink drawings (that you can read about elsewhere on this site).  Etching generally allows finer detail then drawing, gives a third dimension in the line and the plate gives a beautiful tone to the paper. After we got LITTLE BUDDHA to BAT (“bon à tirer” or “good to print” in French).

littlebuddha-workingLITTLE BUDDHA in transition

image little buddhaLITTLE BUDDHA, etching, plate: 5-1/2 by 8-7/8in. sheet: 11-1/2 by 15in, gray Stonehenge, ed: 40+2

LITTLE BUDDHA is included in El Moro Editions 20/20 Project:

image toolsTOOLS

I was fortunate to have Leslie help me with a few of my own pieces.We decided on hard ground, drypoint, sugar lift and aquatint on to keep it simple for me.

It went pretty well, I worked basically like I do on my small ink drawings, except of course left and right are reversed when you print and black and white are reversed when you draw. But unlike a drawing the line has a beautiful soft texture and a dimension in the Z plane. If you love etching you know what I mean, the line makes a microscopic shadow that begs to be examined up close.

Leslie was very patient and let me start jamming on them. She inked and wiped each plate more than a dozen times before we were happy with the result and always had great suggestions on how to make interesting stuff happen and how to minimize unpleasant surprises

image workingART IS LIKE WORK

HORSE BITES DOG (HBD): we worked on three of these plates on my first visit. HBD was the first that we called it quits on. “Is it done?”  Done enough! HBD, like the next two pieces, is titled by what emerged like the Guernica horse, distant clouds, view of Mount Fuji, crabs, cats and birds. by intention and accident in the production. As things appear we tried to help them along or mourn them when they get submerged, hopefully superseded by items that were more evocative. When you are working fast sometimes you have to work past your perception. Not worry about seeing it at the point so much but work in a way that allows accidents and intention to coexist.

IMAGE HORES BITES DOGHORSE BITES DOG, plate: 11×14-3/4, sheet: 15×19-3/4in, etching on Stonehenge, ed: 10+2

SHETLAND PONY: strange animals, spaceships, medieval armor, giant beetles, a gryphon, distant mountains, floating clouds, dancing goats, sunset through the trees.

IMAGE SHETLAND PONYSHETLAND PONY, plate: 11×14-3/4, sheet: 15×19-3/4in, etching on Stonehenge, ed: 10+2


RUNNING MOON MAN: Robots and clowns, nebulae, dragons, and moon creatures.

IMAGE MOON MANRUNNING MOON MAN, plate: 11×14-3/4, sheet: 15×19-3/4in, etching on Stonehenge, ed: 10+2


A GREAT FLEET OF GALLEONS BOUND OUR WAY: Apologies to Richard Wilbur, the towering whipped cream in this could almost be mistaken for galleons under sail, or maybe a little dutch girl talking to a frog while the “galleons” break up some brutalist architecture.

image of etching tossing hayA GREAT FLEET OF GALLEONS, plate: 11×14-3/4, sheet: 15×19-3/4in, etching on Stonehenge, ed: 10+2


ACROSS A MOILED EXPANSE OF TOSSING HAY:  More apologies to Wilbur but once I put in the moiled hay it just seemed to make sense.

IMAGE, TOSSING HAYACROSS A MOILED EXPANSE OF TOSSING HAY, plate: 11×14-3/4, sheet: 15×19-3/4in, etching on Stonehenge, ed: 10+2



The Anabasis June 5, 2012

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Anabasis (Ἀνάβασις – Greek for “going up”)

Complex abstract painting on paper to commemorate Xenophon’s account of the failed conquest of Persia by the “10,000” in 401BCE.

Spurred on by the Cyrus the Younger, hungry for gain, the Greeks (mostly veterans, unemployed and under-employed, due to the temporary slowdown in Greek on Greek warfare) were promised riches and honor but instead found, betrayal, defeat and struggle for survival and freedom.

Their plans and hopes suddenly became irrelevant in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.

With their leaders betrayed and killed by treacherous Persians, they refused to lay down their arms; instead choosing to fight their way home. The story is a fascinating personal account of the Greeks organizing themselves, and mostly by consensus, figuring out how to get from Babylon to Greek colonies on the Black Sea.

A parable of the triumph of democratic order over chaos.

The horse is a copy of a Parthenon head by Phidias http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phidias and could represent the triumph of competent decision and democratic order over anarchy. I was thinking of the tuna as representing the safety of the sea: “thálatta, thálatta” was the famous cry as the depleted but relieved army reached the mountains overlooking the Black Sea.


What Does Splattobscurro look like May 25, 2006

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This is what it looks like;

splatto detail 6

Notice how there are brushed lines, like the flicked on looking red boomerang shape and the baby blue circles. Notice how they have small flecks of obscurro from color that was applied by a rapidly moving brush that was expelling color as it moved. That is a characteristic of the of classic Splattobscurro. According to Aull, “Splattobscurro requires first brushed then splatto.” Not as some would have it a combination of the two or the other way around.

So according to Aull the technique requires a base of brushed figureation covered by splattered obscurration to be authentic.

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