Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Showing my work at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking has given me a little bit of publicity out here, I guess partly because Highpoint chose my Red River Trail to be the image for the invitation postcard. Anyways, in an exhibition review in the Star Tribune, the paper printed one of my images and in the article is a beautiful little review of my work (last paragraph under 'musings on nature'). Click here to view the article.

Also, Sandesh Nicol wrote about my Red River Trail on her blog after seeing it at the exhibit. Click here to read her impressions of my work.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Book is out!









"This is a gorgeous book by an exciting young artist, inspired by the extraordinary journey made by her grandfather from Canada to Paraguay in the late 1920s. David, a farm boy from Southern Manitoba, is excited when his family, in search of a new home, decides to leave wintry and white Canada behind to start a long journey by train, ship, and oxcart to South America. Along the way he takes in colourful impressions of New York’s skyscrapers, the ocean, flying fish, crocodiles, foreign cities, and many more exciting things that let him know he is going the right way. This is an exceptional children’s book, but also a beautiful art work for all ages. In addition, the dual-language text (English and German) adds a valuable educational dimension."


David's Trip to Paraguay/Davids Reise in das Land der vielen Farben
Miriam Rudolph
CMU Press 2011, 32 pages, hardcover, English and German, $22.00
ISBN 978-0-920718-91-9

To order, contact the CMU Bookstore (204-487-3300, 1-877-231-4570 toll free, or by e-mail, cmubookstore@cmu.ca),
It is also available online at MennoMedia, at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery shop.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Red River Trail Detail


















This is an update to the previous post. I exchanged the picture below with one where the embossment in the snow areas is actually visible. In this detail the two men in the foreground are carving a snow sculpture of a canoe with voyageurs in it. I thought it was a fitting sculpture for a print depicting the French part of Winnipeg. I based the sculpture on a photograph I found on the internet. Unfortunately I was unable to find the name of the sculptor.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red River Trail
















Red River Trail.
Etching, Blind Embossment, Hand Coloured.
55x85cm. 2011.

To not entirely despair while working on the zoo print, I had to start something new. The Red River Trail is an image I've had in my mind ever since I made the Assiniboine River Trail. The reason was that somebody pointed out to me that in the location of the current Louis Riel sculpture in front of the Manitoba legislature there was initially a different Louis Riel sculpture. Since it was a really controversial piece, displaying a politician in the nude, a bit distorted and abstracted, a new sculpture was commissioned and the old one moved to Saint Boniface. Check out the link if you want more information. Anyways, I always had this second image with the other Louis Riel sculpture as a parallel piece in mind (I did take the freedom to move the sculpture from behind the collége to the shores of the river). In addition, the Assiniboine River Trail was closed last winter dueto bad ice conditions and I spent some time on the Red River Trail, which gave me some new vantage points and new experiences to put in the piece. The car in the river was initially meant as a little toungue in cheek exaggeration since I put a bike in the previous river trail piece, but just after I printed my first proof last week, I came across an article in the Winnipeg Free Press where police pull out two vehicles from the river. That made me chuckle a bit. I really enjoyed working with the buildings of historic Saint Boniface. It's a part of town I haven't spent much time in, but these are the buildings I saw when I biked on the other side of the river or that stood out when I went down Provencher boulevard. During my last visit in Winnipeg a month ago I went for a walk through Saint Boniface to get some more close up inspiration for this print and it was lovely to walk through all the yellow fallen leaves, taking pictures and taking in the surroundings.

El Jardín
















El Jardín.
Double-Plate Colour Etching.
40x60cm. 2011.

It has taken me ridiculously long to get the aquatints (the different etched tones) just right on this plate, but I'm finally almost where I want the piece to be. I'm still working on the plate, but I decided to post this proof already so you get to see something new on my blog. It took me weeks to perfect the aquatints again. Even though I'm completely familiar with the processes, a new studio with new materials just adds so many new variables that many things can go wrong. I've scraped large parts of my plate back to a smooth surface over and over and over again to re-etch them. First the aquatint grain was too coarse, then it etched with an odd pattern on the plate (grease streaks on the surface from the cleaning rags), then it etched too dark and now I can't decide where to stop with the editing and I decided to brighten the background a bit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What I'm currently doing

I've been working on a new print for the past few weeks. It's part of my Paraguay series once again. The memories of my first (and longest) home keep coming back at me and sometimes I spend hours going through photographs and wishing I was there again, at least for a little while. My new print is about the zoological garden in Asuncion. One of my friends works there as a veterinarian and I've gotten a very special tour behind some of the fences last time I was out there, petting the back of a tapir and scratching a capibara behind its ears. (I didn't step into the Anaconda den). I did get spat at by an unbelievably lonely, angry and bitter solitary chimp that I can only pitty. It's a rather poor zoo, but I admire what my friend is doing there to improve the living conditions of some of the animals. In addition to the caged animals there is an extensive park for taking walks. The figure that ulitmately inspired this piece was the old blind beggar playing his guitar in the park on Sunday afternoons with the sticker on his instrument saying "Me siento un rey" ("I feel like a king"). Next to him sat a candy seller listening to him. I will never forget them.

Anyways, I was going to say all these things once I post the final print. My intention here is to post some sort of progress report for those of you who are interested in what I do and what process I go through to get to the final print. The two images I'm posting here are a watercolour sketch as a visual guide for where I need to etch the different tonal values (aquatints). The second image shows my copper plate at one of the stages of etching the aquatints with various areas being blocked out with asphaltum to resist the acid and not etch.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Steel facing plate


















I got one of my plates steel faced at the print studio last week. That was a new experience for me and quite interesting to watch. I'm printing a fairly large edition with this plate (75) and after about half the edition I noticed that some of the aquatints were starting to wear down in one corner. I didn't want it to deteriorate more, so I decided to get the plate steel faced. I guess ideally you want to do that before you start editioning, but I thought better now than not at all. During the steel facing process, a thin layer of iron is plated onto the copper plate through an electroplating process. It doesn't change the image in any way, it just hardens the surface and therefore holds up longer to the printing process. Fragile surfaces like the aquatints can wear down during the repeated process of rubbing ink into the surface. I love the carbon coloured look of the plate, but it takes some adjusting with the wiping. I didn't quite know what tone to look for to know when I was done wiping, since I'm used to the reddish background of a copper plate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greetings from the Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis


















I moved to Minneapolis a few weeks ago and since September 1st I have a membership at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking. What an amazing facility it is! Spacious, super clean, well organized...it's a printmakers dream. Being new and being around so many professional printmakers is a bit intimidating, but I hope that'll change eventually. The staff around are super nice, so it shouldn't be too hard. We'll see where things will take me. I'm currently still working on some ideas I brought along with me. I'm hoping to make another one or two prints about Winnipeg before Christmas and I'm also continuing with my Paraguay print series. More about that later. I'm not quite ready to work with Minneapolis imagery quite yet. I think I have to get a little closer to my surroundings first before I can explore them in my work.



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Awakening























Awakening.
Etching, screenprint, hand coloured.
30x30cm. 2011.

Spring has finally arrived and with it the geese have returned. In fact, it is the geese that are usually the first to herald the early days of spring. It was mid March this year when I heard the first two geese honking and flying by. It brought tears to my eyes. After the long Canadian winters I tend to get quite emotional at the first signs of spring and the geese in particular give me the joyous sense of awakening again at last. I had a sudden inspiration to make this print as a sequel to the Hibernation print from last year. I had a lot of fun drawing all the geese and the inevitable goose poop they leave behind to fertilize the fields. With this piece I had a lot less trouble with the photo etch of the figure and the textured softground in the background than I've had in the past. I guess I'm learning and starting to perfect some of the techniques.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Entre Itacurubí y San José
















Entre Itacurubí y San José
Double Plate Colour Etching with Stencils.
40x60cm. 2011.

I finally got around to making another print of my Paraguay series. I'm hoping to extend the series a bit more in the near future so I can propose an exhibition in Asuncion sometime in 2012 or 1213. Entre Itacurubi y San Jose illustrates a stretch of Highway #2 that is lined with the most beautiful fruit stands all year round. Last time I visited, the merchandise was mandarines intricately tied to sticks, bags of oranges and grapefruit, pumpkins, gourds and peanuts glowing in all shades of orange, yellow and green. I remember a few years back when I came by the same area in December the stands were packed with pineapples and bananas. The displays, arrangements and colours are so inviting that you simply have to stop and buy some fruit. There is something about the lovingly arranged fruit in the makeshift little shelters seen only by the few passers by that strike a chord with me. To me they represent the abundance of fruit that we have all year round in Paraguay that I so miss in this winter stricken Canada. And so here you have another memory map of my dear home country.
Like Aregua and Asuncion, Entre Itacurubi y San Jose is a double plate etching. Since the two plates weren't quite enough to illustrate the vibrancy of the colours of the fruit stands, I decided to add two more colours with stencils. This is the first time I've really tried this technique and I'm very pleased how it turned out. I cut out stencils for the yellow and green shapes out of acetate and after I wipe each plate I roll some ink in relief onto the already inked plate (see the photographs below; the first two are the wiped copper plates with the relief roll and the last one is the print of the two). That way the yellow sits on the surface of the red-wiped plate and the green sits on the surface of the black-wiped plate. Then I print one plate after the other with exact registration and all four layers of colour blend together to create the image.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Porch






















The Porch.
Etching, Screenprint, Chine-Colle, Hand Coloured.
30x30cm. 2011.

Finally I can post the most recent print of my footprint series. I finished a proof just before my exhibition at Martha Street Studio, but I wasn't entirely happy with the piece and decided to continue working on the plate. After scraping back and re-etching Terry's face five times, it finally worked out OK. Instead of using the ImagOn photo process, I ended up screen printing a halftone image directly on to the copper plate with acrylic paint. The screen printed dot pattern was a lot more even than the developed photo emulsion, which never developed the image very evenly, overdeveloping some areas while under-developing others and therefore making an even etch impossible. Well, here it is. The image itself is of our happy days and on our dear screen porch in Winnipeg. The porch is out the back of our second floor apartment, right a tree level where the squirrel and the blue jay live. In summer it is such a lovely spot with some shade and some sun light. This is where we eat lovely dinners; this is where we sit for hours with friends enjoying company and a glass of wine; this is where we got married a few summers ago. This is a little corner where I truly feel at home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Exhibition in Washington

A few of my pieces are part of an exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Inter American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. Canadian Impressions features 12 Canadian printmakers and runs from February 28 - April 29, 2011.
The exhibition catalogue is now available online.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Free Press Review

My show at Martha Street Studio got me a review in the Winnipeg Free Press. Click here to read the article titled "Intricate works will make you look twice", January 27, 2011, by Alison Gillmor. (It's the second half of the article). I think the write up is is really well done; I'm not too happy with the picture they took. Oh well. The sentence that is particularly beautifully worded is this one: "The artist -- and the viewer along with her -- seems to be floating over the landscapes and standing in them at the same time."
I've never really thought about my work in that way, but it totally makes sense to me now. This "floating over the landscapes and standing in them" exactly reflects how I always feel wherever I live; I enjoy living in my immediate surroundings, yet at the same time I'm never quite part of them; I'm always somewhat the stranger, the outsider, the observer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Farewell to Montekamp





















Farewell to Montekamp.
Double-Plate Colour Etching, Chine-Colle,
printed on Pescia Magnani paper.
30x30cm. 2011.

Farewell to Montekamp is the next print in the "footprint" series. Montekamp (German name for Campo Monte) is a small piece of land that my parents decided to sell last year. My dad used to do some hobby ranching which my uncle mostly took care of and since my uncle passed away a few years ago and we'd sold all the cattle my dad decided not to start up again. Somehow I was very very sad to let that little piece of land go from our family, although I wasn't there often and it is unlikely I will ever live in that region again. Somehow for me Montekamp is a place full of childhood memories and connections with wildlife. I remember seeing a Nandu family with sixteen little ones, I saw the shadow of a maned wolf sneak by once, there were always tapir tracks (it is such a prehistoric-looking, big and gentle animal), peccary tracks, capybara burrows by the water, glowing cayman eyes at night when you shone the flashlight across the pond, highways of ever industrious ants cutting down the grass and so on and so on. At Christmas time, which in the southern hemisphere falls into the middle of the hottest summer with temperatures of 40+ we would go to Montekamp to gather branches, palm leaves and cacti for our nativity scene and one year we cut down a big cactus for a christmas tree (we planted it later in our garden and for many years it blossomed beautifully). The stars and the Milky Way at Montekamp are amazing at Montekamp and dad loved to point out different constellations. Every once in a while we would go to Montekamp to spend the evening with my aunt and uncle swimming in the pond and cooking a stew or roasting some lamb over the open fire and my uncle would tell scary stories of jaguars roaming around his camp when he worked the land. For some reason I decided to put the jaguar from his stories into the sky, perhaps because it is only a creature of stories for me, perhaps because my uncle doesn't live anymore and perhaps also a little bit because of the jaguar image I have in my mind after reading El Rio by Wade Davis.

The Backyard























The Backyard.
Double-Plate Colour Etching, Chine-Colle, Hand Coloured,
printed on Pescia Magnani paper.
30x30cm. 2011.

For a while now I've been wanting to continue with the "footprint" series (see Holding On and Hibernation) and I finally got around to making another three prints of this series. This smaller square format works quite well for me to create more personal and intimate narratives of my experiences of places. The Backyard is exactly the image I have in my mind of a place where my parents lived for a year when I went back to Paraguay the first time to visit after having lived in Canada for one year. I was so so so homesick and going home was magical. I think in my mind Paraguay will always resemble paradise. My parents' backyard was entirely enclosed by brick walls behind which you could see only the neighbour's roof and some orange trees. Inside the backyard was a beautiful banana tree and a passion fruit vine (I absolutely love passion fruit and the blossoms are the most beautiful flowers in the world). The backyard was inhabited by four turtles and the two older and bigger ones had their daily routine of the male pursuing the female, slowly, step by step, until, after a few hours, the male finally reached the female and climbed her in a rather noisy and amusing mating ritual. At dusk I'd sit on the balcony and watch the bats zip through the air only distinguishable from little birds by their rapid flapping of wings. That's all...my parents' backyard.

Exhibition at Martha Street Studio










I'm very excited about showing my work at Martha Street Studio. I guess this is really my first professional solo exhibition. And I got a few new pieces done just on time to go up on the wall.