Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finished Print, Started Printsy

My ancient Speedball black ink ran out this week so I had to postpone my work on the Yellow-crowned Night Heron until I got an order of new ink, Gamblin 'Portland Intense Black'. That and a new brayer and baren made the printing of the edition of eight go much more smoothly.

But I still have a lot to learn. Since the ink seemed thicker and smoother I didn't press down as hard with the new baren. The result was that some of the prints were a bit splotchier and not as uniformly black as they should have been.

I also might have removed a bit more linoleum than I wanted. So the print became a bit lighter in tone than I'd intended.

And finally I probably should have used the yellow ink rather than hatching a bit more to get the sense of tonal variation. But I'm learning as I go.

All in all I'm happy with this. My first reduction linoleum block print ever!

I've also realized that I like the forced inexactness of linoleum prints. Though I can do detail, and did in my old insect drawings, I take little pleasure in it. It's just not for me. I think I feel freer doing linoleum prints because I don't even have to think about exactness. Instead I can think about other things, like liveliness, color, design, pattern.

One thing I rarely mention here is business or commerce. And yet most artists really would like to make at least some money from their work. If you happen to read national newspapers, wildlife art journals, or assorted other media you can't happen miss reports on auction prices of art work. Much of it goes for many millions, by artists half my age. This isn't true so much of wildlife art, where the prices seem to go down by at least 10 times, e.g. $100,000 vs. $1,000,000. And then there is the average artist, who's lucky if they make enough to pay for their supplies.

The quality/price equation is something I'd love to write about. But if I did I might never do any more art work. It's just too large a topic and one that makes me too angry. Like housing much of the art world has been taken over by speculators. That explains the multi-million dollar prices.

So enough said on that. But artists still need to make some money, enough to cover their supplies if nothing else. Even though I have an online store I'm always interested in other ways for artists to sell their works. I'd heard of etsy but on very quick glance didn't like what I saw. And there was just too much to sort through.

Then I ran across Printsy, the Printmakers of Etsy. All of a sudden I had a context and community for my new interest in printmaking, as well as a possible outlet for sales. So a few weeks ago I joined etsy and this week joined printsy. My store is located here. Though it includes some watercolors from my other online store I expect it to primarily feature prints.

If you have any interest in printmaking I'd encourage you to stop by my site or visit the other sites on printsy. It's a good way to see a fair amount of printmaking.

Some Last Words on Money and Wildlife Art

One day after posting this I finished reading Nicholas Hammond's wonderful 'Modern Wildlife Painting.' The final words seemed particularly apt:

"The paintings (or reproductions) that command the best prices are not necessarily the best when judged by artistic or even scientific criteria. For those innovative wildlife artists who do not achieve financial success their satisfaction may come from the knowledge that their interpretation of the wild and its creatures has led or will lead to a deeper appreciation of a wild time and place."

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