Monday, December 17, 2012

Demystifying printmaking - the monotype.

Many people have asked me what a print is and how it is made.  I took some pictures of a demonstration to help demystify the printmaking process.

In these photos I am creating a monotype. The resulting print will be one of a kind (labeled 1/1) and is called a monotype because there are no permanent marks (matrix) on the plate.

1. Mixing the inks, some are thinned with transparent base, others are straight color.

2. Rolling on a thin base layer on the reverse side of the drawn image. The drawn image is there as a guideline for subsequent layers of markmaking. It does not transfer to the paper.

3. Placing the plate ink side up on the press bed in the center of a registration mark. The registration mark guides the plate into the same position on the paper with each pass through the press.

 4. Trapping the paper under the roller so that it stays in place through subsequent printings and then lowering it down on top of the plate. The blankets are then lowered down on the paper.

5. Rolling the paper and the inked plate through the press with blankets and pressure to transfer the ink into the paper.

6. The ink is transferred from plate into the paper for the base color layer. The plate is then removed to apply more layers.

7. Ink rolled on again and areas subtracted with absorbent materials - here I used a qtip.

8. Layer two; the subtracted areas show base color, the other areas show the combined colors of the two layers of ink

9. The next layer of ink is additive, using a brush with thinned ink or the edge of a roller.

10 The ink is transferred and the process continues until the right layering, line, color, shape and form is achieved. The light from the earlier layers comes through and depth is added a layer at a time.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ochre Blue opening as captured by Kelli at Gallery Seven for the Maynard Business Alliance

Here I am (in blue) with Jennifer Johnston, owner of Ochre Blue Gallery, in front of her photographs.

Adventures in lighting for the ArtSpace Holiday Sale

Michele and I had a blast figuring out how to spell PEACE backwards with strings of lights in our studio windows. A half an hour later the last string failed and we ended up with PEA until yesterday when I was able to replace it. I think I will stick with printing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jane McKinnon Johnstone's studio open during ArtSpace Holiday Sale

Come visit my studio (231) during ArtSpace Artists Holiday Sale
Friday November 30 from 5 - 8 pm
Saturday December 1 from 12 - 5 pm
Sunday December 2 from 12 - 4 pm
Jane McKinnon Johnstone
Studio 231 ArtSpace Maynard, 63 Summer Street, Maynard MA 01754

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cutting Mats for Prints and The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Today I will be working on cutting mats (and not fingers) for the 21 prints I am putting in the show. But I had to delay going off to work this morning to finish the most amazing book by Alice Hoffman, THE DOVEKEEPERS. Absolutely breathtaking though grimly moving and unsettling at times, I am glad I finished it this morning for the ending is healing in the incomplete way that all healing can be in the face of unspeakable horrors.

I raced through the pages to finish, letting her artistry carry me into and through the storyline as if I were standing right there in the desert winds. Now I look forward to returning to savor the words and creative gifts she used in this powerful book.

May we continue to have the courage to be loving towards each other, to nurture peace in our world and to be grateful for the beauty and grace we can find no matter what our circumstances may be. May we continue to celebrate the storytellers and artists in our midst who can take the human experience and lift it into the universal.

the Dovekeepers webpage 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sneak Preview of some of the works for Ochre Blue Gallery

As a teaser, here are thumbnails of some of the monotypes that will be in the show at the Ochre Blue Gallery. At 22" x 10", these three works take an unusual perspective on the abstract seascape. Other works and other sizes reveal more abstractions from hours spent overlooking the Atlantic from the cliffs of North Truro and the oceans's edge.

As the days get shorter (particularly evident this weekend as we turn our clocks back) and the winter chill starts to mingle with November's blustering winds, there is something wonderful about revisiting the rich, warm, intense colors of water, sky and surf-drenched sands of the national seashore.

Come to our opening at the Ochre Blue Gallery November 17th

I have been busy printing and curating my works for a new show opening November 17th at the Ochre Blue Gallery in Maynard, MA. Here is the announcement by Gallery Owner and fabulous photographer, Jennifer Johnstone.
New Work at Ochre Blue Gallery…The Three J's

Jennifer Johnston
Saturday, November 17 at 6:30 PM
Ochre Blue Gallery
4 Nason Street
Maynard, MA 01742

Jane Johnstone, Julia Clauss and Jennifer Johnston will be exhibiting their new work. Jane Johnstone, a resident of Concord, MA, works out of her studio at ArtSpace in Maynard MA, and will be exhibiting abstract monotypes.  Julia Clauss who has just returned to New York City after several years will be showing small watercolor vignettes of the City and Jennifer Johnston exhibits the early morning Concord mists off the Assabet and Sudbury Rivers.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Matted and framed and out the door

After a lovely labor day weekend with my husband and daughter, I spent the week jurying my own recent work and matting, framing and photographing three pieces to submit to local shows.

Two prints off to the Concord Art Association's Frances N. Roddy Show to be juried by Jen Mergel, Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

One downstairs to our ArtSpace Gallery Artist's Show to entice people to come visit during Open Studios, September 29th and 30th from 12-5. I will be giving a printmaking demonstration at 2:30 each day. Please stop by to visit.

I am always impressed by the people who work in the galleries and the incredible organization and effort put in to a show. The gallery committee at ArtSpace Maynard did a great job displaying a fantastic group of diverse works. Concord Art Association was a beehive of activity with piles of submitted works to be carefully logged in and made ready for the juror to view. Kudos to all involved.

A special hello to one of the Concord Art Association volunteers for the day, Kathy Deflice Secor, a friend from my early printing days at DeCordova who is doing some wonderful artwork as well as taking time to help with the show. Check out her website

Friday, August 31, 2012

Variations on a theme

I find the dialogue of printing so engaging. Printing from etched plates allows me to explore variations on a theme. I can ask "what if" and then touch and see the answer. 

How do I decide? Sometimes consciously, usually intuitively, I reach for different elements to "sound" out the theme. Years of printmaking have placed the some of those conscious decisions in my hands leaving me free to improvise and explore. I can play with the contrast between the ink in the lines and the ink tone on the surface of the plate  I can use different papers and add different elements. 

Lately, I have been "using my left hand" so to speak, by using water based inks which have a different drying time and consistency than the oil based inks I used for years. It means more "mistakes" or as I sometimes like to call them "surprises", as what I thought would happen and what happens are two different realities. But come to think about it, isn't that a part of dialogue too?

This week I continued to play with the 3 x 3" plates that I made at Zea Mays. The same plates are inked with different colors, printed on different papers, combined on top of each other, next to each other or sometimes whimsically tickled with a inked feather and a bit of handmade paper. Like a nest builder, I choose and gather my materials and weave them into a dwelling place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cultivating mistakes

Reading a good book by Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide. - it offers good perspective for artists on the importance of making mistakes.
"Mistakes aren't things to be discouraged. On the contrary, they should be cultivated and carefully investigated." and a few pages later,  "Unless you experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong, your brain will never revise its models. Before your neurons can succeed, they must repeatedly fail. There are no shortcuts for this painstaking process."
I had a day printing where I pulled print after print that did not work for me, but because I had recently read this book, I took some time to look at what didn't work for me and called it a day of cultivating mistakes. The next day, sure enough, was a better day of prints.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Loving my newly etched plates

Thank you Zea Mays Printmaking Studio in Florence Ma for a great etching workshop! I used etching, spit bite, coffee lift and drypoint on these first two plates. Then I added a different color to each plate and printed them together.  Back in my own studio at  ArtSpace Maynard, I am having a great time working with the plates in different combinations and on different papers with Akua waterbased intaglio inks.