We have been trying out some new techniques with the hope of combining water color painting and printmaking. The long term plan is to take these techniques back to our alphabet book, “L is for Lithium,” as all things circle back when they circle back.
We did a still life:
Then we made an octopus, as expected:
In progress now, we’re working on a portrait of Deanna herself! We expect this to turn out great, and if it does we’re going to put it on a tote bag, suitable for carrying to a bookstore in Austin, TX:
This technique is both challenging and forgiving. It forces us to accept happy accidents that might otherwise be considered flaws. Accepting that there might be a mark on the page that didn’t quite look how one intended it to look, and that one might still call that “art” seems to be a disgusting and uncomfortable part of what it means to develop a style.
Deanna wanted to do some sea monsters and Liz saw an adorable picture of an axolotl on the internet, and you know how these things go.
Note Deanna’s delicate carving in the piece, it’s really delicate. Deanna can decide that there should be a place where the ink pools or a place where there shouldn’t be any ink at all and can carve differently to get the results she wants.
Liz tried some new things printing the piece, too! Adding glitter to the ink was one failed experiment; however, applying a thick layer of water color pain instead of our oil-based ink produced some very interesting results. Liz was able to control the colors, and it was the perfect technique for this watery image.
We made artist trading cards of these gents for the shooooow! Here’s we are practicing for our Sac Open Studios Interview!
If you’re lonely and you need a perfect little friend……..
Shortly after the diamond heist, we hid out in apartment 17C. The sign said “luxury” and the cockroaches agreed. On a nice day, we’d drink martinis and watch the people at the pool. A large bird of paradise framed the view from the balcony, blooming almost neon.
Birds of paradise flourish in overly manicured concrete places with shitty landlords and grimey fixtures, and so they stand as a reminder that nothing, nothing can ever take what’s beautiful away from you.
A few years later a specimen leapt at Liz from a midtown bungalow, and she asked Deanna if we could do it.
While working on this piece, Deanna experimented with using digital tools to prepare before carving this piece.
Deanna then carved four blocks, one for each color.
Liz tried printing it on beige paper.
And chien colle with the fancy green lama li lokta paper….
And chien colle with homemade green paper….
The real friends were the tiktoks we made along the way…
If you’d like to simulate renting a mediocre apartment with a ho-hum porch, consider:
The Personal Protective Equipment (Gladys) series is one of our favorites because we learned a lot during the process of creation about how we view our projects differently, and how our visions can compliment one another’s.
Deanna’s original concept was two separate pieces, one with the outline of the plague doctor, and one with the silhouette. During an initial black and white test, Liz printed the two plates together, instead of separately.
The universe simultaneously contracted and expanded.
Deanna carved two more blocks, one with the virus shapes inside Gladys’ PPE, and one with the shapes outside.
It was difficult to get a consistent layer of ink on the silhouette during printing, so Liz chose to use a small roller to make a more painterly texture in the background – just a hint of the looming chaos.
Deanna also carved a separate block just for the corona virus. Liz used a special technique called a rainbow roll to create highlights on the print, by lining some bright pink ink up next to the dark purple ink before inking up the roller. We call this piece “Cootie.”
If you enjoy this piece, we still prints available, or you can grab some merch so everyone knows you know there’s still a pandemic.
With this piece, we took the old adage “work smarter, not harder” and threw it out the second-story window, ran down to the first floor, found the adage and it’s broken leg, and just jumped on it until it was all crumpled up, tired and confused. We didn’t quite set out to do it that way, but we’re Real Artists (TM) and Real Artists (TM) paint or print or draw poppies. Ask Frida Kahlo. Ask Georgia O’Keefe.
Our art’s as good as anyone’s. We can print poppies.
This was our first attempt at a woodblock print. Deanna bought a nice big board of walnut from some depot or another and used a jigsaw to cut it down into 12×12 blocks. She carved the poppies and handed the plates off to Liz, who then tried to print them a few times and no matter what Liz did, she couldn’t get the registration right. There was no recovering.
Deanna decided to carve the blocks two more times until she was satisfied.
Once the image was set and the first run was complete, Liz tried to do a second run on gray paper with more fantastical colors. One survived. We call this piece “Fucking Poppies.”
This piece was created from the block carved by Deanna Norwood to represent the “T” in the upcoming alphabet book “L is for Lithium.” The page in the book will be created quite differently, but we thought the print looked great on homemade paper, glued to an 8″ x 8″ square of archival cotton paper.
The piece is named for the neutral afterlife in ancient Greek mythology. If someone wasn’t bad and sent to Styx or good and sent to the Elysian fields, and just kind of left you abruptly with nothing more than some old voice recordings and a spotify playlist, maybe you can get your lute and go to Asphodel and beg Persephone to return him to you.
She won’t. It just don’t work that way. Your lute playing isn’t that good. Besides, he’s probably started a garden and made some new friends.
We tried something new when we were preparing this piece –