Saturday, September 12, 2009

Set Sail in the Sepia Sea

Just got a fun email from a guy who bought some artwork from us at an art fair, must have been at least 6 or 7 years ago. He went on in the email to tell me how he had given his sister a piece entitled “Perfect Day” for their wedding. The piece can actually be seen here on the T. Scot Halpin Memorial Blog (“Perfect Day”-2/14/09). It is an image involving glowing boats and water, (only no baby, just love). This brother gave the couple another piece called “Welcome”—on the day they moved into their first house. He gave them “Fun Family” the day they had their first child. The day he emailed, his sister had just given birth to her second baby--that day! He was looking for a new piece, and my search for him, turned up today’s blog entry piece.

This is a dry point engraving. Dry point is part of the Intaglio (“to take away”) family of printmaking. To create this piece, Scot cut down a sheet of plexi-glass to size. He had long since moved away from toxic techniques like acid etching, etc. With the plexi-glass, we could clean up with vegetable oil. Scot loved sepia, the red-brown color you see today. This was probably one of five prints pulled from this plate. You can tell because of what print makers call ‘the burr’—that fuzzy, velvety line that is created when tiny little canyons that fill up with ink, are formed along the furrow the needle causes as it is dragged across the plain of the plate.

This burr goes away quickly. After only a couple prints are pulled, the line smooths out. When Scot and I would start a printing session, he would always try to ‘point up the plates’—try to drag up a little furrow. There was only so far you can ‘point up’ up a plexi-glass plate before you have created a ‘score’ (technical glass cutting term) and the plate snaps in half.

To create the washes on this piece; Scot saturated the paper with water. I have been reading my son’s high school Economics text. One can’t help but notice that the definitions of the more difficult words are inserted parenthetically after the word, so in this case it would be like …saturated (soaked a long time in water)… The paper these prints are made on are is 100% cotton. It’s tough. They don’t call it 'rag paper' for nothing. It’s actually made from cotton rags, and if you wadded it up, you could clean a window with it. Anyway, on this very wet paper, Scot laid down this loose and juicy sepia wash. What a joyful day it is, bringing ones baby home!

Today’s musical offering is another piece off the tape yesterday’s track came from--so that puts us back in 1986. On this track, Scot is jamming with himself. Each of these parts was laid down separately—each part a live recording. Check out Scot's orchestrational sense. Scot always had the keenest ability to layer things on in stunning and unexpected ways. Remember kids, this is all pre-garage band. The only thing out of the box on this piece is the drum track, which blog followers might remember on an earlier entry. This can become like a blog quiz. Today’s piece is entitled “Wake Up!”

No comments: