Archives for category: graphic art

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This week I’m feeling confident in my resining techniques and comfortable with my full-sized propane torch, so I’m trying my hand at some larger pieces. This one measures 6″ x 12″. If that doesn’t sound large, try a few steps of the resin dance yourself and you’ll see it my way. The working window is only about 20 minutes from the first pour to removal of the last bubble and I work with up to six pieces at a time. Still, I’m on the march and have larger panels waiting in the wings.

For the real plants in the foreground, I chose a mix of weeds and garden plants — wild grass seed heads, a piece of Japanese maple, and a little leaf of curly coleus.

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Having a great time with my new project but there’s a lot to protect. Note the latex gloves, and the waxed paper to protect my counter. Then there is the issue of my lungs. Need to upgrade to a full-on gas mask even though there are hardly any noticable fumes from the Envirotex two-part resin system I use. Better safe than sorry and I’m so happy with the process and results that I plan to gear up for a full series. This little guys are just 4″ x 4″. The abstract features azalea leaves and carnation petals, while the little landscape sticks to tried-and-true ferns. My next piece will be a boat at sea. Haven’t settled on what plant to use to represent land flora and sails. Last season, raspberry leaves made great sails, but, alas, my raspberry bush is not yet prepared to supply me with more.

I’ll be showing these at Lippett Park in Providence on May 17th, weather permitting, and at the big VIRTU art festival in Wilcox Park in Westerly, Rhode Island on Memorial Day weekend. Meanwhile they’ll be in my Etsy shop.

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As winter sets in, I’m going back and forth between creating new graphics for my sizeable harvest of ivy, ginkgo, and dozens of other plants, and using those same leaves as inspiration for a new series of acrylic paintings that mirrors my pressed botanical compositions. I love the freedom of choosing color schemes and degree of detail in the paintngs. I’ll bring about ten of them to the Velvet Mill in Stonington on December 28 and January 4th. Hope to see some familiar faces there. Others will pop up on Etsy soon or on request.

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Lots of people ask me questions about how I protect the color of my leaves.

The first thing I point out is that many of the leaves I used in my botanicals have already changed colors by the time the pressing process is complete. Still more, like the andromeda in the example above are harvested at various times during the season specifically to achieve variety within my collection from a single plant.

While many leaves stay close to their harvested colors during the drying process, others do not. Chartreuse sweet potato vine, for example dries to a chocolate brown with clearly visible darker brown veining. Scented geranium dries to a variety of shades from light tan to dark taupe. My first principle,then, is to embrace these changes.

Still, some plants are more likely to continue to change after mounting than others. While such changes do not detract from the beauty of the compositions in my mind, I still take steps to preserve my original colors. First, after mounting leaves on my graphics, I paint them with a specialized dried material preservative that includes UVA and UVB protenction. Next, I spray each finished composition with an acrylic finish before matting and framing. This also contains a layer of UV protection and prevents fading of the botanicals as well as the underlying graphics.

These steps, along with the use of acid-free papers, adhesives, and matting ensures that the compositions retain their beauty for many years.

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This is the first of a series of small works that will highlight tiny foliage. I started with miniature ivy but plan to move on to raspberry, scented geranium shoots and other shapely miniatures. This will be a month-long project since most of these have yet to be harvested. I look forward to see them hung in a tight grouping of nine.

Meanwhile I’ll work on some graphics to highlight some large, dramatic and graceful sensitive ferns I have waiting in the hopper.

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Two young and still tightly formed stalks of Mexican feather grass appear to tower over a little forest of fern ‘trees’ and the whole scene might be glimpsed through a window bordered by stained glass.

Back to the drawing board for my next piece. No harvesting today — rain in Stonington.

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The birth of a new grandchild this week has put me in the mood to make a bit of children’s art. For this whimsical piece I chose plants that could have been the product of a child’s imagination – foam flower leaves and a crazy coleus on the bottom and fig leaves at the base of the two hills. The composition is rounded out with dainty little andromeda leaves.

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My friends in and around Stonington can see some of my pieces at Frills Gallery in Watch Hill. (It’s the white building with a front porch as you first enter town) This is a companion piece to one I made recently. The colors have changed and I’ve used different plants — fringed Bleeding Heart for the ‘tall trees’ and ferns and a Foam Flower leaf for the underbrush. A crazy little Bellflower hugs the beach.

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I love what these undulating lines do to the look of the foliage I use. In previous versions of this basic design I’ve used feathery ferns and, in one case nothing but very tiny individual fronds. While this piece uses some ordinary ferns to balance the composition, the real stars of the show are the bold Sensitive Fern at the bottom center and individual leaf clusters from my Fringed Bleeding Heart.