Green Go

The wet grass poultice was directly pressed into the paper.

Here is the fourth anthotype; one of at least two made with grass pigment. This one is grass stained instead of a brushed on liquid due to the qualities of the paper. It was tedious but [I hope] it will introduce artifacts from the the hammering of the grass poultice directly onto the paper. The other grass anthotype to go in the third window (closest to the brick work in the last picture) on Tuesday will have a brushed on emulsion.

always greener on the other side

You may be familiar with the expression “The Grass is Always Greener On the Other Side”. Imagine a 40″ x 36″  sheet of paper in which the green of the grass stain is greener on one side. Imagine me in my studio wrestling with said paper. I’ve unintentionally created, at least as of this afternoon, an homage to Mark Rothko. Below is an image from last night.

the start of the greener on one side effect

As of a few minutes ago I think I corrected the issue. Now I just need to remove the larger chunks of grass that I don’t want in the final photogram. The rose petal anthotype came down last night. I haven’t had time to document it but take my word, after an 18 day exposure it looks fantabulous. During the class visit to my studio, Cynthia Fowler noted appearance of a family of anthotypes in the making.

Now for a little shameless self-promotion. The Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition is now open and will run until August 7th, 2011. Juror Eric Weeks has selected “Apple” for one of the three Juror’s Choice Awards in the professional division. For the complete list of award winners in both the professional and amateur divisions, please visit

Grass Green and a Fugitive Pigment

They  cut the grass on the Emmanuel College campus so today I went into manic mode. Wet grass clippings is chance favoring the prepared studio artist.

Mainly pictures this morning / night. I have been struggling with using grass as a pigment for the Anthotypes. The first one, because of the quality of paper and five coats, worked out well. This was coated days ago before the lawn mower cuttings became available (today). It is just waiting for the subject to arrive in the mail which is the fodder for a future blog entry. The second and third attempts are another story. I will let the captions do the talking. Besides the green, I have a discovery to report. The rose pigment is very sensitive to ambiant light i.e. fugitive! Please see the last picture.

The first attempt at grass which worked out well due to five coats of emulsion and the quality of the paper.

The Utrecht drawing paper soaks up emulsion and shows streaks. This is actually grass poultice pressed on top of the paper. In the photo above you can see this along with the second attempt.

Red rose pigment exhibiting signs of pattern fading after two weeks exposure to room lights.

I have come to the realization that I need to increase my vocabulary and choose my words more carefully. Pulche is used in a discussion of fleas whereas poultice is more appropriate in describing a soft, wet mass of plant material which I have been creating in making anthotype pigments.

Experiments from the Garden of Roses, part II

Anthotype science. I like this kind of stuff.

The rose petal extract demonstrates a classic pH indicator color change. I wish I had a pH meter to compare my guesses but for now these estimates will have to do. I noticed that when I washed out anything that had been in contact with crushed red rose petals, it would turn the water blue which would be around pH 7. Last week when I suspected the leftover rose petal extract was oxidizing to a brown, I added a classic food preservative, citric acid, to the fresh rose petal emulsion. It went from a cool red (pink red) to a warm red (crimson). Yesterday evening I again added citric acid to the latest batch of red rose petal emulsion and saw the warm red effect. In washing out one of the beakers I created about 3oo cc of faintly blue water into which I added a pinch of citric acid. It shifted the water to a faint red before it went clear. Now the question is, what was the pH of the pinch of citric acid in water that I created? Probably pH 4-5.

In creating some green Anthotype emulsion from grass, I noticed that adding citric acid created more of a brown green or olive color and possibly contributed to flocculation. For the grass I am probably going to just use distilled water and crushed leaves (blades). As of yesterday, the sheet of paper I have coated has about 5 coats of green applied to it.

Pictures soon. Of immediate concern is tracking down some coffee this morning.

perhaps something in purple?

Here is the second anthotype taken down from the window last Thursday. A few reviews alluded to drawing characteristics. It is a photogenic drawing (in purple). The iris petal emulsion was applied drop by drop (yes, I’m nuts) onto Kochi washi paper. Hence the pattern. The pajama was red fleece with trains and no name on it. If you have a suggestion for a title, I’m all ears.

BTW, I have been adding a dash of citric acid as a preservative to my latest flower pigment emulsions (in solution). Today I noticed that the red roses I was grinding up returned to their warm red shade with citric acid instead of the cooler red / purple with just water.

Mulberry Pigment Print

"Charles Tesconi", Mulberry Anthotype on Utrecht Drawing Paper

This is the first anthotype to be completed at the residency. Mulberry pigment coated onto Utrecht drawing paper and exposed for 27 days (with about 5-7 cloudy days). Tentatively titled “Charles Tesconi”. The yellow one is now installed in the window and appears to be fading quickly. The rose petal anthotype should be ready for unveiling next Thursday.

the opposite of instant gratification and an iris pigment print

yellow pajamas in final arrangement pre- installation in window

Tomorrow I will budget in time to document the two anthotypes which I pulled from the window earlier this evening. For the record, the mulberry on Utrecht drawing paper was exposed for 27 days, just shy of four weeks. The iris pigment print (yes, it sounds like a confusing mixture of Iris print and archival pigment print) took 19 days.

In the meantime, I arranged the pajama bottoms on heavy weight watercolor paper coated with the Black-Eyed Susan emulsion. The yellow represents three coats of the flower emulsion (air dried between coats) on two separate sheets.

Unveiling and the Color Yellow

Yesterday and today.

I am at a loss for words but that’s not unusual for me. I’ve had my focus on reprinting my Force of Nature images which I neglected to pack up for the trip to Boston. I managed to get twelve prints together which aren’t entirely a motley crew. I met with Glenn Ruga, the director of PRC, and showed him the twelve prints as well as “Don’t Take This Personally”. Surface and texture came up. He found “Apple” initially perplexing and had some insight on installation of the assembled pieces that are part of “from Walking”. The next step is following up with our meeting. I don’t think I can make it to the PRC’s sixteenth juried exhibition “Exposure” since it overlaps my participation with the class at Emmanuel. The students are visiting the studios and its my first time with a class in the studio due to my presentation last week.

Yesterday I took a break from the tedious chore of printing Vandyke Browns to begin making yellow pigment from Black Eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta, located around the Administration Building here at Emmanuel. The picture above shows one piece of watercolor paper (cold press, unknown maker bought at Marco’s Paper’s dollar annex) with one coat and a second with two coats. I will and finish this before class tomorrow so that I can install it as the fourth anthotype photogram following the take down of the older pieces in front of the class. Sort of an unveiling. I am not entirely optimistic for these two older pieces due to the paper I used. It’s good to use a paper with both internal and external sizing. The paper used for these two pieces seemed to absorb the emulsion to quickly indicating lack of external size.

Expect low contrast, low “wow” images to be revealed.

darkroom (deceptively) in use

It’s going to get a little quiet on the blog as I feverishly work to put together a portfolio for a review on Wednesday. I think anyone at the start of a residency has romantic visions of creating new work that could not have been done anywhere else. or should I say, thought that way?

It seems like many of my manic habits are here in Boston. Reprinting things. Wrestling with humidity and the specifics qualities of the local water supply. Trying to print a specific size. Lamenting the way a printer lays down ink. Cursing myself for buying budget transparency material for printing the negatives.

The new challenge this time around: the only room I don’t have key access to is the darkroom in which I print the larger vandyke browns and where I process the spent fixer. In order to prevent the campus safety from locking it (I have to walk up and down five flights of stairs to ask them to re-open it) I have resorted to deception. It has become a game of making the darkroom look like it’s in use when I am in another room printing a negative or exposing a VDB, in the studio cutting down negatives or tearing sheets or working in Photoshopto get the scan into a form ready to print.

How do I deceive? Powering up a boombox that is tuned to WGBH (lots of jazz in the evenings). Turning the cylindrical darkroom door so that it looks like I have entered the darkroom. Finally, turning on the “darkroom in use sign”.

Wall Power (while I’m away)

Besides clearing out my old office, I managed to make some new Vandyke Brown prints before the long drive out to Boston. One of which is now in two group exhibitions. Apple is part of the Dayton Visual Arts Center’s Annual Members Exhition which has the theme Light. The exhibition opened last night and I was informed by phone that it won first place (the Lombard award) and was purchased. Perhaps this one has real “Wall Power”. Thanks to my partner in life, Bridgette Bogle, who convinced me to submit a piece (remotely) and ran the photograph over to David Crowell’s Custom Frame Services. Apple is also on display at the Fine Arts Exhibition in the 2011 Ohio State Fair.

I am sure Dayton Visual Art Center will have documentation in the near future of last nights opening.  In the meantime you can see a simulacrum of Apple here.