Friday, June 17, 2016

Blogging for Freya: The Importance of Lite

Silver Geometry #1, kosher salt
Silver Geometry #1 (reprint), 'lite' salt.
Hello, Spiders! It's been a while, and I'm sorry. I've been having a rough spot. Hopefully things are looking better! I'm certainly being more productive!

Lately, I've been back at work on the Silver Geometry Project, because there's a few shows I want to submit pieces of it to. I think they work better as 'stand alone' pieces than my thesis work does. The thesis work needs the artist statement, the titles, and some context to really be understood fully. I think that's a weakness of the thesis, and I'm working on it as I research ideas for new pieces. Silver Geometry, though, has really strong images even if the conceptual framework is looser and less rigorous. So they're what I'm working on right now, and trying to push to shows.

While I have been making new designs, I also started to re-visit some of the designs where I like the drawing, but feel that the prints didn't work out. It's been interesting, since there are a lot of little elements that are outside of my control in the process. I've also been experimenting with altering how fast I work.

Silver Geometry #13, with most of the value variation lost
This week, I tried to create more variety of value by moving the photogram material around pretty rapidly. It worked out well, but the resulting values were so delicate (created after only minutes of sunlight) that all it took was a little hesitation and distraction for a blast of bright, direct light to nearly obliterate the delicate shading. So, while I like the idea of more controlled value variation, I probably need to do that on one print at a time, instead of shuffling my attention between several prints at once. I may also need to do that on overcast days, or even inside through a window. Direct sunlight just moves the reactions too fast.

In these recent prints, I've also been manipulating the chemistry more directly. I created some lighter blue colors by diluting the cyanotype chemistry with water. I forced the silver nitrate to turn violet and red instead of brown and black by using "lite" salt instead of regular salt when preparing the paper. Since "lite" salt is a mixture of 50% potassium chloride and 50% sodium chloride, it causes a dramatically different coloration.

Up next is really small prints made from scraps of the larger sheets of Rives BFK that I'm using for the 5x5s. These are about 2.5 inches square, so the designs have to be a lot simpler. I think that'll be a fun challenge. I'm also considering some 5x5s where the chemigram component is extremely simple, and all the visual interest comes from the value added in the photogram stage. It's been a super busy week, but I'm hoping to get a good bit done this weekend and next week!

Check back in soon, Spiders!!