Robert Jackson exhibition

Approaching Wholeness

I’m so pleased to announce that friend and fellow artist Robert Jackson will be having what sounds like an exciting opening of his exhibition called ‘Approaching Wholeness’. Here’s his invitation in his own words:

The show opens with an introduction by my wife Neslihan this Thursday October 4th, 2007 with the reception starting around 4:00 pm until 8 pm. The show runs until October 18th, at the Capilano College Studio Art Gallery in North Vancouver. Easy to find, just take exit 22 near the Second Narrows Bridge. (Download campus map, pdf)
There will be canvas prints of images taken of what happens when some very accomplished and serious artists just play for there own amusement in a sandbox with toys. 
Another series of images of various artists wearing masks that they chose from many that I have made. 
There will be some gorgeous toy images from a magical private toy museum, taken on our recent trip to Turkey.  We had “a big fat Turkish wedding” in September there.
Really the show is about me learning to unmask myself and learn to play again and mostly about finding love, inside and out. I am always surprised that this finding the inner playful true self isn’t usually taught at art school. So many miracles have happened to me, 10 times more love from Neslihan and her family than I ever dreamed was possible.
Please come and share this unbearable lightness of being with us on Thursday at 4pm.


Lady of the Lamp

Tractor Boy

Robert’s Artist’s Statement (pdf) is well worth a read!
All works shown here are mixed media digital prints on canvas.
Sizes about 22 x 34 inches.
Copyright Robert Jackson, used with his permission. 
Note: Gallery hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. 

another print


Some time back, I presented a little show-and-tell on how I proof my prints before printing the whole edition, a standard practise for printmakers. I’ve mentioned that I’m working on a series of archival inkjet prints based on manipulated photographs of rocks (taken last summer), with collagraphs printed over them. A number of readers expressed great interest in seeing the process and have been asking me to show more. I showed these collagraphs, but forgot to take the camera on the day I printed that edition. Heavy beast that it is, yesterday I did make a point of taking it along.

First I did a trial print (above) of this collagraph on plain white paper to get a feeling for the right inking and wiping technique as well as the best consistency of black ink. Happy with that, I printed it on an inkjet print on inexpensive proofing paper. Notice that I’ve wiped the ink more cleanly to allow for more transparency. I was very excited and pleased with the result (below). Then I moved on to the editioning, printing the collagraph on the archival inkjet prints that I’d printed some time back. All went well, looking even better than this proof, being on superior paper. I wish everyday in the studio was as successful!

I hope to make one more collagraph for one more inkjet print to complete this group. Once that’s been editioned, dried and documented, I will setup the camera on a tripod and take some GOOD photographs. Watch for them here in two or three weeks!


trial proofs

I’ve had several readers express an interest in seeing the development of a print after I wrote about my excitement when the first proofs came through the wide format inkjet printer. This feeling is true no matter what type of prints one works on, from the wooden-spoon-rubbed linocut one does in grade school to the finely etched copperplate, and other printmaking media. Proofing is an essential process as I hope you will see in the following descriptions and photos. The photos are of the same piece shown in detail in the above linked post.

The first photo shows the first trial print that I took of a collagraph that I made to be printed on top of an inkjet print. This one is printed on plain white art proofing paper.

The second photo shows the collagraph printed over the top of the first proof of the inkjet print of the rocks, done on non-coated art paper. The inkjet print looks washed out.

For the third proof, I switched to a coated inkjet paper for the rock print. Do you see how the colours just pop out and the blacks are deep and velvety (okay, the photo isn’t that great.) I printed the collagraph on top of this, paying a great deal of attention to how it’s inked and wiped, compared to that first proof.

I’m quite excited by this one. In fact, I realized that it is a complete piece without a printed transparency layer over it which I’d originally planned to do (and have been doing with the earlier Silent Messenger pieces). The work spoke to me just the way it is, and I had to respond to it, rather than forcing my initial plan on it.

Because I was having problems with the inkjet paper tearing a bit on the embossings in the collagraph, I’ve been doing numerous tests to figure out how long the inkjet printed paper had to be soaked in water, the ink consistency, and the pressure of the printer roller. Of course, us artists are always the first to try something different with new material, in this case to subject papers meant for inkjet printers to the rigours of a highly embossed collagraph and a traditional printing press!

Today, I had a breakthrough, so now I will be able to carry on and edition the first two of the series that are ready. That may not be until January as I will be taking a break from the studio over the holidays.

Readers, I do hope this gives some understanding of the process. Please feel free to ask questions!

printing proofs


It’s an incredible feeling that’s hard to describe, when I do a print for the first time and it looks great! Whether it’s an etching, a collagraph or an inkjet print, it’s hard to be sure how it will look until that first proof has been made. This morning in the printmaking studio, I waited patiently for the two large images to send over from computer to the large-format inkjet printer, a very slow process. As I watched the prints come through finally, I felt that buzz, that thrill, that joy of the creative juices zinging through me!

One of the prints, based on THIS photograph, rewarded me with another thrill, that of a surprise! Look at the detail above! I never noticed it on site at Writing-on-Stone Park, nor in the digital photo itself. Only when it was printed large, about 51 x 76 cm. ( 20″ x 30″), did this little treasure reveal itself.

Gazing at these two prints temporarily pinned up on the wall, I was able to feel the magic of the place again. I was able to get a better sense of how to develop the pieces further. Working small on the computer screen just doesn’t capture the feeling in the same way.

Oh, these aren’t finished by a long shot as I still need to do some fine-tuning on these images and work on the additional layers to go with them, but they are coming along well. A good start, a good day.

on the wall


As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been playing with layering some collagraphs with inkjet printed transparent film. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been doing. Above is a photo of the works in progress pinned up on the wall by my work table. Below is a closer look of one of them, “Untitled” for the moment. In size they vary roughly around 41 x 33 cm. (16″ x 13″). Some larger pieces are simmering at the moment….


visiting Interconnection


We were sad to miss the opening last week of Michiko Suzuki and Wayne Eastcott’s exhibition Interconnection, also the grand opening of the new Bellevue Gallery. By all accounts the opening was very successful, attended by around 200 people spilling out onto the sidewalk.

Yesterday, my husband and I had one of our after-work “gallery and dinner dates” and went to the Bellevue, knowing that Michiko and Wayne would be there. We enjoyed a personal chat about their work, which utilize techniques of etching, inkjet, silk-screen and chine-collé. The work looks stunning in this lovely new space (and these photos do not do it justice). Even though we’ve seen most of the work before other than the latest new prints, it all looked very new and different in this spacious yet warm setting. As I’ve mentioned before this exhibition was first shown last year in Tokyo, then in Vancouver. Congratulations again to both artists for the success of this amazing collaboration!


We also met Lynn Ray, the charming owner of Bellevue Gallery (her partner is her daughter Nicole Ray-Sharma who was not there this time). It was a pleasant surprise because Lynn and I knew each other many years ago and so enjoyed catching up with our lives since then. Lynn has a studio art and art history background as well as many years of business experience, so she has excellent qualifications for running a serious art gallery. An architect had been hired to do the interior of the gallery and this shows in the lovely architectural details, materials and lighting. The Bellevue Gallery is a great cultural addition to the charming Dundarave area of West Vancouver, right by the sea. Our very best wishes to the Rays for the success of this new gallery!

If you are anywhere near Vancouver and haven’t seen this significant exhibition by two very important artists yet, I suggest not to miss it. It is up until October 29th, 2006.


Steven Dixon: Spare

Steven Dixon: Desert Structure No. 1, 2006
Digital print on Japanese paper mounted on panel

The Art Gallery of Alberta, formerly the Edmonton Art Gallery, is featuring an exhibition of prints by Steven Dixon called Spare:

Steven Dixon’s large-scale works record the consequences of human activity, documenting the shift from a natural resource based economy to one focused largely on information and technology. This change has left in its wake a legacy of disused industrial structures: abandoned mines, mills and factories and related town-sites. Dixon has been exploring these ruins with a camera, photographing the traces of activity left behind by those employed in these industries, and tracing the detritus of past activity. This exhibition, Spare, features three new works, comprised of digital photographs printed on Japanese paper and mounted on panels.

Steven has worked in moderate sized photogravures for many years, so I was curious about his large scale digital work. In emails, I asked Steven about his new direction. He’s allowed me to quote his responses here.

I have gone digital with the latest work because of the scale. The largest piece in the show is 240 x 300 cm and I am making the files by scanning internegs in order to get the files large enough to work with. With the limitations of my scanner I needed to take that extra step. The file for that image was about 1.2 gigabytes. The smaller images are scanned directly from 4×5 negs.

At this point in time I don’t know anybody who is straight digital…..I just went to a lecture by Ed Burtynski and he has tested it but gone back to film because it is easier to deal with in the field. He said it is much easier and quicker to use a Polaroid back to check results than to lug around a laptop along with all the other equipment. The lens quality of digital cameras may never approach the quality of conventional lenses (at any reasonable price anyway).

What is an interneg?, I asked.

The interneg is just an enlargement on film from the original negative. In my case I guess it really isn’t an interneg because it is positive. What I did was make an enlarged positive transparency so I could scan it. I went from a 4×5 negative to an 8×10 positive, then cut that into 4 – 4x5s and scanned them individually and rebuilt the image in photoshop. That way I could get a larger file than just going from the 4×5.

Thanks for this information, Steven, and congratulations on your show, I wish I could be there!

Readers, if you are in Edmonton, do see Steven’s excellent work. The opening reception is on Friday, March 10th at 7 pm and the exhibition continues until June 10th, 2006.

Long-time readers might recall my friend Steven’s name – he is one of the artists in the Traces exhibition that Steven, Bonnie Jordan and I presented in Pohjanmaan Museum in Vaasa, Finland in 2002. We even travelled together to Finland and Estonia. I’ve also mentioned his show at the Lando Gallery, where you can see some of his earlier photogravure work.

experiments, part 2


I wrote a little while ago about my recent experiments with digital printing on organza. Many of you readers were very interested in reading about my process, so I thought I’d update you on the results of some further experiments. If you missed that post, do go read it first in order for this one to make sense.

1. I mentioned back then that I would try a fresh new can of repositionable adhesive to place the organza on a lighter paper backing. I did this but it still caught in the printer head! Because the paper has to feed around the roller of the inkjet printer, the stress loosens the fabric, so nix for that method!

2. Then I followed up on a suggestion by Michiko to glue the fabric down with water-based Japanese paste. I decided to use mylar (not the inkjet mylar) as the base because this is heavier and stays flat. The organza, being so light, slippery and easily distorted, was difficult to lay down straight but it stuck really well and fed through the printer without problems.

3. I prepared another piece of organza with InkAid, a paint-on coating like we find on coated papers for inkjet printers. This product gave the organza a bit more body and made it easier to handle and glue to the mylar, plus I hoped that it might hold more ink. This went through the printer very well.

4. After allowing the ink to dry overnight on the above two prints (#2 & #3), I took one at a time and placed it into a sink of water to wash out the glue and lift up the organza. The first one without the InkAid lost most of its colour, but the InkAided one held more of the ink and maintained a little more body to the fabric.

CONCLUSION: The process #3 works well. However, in all of the experiments, the amount of ink retained by the organza is very light and I don’t think they are strong enough images for my needs.

Just for fun, I took several of the test prints and sewed them onto two wood dowels. I hung them with the front dowel about an inch away from the back panel which is mounted slightly out from the wall. The space allows one to see through to the layer behind much better than if the fabrics was touching. The wood dowels are bent because they had been standing in the corner of our garage for many years, yet the effect is rather interesting. These were not intended to be actual finished works, but let’s call this grouping a STUDY.

As I said, I still find the prints too weak so I’ve decided to set aside the organza for awhile. Tomorrow I’m going to test out the semi transparent inkjet vellum that has just arrived. I’m still going to try find out about other fabric options, including the just-learned possibility of inkjet ready silk on a roll that a new printmaking faculty person at the art school (Emily Carr Institute) has in her possession!! Interesting possibilities ahead!

Olga Campbell’s opening


We made it this evening to Olga Campbell’s opening at Diskin Galleries. Olga presented quite a large number of her digital prints, some based on her travels in Asia and some of her personal family history, and all very emotive and beautiful, full of texture and rich colours. A good crowd and a lovely large gallery and lots of food and drink – a great opening! Congratulations, Olga.


ADDENDUM March 2nd: Olga told me today that the gallery now has some images of her work on their site – so go have a look!

printers and scanners

In the comments to yesterday’s post about my experiments, virtual friend and artist-blogger in Alaska, Elise Tomlinson asked some very interesting questions, which have inspired me to write today’s entry.

So, do you have your own printer and scanner for doing giclees? I am so intrigued with the whole process of them. Right now I get them done by a local print shop, they are reproductions of paintings I’ve done…but I’ve heard of other artists with their own printers/scanners who use the new technology to produce what I would consider to be original fine art prints (using your definition) conceived of originally as a print, where they control the amount of ink, the paper, etc. What are your thoughts on that? Also, if you do have your own equipment, would you mind sharing what brands you own?

I first wrote nearly two years ago about the tools that I use and later about the studio where I make my prints – you might start reading these first for a background.

At home I still use my old (1997) Umax Astra 1200S scanner though it’s SCSI and has to be connnected to an old Mac G3 which I can access at my Mac G5 via the network. It’s slow and a bit inconvenient but I haven’t wanted to spend the money on a new one with a fast Firewire connection because I do like its 8.5 by 14 inch bed.

When I need to do some high resolution scans for my large printworks, I use the studio’s scanner, an Epson Professional (I’ll check the precise model tomorrow), which allows slide and film scanning too. (It’s 1680.)

I still use my HP Deskjet 1220C 13″ printer at home, one I chose because the studio has one, as does the technician herself in her home studio, and it’s proven to be a real workhorse. It uses water-based dye ink, which is not fully archival ie. more than 80 years, though still very good. I use it for small projects and proofing my work in a smaller scale before printing at the studio’s 42″ HP 5000UV which is fully archival with waterproof UV pigment inks. The experiments that I wrote about yesterday were done with this studio printer.

It is a high end professional machine that has been very durable, reliable and gives excellent results. It’s just that some artists like yours truly are pushing the medium further and expecting it to do more than it was designed for!! Newer models offer more features of course. One of the Institute members recently bought himself an Epson 7800 (I think) that is 24″ wide, with adjustable heads to allow thicker materials and with a straight feed for rigid surfaces. So for my problem with the organza, his printer might work better!

And my thoughts on giclee printing? Please read prints vs reproductions.