Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Magical Machu Picchu

At an altitude of about 8000 feet, Machu Picchu (Old Mountain), now one of the 7 wonders of the world, is a small city in the Andes, about 44 miles northwest of Cuzco and about 3000 feet above the Urubama Valley. Inca ruler Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui built Machu Picchu in the mid-15th century. It appears to have been a sacred, ceremonial city and astronomical observatory. The largest peak in Machu Picchu, called Huayna Picchu, is known as "hitching post of the sun." The setting high in the mountains is magical.

Most of the roughly 150 buildings in Machu Picchu were built of granite so their ruins look like part of the mountains. The Inca made regular blocks of granite fit so tightly together (without mortar) that there are areas where a knife cannot fit between the stones. Many of the stones used in the site construction weigh in excess of 50 tons. More than 100 stone stairways connect the upper and lower levels of the site.

Many buildings had trapezoidal doors and thatched roofs. They used irrigation to grow corn and potatoes. Smallpox devastated the Machu Picchu before the conqueror of the Inca, the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro, arrived.

The iconic Huayna Picchu Mountain rises up above Machu Picchu. Brave visitors can hike the narrow trail up to the peak which is higher than Macchu Picchu. When I visited, my husband went up and I stayed at our hotel Inkaterra to visit the fabulous gardens with many species of orchids.

Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered the ruins of the city in 1911. It is pretty clear that the site was never really "lost." Bingham got a lot wrong in his book on Machu Picchu, but there is no doubt that his work in Peru brought the world's attention to the ancient culture of the Inca.

I created several works based on archival pigment prints of digital photos I took of the stones at the site. I then used traditional printmaking techniques to layer images on top of the stone photos. I also used silk organza transfers of traditional Incan motifs. The flowers refer to my visit to the gardens at Inkaterra, our wonderful hotel.

InkaTerra 4

Inka Terra 3

Inka Terra 2

Inka Terra 1

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monotypes- My Favorite!

Monotypes are an immediate and intimate form of printmaking. Unlike, say, an etching, which once created allows a printer to apply ink at a later time and repeatedly produce multiples, for a monotype the artist paints directly onto a smooth surface, or matrix, such as a sheet of Plexiglas. Then, before the ink has a chance to dry, the matrix is run through a press, transferring the image to a piece of paper. It is a unique image that is not created to multiply. Hard to categorize, they are prints, but you could just as easily argue they are drawings or paintings. It’s opportunity for rapid, intense experimentation. The matrix is essentially destroyed in the process of creation. I like the immediacy of the process although I often have apply many layers which can take time.

Working directly over the original matrix is one way of experimenting or playing with differences—different kinds of refinement, accent, tone, playful variations, using collage or other mixed media. Derived from places, memories, and emotions, I explored compositions and content that is fueled by the elusiveness of the subconscious and the shifting of memories, most often of travel.

In Ferns and Trees (above), I have used several different modes of printmaking including monotype, silkscreen and stencil. I also added collage to complete the image as I wanted it. Inspired by travel to England's Cotswolds, I wanted to evoke the beauty and mystery of nature in this location.

This monotype is on display at Da Vinci Art Alliance's Home and Away exhibition until May 22. Visit www.davinciartalliance.org for details of hours and special events.

Monday, March 7, 2016

William Morris Influences My Work!

On my recent trip to England, especially the Cotswolds, I was reintroduced to William Morris. William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English textile designer, poet, novelist, and social activist. Associated with the British  Arts and Crafts Movement, he was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he played a significant role in propagating the early socialist movement in Britain.

Morris is recognized as one of the most significant cultural figures of Victorian Britain; though best known in his lifetime as a poet, he posthumously became better known for his designs. Founded in 1955, the William Morris Society is devoted to his legacy, while multiple biographies and studies of his work have seen publication. Many of the buildings associated with his life are open to visitors, much of his work can be found in art galleries and museums, and his designs are still in production.

i love his wallpaper designs and have incorporated some of his floral and nature designs in some works I am doing.

I am deciding whether I want to use them on their own or incorporate them into elements of collage for mixed media work such as: