April 22, 2019

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 38

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 594
 I'm a bit short on both time and materials at the moment, but the allure of the bleeding heart in bloom was impossible to resist, so I fit in a few new wet cyanotype prints. The first is 16" x 20", and the second is 10" x 12", both on cotton sateen. These are standard sizes for  me, as they match the glass I have on hand, and are a good size for components for my art quilts.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 595
 I also did a print of the pink dogwood in bloom, because how could I not?
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 596
 As I've said before, timing the exposure for delicate flowers is a delicate thing. I want enough sun and heat to work that old wet cyan magic, but no so much that it burns out and overexposes the delicate blossoms.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 597
 For these it meant moving them back and forth between sun and shade a few times until I deemend them done. Total exposure was about 3 hours, in 72F weather. These exposed, unrinsed prints are already looking good.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 598
 I wasn't as worried about the dogwood exposure, because the sepals (the part we think of as the flowers) is fairly thick and tough. However, that same thickness meant it didn't have consistent contact with the fabric, despite using my heaviest pane of glass. In retrospect, it would have benefited from being pressed briefly before setup.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 599
 Here are the finished prints. Both bleeding heart prints turned out just delightful.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 600
 There's lots of good detail, with the just the right amount, to my taste, of wet cyan weirdness.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 601
 I first I was a bit dismayed by the dogwood, it has elements of the dreaded blobiness because of the imperfect contact. But it's growing on me; with the right amount of stitching to delineate the shapes, and maybe some beadwork for the centers of the sepals, and some pebble stitching on the background, I think it could be lovely. So it's going in the "someday" pile and not the "cutter" pile.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 602
I don't do things by the numbers, generally, but it didn't escape my attention that with this post I've exceeded 600 photos of wet cyan works in progress, spread out over 38 blog posts. If you've got a lot of curiosity and some time on your hands, you can read the whole epic saga, in reverse chronological order, by clicking on the wet cyanotype tab at the top, or going here.

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April 19, 2019

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 37

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 582
 Welcome to part 37 of my ongoing experiments with and documentation of the wet cyanotype process.  I began this batch, on a gorgeous spring day, with an equally gorgeous and newly emerged flowering sprig of bleeding heart.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 583
 I followed that up with an equally beautiful sprig of Japanese andromeda, aka Pieris. This is the third installment I've done this spring, as it has progressed from buds to full bloom.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 584
 And then, because nothing else in in leaf yet, I moved on to two panels of garlic mustard. This is an invasive non-native plant, the scourge of my garden and especially of the woodlands, but it does make for some interesting prints. All of these are on cotton sateen that I treated with the cyanotype chemicals. This time around I didn't use any enhancements, just water. The weather was around 70F and partly cloudy, which sometimes works better than full sun for capturing blossoms.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 585
 Here are the exposed, unrinsed prints. I could tell right away that the cyanotype gods were on my side/I had done a good job with the exposure timing.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 586
 Lots of small brown dots from a bit of eco-printing on these flowers; already beautiful.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 587
 And look at the much-disparaged garlic mustard! The leaves shrank as it exposed, leaving a sort of double outline, and there's just a sterling fire-and-lightning effect on the right.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 588
 There's good stuff going on here also.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 589
 Here are the finished prints. Every so often I think I'm done with this process, I have enough prints already, and then this happens:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 590
 I'm so excited by this batch of prints.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 591
 The ultimate goal for my cyanotype prints is to include them in a larger work of art. These are going to look so great when I add the stitching.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 592
 So fancy and frilly!
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 593
If you are a regular reader, thanks for stopping by!
If you are new here, you can follow all 37 parts of my wet cyanotype adventure, with all the tips and tricks and images, by clicking on the Wet Cyan tab in the top header, or by going here.

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April 9, 2019

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin - Acceptance to Art of the State

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin
 I am very happy and honored to share that my latest work In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin has been accepted for Art of the State Pennsylvania 2019.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 1
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 1
 This is a highly competitive exhibit featuring the finest work by Pennsylvania residents in the categories of Painting, Work on Paper, Photography & Digital Arts, Sculpture and Craft.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 2
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 2
 I am often compelled to make large scale works, like this one at 55" x 94", because I need that scale to tell the story I envision. It can be hard to find exhibit venues for work of this size though, so I am doubly delighted to be included here. The Museum gallery has the space to display work like this with room to breathe, and the lighting and other details are always impeccably handled.

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 4
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 4
The opening reception is June 23, 1:30 - 5:00, and the exhibit runs until September 8th. If you are in the area I hope you find an opportunity to visit the Museum, it has a lot to offer.

April 7, 2019

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 36

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 571
 While waiting as patiently as possible for things to leaf out and the wet cyanotype printmaking season to start up on earnest, I made a few quick prints. The Pieris andromeda prints with buds turned out nicely a few weeks ago, so I repeated the experiment with them in bloom. 
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 572
 The first one I did straight, with just water, and on the second one I added some soda ash around the edges. These are all on cotton sateen I treated with the cyanotype chemicals. Here they are under glass and starting to process.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 573
 I kept the exposure time relatively short, about 90 minutes, because that's all the longer the fragile flowers lasted.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 574
Dimensional flowers, like daffodils or irises, are not good candidates for this technique. They get smushed under the glass and a lot of detail gets lost. I did some daffodil prints last spring and they ended up basically as blobs (which I then cut up and used in patchwork). I knew this, and yet here I was, with a sunny day and a yard full or daffodils and the hope that springs eternal in the heart of an experimentalist, so I gave it another go.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 575
 Here are the exposed, unrinsed prints. I'm very happy with this one:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 576
 And also with this one--a very dramatic example of the difference the soda ash can make.
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 And I felt cautiously optimistic about this one. Again, I tried to hit the sweet spot for exposure length.
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 Here are the finished, rinsed and ironed prints. I love the delicacy of this one:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 579
 And I also love the energy here:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 580
 The daffodil print is my best to date, but still not up to my standards. But that's ok! The whole point here is to experiment, hone my skills, and learn from each session, so it still counts as a success.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 581
If you are a regular reader, thanks for stopping by!
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March 27, 2019

New Work - In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin
I am pleased to share my latest work, In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 1
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 1
It features a needlefelted center panel, made with bits of wool and silk, heavily embellished and stitched.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 2
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 2
Surrounding the cabin are delicate and detailed cyanotypes of ferns.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 3
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 3
It also features collagraph prints made from plates I constructed.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 4
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 4
It's a large work, 55" high x 94" wide. You can read about the design and construction in reverse chronological order by clicking the In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin tab in the right sidebar, or go here.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, by Sue Reno, detail 5
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, detail 5
The short version of the inspiration for this one: This piece stems from a dream where I lived a simple life in a cabin near the river, lulled to sleep each night by the sound of it flowing, and awakening to its fresh beauty each morning.

The long version is more complex. I worked on this off and on for many years, and along the way my relationship with the imagery deepened. I think this one is a good example of the adage about putting my ideas into art because words seem insufficient. I leave it to you, the viewer, to examine it and form your own reaction. Enjoy!

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March 26, 2019

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, WIP, part 4

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 16
I did my usual thing and painted a length of cloth to serve as the backing for In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin. I began by laying the cloth on my driveway and splattering textile paints on it.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 17
Some targeted spray from the hose spread the paint around.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 18
I went back in and added some yellow for highlights. As it dried, the paint wicked around and settled in the small folds in the cloth and the cracks in the driveway. After setting the paint, rinsing, and drying, it looked like this:
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 19
Normally the back is not seen when the work is displayed, but I know it's there and I want it to look unique and be appropriate for the work. It also brings me pleasure as I am doing the quilting.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 20
Lots and lots and lots of quilting! This is a big one, and it took a substantial amount of time and attention to do it up right.

Up next, the big reveal.

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March 19, 2019

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, WIP, part 3

In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 12
As I was progressing on the collagraph cabin panels and the cyanotype ferns, and the needlefelted cabin center panel, I began work on the patchwork that would unite all the elements.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 13
I used a mix of authentic indigo prints and cyanotype prints. There's always a few cyanotypes that have some sort of minor flaw, or that just don't fit into the particular work they were made for, but that still have lots of great design elements in them. It was fun to revisit the stash and pull things to use for this application. I made long, wide patchwork strips on a muslin base, then sliced them up and used them as connecting elements.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 14
My cat knows he's not allowed up on the work table, but at one point I left to get a fresh cup of coffee and came back to this. I appreciated the feline stamp of approval.
In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin, Sue Reno, WIP Image 15
More to come, stay tuned!

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