June 23, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 77

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Today's post is a good example of why I am never bored with this process.
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On the solstice I prepared two prints, both with the same leaves - milkweed, Japanese knotweed, box elder, and some bonus black locust on one - both on cotton sateen, same blend of cyanotype chemicals with a splash of Solarfast. I put them out within 15 minutes of each other on a warm, evenly sunny day.
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After a long exposure, but before rinsing, they looked like this. One is a bit less dramatic, perhaps, but both pretty standard at this point.
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And here are the finished prints. The first one is a bit pale, with dark outlines.
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The second one is pale all over, yet still well defined. It's a bit unlike any result I've had before, and I think it's just lovely.
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So why are they so different? The only variable is that  I ran out of sheet plastic to cover them, so on the second one I used a slightly thinner gauge of plastic sold as a painting drop cloth. But why would that affect how the chemicals reacted? More experimentation is obviously needed, to see if it can be  replicated or it's just a happy accident. So on to the next printmaking session!

Thanks as always for reading! You can also follow along on your platform of choice:


June 20, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 76

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Hello, welcome to part 76 of my experiments in wet cyanotype. I've been at this since June of 2017, and show no signs of stopping. Each and every time I have a printmaking session I am enchanted by the process. I share my experiments, the good, the bad, and the indifferent (although it's mostly been good) simply because it brings me pleasure to do so, and in the hopes that you enjoy following along. 
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This time out I started with some common mullein leaves, Verbascum thapsus. It's originally a European species, but it's been here since the 1700's. As far as I know it's not causing any serious problems in the way some non-native invasives do. I usually encounter it as solitary plants that are integrated into the wild landscape. It's a biennial, so its first year it grows a rosette of leaves, and the next summer it sends up a truly impressive flower stalk. 

I love the leaves because they are huge, and they are fuzzy. They are very dramatic in a print, and the thick furry leaves can manage a long exposure in the sun without collapsing. For scale, these prints are cotton sateen panels about 24" x 48". In the first panel I used just mullein, and in the second added a huge leaf (I have a thing about huge leaves, obviously) from a cultivated Ligularia 'Desdemona', and a quartet of oakleaf hydrangea leaves. 

I mixed the cyanotype chemicals with a slug of Solarfast green, and watered them down just a bit because I was at the end of my ready mixed supply and needed to stretch it.

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Here are the panels after a nice long exposure. The weather was in the mid-70s F and the sun peeked in and out of the clouds.
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Here they are after rinsing and finishing. They are a bit paler than my usual but the seemed to suit the day and the weather and the general ambiance of early June very well.
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I love how the darker tones are concentrated around the leaf shapes. I rank these as very successful prints, and will be using them in an art quilt.
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Thanks as always for reading! You can also follow along on your platform of choice:

June 2, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 75

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My usual spring gardening activities were delayed this year, due to unseasonable cold and wet weather. So May turned into a very busy and intensive foray into pruning and planting. I moved here in the summer of 2019, and most of the first year was spent rejuvenating existing plantings and fighting a massive thistle invasion; after that I was able to begin to shape things to my liking. This spring it seems like the plan is finally coming together.
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Anyway, part of the pruning involved a leatherleaf viburnum, which has taken off with great enthusiasm and needed some guidance and shaping. The leaves are very, well, leathery, but also have a lot of fine bristles on them. I thought they would be ideal for some long exposure wet cyanotype prints.
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I set up a bunch of them on mineral paper, my current/ongoing obsession, and also did two larger ones on cotton sateen. I added just a small amount of Solarfast green to the chemical mix. This first batch of photos is before exposure.
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Here they are after exposure and before rinsing. 
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The little bristles on the surface of the leaves adhered fairly firmly to the surface of the mineral paper in a lot of spots.

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Rather than try to pick them off and risk damaging the paper, I decided to wait and gently soak the leaf fragments off in the rinse.
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On the sateen prints this was less of a problem.
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Here are the finished prints. They were well worth the little bit of extra trouble!
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There's tons and tons of variation to look and marvel at.
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So unpredictable and so cool.
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The prints on the sateen are a little less wild but no less lovely.
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This last image is number 974 that I've posted since I started documenting my wet cyanotype experiments, so I'm quickly approaching 1,000 with no sign of slowing down. I hope some of you have been enjoying coming along for this ride as much as I've enjoyed sharing it.
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Thanks as always for reading! You can also follow along on your platform of choice:

May 29, 2022

Interview in Inspirational Magazine


Heat Index, art quilt by Sue Reno
Heat Index

I was somehow remiss in getting this announcement up on my blog (I did do social media), but I wanted to be sure and include it because I am still so excited to be featured! Many thanks to editor John Hopper. 

INSPIRATIONAL art magazine's April issue - is now on sale.
Welcome to issue 60, the April issue of the contemporary arts magazine Inspirational.
In this issue we have interviews with contemporary artists: US based fine art painter Dan Oliver; US based fine art painter Ed Grant; India based multidiscipline artist Dimple B Shah; US based textile artist Sue Reno.
We also have featured artwork by: India based multidiscipline artist Roopa Kangovi; US based fine artist Betsy Kenyon; India based fine artist Hrusikesh Biswal.
As always, Inspirational is packed with the words, the voices, and full page, full colour representations of all featured artists work.
Featured artist is Sue Reno.
To buy a copy of this month's April issue, straight to your inbox, just follow the link: https://payhip.com/b/e2pYJ
Inspirational - supporting working artists across the world.

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 74


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After a long, wet, and dreary winter and early spring, the weather finally turned and I had the motivation and the time to do a few wet cyanotype prints. (I clocked a lot of time during the dreary days at the machine, stitching on new quilts, with results to follow later.)
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A quick tour around the garden and woods turned up some vibrant burdock leaves, a sprig of bleeding heart leaves, and a fresh fern frond. I set these up with the mixture of cyanotype chemicals, plus a small squirt of Solarfast solar dye, on mineral paper, my current favorite non-fabric substrate.
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Out they went into the bright spring sunlight. I also prepped a cotton sateen panel with more bleeding heart leaves and a Kousa dogwood twig. None of this was carefully thought through, I just wanted get back into practice at summoning up that old wet cyan magic.

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After exposure but before rinsing, it was looking like I still had the touch. There's so much going on with the burdock leaves!

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Along with lots of cool swirly stuff with the bleeding heart and fern.
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In the fabric print, you can see hints of the red Solarfast.
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And here are the finished prints. 
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Mineral paper is such an interesting product.  Made with rock derived calcium carbonate and a small amount of binder, it is smooth and water resistant, so at first the cyanotype chemicals swirl all around. but at some point, while baking in the hot sun, they begin to adhere to the paper, with the leaves providing an imperfect resist. I can only partially control the process, which is why I find it endlessly fascinating.
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I am also pleased with the print on cotton sateen, there's lots of subtle circular patterning and crisp leaf edges. All together it's a good start to the printmaking season.
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Thanks as always for reading! You can also follow along on your platform of choice:

April 28, 2022

Unfolding the Universe, a JWST VR Event

I am pleased to announce that my artwork will be featured in the Earth Gallery of "Unfolding the Universe: A James Webb Space Telescope VR Experience" presented by @azelinskie @metaxustudio and @NASAwebb. Tonight Paul Geithner will be giving a talk and Q&A. Ticketing is sold out, but you can participate on Youtube live here: https://youtu.be/fMkR1HKDpqk  

First Light
First Light

I will be in the gallery (it's a beautifully created space) with my three recent JWST art quilts, and Luminosity, the original I made after viewing the telescope while it was under construction.
Galaxy Assembly
Galaxy Assembly

You can see the recent quilts and read about them on my website at First Light, Galaxy Assembly, and Stellar Nurseries.
Stellar Nurseries
Stellar Nurseries

Luminosity and it's story are here: https://suereno.com/luminosity

Once again I am blown away that I have had the opportunity to use my art to represent this amazing piece of technology. The launch and deployment have gone exceeding well and we are all looking forward to the first images it will capture this summer.

Recap after the event: There are two galleries in this virtual space. The Earth Gallery is where the artwork is displayed; artists and participants hung out and moved around and interacted for the first part of the event. This part was not recorded for obvious reasons. The Sky Gallery is where the presentation was, and it was recorded and is up on YouTube. I recommend starting at about the 52 minute mark, where the introductions and Paul Geithner's excellent talk begin. If you've ever wondered what everyone is so excited about JWST, this talk is a great overview of what led us to this point and what we can expect going forward. If nothing else, check out how cool a VR space can be! It was a great experience. https://youtu.be/fMkR1HKDpqk

March 8, 2022

In Dreams I Drifted Away acceptance for Common Threads


In Dreams I Drifted Away

I am delighted to announce that In Dreams I Drifted Away has been selected for Common Threads, a Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh exhibition on display at the Pittsburgh International Airport March 17 - May 27, 2022.

In Dreams I Drifted Away, detail

Included artists are Michelle Browne, Eva Camacho, Petra Fallaux, Rae Gold, Passle Helminski, Cheryl Hopper, Kristin Karsh, Patty Kennedy-Zafred, Karen Krieger, Barbara Kubala, Susan Lapham, Christine Manges, Sam Milford, Malgorzata Mosiek, Jan Myers-Newbury, Jane Ogren, Claire Passmore, Rhonda Pegg, Sue Reno, Sherri Roberts, Coleen Rush, Kathryn Scimone Stanko, Laura Tabakman, and Dewi Wong. 

My work will be on display in the ticketing case.