Gyotaku..the process


  It was a printing frenzy the weekend of the solistice! The weather was wonderful and I took the operation outside.  The sun was out; I had a date to go whale watching in the evening; and....the printing goddess smiled on my meadow and my process.  The first step ....arrange the fish in a dramatic and life like pose and then paint her.  This is not as easy as it sounds! Dead fish just don't pose dramatically! The fish has to be cleaned and repainted for each printing so I try to do all same colors at one time. While I am painting I have the paper soaking in a large, clean cooler.  The printing papers I am using are 100% cotton and thick.  They are not flexible and do not want to wrap gently around a fish or anything else. When the fish is ready the paper has to be taken out of its bath and tamped with a towel to take out most of the water.  You then must hover over the fish and try to align fish and paper..this black paper is hard to see through.  Then you gently rub the fish down and press the paper into all the groves, bumps, etc that you want to show.  I have a photo of the the first print being pulled ; she ended up turning out really great so I named her Solistice.  After the prints dry I take them all out to the meadow on a concrete slab and flick paint all over them...this is very tricky!  I ended up with more on my legs than on the prints which is really a good thing ....just a tad looks really good.  This is where prints that I thought were pretty good can go either way.  Of the 20 prints I did over three days only five are excellent; one is gorgeous and not for sale. Printing really relies on technique but loads of luck is also needed to keep the drips and splatters working for you. Finally, they dry again, and I chop and sign them.  My chops are my last name, happy, and success.  The special ink for the chop is doesn't look very good on a pink and teal pearlescent fish so those just have a signature. The gold and bronze prints were chopped using that acrylic just does not work like the red chop ink!!  Soo..there you have process.  More photos to follow..I just get one per blog entry.

AND..we did see whales..the super pod was off the west coast of San Juan Island on the solistice having a great party...we saw it all, breaching, tail lobes, spy hops.  It was fantastic!!


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Getting ready for Art in the Barn


  Just a few days to go before Art in the Barn in Arlington.  This was the venue last year that gave me my start on the road to selling my art work.  Rocky the rockfish was my first big sale .  I've come a long way in a year and hope to sell a lot more fish prints this Sunday.  This means a printing frenzy is about to take place under the canopy in my meadow.  It's cool and cloudy...good weather for fish it does get a bit smelly if the temp goes up and the sun comes out. Truthfully, it is smelly anyway.  In fact, if you put your nose up to your print, you will be able to smell it for years.....some even have a scale or two to add to the authenticity!! Rum Tum, the cat, loves it when I do fish printing.  He sits on my chair and reaches out to grab my leg(lovingly) with his claws during the process.

 I've ordered a bag of octopi so I can make some more blooming octopi prints along with the rockfish and tilapia.  We'll be having fun the next few days!!


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Helen's Originals showcases abstract acrylic mixed media, printmaking with monotypes, dry point and gyotaku, figurative collage, and informative blog entries. 

 Helen SaundersCamano Island, WA360-320-0136