test proof: Bonfire on Fiesta Island

A few weeks ago, I flew down to San Diego so I could spend some time with Rachelle Houle-Maiser (of Five Feet of Dynamite). She is a very dear and long-time friend of mine, and it was wonderful to spend a weekend with her in Southern California, even if I managed to bring the overcast skies with me. (I was hoping to go home with just enough of a tan to make all my vitamin D deficient friends jealous. Tant pis.)

When I went down, I took a grounded copper plate with me. Why I did that when I couldn’t bring any of my very pointy drawing tools with me (I only packed a carry-on), I couldn’t say. I suppose I hoped I would find something suitable, but I didn’t look very hard.

This image is from a sketch I did from memory. I used absolutely no reference of any kind (a sort of scary situation for me), and just scribbled out a few marks. I won’t even show you the initial sketch because there was so little information in it.

When I landed back in Portland and got home to my etching tools, I finally got to draw on the plate. I redrew the sketch and added more detail. The image you see above is the first print I pulled from the first etch on the plate. There is more to be done, but I’m not going to invest too much in it.

This is my first embarkation into a world of sketchy, less-planned etchings. I will continue to make my meticulous ones too, but this approach allows me to stretch different muscles and exercise different skills.

I cannot leave this unsaid: I write backwards in cursive rather well. It is a trifle of a skill, but one that gives me joy to do well. Not many can do it; I suspect it’s because hardly anyone has a reason even to try, though I do suspect that the likelihood of being able to write backwards is higher among printmakers.


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