Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mapping Efforts: Mixed media prints by Barbara Shapiro

20 x 20”

Shapiro’s subtle, earth-toned and richly layered mixed media prints use maps as a metaphor for recording life’s patterns and changes. Just as each hill, lake and ocean recorded on a map provides a snapshot of the ever evolving earth, humans are the sum of their experiences during their various stages in life. While maps chart the constant transformation of the outside world, Shapiro’s abstract and map-like images reflect on the shifting dynamics of the inside world.

Exhibition dates: April 3 - 25
(Early Bird Preview: April 1- 3)

First Friday Artscrawl Reception: April 3, 5 – 8:00 PM.

Demonstration during the reception: Barbara Shapiro will demonstrate her mixed media approach to printmaking from 6:30 – 7 PM.

Gallery hours: Tuesday 10 AM – 4 PM and Wednesday - Sunday 9 AM - 6 PM

Contact person: Regina Held, 268-8952.

Cost of event: free

Location: 3812 Central Ave. SE.- 2.5 blocks east of Carlisle between Solano and Aliso, next to Matrix Fine Art.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Beth Kassay rocks our world with a three-plate mezzotint

Mezzotint: In this unique printmaking technique which is also called manière noire, or the black method, the plate is worked in reverse; from dark tones to light. The copper plate is first roughened with a mezzotint rocker so that, if inked, it would print a rich, solid black.

The areas that are not to print are then burnished and flattened to produce various grays and white. The outstanding quality of the mezzotint process is to produce the most subtle nuances of tone and value from rich, velvety blacks to glowing highlights. Although the origin of the mezzotint is not entirely known, in 18th- and 19th century England the process reached a zenith of technical perfection and popularity.

Tidbit: The term “off the rocker” derives from this process; often children were employed to rock plates and the mindless, repetitive process drove some of them crazy.

To achieve maximum amount of color, Beth Kassay created three mezzotint plates with each containing part of the image. The first will be printed in yellow, the second in red, and the third in blue. For her demonstration, she will ink each plate and print it in perfect registration. Here New Grounds director Regina Held introduces the very nervous and emotional artist to the packed audience.

Beth begins by laying out her three different color inks. At New Grounds, we use Akua Kolor water-based intaglio inks.

To completely cover the plates with ink, Beth rolls the ink on the printing surface with a brayer.

The plates are now ready to be wiped. The objective is to remove all the ink from the top layer of the plate and leave only the ink in the recessed areas behind. If she removes too much ink the image will be “over-wiped” and look grainy. If she does not remove enough ink the image will be too dark or “under-wiped.”

She finishes the plates by carefully wiping the edges.

Beth is now ready to print the first plate. Here she places the yellow plate on her registration sheet. The paper is then placed on top of the plate and she transfers the information on the plate to paper using the etching press. The etching press exerts between 500 and 2000 pounds of pressure and thus literally squeezes the ink into the dampened paper.

Now that Beth has printed the first color, she removes the printing blankets and “locks” the paper into position with a weight. This enables her to retain the exact position of the paper while she exchanges the yellow plate with the red plate.

Beth can now prints the red plate and finally the blue one (not shown) to pull the final print. Applause!!!!

If Beth wants to make a second impression, she will have to repeat all of the steps above, from inking and wiping the plates to putting them through the printing press. It is a labor of love.

This reception was a great success thanks to all of you who visited New Grounds, our fabulous volunteers who greet visitors and answer questions, our indispensable workshop and gallery assistant Tanya, and Anise and Cornelius who take care of the refreshments!

We hope to see you again in April!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bruce Childs Monotype and Gravure Demonstration

This video was taken in January for the new members show. Courtesy of Brian Giza

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mezzotint class coming soon!

The mezzotint class is only offered one time a year and it is a technique that is not taught in many places. Our infamous Ray Maseman, etcher extraordinare, will be teaching the class this year. Please contact us if you are interested. 268-8952 or by e-mail-

Mezzotints are cherished for their velvety texture and rich blacks. Students will learn the entire process from rocking a copper plate to drawing the image and printing. The three color process will be introduced if time allows.
Class dates : Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5
Class time: 9 AM - 5 PM, includes lunch break
Class fee: $ 250 + tax, includes most printing materials.
Instructor: Ray Maseman, BFA