Are you curious?

I wondered if anyone is curious about the art at the top of this page. I’ll tell you the story behind it another time.

I can tell you it is one of my most favorite print series. The original prints are 10 black and white images that are 14″ wide and 20″ tall on paper with a 2 inch margin all around. Therefore the whole series hanging together is 15 feet long, and the title is “Ode to Andy”. Do you have a wall that it will fit? Let me know because it needs a really nice home. I had the prints high resolution scanned and combined them into the single image you see above, and printed it out in smaller sizes. These digital reproductions I called “Andy’s Wall”, and one copy I re-made into an accordion book with a false slate-like cover, entitled “Stone by Stone”. There are a lot of different things you can do with prints.

I did this series a few years ago when I was in grad school, and there are actually 3 more finished images that I did not put into the line-up (I decided 15 feet was long enough!), so each one of the extras has a different name. The technique used is traditional lithography, done on aluminum plates. It took A LOT of drawing and shading to make 13 images, and I’ve lost track of how many months it took. At the time I started it I had to have carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand, so it looked like I wasn’t going to make deadline on the project, with my right hand wrapped up like a white boxing glove for a few weeks.

My husband stepped up and learned how to roll the ink onto the plate while I did the water sponging and handed him sheets of paper left-handedly, and he pulled quite a number of prints for me. It’s nice having a printmaking buddy! Those were the first prints he ever “made” and it was 3 years before he made another one!

I love lithography, but I don’t do it anymore. The drawing part is really fun and you can use a variety of techniques to put the image onto a plate or litho stone, but then you have to process the plate with a variety of chemicals, acids and solvents. This can be extremely hazardous, and you absolutely must have the proper ventilation and the means to take care of the rags and papers that are contaminated with the chemicals. Storage and disposal are critical issues. I choose to not be exposed to those hazards anymore, so I had to give it up.

Luckily I know a couple of exceptional printmakers who still do lithography and I can go to their studios to get the aluminum plates (I still have lots of litho crayons) and then they could print the plates for me. Perhaps one of these days an image will pop into my head that begs to appear as a litho and I’ll call my friends up. Stay in touch and I’ll let you know.

Yours in ink!

3 thoughts on “Are you curious?

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your info on prints vs copies vs reproductions. I have “Arizona” by Max Parrish. How do I tell if it is a original reproduction etc? I find it interesting because it has “By Max Parrish” on the back of the frame. And the back is paper and is “cracking” around the frame. Could it be an “original”? I have always loved this Print? Original? Thanks Jennifer

  2. Thanks for writing, Jennifer. I’m familiar with Maxfield Parrish, and can understand why you would like your picture. He was a prolific illustrator and there are many reproductions of his colorful works, but I don’t know if they were all done from paintings or if he was also known to have made original prints. Besides going to Google, where I found a lot of information on “Arizona” and many other Parrish pictures, you could contact the New Britain Museum of American Art, in New Britain, CT. They specialize in American art and have some of his original paintings.

    I would imagine that first you need to take it out of the frame and look for physical marks that indicate how it was printed or any writing that gives you a clue. My instinct is that you have a commercial reproduction, and it might be a very good quality one, but there are so many links to art sellers for that image that the odds are that it is not an original print. Of course, it could be from the time that the picture was first reproduced, which might make it really old.

    I appreciate that you are trying to learn about the differences in prints, editions, copies and reproductions. The more you know the more informed you will be if you decide to buy more art. Whatever you do, the first thing is to like the picture, don’t buy just because somebody is famous or you think it might be worth a lot someday. Buy something that you like looking at everyday, like “Arizona”.

    If the backing and frame are not in the best of condition I would suggest you get it rematted and reframed soon. I’ve recently, unfortunately, seen some “real” prints that have deteriorated badly because there’s acidic cheap cardboard backings and mats that are not archival. Such poor treatment of the art has permanently damaged and reduced the value significantly. Take care of yours and enjoy it for many more years, regardless of its origin.


  3. When I was in high school (about 10 years ago) I had a dream that I was wknliag down the halls of my school and it was filled with people just like it normally was between classes. However, the odd thing is that they weren’t solid- they were all white with black outlines. As I walked through the halls I started to notice that not all of them were white with a black outline; some of them were a brilliant blue color. And they radiated so beautifully. I had been feeling so alone during this time and when I saw the blue people (that’s how I refer to them) I felt a sense of relief because I knew that even though we were few- there were at least a couple of us in every few hundred. And I had this sense of knowing that they were like me and that I wasn’t alone.I have told very few people about that dream and when I heard about Martha’s drawing on the recording, I knew it was the same thing! It had to be! So many odd things have been happening to me. I’ve been sick with a mystery illness since I graduated high school, and now I’m starting to think that it has something to do with this, but I’m feeling confused and freaked out a bit.What in the world is going on?

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