Original tree bark photo
Solarplate image derived from photo
Large monoprint using multiple processes
is the name for the Aspen trees that shepherds carved
graffiti onto while they tended their animals in the
lonely mountains of southwestern Colorado.
Documentation is currently being made of these older
trees before they die and their legend disappears.
My ‘Arborglyphs’ series
of original hand-pulled prints is not
necessarily depictions of those particular carvings by
the shepherds, but the series does consist of artwork
derived from any Aspen tree bark markings
that intrigue me; either the natural scarring and
peeling that occurs on the bark, marks made by animals,
or tree graffiti carved by humans. I’m particularly
interested in the myopic view of all these beautiful
textures and marks; how they can be magnified and
transformed into abstract images that retain a semblance
of symbolism. These marks represent not only nature and
the passage of time through scarring, pealing, and
cracking; but also man’s impact upon these processes by
inscription. While trekking in the Colorado mountains, I
not only enjoy the total picture, but also my personal
affinity with nature is in quietly observing and
recording the minutia in nature.
‘Arbor’ pertains to trees and a ‘glyph’
is “a symbol used for non-verbal communication”.
My prints are
reminiscent of other cultures and art forms which I’ve
always been intrigued by (cave drawings, petroglyphs,
pictograms, Asian art, calligraphy, Egyptian
hieroglyphics, and cuneiform). I have always enjoyed
visiting petroglyphs in Colorado and Utah, and also
toured the ancient Caves of Pielta in Spain and Lascauex
Caves in France. Other travels to Aboriginal sites in
Australia, Moorish architecture in southern Spain, the
ruins in Egypt, and visits to Asia have all had a
mystical impact on my artwork. Artifacts from these
journeys often form textural backgrounds and patterns in
my monoprints. “Making a mark” has been a common thread
in these cultures. I also have created my own personal
pictorial language with my 'Arborglyph' symbols.
My printmaking process in the 'Arborglyphs'
series involves taking close-up photographs of Aspen
tree bark markings, which are then manipulated and
magnified on the computer in Photo-Shop. Transparencies
of the images are exposed with UV lights onto 6" x 6"
solarplates (printmaking plates with a photographic
emulsion). The plates are etched in water, and cut into
organic shapes to emphasize their origins in nature.
These 6" x 6" individual solarplates are inked, and
printed on paper via an etching press. To make the
larger monoprints, I use one or more of the small square
solarplates in conjunction with various printmaking
techniques to create the textural backgrounds and larger
'Arborglyph' symbols. Techniques used are relief roll,
monoprinting, gum arabic transfer, and collagraph; thus
requiring many runs through an etching press. All my 'Arborglyphs'
prints are 1/1 (one-of-a-kind) hand-pulled original
monoprints on Rives BFK paper.
My signature line includes the
actual glyph symbols, instead of (1 symbol 1).
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