December 15, 2014 § 2 Comments
TBFF on Etsy
It’s been a bustling week in my studio in the midst of the holiday season. If anyone would like to give an existing TBFF print as a gift this year, now is the time to order from my Etsy Shop so it can reach you before the holiday!
Plus one-of-a-kind monotypes featuring Asian elephants, moonlit Bagan, Burma landscapes, regal cats, and Thai Buddha statues.
Also available are handmade linocuts of owls, moons, snakes, mushrooms, poppies, and a beautiful Atlas Moth carved by friend and artist Don Mackessy during the predecessor project to my Thailand Burma Flora Fauna Kickstarter— a collaborative effort to make imagery about the plants and animals of sunny California.
Monotypes as a Learning Tool
In this final stage of the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project, I am finishing the last of the print designs, and reworking existing images before creating the permanent plates that are to make up the bulk of this series of prints.
Currently, I am in a somewhat awkward position in that this next step requires that all of the print designs are to be completed at once, so that supporters of this project can see the available options simultaneously before choosing which prints they would like to receive.
We are nearly there– and I appreciate all of your patience! It is important to me that the print designs are equally strong, and that together they make up a cohesive body of work.
I have been making monotypes as learning tools to help me understand what is or is not working about a particular print design for the TBFF project. They have been especially useful for a print featuring a landscape of Bagan, Burma, as well as another image of an Asian Elephant.
Monotype: A monotype is a one-of-a-kind print made by painting or drawing directly onto a flat copper plate, and then running that plate through a printing press leaving the ink image on paper. My monotypes are unique in that after the print is pulled, I draw back into each image with black and white printing ink, followed by hand stamping an signing each piece.
Monotypes are different from copper plate etchings in that once the prints are pulled, the flat plate is wiped clean, never to be printed again. If it were an etching or engraving, you could reprint more at will.
Usually, after the initial monotype print, you can pull one or two additional “ghost prints”– much lighter variations with less ink and often greater character. The outcome for each one is very different!
Thank you all so much for your ongoing support of my project! I appreciate all of you who reach out to me through email and across social media platforms– on Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram. Thank you!
December 8, 2014 § 2 Comments
I feel so very grateful for all of your of support this past year for my project, Thailand Burma Flora Fauna. It has been an intense, focused, and fulfilling year full of challenging work!
As I am entering the final stage of production, I thought I would share a handful of images of students working during some of the TBFF drawing and design workshops that I held in Mae Sot, Thailand.
This is but a small fragment of what your contribution to this project has helped to create.
You were a part of this! Thank you!
Teaching art to children can be really rewarding– and I was fortunate to be able to do so with Mae Sot NGO Kick Start Art. Even more fulfilling for me was connecting with the young teachers in that same organization.
For all of the time and energy that I directed towards these young folks, I was met with matched enthusiasm to learn and to be challenged during the teacher-trainings. I believe that in assisting them to hone their skills as working artists and instructors, we are contributing to a greater good and a larger picture, as they are sure to share their knowledge and pass on their skill set with their current and future students.
For the young adults and working artists among them, continued art training can help to provide a livelihood that is a positive alternative to the type of exploitative labor that is often the only available option to migrant workers.
For many of the younger migrant children, art classes in a clean, safe environment can be a much needed rest from their lives– ones that are often filled with adversity, anxiety, and under-stimulation. It is an incredible thing to witness a group of excited, distracted kids suddenly fall silent in quiet concentration, enveloped in the peaceful, engaging, and simple act of making a picture.
Thank you again for your contribution to this project! You help and support made this happen!
Thank you all for your continued support!
November 9, 2014 § 9 Comments
The first edition of linocuts for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project is complete, packaged, and being shipped out early this week!
I’ve also listed several of them on my Etsy site in case you would like to add one to your art collection or to send one as a gift to a friend. :) It features the Camellia Kissii flower found in Burma, said to be named after a botanist named Kiss.
THANK YOU all so much for your continued patience and support as I learn and hone my skills as a printmaker.
I am striving to bring you the highest quality work possible, and making this first print was a huge learning curve for me. I’m happy to say I’ve worked out a lot of the initial kinks in the process.
Making prints by hand is just that– a handmade craft. There is always an ebb and flow of variability and variation between the prints. Some are darker, some are lighter, some prints have more “character”. Some of the prints were lovingly touched up with a white opaque gouache, and others were trimmed down a bit– but all of them passed my eagle-eyes quality control check.
As far as character goes, I even added two versions to the edition that have a random ghostly spot on the upper leaf (pictured above, upper right corner). I’ve come to enjoy the prints with a little character, as it makes each one a more unique.
Pictured above, Camellia Kissii linocut prints drying on a state-of-the-art blue tape, paper clip and twine combination. This helps the prints to dry free of dust and smudges as oil based inks take longer to cure. It also helps to fit a lot of work into a limited space!
Next week, I’ll be sharing how I’m using monotype printmaking (one-of-a-kind prints made by drawing with ink on a flat copper plate) to physically work out the remaining imagery for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project!
Below, you can see the original oil ink drawing on the flat copper plate, and the resulting transfer onto paper. The print shown is the second monotype pulled– a lighter after-image called a “ghost print”, also available on my Etsy shop.
THANK YOU all so much for your continued support!
September 14, 2014 § 4 Comments
The Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project is taking shape! These past few weeks have been packed with carving print blocks, printing and testing prototypes, planning and ordering supplies, and networking. THANK YOU for all of your patience and continued support while I work to get you the best prints possible!
Drawing Giveaway + Connecting on Instagram
This week I am giving away an original drawing to one of my followers on Instagram as a thank-you for reaching more than 1K followers! If you are an instagram user, please feel free to follow my feed and enter for the giveaway. (My username is mike_schultz_paintings).
I am also selling two variations of the same drawing on my Etsy shop— first come, first serve!
The Bagan drawings are directly related to the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna series as they are preliminary illustrations for the additional print I am designing which depicts the moon rising over the Bagan Plain in Bagan, Burma– something I was very fortunate to witness with my own eyes!
Prototypes + Hare Stamp Variations
The initial round of prototypes for the first of two postcard-sized prints is under way. The drawing is first transferred to a linoleum block plate, in reverse, so that when it is carved and printed, the design will be facing the correct direction.
Thank you again for your continued support!
August 30, 2014 § 3 Comments
Today I have a lot of good news to share about the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna printmaking project. I’ll be discussing the updated production timeline, new equipment and supplies, and where we are at in the process.
1. Updated Production Timeline – The original delivery estimate that I gave was August of 2014. Due to a myriad of typical production snags (followed by necessary problem solving), the delivery date for your prints has been pushed back a few weeks.
However, I am happy to say that the end is in sight! We are working around the clock to bring you the best work possible, and this huge project is finally taking shape. THANK YOU for your patience and continued support!
Pictured above, top left to right– Mt Popa and its mountaintop monastery, gardens and boats along the mighty Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Pictured above, bottom left to right– a welder at a brass foundry welding together a large Buddha, a tall thin smokestack pouring a black cloud of soot over a shanty town outside of Mandalay, and a mysterious all-young-female road crew building a road by hand with woven baskets of hand broken gravel.
2. Printing Press + New Printmaking Studio – This month I purchased a beautiful little table top printing press (a little workhorse!) and built a printmaking studio in a well-lit space to make your artwork. So far, the press is fantastic, and it has been a joy getting it dialed in.
3. Professional Training – I am being trained by a skilled local printmaker for whom I have immense respect. He is helping me to dial in my process to make the best pieces possible with my tools. (I’ll share more on him and his work in an upcoming post.)
4. Council From Other Artists – The past few weeks I have received a lot of help from some incredible artists and friends. They’ve patiently considered my questions and have been dishing out valuable advice on printing processes and tools. Endless gratitude to artists Jack Baumgartner, Keegan Wenkman, Vladimir Zimakov, and Andrea Lauren for some foundational printmaking advice! (Their names link to their awesome artwork– have a peep!)
5. Supplies – Heeding the advice of my peers, I have been stocking up on and experimenting with a number of high quality supplies and tools. The printing studio set up and equipment include items like the press and its required felt pads, brayers for rolling out ink, a glass palette and palette knives, wooden tables and rolling carts, shelving for supplies, and more.
The supplies also include a variety of special inks and solvents for printmaking– and just yesterday I received a box of large sheets of fancy cream colored paper from the French Paper Company. It’s a high quality, smooth textured paper with a beautiful color that will lend itself well to this project.
I have also been experimenting with professionally made stamps that will act as the signature seal, or “chop”, as it is called in printmaking (more on those in a future post).
6. Prototypes and Practice – This past week I’ve been working out the details for the two 4 x 6″ postcard-sized prints that some of you will receive as your rewards for backing this project.
This small piece will feature a beautiful flower called the Camellia Kissii, found in Burma, and will be made as a linocut relief print on French paper. Also– if you look closely you can see practice stamps with one of the new hare chop stamp prototypes.
Thank you all so much for your patience and your continued support with this project!
August 3, 2014 § 6 Comments
This has been a busy week full of painting projects, Burma research, summer gardening, and print designs! Today, I’d like to share more images with you from our travels through Upper Burma– truly one of the most unique places I’ve ever been to.
Some photos just work better in black and white. Here is a collection of those images with accompanying descriptions. So much of the designs for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project have been influenced by what I saw and felt during my travels in Burma.
I appreciate all of your feedback and your reaching out to me. Thank you all so much for your continued support!
Burma in B/W
Thank you all so much for your continued interest and support of the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project!
July 26, 2014 § 8 Comments
Portland – In early June I returned to Portland, Oregon where I’ve been busy balancing various projects, steadily working on print designs, and reading up on Burma.
Earlier this week, I met with some extraordinary local printmakers to discuss printing methods, the finer points of paper varieties, and a production timeline. It’s really exciting that the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project has entered this stage of production.
Thank you all for your continued interest and support with this endeavor!
Works in Progress
Asian Elephant – After struggling with a design which first featured an extinct variety of rhinoceros and then later the Asian Elephant, I finally abandoned it and went back to the drawing board (quite literally) to rework the picture. Finally, the newer image feels like it’s on the right track!
Sun Bear – The design for a print featuring the elusive Sun Bear is nearly complete! For now, here are some detail images.
Additional Print – I’ve also been making drawings of Bagan, Burma in blue colored pencil. This will potentially be the additional print design that some Kickstarter supporters will receive for increasing their pledge during the funding campaign. (It would be printed in black, as a linocut or letterpress.)
Garden Drawings –This summer so far, I have been spending my off-time gardening and growing vegetables. It’s been enjoyable to draw from the garden as well. If you can’t tell, I’m really into sketching with a cheerful blue color these days.
Reverse Culture Shock + the Big Burma Book Report
Reading – Part of the way I’ve been processing my reverse culture shock (it’s a thing!) and reflecting on this recent time spent in SE Asia has been by avidly reading about Burma and its history.
Curiously, it seems that the more I seek to understand about Burma, the less that I actually know. While the history of any single subject is bound to be complex, for me the shaping of present day Myanmar, seemingly the result of an endlessly labyrinthine trajectory of events, is particularly captivating.
Books – For those of you who would like to broaden your understanding of Burma, I highly recommend reading the two books, in particular. This spring and summer I read Finding George Orwell in Burma and No Bad News for the King— both fascinating and well written documents.
Upon returning to Portland, I reread Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle and Quartered Safe Out Here, a WW2 memoir by a Scottish solider named George MacDonald Fraser. Reading Quartered Safe Out Here was a bit too much like eating lunch at the local V.F.W. with my grandfather in the early 1980’s. I also attempted to read some much hyped fiction, The Piano Tuner, but it just wasn’t for me.
Currently, I’m reading 30 Heritage Buildings of Yangon. What I love about this book is that it is a positive and crystal-clear presentation of the current state of heritage architecture in Burma’s former capital city of Yagon.
It offers not only a concise history 30 unique buildings, but also details the potential of these structures available for restoration and renovation. Any one of them could join the ranks of the Strand Hotel, a Yangon landmark– that is, if they are not torn down to make way for newer construction. Follow this link to watch a video of The Strand Hotel.
Also, I am currently reading two 100+ year old books authored by V.C. Scott O’Conner. Those books are The Silken East (1904) and another called Mandalay, and Other Cities of the Past in Burma (1908).
The lens through which V.C. Scott O’Conner wrote is now outdated, but none-the-less his books are filled with his fascinating photographs and oral histories that he learned while holding government appointments in Burma in the 1890s.
On deck, I just found a nice hardcover of From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe, and am searching for a used copy of No Time for Dreams by San San Tin, which is proving a little more difficult to locate for a good price.
Thank you all for your continued support of this project! I’m excited to have entered this next stage of production and will keep you updated on the progress as it unfolds.