stoNE LiTHography



so the theme for 2009 was to work a little faster . . . out of my comfort zone.  not as much variety in creating with the litho stone for me as with my etchings.   more of a playing with compositions and line to find what works best for me.  this work was named ‘out of the  . . .’ .  it is actually about this giant orangutan who was laying down and looked like he was just a big head . . . like a bear rug.   his body laid so flat it was amazing to watch him stand from that position . . .

i did not get a chance to work with stone lithography until my mfa program.   since i am all about learning more about the animal kingdom . . .  observation and seeing how i could fit them into my own creative process was the natural thing to do.   my school was all about figurative work . . . so when ever i had a chance to teach myself about animals (my masters project) i did.  i never have taken an art class about animals.  the stone is a process that is a perfect fit for anyone who loves to draw with charcoal.   so most of my work was about learning to  how to draw on the stone  . . .  to find that control between light and dark as well as creating texture and variation with tusche.  the stone used for ‘bamboo’ is pictured on the left.  i also love the flawed stones . . .  ones with scratches or nicks . . .  visible in the peacock print and next semester’s ‘bavain’.


‘ben’ was my first stone lithography.   i wanted to recreate this old photo from my childhood of my siamese cat.  the thing that intrigued me the most about the photo was the shadow around him with sunlight shining on him from the window ... with the texture/pattern from both the pillow and wood chair back occasionally appearing through the shadow.  the composition was already there in the photo i took.  one thing i did do was use an xacto knife/diamond dust files to scrape some added texture ...  seen in the shadow of the pillow as well as ben’s fur and whiskers.  this scraping technique can be seen throughout my lithography work.


my second stone lithography was my ‘untitled’ peacock ... i run into peacocks a lot in parks and on my trips to the zoo.  i wanted to get away from drawing the beautiful detail in the peacocks tail and replace it with something more representative.  i ended up using tusche to recreate the feathers.  tusche is a liquid when you apply it with little particles that when worked just right ... i loved my results and received multiple compliments.  i also like the tusche results i achieved on my next work ... ‘the three wisemen’.  some xacto knife / diamond dust file scratches can be found on the feathers of the body and head.

                      the three wisemen

with ‘the three wisemen’ i still was working on my drawing technique.   i used tusche to create the background . . .  you can see some slight scratches . . . besides the xacto knife scratches i will sometimes enhance areas of the tusche with the litho crayon.  one area of the work i like is on the middle penguin it looks like an abstract star on the shoulder.  stars of that type have been part of my logo and signature.

‘storm’ was created the same way as all the others . . . i did some scratching and lightening of areas but this time not to the lightest results . . . or as i had planned.  once the crayon hits the stone residue stays there . . . sometimes i have been able to remove  more.  only by putting the stone through the etch process and inking do you see the true results.  i ended up loving the darkness of ‘storm’ which has dual meaning.  one being the obvious look of the storm.  the second meaning was once again from my experience with my subject . . . the egrets.  i was looking in the opposite direction when there was this dark shadow and a deep sound of flapping wings.   five egrets were hopping and swooping at each other all around  me.  their play was a storm itself.


this semester i worked on two stones.  the first i took months to do a  detailed tonal drawing  . . . upon etching the stone the final result was a much more dynamic piece.

the second i drew quickly and less detail during the remaining time of the semester.


a good friend of mine from norway kept saying bavain while i was working on my gorilla later she said bavain meant orangutan.  it didn’t matter . . . it was my greeting while i slowly worked on the stone.  i was originally going to name this one the thinker but bavain won out.  the photo shows the drawing on the stone . . .  you can see where i used scratches to create movement and texture then how it turned out after the etch/inking.  litho pencils, crayons, and tusche are my main tools when working on a stone.  i lightly scratch the stone with an xacto knife and diamond dust files. ‘bavain’ is the largest stone lithograph i have worked on.

                      i got you mom

when i took additional classes at mira costa college i was very lucky . . . they had some lithography stones.  i was left on my own and it had been a bit . . . i remembering creating a mess trying to grind my stone down . . . you have to use water  and one stone on top of the other till it is level . . . not concave nor convex . . . but flat or when it goes through the printing press the paper will not touch the ink.   though in my defense there was no room in the sink to do so . . . and i am an artist whom wears her art supplies . . . i worked on one large and two small stones.  i wanted to worker quicker than i have before to see where i would end up.  i love my sketchbooks and scribbles so i wanted to try to recreate that energy.

           2009 . . . the last time i have had the pleasure to draw on a stone

‘bamboo’ took a few days to draw.  to the left are pictures of drawing on the stone . . . tusche is added in the background with some drawing. 

      out of the . . . .

‘i got you mom’ was my quickest drawn stone during my mfa.  i created it during my second semester of lithography.  that semester i worked first on ‘bavain’ then in the remaining time i created ‘i got you mom’.   i worked fast and left out a lot of details ... deliberately.  it was created in contrast to ‘bavian’.  it is half the size and took about a quarter of the time . . . or faster.   i love the scratches that create the hair on the head and the softness of the drawn hair on the forearms of mom.

my mantra while drawing the ‘swat’ stone was ‘sketchbook sketchbook.‘  the fastest stone ever . . .  and one of my favs.  it was actually inspired by how german artist kathe kollwitz works on stone.   ‘swat’ is a monkey from southeast asia that was hanging out with another monkey up high in the branches at the zoo.  all of a sudden he turned and swatted at his buddy.  made me think of siblings

.... ‘i’m touching you . . . . . ‘.