Independent Exploration

Art is probably my biggest hobby. I actually started off as an art minor, but I had to switch once I discovered the education minor. I debated for a while about double minoring, but the education minor is one of the biggest minors at Colby and includes lots of time spent in classrooms, so I had to say good-bye to the art minor once and for all. However, I was definitely not willing to give up art all together.  Before I had made the decision to forgo the art minor, I took Printmaking I. I had never really done printmaking before (except for one project in high school) and wound up loving it. That’s how I ended up doing an Independent Study in printmaking this semester and last.

So basically, an Independent Study in printmaking looks like this: I get to choose what style of print I want to make, how many I want to do, and for how many credits I want my study to count for.  This system is perfect for me, since I’m really just taking it as a hobby.  Last semester I took an Intaglio printmaking Independent Study (these prints are made on a metal plate rather than a linoleum block) for 2 credits and finished three pieces.  This semester my major and minor workloads are more demanding than last, so I’m just taking my Independent Study for one credit.  I’m going to be working on a single plate for the entire semester; I had to special order my zinc plate (which still hasn’t come in yet), so I’ve spent a lot of time working on my drawing.  I’m branching away from my typical realistic art to do something a bit more abstract: a London street depicted as the Union Jack with prominent London buildings (think Big Ben) and symbols (the queens crown).  What can I say, I’m getting super excited for my spring semester abroad in London!

In case you are having a difficult time visualizing what a print would look like, I’ll show you a couple examples of my work.  Don’t expect anything too impressive—I am no Picasso!

This is the first print linoleum print I made. It’s called a white line drawing since the major figure (a birch tree, in case it wasn’t clear!) is in white.

This is a black line linoleum print… It’s basically the opposite of the white line print since the major figure is outlined in black.

I probably had the most fun making this print.  It’s called a reduction print; all the different colors came from one block of linoleum: as I finished printing one color I would carve away all the linoleum that I wanted to stay the color I just printed.  It’s kind of a complicated concept to grasp, but the result turned out really neat!

This is my first print on a zinc plate.  I used a pointed metal rod to scrape away the surface of the metal.

This print looks pretty similar to the previous one, but I washed this plate in an acid bath to get more pristine, crisp lines. This is definitely one of my favorite prints!

To me, the Independent Study Program at Colby is one of the best aspects of the school.  You can do an Independent Study in almost any subject.  You get to explore your passions and work one-on-one with a professor. My reccommendation: do an Independent Study while at Colby. Whether you do it as a hobby or to further explore your major, you will have an amazing time.

Until next time!

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