Sunday, November 16, 2014

nov - ink and compare - curiosity club

How much pressure is enough? 

The challenge for the Curiosity Club. Two minutes. Double click to send images in detail.

Eighteen participants from the Marshall area were asked to study and think and compare inked impressions. Were these two images exactly alike?

Virginia, Phyllis, Jackie, and Pat were the first group of puzzle solvers to examine an inked impression and a cut woodblock. 

They concluded:
1) the woodblock was the reverse of the inked impression
2) the deep cuts on the block resulted in white areas in the print
3) noticed the trees

The second group looked closely at three inked impression, next.

They concluded:
1) The dark impression was probably the first print inked up.
2) The left one had cornstalks and flowers in it.

      All were surprised to hear that the artist preferred the blackest black one. Many liked the faint ones. One lady, Carol, asked how the "cornstalk and flower cuts" were removed from the woodblock. An Elmer's paste was applied to the cuts, let dry, then wet sanded with 220 grade sandpaper and some water. The surface was gently wet sanded until the cut surface was smooth to the touch. When inked, the previous cuts printed black. (click on link for video HERE )

     It was a commercial artist at the Union Station in Kansas City named Fred Geary, a native of Carrollton, who got a bug for woodcuts. He was CURIOUS. He tried cutting on a linoleum block first. Something like this:

  As Geary's curiosity grew, Geary tried woodcuts, and then wood engravings, which use a harder wood. In 1935 Geary had an entry accepted in the 16th International Print Makers Exhibition, at the Los Angeles Museum Exposition Park, in California. He was one of one hundred and eighty-five print makers who had work exhibited.

         ABOVE, "Birthplace of Jesse James" by Fred Geary, wood engraving,18th impression of 100. This meant Geary had 18 impressions of that were just as DARK and as RICH and as PERFECT as the one you see here. The ink impression or proof measured 7 1/2 by 10 3/8 inches.
         The Carrollton Public Library graciously allowed five of their Geary collection to be shown at the Curiosity Club.

     Karl Marxhausen, an artist from Carrollton, prepared linoleum blocks for the Curiosity Club. The one to the LEFT was based on the right side of Geary's work.
Compare the inked impression to the RIGHT with Geary's work above. Places were marked for cutting, and students from previous workshops have made all the cuts. CURIOUS participants all inked from the same block, but applied different pressure as they HAND BURNISHED the back on the paper. The most frequent question was: "How much pressure is enough??"

Margaret wanted to do another one. Two minute video.
Margaret (M): Does it make any difference how much you rub on this? 
Karl Marxhausen (KM): I guess you will find out. 
M: Ok (chuckle) (paper slides askew) Oh shoot. Do I take the paper off? 
KM: Just keep going.
Kathy: I bet it is just stuck to the block.
KM: And if it is stuck to the block that is a good thing!
M: Which one do you think is better? 
Kathy: That is your interpretation.
KM: Which one would you hang on your refrigerator?
M: You know, I don't know.
KM: (points) This one (on the right) is upside down. (points to left) This one is right side up.
Kathy: There you go. That might make it a little better.
M: (point to left) Probably this on is better.
KM: I'd hang on to both and sign them both. And say, "I DID THIS." 
M: (chuckle) And what if I....
KM: No, that's what gives it VALUE. If you say, I did this. And they ARE different. Then you can point that out. Say, "It was HARD. Cuz look, they ARE NOT THE SAME. I did both of them, but they are not the same.
M: (chuckles and she signs them)
KM: (points) Is that yours too?
M: Yeah.
KM: I would take ALL THREE.
M: You know what I did here? I signed it upside down. (chuckles)
KM: Hey, that works.

Edith and Margaret compare their impressions. Hmmm.

Virginia Sprigg signed her impression and clipped it to the clothesline John had put up. She went home and came back with a woodcut her first cousin had done. Donald Hayob was a retired art teacher from Slater, Missouri.

"I taught art at Longview Community College. The class was doing a section on Linocuts. I figured I would do one myself. So I herded them outside, we did drawings of the campus chapel, and went back in and did the box. I worked on the birch panel at night, for three nights. There was probably six to eight hours of work in it. Passion is what it takes. That and patience." (Hayob was reached on the phone, Sunday, Nov 16, 2014. He is 76 years old, retired, and lives on nine acres of land on the south edge of Lee's Summit, Missouri.)

One minute. Sprigg showed the woodcut "Longview Chapel" by Donald Hayob. His work measured 20 by 12 inches. Seeing the Geary works, and doing her own impression sparked Virginia to bring this treasure to share at the Curiosity Club. Sprigg lives in Marshall, Missouri.

Six minutes. Geary wonder at the Curiosity Club. A CURIOUS Holly Forsman inked her impression. So did Jackie. So did Margaret. Everyone this day was CURIOUS. 

"Once you started inking, they drew in closer." Kathy Tylee


"I have worked with linocuts before." Carol 
Below, both Carol and John took turns, sat and used a Speedball cutter on the second linoleum block Marxhausen had prepared.

"Now I see that the cuts are careful and controlled."  John


"Where can I buy a lino block?" Vera 

"You can buy them at the Dick Blick art store in Kansas City." Karl

Artist Karl Marxhausen cuts on his lino block. CLICK HERE
Fifteen minutes. At his home studio, Marxhausen works on a winter scene. He used this linoleum block as a example of block work at the Curiosity Club Wednesday, Nov 12th. For further cutting, CLICK HERE

Tell me something about the tree by the house that Fred Geary did, below.
"There is lots of white cut out of it."

The Curiosity Club meets the second Wednesday of every month at 1:00 pm at the Marshall Senior Center, 14 E. Morgan St. It is sponsored by the Senior Center and the Marshall Public Library. You can join them for lunch at 12 or dessert, coffee and curiosity satisfaction at 1:00 pm. For more information call 660-886-3391, Marshall Public Library.

Thanks to Holly Forsman for taking photos for this post.
Thanks to Carrollton Public Library and Director Sue Lightfoot for inked impressions by Fred Geary, from their collection.
Thanks to Kathy Tylee, Director of the Marshall Senior Center.
Thanks to Wicky Sleight, Director of the Marshall Public Library. Thanks to Karl Marxhausen for layout and additional photos.
Marxhausen is a member of the Nelson Atkins Print Society. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

october - mary ann strandell

Out of the box.
Not seen anywhere else.
 The works of Mary Ann Strandell are
Elements are suspended
in a space
some clear - decisive
some vague - out of focus.
She names this

     In her drawing High Tea IV With Seeds  it is the softness of pastel, 
and the erasure of graphite that breathe "transitory states into being." 
A quality that is both illusive and difficult to render. That is key to Mandell's vision.
    Her Matisse-like flourishes with sumi ink are both bold and lyrical. This is not just a counter-balance. It is also translucency. In the drawn medium she sometimes uses ink on Mylar to achieve this.

Transit Square, 24 inches square, 
3D lenticular print on sintra, 2004
Double click on images to enlarge

Her compositions are complex,
in motion, and frozen. 

In her drawing Rotate View Up the artist limits herself to a stark and unforgiving medium, that of sumi ink. She takes on a challenging perspective, and creates a disappearing staircase. Bravo. This drawing gives us clues to what Mandell is interested with. And a point of view each one can respect. She is toying with something championed only by particle physicists, namely quatuum mechanics. Simply put, states of being that shift in front of our eyes.

In her oil paint rendition of the staircase she gives us an idea of her color scheme (above). Her lenticular print making on the same subject (below).

Hotel, Apple Staircase, lenticular print, 16 x 24 inches, 2012

"The Mary Ann Strandell program this past Thursday, Oct 3rd, was very well received and very well attended with 40 attendees by the time the program was finished. This included 2 people from the Bemis Center." John Mallery

Meggan Draper II With Drones, lenticular print

"During the presentation she provided insight into the creation of a large commissioned piece she created for the Polsinelli law firm in Kansas City. This piece is approximately 7 ft high by 30 ft long. Hearing about the creation of the print from the proposal process all the way to the final installation was intriguing. She even invited anyone who was interested an opportunity to view the installed piece that Friday at 1:00 pm. About a dozen people took advantage of her offer. To hear an artist discuss their piece in a place for which it was specifically designed was amazing. It was truly an exceptional experience. 

I think what made her presentation so interesting is her passion and excitement for her work. She is a very successful artist with multiple shows occurring around the country. A show just closed in Charlottesville, Virginia and she has shows opening in New Mexico and New York in the next several weeks." John Mallery
Mary Ann Strandell

See more about Strandell at

Layout and text by Karl Marxhausen
Lens 2 photos and comments by John Mallery 

Cherry Stairs, 24 x 24”, 3D lenticular print on sintra, 2008, 
(courtesy of Mary Ann Strandell,, accessed Oct 27, 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

september - benton in black and white

"Personally, I really enjoyed just hearing the curator talk about the Bentons and, for me, looking at them there in the gallery. So many great images." Stephen Pruitt
Wreck of the Ol "97, Benton, 1944
    "Yes I was excited about the range of white to deep blacks and all inbetween that Benton was able to do.  I think other thing that I finally
noticed was this:  that in his most dramatic pieces there was something in the foreground, mid-ground and in the background.  All things happening at once, clear and dramatic.   I noticed his clouds how they reminded me of Asian cloud motifs in their art work and was wondering if he was influenced by them.  I did not think the clouds were Midwestern in appearance but more Asian artistic renditions.  Another thing with Benton that I liked is its basic human nature appeal....not fancy people, not wealthy things, but people struggling to make a life or to deal with the life that has been dealt out to them." Paula Winchester 
Prayer Meeting, Benton, 1949

Benton in Black and White
Click on
"The one big thing that I think should be emphasized is exactly what an original print really is.  There seemed to be some confusion on that issue Thursday night on the part of a participant.  The point is "Original prints are multiple works of art, entirely distinct from drawings, paintings, and sculpture, but fully equivalent in originality." Stephen Pruitt
The Farmer's Daughter, Benton, 1944
Spencer Library Guide
On Marilyn Carbonell's presentation on Benton in the Spencer Art Reference Library:
"The depth of the possible "researchability" that exists out there via the internet. I went the her library yesterday to research the London Times 1785-1860s hoping to find some greater in depth info I wish to find. Can't say I found anything new but was interested to see the original in print on the screen. Also, what I had to learn to operate. The library staff was oh! So patient and kind to me as I struggled with printing my discoveries and then forgetting etc etc. " Paula 

Happy Birthday to Thomas Hart Benton

(Benton images courtesy of Nelson Atkins Museum of Art,, accessed September 13, 2014)

Comments by society members Stephen Pruitt and Paula Winchester
Layout by Karl Marxhausen

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

august - member's choice

Three Nudes in the Forest (Drei Akte im Walde): Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), 1933, woodcut, 35.2 x 50 cm (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City) 
Melencolia I, 1514
 Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)
 Engraving; 9 1/2 x 7 3/8 in. (24 x 18.5 cm) 
"I thought the selections that Lisbeth made were well thought out and interesting.  The early prints that she selected were excellent examples so members could see the growth of techniques and development of print making into the 20th Century." Richard Hamilton 

 Photos by Eric Lehnert, Print Society member.