Saturday, December 24, 2011

Not a typist

When I was in high school in the '60's, my dad encouraged me to take typing lessons so I "could always get a job." I refused. Just didn't every want to be a secretary. Not me.

So it's ironic that as an artist I love the art of type so much. And with the computer (upon whose keyboard I still type with only four fingers), one can play with type all day long.

It's especially ironic that I have reverted back to the family heirloom typewriter, the pre-WWII Royal which I used to type long letters, school essays, and poetry for many years, to generate letters to use as fodder for my current Type Studies.

The process is simple but very fun: type the alphabet and scan it, choose a letter, play with it in Photoshop until it has the quality I seek, print it big, mount it on a cradled board, then apply encaustic wax layers.

BTW, encaustic wax is beeswax with resin and sometimes pigment. The natural color, sort of a milky white with a bit of yellow, has a lot of opportunity for visual interest by itself, but then color is fun to play with too. So far, my goal for these studies has been to focus on the unfocused letter shape, with the wax layers being the adjective that modifies it.

One of the things I love about this process is that it is definitely an artistic process in which surpise and delight abound. Not only that, but the physical nature of  working with the hot wax is so sensually satisfying – and a great antidote to the cerebral environment of working with pixels (my other work).

Note to images: the D is 16" x 20" and all others shown here are 6" x 6".

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