How To Expand Your Artist News into Multi Blog Posts and Interactions: The Leslie Parke Print Project

Branches, © Leslie Parke

When Leslie Parke realized that her oil paintings on linen canvas of highly detailed kitchen and dining treasures, trees, and trash–yes trash that she turns into stunningly beautiful images–would be perfect for prints, she took on a new project to turn one her paintings into a print edition using traditional printmaking techniques. She also turned the project into multiple opportunities to expand her blog posts, newsletter communications, and interactions with her readers and followers by gaining their feedback along the way–all of which she titled The Print Project.

Janet’s Shelf, © Leslie Parke

Crystal and Porcelain, Oil on Linen, 46 x 48 In, © Leslie Parke, 2010

The overall goal of Leslie’s The Print Project writings …” was to help my readers learn something about printmaking, understand the process and history a little, and to give them a context in which to gauge what I was doing. The general public is not aware of the work and expense that goes into making a print. The better informed the collector is the better collector they become. They have more confidence and can talk about their purchases.”

When Leslie Parke decided to write these The Print Project blog posts and newsletters, she felt she had something to talk about. “I am an experienced artist, but have very limited experience with printmaking. Here was a chance for me to share the experience as I, too, made discoveries about the medium. My thought was, I would give my contacts a heads up that this is what I was doing, then when they saw The Print Project in the heading of my email newsletters they could take a look or not depending on their interest.”

What Leslie discovered is that non-artists are just as fascinated with the printmaking processes as artists. Leslie’s idea was to use her blog and newsletters to allow others to see the development of her printmaking process as it unfolded in real time. “For those seriously interested, on my blog I gave them background into ways that other artists used prints,” Leslie said. “Some of my contacts are collectors, some are artists and others are just interested observers.  My thought was the more informed they were the more confident they would feel when looking at my work. They would know how it evolved and all the work that went into creating it. I cannot report whether or not this will make a difference in the number of pieces collected.  But whenever I run into someone who receives the newsletter, they engage with me right away about the project. ”

To start off The Print Project, Leslie’s first blog post was on selecting one of her paintings to turn into a print. In her newsletter she asked–“Is there a painting of mine you would like to see re-imagined in print? I was thinking of working with the tree paintings, but I would be interested in what you think. Drop me a line if you have a suggestions.” Later she would turn her request for feedback into a full newsletter (copied below).

Another of her blog posts was on Creating Four Color Lithographic Plates, complete with a YouTube video showing the materials and methods she used to create the layers necessary for her four color lithograph.

Leslie wrote blog posts on the history of printmaking–from ancient times to the original Pop art era–writing about Hokusai, Monet and Roy Lichtenstein prints which incorporate art images, another post on the prints of Matisse, one on the prints of Joseph Raffael and Bonnard, and another on the printmaking of Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler-all artists she admires and identifies with in some way.

She also blogged on a contemporary example of an artist creating prints in our present time: The Print Project: Shepard Fairey — Harmony & Discord: A Layered approach to prints, that also contains a fascinating video of Shepard Fairey at work inside Pace Editions in New York City.

To update the progress of her printmaking, Leslie sent out a newsletter–The Print Project: Off to the Printers.

Then to encourage interactions and gain feedback, Leslie sent this newsletter to her mailing list:

LESLIE PARKE LOGO
Dear Marie
Here are the first proofs that Tim Sheesley, the Master Printer, sent me. So far, there are three versions of the print. In one of them he used very high saturation colors (bright colors). In another I suggested four colors based on the paints I used in the original painting. That resulted in the print with more muted colors. He then made a print on black paper just to suggest other ways I could interpret the print.These are not the final prints. I will be traveling out to Tim’s studio in Otego to make the final prints. I will be playing with both the color and the paper. At this stage, I would be very interested to know if you have a preference between the bright and the muted color. Feel free to share your thoughts. You have followed this process to this point. I would love to know your preferences.Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Leslie

Almond Tree Bright
Almond Tree Bright
Almond Tree Muted
Almond Tree Muted
Almond Tree on Black
Almond Tree on Black
Detail – Almond Tree Muted
detail bright
Detail – Almond Tree Bright
Leslie then allowed for plenty of time to receive responses before sending for follow-up newsletter:
LESLIE PARKE LOGO
Dear Marie,This has been a wild month with three shows, two of which were at exactly the same time. With the studio nearly empty I am happy to be settling down to work.But first, I wanted to get back to you about your input on the print. Thank you, Marie, for taking the time to review and comment on the print proofs. Your response helped me re-conceive the project and because of your insights I chose to redraw the plates from scratch and make totally new color configurations. For the last month I worked on the plates at a drawing table in front of a window in my studio.

new print plate
One of the plates as I worked at it on my desk with light pouring through the window.

Several friends said they wanted to see all three prints in a suite. They suggested using seasonal colors in a grouping.

Monet-bridgeMonet-2

One friend went so far as to send me some jpgs of Monet’s Japanese Bridge where the color changed according to the season. That made me think of other paintings by Monet where the color changed depending on the time of day. I turned to Monet’sRouen Cathedral for inspiration, perhaps also because Roy Lichtenstein had already made an interesting interpretation of these paintings in print.

monet-lichtenstein

The new plates are finished and soon I will travel to Corridor Press to work on the proofs with Tim Sheesley.

I can’t wait to show you the results. As soon as they are done, Marie, I will invite you to the studio for champagne and a sneak preview before I post them online.

Again many thanks for your input,

Leslie

 
Leslie Parke, a painter from upstate New York, is a recipient of the Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Grant for Individual Support, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest grant as artist- in-residence at the Claude Monet Foundation in Giverny, France, and the George Sugarman Foundation Grant, among others. Her exhibits include the Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas, the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Parke has a BA and MA from Bennington College. Her work is in numerous corporate and private collections.
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This Print Project story continues to unfold as Leslie works in her studio on her print plates.

http://leslieparke.com
http://leslieparke.com/blog/


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