Johntimothy Pizzuto

Spring Bouquets

JTP Flower Panels 3 SQ.jpg

Johntimothy has recently been working on a wonderful suite of small, delicate flower prints. Measuring 7"h x 5"w, these one-of-a-kind pieces are a mix of intaglio and screen print mounted on cradled panels.  I managed to convince him to share some of these still life pieces with our readers, as well as talk about the inspiration and drive behind this body of work. 

We'll start with a photo of one of the many vases of dry, dead flowers that adorn our studio environment. I've taken to calling our place the headquarters of The Dead Flower Society, which is a term of affection, as I enjoy these quirky arrangements as well. In this state, the flowers perform quite well as models for drawing, but there is more to the story than that, as you'll read about in my conversation with Johntimothy below.

Dead Flower Still Life

Dead Flower Still Life

PRP: What do you find interesting or compelling about flowers as a subject?

JP: My use of them as a subject matter comes from two directions really. The first is the inspiration that comes from observing and drawing the flowers as they decay. They are beautiful objects to translate into linear drawings...I really enjoy the intricate line work that I can explore through observing and drawing these forms.

The second piece of my curiosity is the connection to the art historical use of flowers, specifically in Dutch still life paintings. I find it interesting that flower imagery is layered with meaning and metaphor, but at the same time serves as visual decoration. I'm fascinated by that layered aspect of their visual being.

JTP Panel Flowers 1 SQ.jpg

PRP: There is a lot going on in these pieces...can you tell us how they were made?

JP: They begin with the intaglio line image (engraving, etching, and/or drypoint) made from an initial observational drawing of a bouquet of dead flowers. The next stage is layering the piece with screen print images from Dutch flower paintings. This mix of screen and intaglio results in a kind of abstraction, which somewhat obscures each layer through the overlapping and merging of the two.

JTP Flower Panels 2 SQ.jpg

JP: The immediate read is something abstract and non-objective and the viewer has to get in close to see both the line work and begin to see the screen print flower imagery as well. You can't focus on both at the same time...you have to go back and forth between the two. My interest in this aspect comes from reading interviews with David Hockney and his discussion and exploration of perception and vision. He talks about how we are unable to focus on two things at once and our perception shifts between one and the other. That's also what I'm exploring in these pieces.

JTP Flower panels 4 SQ.jpg

I just love these intimate pieces with their delicate line work and floating color....the essence of the still life flowers seems to lift and merge with the flowers from paintings of long ago in a sort of magical interplay. There are other explorations in Johntimothy's studio based on these themes, which we will visit another time.

Hope you are enjoying spring where you are. Here we are enduring what we hope is the last snow of the season! Cheers!

JTP Flower Panels 5 SQ.jpg

 

 

 

The Art Filled Home Moves To Missouri Bend Studio

Greetings! Along with resolutions and renewed goals, the new year brings with it the inclination to reorder and freshen up all kinds of things in our lives. One of my little clean up projects involves streamlining some online efforts I've had going since last spring with the Etsy shops, Missouri Bend Studio and The Art Filled Home.

Johntimothy and I started The Art Filled Home, our collaborative Etsy shop venture, last spring in an effort to bring the best of both of us to folks seeking affordable small-scale art works. We've made some work together in the intervening months that we both like a lot and plan to continue collaborating into the future. The initial Etsy shop, Missouri Bend Studio, was (and is) still a primary priority, so having a second Etsy shop made life a little more complicated. So, one of my little projects at the start of this new year is to merge those efforts and bring the works from The Art Filled Home over to Missouri Bend Studio, then close the virtual door on The Art Filled Home. All the works that were there can (or will eventually) be found under the Collaborations section of Missouri Bend Studio.

The images here are a partial run from one of the last weeks we did the daily mono print series. Johntimothy would work on engraving a small plate throughout the week, printing it as he went, usually at some point near the end of each day. I would respond to the image or marks on each print with drawing....involving watercolor and/or ink. In the few days represented here, dating from the end of November, you can see that it is the same underlying plate, though it may have altered through more engraved marks. The drawing on top is, of course, different each day. 

Each plate he began with was a "found plate", which meant that he was starting with small 3-4 inch plates cut down from larger zinc plates that had been left behind by students. He would begin by grinding and degrading whatever image marks might have been there and then engraved his own. On this plate, that horizontal line across the middle was quite deep and ended up being part of the plate, which I didn't mind at all.

Since Johntimothy was on sabbatical last semester, there was plenty of time for him in the studio (which, alas, is no longer the case now that he is back to teaching), so this project went on for a couple of months. These are some of my favorites and are all available (follow the link under each one to take you to the listing), along with many others over at Missouri Bend Studio in the Collaborations section....along with countless other small works of art that would love to live out in the world, rather than remain confined to laying quietly on the table in my studio!

I'm about to begin a new series of drawings in the studio....I've got the acrylics and inks out, along with a small stack of crisp white BFK Rives paper....a new series of mixed media pieces waiting to be born! Enjoy your weekend....feel free to comment or get in touch...would love to hear from you!

 

 

Trace Drawings: A Daily Practice

the daily practice with lights out

the daily practice with lights out

Johntimothy has a daily practice that we'll share with you today. As seen in the photo above, he makes "trace drawings" from the reflections of the light passing through glass. In playing with the arrangement of objects and tracing the lines in the reflections, he creates beautiful abstract drawings filled with pattern and wonder! I asked him a few questions about his daily practice so he could share some of the process with our readers.

the daily practice with lights on

the daily practice with lights on

Your daily drawings are the result of the play of light and shadows on glass. How did you come to use this process?

For the longest time, I have been captivated by shadows and reflections. It was early on in my time in Sarasota, now decades ago, that I first traced the reflections from a water glass on a cloth tablecloth at a holiday function. I enjoyed the translation of the image into line. Since that time, I’ve played with these trace drawings off and on. Now, that I am on sabbatical for the semester, I decided to reengage with the idea more in depth as a basis for a daily practice.

daily drawings (detail 1)

daily drawings (detail 1)

daily drawings (detail 2)

daily drawings (detail 2)

What do you enjoy the most about the process of these trace drawings…or what do you find most satisfying?

It’s an image, but not an image. It’s actally an image from the external world, but abstract. Someone looking at these drawings would not know that they are drawings of the reflections of light passing through glass.

There is a meditative quality to drawing them and that was part of what drew me to making them. In one sense, I don’t have to think about it and I can just be in the moment, with the drawing. Partly, I hoped this process would help me find a direction for my work.

When they are all laid out in a line on the floor…it is kind of fun. They are a timeline, a visual timeline. I am fascinated by how they flow together and part of that is because of the repeated lines and marks of the drawn shapes.

laying out the daily drawings....most recent first, moving back in time

laying out the daily drawings....most recent first, moving back in time

Daily drawing timeline

Daily drawing timeline

Do you see these drawings as an end in themselves or do you find yourself visualizing them translated into prints?

No, I don’t see them as being anything more than what they are at this point in time. That would be a forced thing, so I am happy with them just being what they are.

daily drawings (detail 3)

daily drawings (detail 3)

daily drawings (detail 4)

daily drawings (detail 4)

 

Prints in Process: A Visit with Johntimothy Pizzuto

Greetings, with an update from Missouri Bend Studio, where Johntimothy and I are busy in the studio. As I've given some thought to this blog, I think we'll focus a Tuesday post on what Johntimothy is up to, both in and out of the studio and a Friday post will feature my work...Studio J and Studio P, so to speak. So, today is Johntimothy's day....I'll follow him around a bit!

Working on one of many mixed intaglio plates he has in the works!

Working on one of many mixed intaglio plates he has in the works!

Johntimothy and I have been attempting to maintain a somewhat strict studio schedule of late, trying to keep ourselves productive and on course. He is on sabbatical this semester and therefore doesn't have any classes to teach, so is dedicated to spending time making new work and finishing some other projects. We both spend mornings in the studio and he too has begun working on his own daily drawing project....but, more on that another time. 

This morning he worked on a number of plates he has had in process. All are intaglio plates, which means that he is creating the image by incising into the plate with various tools. Intaglio is a broad term, which might include any number of processes such as etching, engraving, drypoint, or mezzotint, to name a few....and in fact, to name all the processes that have some part to play in each of the plates he is currently working on! He refers to them as "mixed intaglio". Some of the tools that come into use can be seen below on his desk. That's quite a magnifier, eh? I think my work is hard on the eyes, but try drawing fine lines and tiny marks through a zinc plate and being able to see what in the world you've done!

John at work 2 8 29 17.jpg

Over lunch I asked Johntimothy to define the printmaker's lingo in layman's terms, so I could help relay it to our readers. I'll give you the basics here, but you can click on each of the terms and be taken to more expansive Wikipedia definitions and discussion. He loves all these processes and depending on what he wants the image to reveal and what kind of mark he wants to make, he will choose the method and proper tool for working the plate.

Drypoint: drawing directly into the matrix or printing plate (could be metal or even plexiglas) with a sharp stylus.

Etching: image in the plate is the result of etching with acid or corrosive salt (he uses ferric chrloride, a safer etchant) in order to hold ink.

Engraving: Cutting incised lines in a metal printing plate with the use of a burin (there's also wood engraving, but that uses different tools).

Mezzotint: Reductive process in which the drawing is revealed by scraping and burnishing the image of the dark background surface created by a making a field of dense burrs with a tool called a rocker. Mezzotint creates a tonal image.

Those are very basic ways to describe the different processes, so I encourage you to follow up and investigate these links to find more information. You will see the evidence of all of these processes in his work....check out his gallery page here on the website.

Earlier proof below, today's proof above

Earlier proof below, today's proof above

So, after working on a plate for some time, it will be time to see just where it is and how far it's come from the last proof. So today, some fresh proofs ended up pinned to the board in the studio. Check them out....everything still a work in process. He'll often pin an earlier version below and the fresh proof above in order to check progress, as seen here.

Earlier proof below, today's proof above

Earlier proof below, today's proof above

The changes in the print immediately above here are the most striking. See especially the difference in the rich darks that show up in the upper example. That's the mezzotint....so he "rocked" that part of the plate to create the tiny burrs that hold a lot of ink, creating that rich, deep black. Where you see white on the plate, the ink is wiped off, leaving ink only in the incised lines that show the image. This image will go through quite a bit more change, I'm quite sure. I'm glad he was ready to do some proofing today, as there are many many hours of work on the plates in between printing even just a proof.

I have immense appreciation and respect for printmakers and ability to create such richness from a simple piece of metal. There is a long history, tradition and dedication to craft that comes with the territory, which draws many folks to become printmakers....and others of us to love what they are able to create!