Out of the Blue

Silk Trail 47, unique digital print, paper size 11 x 8.5 inches
This is what happens when a printer starts to run out of ink as you're printing an image: Lines appear in the print field. Less prominent colors in the image appear stronger because the ink for the main color is almost gone. Color gets deposited at the beginning of the print, or along the sides--the cartridge's vain attempt at producing the image it was programmed to do. I used to hate when that happened. Now I live for the ink to run low.
What you see here is what happened when I exploited all of that by printing, overprinting and reprinting several images on the same page, using the fast draft and normal printing features to vary the amount of ink laid down, as well as feeding the paper so that the images are out of register. I'm not giving you any more specifics except to say that the images I printed are from my Silk Road series. I'm calling this print series Silk Trail. Although each pass is a pale version of the original image--a trail--the image becomes a full and unique print through my printing process. (The images you see here are small-scale digital scans of the originals.)
What I'm doing with the ink is not all that different from that I'm doing when I paint: laying down successive layers of fairly transparent paint to build up a small color field. You can see some Silk Road paintings here and here and elsewhere on this blog.
The print series is up to #113. I'm waiting for the cartridge to run out so that I can bring the series to 100. After that, I don't know. Some of these prints will be shown by Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson next month. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I'm having a blast.

Silk Trail 44
Silk Trail 7

Silk Trail 8

Silk Trail 9

Silk Trail 39
Silk Trail 46
Silk Trail 33
Silk Trail 18
Silk Trail 45
Thanks to Julian Jackson for the title, which came in conversation.


Altoon Sultan said...

These are just beautiful; the light and texture are enticing, and the small size concentrates the image.

Cindy Morefield said...

Does someone, somewhere, give an award for "Best Use of Inkjet Printer"? You should get that award. Fantastic!

S.A. said...

Hey Joanne --- these are brilliant and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Nancy Natale said...

Good for you, Joanne, in finding a way to make the best of the end of the cartridges and get a beautiful result at the same time - utilitarian, inventive and extending your work into another medium all at once. These pieces look fabulous online and are probably even better in person.

Donna Dodson said...

Very Agnes Martin!

mikesorgatz said...

beautiful and resourceful! i used to work in a printshop and loved the colors on washup mats that were used to clean rollers. the ink was transparent and would accumulate to form gorgeous washes of color. a similar yet different effect.

anne mcgovern said...

Sensational, I can't wait to run out of ink.

Lady Xoc said...

Joanne-I love how you are "having a blast". This reminds me of when I used to mix my own colors (mostly tints of various grays) and refill old cartridges to print slightly offset series of patterns. Of course, your process is a lot cleaner both conceptually and in actual practice. I made a big mess and ruined a few printers, but they were dying printers anyway and the unpredictability was part of the excitement.

I adore the processes involved in "making do", or using things up, or repurposing complex tools when they no longer serve the manufacturer's intended purpose. In New England, where I'm from, there is an expression "swamp yankee" which, among other things connotes the ability to salvage the last bit of usefulness out of something (sometimes to the point of ridiculousness). But it is also a badge of pride and satisfaction.

Marc said...

i like these very much.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks, everyone!

Christian said...

Works by Agnes Martin but from the 21th century.
Thanks a lot !

Anonymous said...

Joanne, I love how you've made 2-d have a tactile quality and yes, very 21st c Agnes Martin-inspired!

Joanne Mattera said...

My little printer has no idea who Agnes is, so let's leave her out of it. ;-)

Stephanie Clayton said...

Beautiful, fluid, lush...
I just love when ideas come from unexpected sources.

Walker said...

These are very cool. Creative idea culled from your own work.

zackofalltrades said...

these would also make for excellent prototypes for sugar bite lithographic prints, on archival paper with archival inks, in editions...