Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Production Notes

Cease Fire

Thanks to my ongoing uneasy relationship with technology, I find myself with some unplanned free time for blogging this week. No sooner had I written last week’s optimistic post than my confidence was once again shaken by my inability to get the tools of my trade to work properly for me. I spent two grim days in a battle to the death with my photo printer, who was favored to win until a simple correction of settings (simple only if you know they exist, where to find them and how to re-set them) saved me from certain defeat. During the course of this epic struggle, I successfully uninstalled and reinstalled programs on my laptop and purchased support software and devices to guarantee that I would never again require 48 hours, a river of tears and an ocean of wine to finally hold in my hand a physical print of one of my images, suitable for framing.

How Not to Deal with Mercury Retrograde

For those of you who know astrology, I suppose it serves me right for attempting anything electronic during a Mercury Retrograde phase!  For those of you unfamiliar with or unbelieving in the miscommunications, foiled travel plans and machine malfunctions allegedly typical to this phase, let me just add that I was all set to continue printing today now that I’ve figured out how to do it with a minimum of stress and fuss, and in the last inches of a large print, the ink cartridge ran out! Thankfully, its replacement is already ordered and on the way, I am still more or less on schedule for this week’s tasks, and there is a bright side in that it does give me an opportunity to bring you all up to date on what’s been going on!

Last weekend in the triumphal march following the end of the Great Epson vs Mirollo War, I dropped off my contribution to the Artist’s Choice show at the Somerville Museum, a beautiful framed print I was proud to inscribe with my name and confident could stand up to any other works that might hang alongside it. While there I picked up copies of the postcard and map booklet produced especially for the event. It was a real thrill to see my name listed in the section for Vernon Street (you may recognize another name in the next column!) and also to know that during the big weekend, between the museum show and the Nave Gallery, I will have pieces of work displayed in two of the three featured group exhibitions! 

 My New Brochure

Aside from printing photos for my studio display, which will include at least 17 framed prints, I’ve been creating some brochures for both Brian and myself, to give our visitors something a little more informative and substantial than a postcard or business card to take away with them and remember us by. Open Studios will include almost 400 artists in various locations, 100 of them in our building at Vernon Street, so it’s important to be memorable and stand out!

 Brian's Brochure
At first it seemed easier to design and print them myself, but I soon learned that double sided printing with a printer that is still sulking because it couldn’t break me, and has always enjoyed misfeeding paper in every way possible, can be an arduous task, so I may have to take the template to a print shop and get a full run done professionally to save time and aggravation. It took over an hour to produce ten brochures, but all in all, I’m pleased with the results! 

Prints In Progress

As of this writing I still have 6 more large prints to do, and various support materials like labels, signage and price lists. Next week I’ll be concentrating on framing, which sounds easy but has already presented some issues of its own, the details of which I’ll spare you. In general, everything I thought I had plenty of time to do is taking much more time than I anticipated and I will likely be working up to the last minute, at which point, whatever is ready is ready and whatever isn’t will not be on display. 

 Frames Courtesy of Dick Blick

In the final week, I will need to tidy up, rearrange and transform my studio into an inviting exhibition space that will make people want to stay longer than it takes to find the free wine and the exit, even when there are so many other studios competing for limited attention.   My work is small – 8 x 10 inch prints in 11 x 14 frames – and subtle – black and white photography does not have the same wow factor as a large colorful painting or imposing sculpture calling to you from across a room. My work has no controversial sociopolitical message, revolutionary aesthetic agenda or content for which parental discretion might be advised. I am hoping that once people are drawn into the space and begin to look at what I have to offer, they will want to linger and ponder, perhaps even be grateful for my little sanctuary of simplicity after being overstimulated by such a variety and surfeit of outrageous styles and media.  

The Big Event

 I’ll be back soon with more news and images as things come together. Many thanks for visiting!


  1. I am so pleased that you have emerged triumphant (albeit with more to do) from the ashes of a rotten, rotten week. As a small person my mama apparently used to threaten to 'cry a puddle and drown everybody' when things did not go her way. I prefer the attitude of a cat we had who used to say mung, mung, mung. A very expressive phrase when delivered by a small bad tempered black cat.
    All digits crossed for this (and every week).

  2. Hey, EC - I'm going to have to remember that phrase the next time my machines attempt to get the better of me - even an inkjet printer knows not to mess with a black cat! Thanks as ever for your kindness and support!

  3. Oh Gabriella this all looks exciting,and your doing a great job defeating obstacles that get in your way :)
    I'm sure your show will look beautiful.
    Enjoy, xx

  4. Luis, Laura and Renilde: Thank you all so much for your comments and continued friendship! I truly appreciate it. It does feel like a bit of a wild ride lately, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy, or should be! I may sometimes get sick and tired of struggling, but I do understand that every obstacle I overcome gives me more strength and knowledge for the next challenge and gets me closer to achieving my goals, so all is well!

  5. Busy, busy, but all good things on your way. Dear Gabriella, it sounds and looks all wonderful. I wish you all the best and lots of succes!!!
    ♥ xoxo Monica

  6. G/TT - I love that you can write so brilliantly and eloquently about vanquishing the technology! I laughed and felt for you at the same time. I like the phrase above about puddles of tears and drowning - technology misbehaviours can make me feel like that. I think it's all looking great and exciting - the brochure looks fab; but I know the frustrations in self-printing. Best wishes and hope you remain the conqueror! Go well

  7. Thank you so much Monica! I know your thoughts are with me and B in this busy time - that can only make me stronger!

    Fiona, it does seem that every time I write about vanquishing the forces of technology, the Enemy sends in new troops! Yesterday I had no luck making my new scanner perform for me, and today we are awaiting what we hope will be an acceptable estimate from a local print shop to finish the job on the brochures for me! I was only managing about 10 an hour, and with the cost of the ink and paper and my own valuable time rolled together, paying someone else to do a batch of hundreds in a day or two seemed like the right idea! But it is good to know I can run some off myself in a pinch. Thank you for stopping by, my friend. Go well.

  8. doesn't matter how hard is this work and crazy it gets ... i love this part of printings , sites, folders, magazines........
    this is cool to me .
    great post !

  9. Caio, my friend! Yes, I like this sort of stuff too - when it isn't driving me crazy! It was a lot of fun to write and design the two brochures, and I have always enjoyed the "promotional materials" side of being an artist - that is, until the image I have in my head and the bad attitude of the machines I need to help me make that real come into conflict! Have a great weekend, and thanks for visiting me!

  10. What a wonderful hive of excitement, despite the frustrations! And you document it so beautifully, a work of art in itself.

    And how strange to see Brian's brochure there.

    One somehow imagines that each blogger lives in a hermetically sealed box, an avatar stuck on the outside for an identifying label. Then blow me down, they somehow nibble through the walls and start to fraternise!

    What a mysterious things this is, this bloggy community.

    As for the laptop, just threaten its keyboard with a hot coffee spill. Waterboarding soon pulls em into gear.

  11. Harry, so nice to see you here! Thank you for your kind words. I suppose in the end, my ability to document these struggles eloquently is my one lasting victory over these perpetually misbehaving machines! You make me laugh with your nibbled-through walls -- when I first began blogging last summer there were many "aha!" moments as followers of both Brian and myself began to make the connection that we were a cohabiting couple, so I suppose that counts as fraternising! As for my laptop, I think I will follow the advice a few comments back to simply pretend I am a black cat and mutter "mung mung mung" when vexed, and if that doesn't work, there's fresh coffee a-brewing. All the best to you, my friend.

  12. All the best wishes coming also from me..
    You have such a humor, dear Gabriella.
    Send you my hugs!

  13. wonderful post gabriella

    certainly lots been happening over here......and good to see you are on top of it all.


  14. Thank you so much dear Monika for your continued support. Hugs to you also and have a great week!

  15. Hi T - I am just barely on top of it, yes, but it is always good to have so much going on, better than nothing at all! Thanks for your comment, my friend.

  16. Gabriella - I'm so glad you won the war with technology (technology HATES me - if it were up to technology, Mercury would ALWAYS be in retrograde just to work me over) and the brochures look wonderful. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well with the exhibit and I can't wait to see pictures of how it goes :)


  17. Tracy, thanks so much for the good wishes! I wouldn't say I've won the war, so much as decided to sleep with the enemy! As I pull my work together, I can already see that there will be things left undone, and things that may not be perfect by my very high standards, but are perfectly okay to put up on a wall for display with pride. I guess my new modified goal is to have enough of a grasp on the production and presentation so that the images themselves, of which I am most proud, are not compromised in their coming across by a bad or obviously rookie job of printing, etc. Failing that, I will simply tell people, whatever flaws are noticed and noted - "I meant to do that! Imperfection is the new black!"

  18. G/TT _ I often look at your blog through Fiona's eyes but from time to time just dip in myself - I am in awe of the amount of work you and B are doing at the moment and all the challenges you are dealing with. My only advice is forget the tears keep the rivers of red going (wine that is). The brochures look great. Congrats on your place in the Somerville event. May you work wow the punters and may they loosen their wallets and buy. Go well. B

  19. Greetings, Barry! Apologies for not visiting your blog lately, but as you see things have been rather busy! I'll be posting soon about my progress as the big event gets closer. I am at the point where all that is left to do is frame my selected pieces and hang them properly, but for anyone who has ever mounted a show, it's well known this always takes twice as long as you think! All the best to you and F.