Mr. Wizard Lives On


The Capitol Arts Network show Patriotism opens tomorrow night at 6pm!  I am very much looking forward to the opening and hope that anyone that happens upon this blog will be able to make it.  I am looking forward to meeting people and answering questions about the two prints that I will have on display.  For the first time I used a custom printer to make my prints and I REALLY like the results.  After seeing the prints made by the printer, I can say that my own printing skills leave a lot to desire, and I will use them much more in the future. 

So I have been busy with getting the prints ready for this show, and with the 18 4×5 dry-plates that I have been working on for the August 10th H&F show.  But now that most of the work for those are complete, I have decided to cram in another hybrid dry-plate session with the idea of making a large 8×10 plate to show at Distric of Columbia Arts Center’s (DCAC) Wall Mountables deal on July 20th.  This is a very short turn-around for me given my luck with the plates as of late, but I feel that it is important to keep my work in front of eyes here in the DC area as much as I can.  With something at DCAC, and Capitol Arts at pretty much the same time, and the follow up at H&F Fine Arts, that gives me two solid months of having eyes on my work.  Eyes are important because I make my images to be seen!  Now I need to find something for the Fall….anyone out there have any ideas?  Right now I am not sure what image I am going to try to make for the DCAC deal, and at this point I am not sure I want to talk about the options that have been running through my mind, but I can say that it may be something from one of my recent explorations of West Virginia. 

While I have the darkroom cranked up, I am also going to try a few 8×10 of some of the Iraq images that have already been put to 4×5 plate for the H&F show.  The idea of keeping this activity after the creation of all of the 4×5’s was to remove the pressure of having to create images to have in the show.  This way I can be more relaxed with the 8×10 efforts fail because I already have images for the show.  If I do get some nice 8×10 plates I can sub them for the 4×5’s and be happy.

The 8×10’s are just a bit harder because of the amount of chemistry needed to make them.  The balancing act of emulsion coating and the finishing varnish is something that can work my nerves up into a knot when I am working with 8×10 plates.  At least with the dry-plates the chemistry is not as expensive at wet-plate so when I dump it down my arm and onto the floor it is not too bad.  The problem is that I do not work with large plates often enough so my hands and mind are not used to working with the larger metal, and the additional liquid rolling around on its surface.

Anyway, the chemicals will be mixed tonight, and I will precoat as few plates tonight so that everything will be ready to go on Saturday!  I hope by the end of the weekend that I have at least one nice 8×10 for DCAC, and anything more is an added value.  Progress reports to follow! 

The boxes have started to arrive from the multitude of vendors that I have ordered lab supplies from.  As I wrote before I had been dragging my feet with getting all of the hardware that I needed to move my wet-plate work forward.  Well, I spent some more money and now will have MOST of what I will need, but will have enough to start moving forward again.  In the arriving boxes are beakers, graduates, stirring rods, bottles, corks, all of the chemistry stuff that I always wanted as a kid, and that my parents would not let me have because they were afraid of what I might do with it. Mr. Wizard may be dead, but his spirit lives on!! 

Thanks for reading!


~ by Phil Nesmith on July 12, 2007.

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