Backroads Journal

My Journey into Creativity

The days have gotten shorter, the wind that now comes unhindered across the plains carries a crisp, dampness that chills the bones and our thoughts now lean toward those projects and gatherings that give us an excuse to stay inside for a while.  We have tailgated and cheered, raked and bagged, driven the backroads and fulfilled our souls with another spectacular fall season of color.  For myself, now it’s time to step back and evaluate the accomplishments of the year and make some decisions and course corrections where needed.  After all, what is life but a journey that requires us to make decisions on the course we will take in order to arrive at our destination of choice.

My personal journey this year has taken me back down some of the roads that I once explored as a young man.  Thirty years later, a little worse-for-wear, but hopefully, a little wiser, I am back into peddling artwork at art and craft shows around the state.  With the state of the economy and the attitudes of those we see at the shows, the term for our efforts is more showing than peddling.  But, even with the economy in shambles and dispositions to match, I have decided to chart a new route that will take me on a journey of new discovery and creativity.  I am going to broaden my base of interest, take my printmaking to a higher level and explore the art fair possibilities in a wider region.  The new year will be a year of exploration, creativity and energy!

In order to poke my creativity, I have looked into and decided to try a method of printmaking using the product called Solarplate Copper.  Developed by Dan Weldon in the 1970’s, but just now becoming popular in the printmaking community, this product is extremely versatile, easy to use and non-toxic.  It consists of a thin steel plate coated with a light-sensitive polymer.  Artwork prepared on a transparency is placed over the plate and exposed to light.  Where the UV light hits the plate, the polymer hardens.  Unexposed polymer stays soft and water-soluble.  A water rinse washes away the soft areas, leaving a printing plate that can be used for relief printing, etching-type line work printing or aquatint, depending on the art and preparation.  What I was most interested in was the almost unlimited creativity and freedom in preparing the art transparency.  It’s possible to combine drawing, photography and written words all into one process.

In the next few weeks, I plan to experiment with different methods of art preparation and punch the creative energy up a bit.  I will take you along, the best I can, and share some of the joys and frustrations as I try some new printmaking techniques.  

With Thanksgiving coming this week, I am reminded of all of the things that I am thankful for and am able to experience.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday season with lots of family and friends around. 

For more information about solar plate printmaking, check out:
For information about the Solarplate Copper product available through Daniel Smith Art Supplies, go to: /–id-43.