Megalo, our local gem of a print access studio, is having a lovely little show about dogs at the moment, called Dog of a Show. I went to the opening tonight. I also have a piece in the show. It won third prize. I didn't even know it was a show with prizes! I just thought it was a member's show to raise money for a new press. I came away with a voucher for $50 worth of paper or printmaking materials. I am very happy. I am also gobsmacked. I don't win prizes very often.
I can't show you the piece because I didn't take any photos of it (I finished it JUST before I headed down to Bega, and had to rush it to the Gallery). But I can describe it. I wanted to do something about a cat, just to be contrary. But I thought it would be wrong just to have a cat, so I thought about a dog to go with the cat. And then I thought about cats and dogs for a while. I thought it would be fun to do a linocut of a cat and a dog. So I got a photo of Lucky, the dog we used to own but now belongs to Colonel Duck, and a photo of Mr Padge the cat. Lucky was standing with his back to the camera, and all you can see is his tail, three legs, and his little black bumhole. I cut him out in Photoshop, and made the background black. He's a very white dog, so the contrast was fab. Then I cut Padge out of his photo (he looks rather alarmed, as if he's seen a dog) and put him against a white background. Being a black cat, the contrast was fab. I printed them out, and used them as the basis for drawing up the linocut.
It was a simple idea, white dog on black, black cat on white. But by the time I finished cutting the lino, I just wasn't happy. it just wasn't doing it for me. I still liked the idea, the medium just wasn't right. So I decided to do something else. I ended up drawing Lucky on some stiff black scraperboard (you scrape the black away with a blade, and you get a result much like a wood engraving), and manipulating Padge on screen to make him a bit spooky, then printing him using my inkjet printer onto some white tissue (you have to be careful to stick-tape the tissue to normal bond paper, otherwise it clogs up the printer). Then I stuck one to the other and entered it like that. I called it 'Dichatomy', as a little pun on 'dichotomy' and the French word 'chat' for 'cat'.
And it won a prize! I'm chuffed. Can you tell? There's a lot of really good work in the show, which is why, when I realised they were handing out prizes, it didn't cross my mind that I would get anything. I'm still giggling at inappropriate moments and turning red.
I hope some of you locals go to see the show. Thank you to the staff at Megalo, who work really hard, and thank you to Helen Maxwell, who showed excellent taste as a judge -- I liked her pick of Best in Show, who was Karin Maier. My pick of the show, though, was Katharine Nix's dog sculptures, which you can see if you click the exhibition link above.