Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Watercolors of Children

These are three little watercolor paintings I did from pencil sketches of children in my daughter's dance class. The sketches were created for and used in my book project Dancing in the Garden. Something about these three drawings compelled me to also make them into these stand alone paintings. Each painting is 5" x 5" on 90 lb. white Stonehenge paper.

The original drawings

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Self Portrait With Sasquatch" Revisited

My last day at Soaring Gardens I had a little time to play around with drawing and watercolor paintings, and one thing I did was revisit Self Portrait With Sasquatch, a woodcut I carved in 2011. The original print was a 4 layer reduction that I made in a single day. It was in fact the big finish of my 30 Prints in 30 Days project. It turned out better than expected, but because the print had to be completed in a single day, I only had time to make 2, and being a reduction, I could not make any more.

The last layer was rather interesting in-of-itself, and I recently thought to print some in black, oil-based ink and then add some hand-coloring. I'm rather pleased with these two finished works.

Nautilus and Ammonite: Fossil Field

This is the artwork for the final double-page spread for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. It is paired with the final two lines of the poem:

Where heart meets heart, and no more they part
Who meet in that other land. 

The original poem uses the phrase "better land" but as a secular humanist, I simply cannot use a word so biased against this life here on earth. I opted for something more neutral, leaving readers to their own interpretations. To me, the other land is simply that of posterity, thus the word "Remember". 

Wow - after over two years this book project finally complete. As with any project that reaches an end, my feelings are a mix of joy and sadness, pride and disappointment. And then there is the shifting in mindset from creation to how to publish and get it out to an audience. For the moment, I'm just going to take some time to feel my heart swell with emotion. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nautilus and Ammonite: Distant Strands

The next finished artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. In this image the Nautilus has aged and still holds on to hope of somehow being reunited with her friend. The faded memory of the ammonite melts into dotted strands of DNA. It is a reference to the humanistic notion that scientific study will uncover significant aspects of past narratives, and somehow complete a yearning for that which seems missing from the story of life on earth. It is unclear whether this is merely a hopeful mirage or the eve of a genuine reunion of sorts.

It is meant to be paired with this partial stanza:

Yet the hope, how sweet, again to meet,
As we look to a distant strand,

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nautilus and Ammonite: Ghosts

The next finished artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. Here the Nautilus has given up her search and is haunted by ghosts of other, more recently extinct species. They are all species that went extinct during the age of humans and due at least partially  to human activity. This image is meant to be paired with this stanza that compares the Nautilus's loss and grief to our own:

And alike do we, on life's stormy sea,
As we roam from shore to shore,
Thus tempest-tossed, seek the loved, the lost,
And find them on earth no more. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nautilus and Ammonite: Passage of Time

The next finished artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. This is the first image after the Nautilus has lost her dearest friend in the KT Event. It is meant to be paired with this stanza:

So the nautilus now in its shelly prow,
As over the deep it strays,
Still seems to seek, in bay and creek,
Its companion of other days. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Goodbye to Soaring Gardens

My residency at Soaring Gardens Artist Retreat ends tomorrow. Ah, so bitter sweet. I will miss the smell of lilac (there are huge bushes blooming just outside my studio), the pleasant chirps of birds and crickets. I will definitely miss working in a gigantic studio with a glorious view. This really was an ideal place to focus my concentration on my work.

I'd been considering this residency for about ten years, but I only applied this year. It was never quite the right time for this space. When my oldest daughter was a toddler we discovered the delightful picture book Last Night I Dreamt A Circus, which features prose by Maya Gottfried and striking paintings by Robert Rahway Zakanitch. Inside I found that the artist specifically thanked Soaring Gardens for a residency during which he had completed the paintings. Thus I was inspired with my application to request time and space to finish my own book project, Dancing in the Garden.

I am incredibly thankful to the Ora Lerman Trust for giving me this opportunity, I feel honored to have participated in a residency also shared by many other accomplished artists such as Zakanitch, and I highly recommend this experience for other artists out there who need to clear their heads and make good art!