Monday, March 30, 2015

"Cat in Bush" by Inagaki Tomoo

Inagaki Tomoo is sometimes called the Cat Artist because of how prolific he was depicting highly stylized felines. The style of most of his prints looks specific to the 50's and 60's, with most of his cats even more simplified and geometric than this example.

He thinks he's hidden
But two bright, yellow eyes have 
Given him away 






Saturday, March 28, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign Art Card #4: Cat Chachki

2.5" x 3.5" art card
Oil-based ink on cream-colored, 90" smooth paper
Open edition

This is the fourth of 8 original woodcut art cards being created during my Indiegogo fundraising campaign. These will be thank-you gifts for all funders who contribute $20 or more. Funders will get to choose their preferred design to receive.

This was inspired by a set of nesting dolls (all painted to look like cats) my daughter received from her grandparents for Christmas one year. 


Friday, March 27, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign Art Card #3: Owl Chachki

2.5" x 3.5" art card
Oil-based ink on cream-colored, 90" smooth paper
Open edition

This is the third of 8 original woodcut art cards being created during my Indiegogo fundraising campaign. These will be thank-you gifts for all funders who contribute $20 or more. Funders will get to choose their preferred design to receive.

This was inspired by a little owl chachki that lives on a shelf at one of my friends' houses. I was babysitting all our kids one day and ended up drawing it, and that eventually lead to this image. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign Art Card #2: Portrait of Frida Kahlo

2.5" x 3.5" art card
Oil-based ink on cream-colored, 90" smooth paper
Open edition

This is the second of 8 original woodcut art cards being created during my Indiegogo fundraising campaign. These will be thank-you gifts for all funders who contribute $20 or more. Funders will get to choose their preferred design to receive.

This is a portrait of Frida Kahlo. Kahlo was one of the first artists whose work captured my attention and influenced my own work. I first learned about her paintings when I was in junior high. At the age of 17 I had the good fortune to visit Mexico, including her home which has been turned into an art museum. In graduate school, even though I wasn't looking at or thinking much about Kahlo's work, faculty and fellow students regularly brought Kahlo's influence up in critiques of my work.


I intended this print to simply be a black and white art card. However, after creating it I realized how well it lends itself to hand-coloring. The color version is printed on watercolor paper.

Both cards are for sale on my Etsy store. The black and white version can be found here, and the color can be found here
All proceeds from Etsy sales between now and April 24th go directly to fund Words On Woodcuts Press!   


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign Art Card #1: Portrait of Edward Lear

2.5" x 3.5" art card
Oil-based ink on cream-colored, 90" smooth paper
Open edition

This is the first of 8 original woodcut art cards being created during my Indiegogo fundraising campaign. These will be thank-you gifts for all funders who contribute $20 or more. Funders will get to choose their preferred design to receive.

All 8 will also be for sale at my Etsy Store. This card can be purchased now by clicking here. All proceeds from Etsy sales between now and April 24th go directly to fund Words On Woodcuts Press!

This is a portrait of Edward Lear, the 19th century writer/illustrator who authored The Owl and the Pussycat.

Here's one of my favorite limericks also penned by Lear:

There was a Young Person of Smyrna, 
Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her; 
But she seized on the cat,
And said, "Granny, burn that!
You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!" 


Monday, March 16, 2015

With Cats On Our Laps

Bug On the Ceiling 
White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolor on Stonehenge
10" x 33" (block), 15" x 40" (paper)

This is a self portrait holding my cat Aubrey. I got the idea and began work on it after doing a little white line portrait of myself last September. I'm gearing up for my next book project, which will be all white line woodcuts.

The title, Bug On the Ceiling, is meant to be bit humorous. Certain elements of this print point toward religious imagery, specifically alluding to Mary chosen by God to mother the Christ-child. But it's not a baby she holds, it's a cat. What seems a light on the woman's head is wood grain, and all other representational imagery is plant-life, distinctly earth-bound. Finally, there's the title, letting the viewer in on the totally mundane of reasons why she's looking up.

I'm not mocking religious sentiment so much as I'm attempting to elevate the every-day.

M.C. Escher made this woodcut, Seated Man With Cat On His Lap in 1919. In it, the subject is just as centralized in the composition, but he doesn't look up; he confronts his viewers. Boy that guy can look deadly serious even with a big curled-up cat in his lap. Reminds me of Cardinal Richelieu, who used to sign death warrants while his cats sat on his lap. (Richelieu had 14 cats, including one named Ludovic the Cruel.)

I love how this man's suit and chair just sort of melt into the flatness. His head practically floats. The Prophet Mohammed is said to have once cut off a piece of his clothing rather than disturb his pet cat who was sleeping on it. Perhaps there is something transcendent about the companionship of these domesticated carnivores, who have not the loyalty of dogs, nor the nobility of horses. We initially kept them to kill vermin in our granaries. Now they occupy the most intimate of spaces in our homes, even anchoring down our very bodies.

I keep making woodcuts. Different kinds of woodcuts. I make books now so I can make a whole series of woodcuts on a theme or to tell a story. Another artist friend of mine recently said to me, "Not everything needs to be a woodcut." But almost everything kind of does need to be woodcut! Because I haven't hit a wall with that. I keep finding new avenues to explore with it. It's only the same old thing over and over again if I let it be. I must stay in this small place I currently occupy; dig deeper to find whole new layers of sediment; look longer through the keyhole to find what few others have noticed.

Lots of times I hear Peggy Lee's voice in my head, singing, Is this all there is? Yeah, this is all there is. And at least most days, it's enough.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Triumphant In Achieving My Indiegogo Campaign Goal!

I have reached my Indiegogo campaign goal! Words On Woodcuts Press will undoubtedly become a reality with the publication of Cats A-Z this summer. 

The monumental woodcut print shown here is Triumphal Arch. It is one of the largest prints ever produced, and was commissioned by Emperor Maximillian I to be displayed on walls in palaces and city halls. 

It also perfectly illustrates how awesome I feel right now!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and shared information about this campaign.

THE FOCUS NOW: 

While I've cleared the first hurtle, I still need to raise additional funds to enact my business plan. I've applied for an interest-free, crowd-sourced small business loan and am currently waiting for approval to launch that campaign. Any funds I raise through Indiegogo that exceed $2000 go to reduce the amount I have to borrow to make this small press a reality. And that increases my press's chances for long-term success.

The Indiegogo campaign runs through April 24th. Help me keep spreading the word. Also, check in on this blog where I'll be posting eight original woodcut art cards as thank-you gifts for all the funders.