Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Dino-pot Ideas

This week I finished shaping some new pinch pots (see below) that I want to draw on, but I was having trouble deciding what to draw. So I pulled out my sketchbook and a bunch of plastic toy dinosaurs to use as references, and came up with some ideas.

Speaking of dinosaurs, or more specifically, representations of dinosaurs primarily aimed at children, I'm still trying to get at something about that with my art. Should probably explore it more with relief printmaking. Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"Hotaru Kago" (Firefly Cage) by Yamamoto, Shōkoku

I'm seriously digging the thousands of high resolution images of Japanese woodcuts now available for viewing on the Library of Congress website. Tonight this particular image caught my attention for a while, not least of all because I spent the evening gathered around a fire with a few friends, our kids trying to catch fireflies to put in jars. Some simple activities are inherently enjoyable to people across time and culture.

I love the geometry of the composition; how the strong vertical lines and patterns emphasize the soft and playful curves outlining shoulders and feet. It mirrors how the two women are still and focused in their observation of the fireflies, while the children seem to dance around in restless delight.

Friendship binds us, or
Is it the magic of

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Bird Drawings on Pinch Pots

I have not been working in my sketchbook at all lately. But I have been drawing! Mostly on pinch pot ceramic pieces I make. Ceramics is a newer medium for me that I've been at for just over 3 years. Most of what I create is variations on pinch pots that I let get leather hard and then draw into. (It's not sgraffito because I don't cover the piece with slip first. I just draw into the bare surface and fill the lines with glaze after it's been bisque fired.) The drawings are done spontaneously; I decide what to draw on a pot after I've already formed it) and the lines drawn are the lines that stay. I don't smooth over "mistakes" or try to "fix" anything I don't like.

I thought to include this activity in a Sunday Sketchbook post because this process is mainly about the relationship between hand-shaping a piece of clay and intuitive free drawing. Also, most of the subjects I've drawn are animals I have been sketching over the past several months.

These are images of 2 pieces: a pinch pot creamer and mug with bird drawings.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Highlights From Baren Exchange #72 ("Wings" Theme)

These are two prints from the Baren Forum Exchange #72. Paper size was 5" x 11" and the theme was "Wings".

On the left is Bird Count by Theresa Martin and on the right is Heron Nest by Clive Lewis. These two prints were the favorites of my mother so I'm giving them to her to display side by side since they coincidentally offer a nice dialogue. Both images take place outdoors and offer two tones of the same color with a key-block printed in black. I particularly enjoy the contrast of the movement of the birds in flight with the empty stillness of the empty nest. Both seem to be very much about the quiet patience necessary to observe and gain an understanding of wild animals.

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.