Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Rooster" by Helen Ogilvie

I tried, I really tried to bring those wood planks back to life. I soaked them long in water so they'd loosen up and warp into long, curved clusters of grain, like the long, curved clusters of feathers around the regal rooster's neck. I dipped my pen over and over into a pool of black ink. (I don't know how deep; I never felt the bottom.) A branch from a fern reaches out with its countless, repetitious leaves, mirroring the rooster's foliage-like tail feathers. A gentle wind passes by, picking up a few stray needles of hay. Slim leaves and feathers quiver alike. The ferns and grass and trees, alive (as were once the planks of wood that make up the rickety fence), but they can't move about, or peck, or cock-a-doodle-doo! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Sick Kid"

White line woodcut
Watercolor on Stonehenge paper
6" x 8" inches (image)

I taught my first white line woodcut workshop these past two weekends. (If you're curious about what white line printmaking is, check out this excellent, illustrated description.) Met a lot of kind, creative people, enjoyed myself, and learned a lot about how I can improve on the class. Check out some of the students' work on my website. 

Since I purchased some new liquid watercolors that I thought might be more practical for teaching a short-term workshop, I tested them out by making this little demo print. I did three different color versions, and unfortunately each one had strong and weak elements and none popped out clearly as the strongest image. In the end I decided to post this version to this blog because I feel the overall color and composition works best in the abstract. That said, I think it is too bright and cheery to fit with the subject matter and what I wanted to convey (I was going for more warmth and hope, and this is more a day at the circus.) The intensity of the green couch especially bothers me. But hey, that's the beauty of making prints - I can always try again with the next version.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Strangers at the Gate" by Arthur Rigden Read

Normally I am annoyed with solicitors, but every once in a while someone comes by with a child. A very young child can't fake cheerfulness or interest, nor can their caretaker bullshit very easily while handling them, and so I pull down my defenses, greet them politely, and listen to what they have to say. He's an especially pretty child with a heart-shaped, cherubic smile. His mother, plain-but-pretty, is rather eager, but not pushy. With her thick, wavy hair, broad face, and relaxed expression (as if to say, "Well aren't those lovely roses in your garden.") she reminds me of a favorite aunt when she was a young mother. I observe the interaction between parent and child. I see the tenderness in her gaze and the way she bounces him on her hip; the two seem as if they have always been together. It doesn't matter what they are selling or if I decide to buy. These are just a couple of people at my gate, and we're talking to each other under the sun and clouds and invisible stars.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Looking For Tigers In the Vale" by Merlyn Chestman

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More of Merlyn Chesterman's work can be viewed here.

Leaves crunch under our feet as we walk a beaten path through the forest. Naked branches of trees reach over our heads. The path rises into the air like leaves swept up in the wind. It curls up into a spiral, then scatters like a flock of birds. This feels like the end of something. It is as if I will not know you again after today. After the sun has completely set and the pink glow of the sky has turned to murky purple, then black, and our silhouettes disappear.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"The Shop Window" by Isabel de Bohun Lockyer

When I first looked, I mistook her for a fashion model gliding across a stage before columnists, designers, and devotees, the flash of cameras popping and flickering all around her. This store window mannequin is dressed so elegantly and posed with such a sense of bravado, she simply stole all my attention. That the actual onlookers were merely sidewalk pedestrians crept into my awareness slowly and left me feeling as I do at the end of a film or novel that has completely transported me to another place in another body with some other personality. Now the dream is over, and I am left feeling disappointed with my familiar and ordinary surroundings.