Sunday, November 25, 2012

"The Bees" by Cathy Durso

Image posted with the permission of the artist. Cathy Durso shows and sells her work online on her Etsy Store. Also learn more about the artist and her other works at her website.

What is a bee, but a tiny fairy in a brightly striped petticoat, inviting us in for tea so that she can hurl her itty bity mug of boiling liquid in our faces. Bee. B. Bea. It is a bug, and also the name of a hot-tempered child who happens to like striped petticoats and tea parties.

There's the Bee on the wall. Not the real, live insect, but the vintage decal. The one with the curly-Q antennae and rosy-red nose. She's friends with the Bear. That one with the blue bow round his neck, who smiles at us with glossy, plastic eyes. Not a speck in common with the Bear at the zoo. Bees and Bears. I should be afraid, but I'm not.

Now here is a swarm! A pulsating parade of bees stripped down to more resemble bubbles or balloons. Like eyes, they stare. Yellow, glowing cat eyes, which hover over neatly mowed grass, in the place where darkness is bubble gum pink.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Tiger and Sloth" by Ellen Shipley

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More about Ellen Shipley and her work can be viewed on her blog, Pressing Issues.

It is, rather, the tiger of my dreams, flat and ornamental, yet snickering at me, and I just don't know what's so damn funny. There is something in a way cats recline. That position which is so stately, so cozy, as if the cat is privy to some secret of how the world works. Oh, that snicker, how it taunts me even in my sleep. Especially in my sleep, actually, for my dreams are portals to terrible lands, where giants lurk and days are longer than snakes.

The sloth is who I'd rather be. He has disguised himself in plain view as the tiger's reflection. Eveyone is so distracted by thirst and the tiger's stately posture and pretty swirls that they don't notice the sloth. Quietly he extends his tongue and pulls forward to lick the dew off a saucy leaf.

Addendum: When I contacted Ellen Shipley to get permission to write about and post this image, she added this:

I don't know exactly what you plan to say about the print, but I don't know if you saw in a later post that the woman it was made for died of the Swine flu a short while later. She was a friend and co-worker, and that year's Christmas card had an homage to her:  she is the "Kitty" sleeping on the hearth. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Proof of "Gus"

Image is approximately 6" x 10". I had been wanting to make a print from this beautiful photograph of my friend's dog "Gus" for a while now. But I was having trouble deciding which approach to take. I have been doing my Cats A-Z series in black and white, and also looking at the black and white work of some other wood block printmakers, and decided to use this image of Gus for a study in black and white. I'm very pleased with how the blanket under him is turning out. However, Gus himself still reads as way too flat. I'm also not sure how I feel about the composition - I want more dark on the right side of the image to balance things out. Part of me is wishing I had decided to do a color reduction print from this photo (and perhaps I will do that too if I find the time.) But mainly I'm glad I decided on the black and white exactly because it isn't turning out yet how I'd like, so it's forcing me to work more at it. I'll go back into this block and post another update on it soon. If it turns out I can't save it, at least I will have learned something from it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Sometimes I Am Married" by Annie Bissett

Image posted with the permission of the artist. Annie Bissett wrote about her personal story that brought about this print on her blog here. Click here to go to her website to check out (and maybe purchase) some of her wonderful wood block prints.

"I became a historian, and went into the past, for the purpose of trying to understand and do something about what is going on in the present." -Howard Zinn

It is a map that charts out the state of gay marriage in the United States with the date it is made stamped at the top. However, the marriages, or rather the marriage of the print maker has been personalized. I am married. I am not married. I might be married. A single word: I, completely personalizes the image. While information about the laws are displayed in the form of a simple and neutral graphic, the personal impact these law have on real-life people (and in this case person) are displayed in the atmospheric planes of blue ink. Those and other subtle details are evidence of the artist's hand. The I who cared enough to make note of this significant point in time and state of dis-unity.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Owl and Cat In Love (Image 1)

"Owl Hunting A Rabbit"
Woodcut (reduction)
11.25" x 11.75" (image)
15" x 16" (paper)
Oil based inks on Subi paper
Limited edition of 5
Available for purchase here.

I've started illustrating "Owl and Cat in Love" (working title), a story in pictures based on Edward Lear's poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". This will be done entirely with woodcuts, hopefully eventually for a published picture book. The story is going to elaborate on Lear's poem with additional scenes and details and for some elements I plan to divert entirely from the poem. In addition, I'd like each image to work as a stand-alone work of art. This is page one. Much more to come!

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Girl Playing Accordion"

5.75" x 8"
Available for purchase here. 

I did this for the Third Annual Day 2 Day Print Exchange. This print along with dozens of works by artists from around the world will be exhibited at the FS Gallery at The Art Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY, January 5th through February 24th.

This image turned out rougher than I wanted (I was going for spontaneous and expressive.) The more I look at it, the more I wish I had been able to let loose even more and let it get weirder. My favorite parts of this image are the parts that barely make sense, like how the buttons on the left of the accordion resemble the fingers, and how the shadow to the left of the foot looks like a oozing form in its own right. At least this achieved my main goal, which was to bring back the color. Doing all this black and white has made me long for some vivid complimentary. Also, I've been listening to Polka music. Enjoy.