Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Daffodil and Tulip

While I was excited about creating them, I am not very interested in the finished results. Might have a second go at them again this week. Maybe not. At least I'm keeping my hand moving.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Hazel" by John Biggers

I wanted to post on this blog in honor of Earth Day. I started my search broadly and historically, looking at wood engravings depicting some of the first heliocentric depictions of the earth from Europe. But that felt too heady for today's mood.

You see, my husband took our older daughter to Philadelphia's March for Science - one of over 400 marches in 35 countries, in support of public policies that are supported by evidence-based research. I spent the early part of today engaging our 5-year-old (who is adverse to large crowds) with simple, colorful experiments with chemistry, circuits, and crystal growing.

After giving up on woodcuts of the entire planet, I began looking at the great woodblock printmakers of color landscapes, such as Walter J. Phillips and Hiroshi Yoshida. But while I observed much breathtaking imagery, it still all felt too detached for the day.

After quite a while, I finally rested on this amiable woodcut of a small girl in a floral-pattern dress, among tall flowers, by John Biggers. She walks away from us, and so it is as if we are her guardian, delighting over her movements while watching over and keeping her safe. She is so small an individual, and yet she can represent so much that our hearts ache with a mix of wonder, joy, and fear.

Monday, April 10, 2017

White Line Woodcut In Memory of Floyd

This is a white line woodcut I just made to commemorate my cousin's 16 year old cat Floyd who passed away last month. Half the credit should go to her for the gorgeous photos she sent me to work from.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Watercolor Starfish

 This week I broke out the watercolors with my kids to make starfish. I had them trying out an art-making activity that I'm going to lead at the Wagner Free Institute for Science during the Philadelphia Science Festival.  Their work is in the photograph below. Sunday, April 23 from noon-4pm the Wagner hosts a "Be A Marine Biologist" family day with ocean-themed activities and demonstrations.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bubble Wrap and Chine Colle with Middle Schoolers

Today was the last day of the Winter session of my 2D mixed media after school class for 4th-6th graders at the University City Arts League. These are some collograph prints over tissue paper collage.

I've been playing with bubble wrap lately, so I wanted to let them play with bubble wrap too. Who doesn't like bubble wrap?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Nautilus and Ammonite: Hanging With Stegosaurus

The next finished illustrations for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. This is the fourth stanza and also the fourth double-page spread.

They swam 'mid isles whose summer smiles Were dimmed by no alloy; Whose groves were palm, whose air was balm, And life one only joy.

Friday, March 31, 2017

"A Wise Old Owl" Editions Completed

Mid-January I launched "A Wise Old Owl" Kickstarter campaign to make 100 accordion books (50 black and white and 50 hand-colored) illustrating this Mother Goose rhyme:

A wise old owl sat in an oak, 
The more he heard the less he spoke; 
The more he spoke the less he heard; 
Why aren't we all like that wise old bird? 

Tonight I finished the edition. I purchased some Thai marbled mulberry paper for the covers, which adds to the uniqueness of each book in the editions. Here's a photograph of the 60 scheduled to be mailed out to campaign contributors next week. The rest will eventually be for sale direct from my studio and possibly at a couple of local stores.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Desert Rooster" by Maria Arango Diener

I was sent this print as a gift from one of the participants in Baren Exchange #71. It was one of several gifts in the form of original prints and one hand-made book - certainly encouragement to be volunteer coordinator again some time in the future! This wood engraving of a "desert rooster" (another term for a roadrunner) was a originally created for another Baren Exchange; specifically one to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Year of the Rooster. Maria wrote about it and other prints she has made for that annual exchange on her blog here.

I truly love this small print. It is totally emblematic of the artist's style, influenced by the vast, warm (in both temperature and color) landscape of the American Southwest. Whether working in black and white or color reduction, Maria's prints are layered and create the sort of depth one can get lost in. With this particular print, I have a companion in the foreground with which to enjoy the view. This will be framed and placed on the wall in my living room in Philadelphia (set in a state quite different in character from the Southwest), where I can periodically gaze at it and contemplate the grand and varied qualities of this nation's land, foilage, and inhabitants.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Botanical and Wildlife Linocuts (First Proofs) by 6th Graders at Meade

 This week the rest of my 6th grade SNAP (Science Nature and Art in Philadelphia) students  pulled black and white proofs from their carved linocuts - this is a sampling from Meade Elementary. (I have also posted images from kids at Kearny and Morris.) 

Botanical and Wildlife Linocuts (First Proofs) by 6th Graders at Morris

This week the rest of my 6th grade SNAP (Science Nature and Art in Philadelphia) students  pulled black and white proofs from their carved linocuts - this is a sampling from Morris Elementary. (I have also posted images from kids at Kearny and Meade.)

I especially love the gasps I get from kids who have never done relief printmaking before when I pull up the first print from the demo block. After that the kids happily go to work trying to get a good image. When they fail to get one they like, I tell them, "That's the joy of printmaking, you can always print a new one." Then they go back to the inking station to try again. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Two More Wagner Owls

Over the past 3 days I've spent 13 hours hand-coloring the same A Wise Old Owl print for books for my Kickstarter campaign, and boy, I needed some relief in the form of some loose, no-pressure sketching. I'm on an owl kick (obviously), so I did few from taxidermy owls from the Wagner's collection. These two I like best for their fluffy textures and curious expressions. They are done in sumi ink, conte crayon, and vine charcoal.

(Older Wagner owl sketches can be found here, here, and here. No doubt there will be more in the future as there are still more Wagner owls I haven't drawn yet and those I'd like to draw again.)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Botanical and Wildlife Linocuts (First Proofs) by 6th Graders at Kearny

Today my 6th grade SNAP students at Kearny School pulled black and white proofs from their carved linocuts. As readers can see here, the results were impressive! As I mentioned in my last post about Lynette Weir's Tawny Frogmouth Glare linocut, this project is meant to compliment a science unit in Ecology. I'm working with two more schools and the students at all three will be further developing some of these works by added color and collage, so more posts to come!

Kearny is the same school where I had last year's 6th graders create reduction linocuts inspired by fossils. I'm so impressed with the work produced by these kids, most of whom have never made a relief print before.

I taught a similar SNAP project a few years ago in the after school program (posts here and here) to compliment a unit on insects, but now that I'm visiting several whole classes during the school days I have many more students engaged and present for the entire duration of the program. I love seeing their enthusiastic reactions when they pull that first black and white proof off the block. They are always so surprised and pleased at the bold transformation of their drawings into prints.

For my part I am particularly excited about this project because I've been developing my own linocuts of owls. I hope to continue that series later this year, possibly for a calendar.