Friday, September 7, 2018

"Mr. Peabody"

I made this print for the owner of the dog's birthday and also printed an edition of 23 for the Baren Forum for Woodblock Printmaking Exchange #77. The image is 9" x 12", paper is 10" x 15", and it was printed with oil-based Gamlin block printing ink on fawn-colored Stonehenge paper.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Relief Print Leaves Workshop for Kids of All Ages

This is my last week teaching summer camp this summer at the Community Arts Center. Another teaching artist and I have 18 kids between the ages of 6 and 11 - a rather wide age spread. We spend most of our time with the kids split into 2 groups based on age, but we have occasionally come together for a big group project, and for one that I taught, I decided to do these relief print leaves.

I gave each kid 1 piece of 6" x 9" Scratch foam and 2 pieces of stiff board of the same size. I had the kids draw the shape of an imagined leaf, starting with the vein that runs down the center. The kids were invited to draw into the background and into the leaf with a pencil as much as they like.

Then they took scissors and carefully cut out the leaf while keeping the background intact as a single piece. The trickiest part is then gluing the background on one piece of stiff board and the leaf on the second piece of stiff board. The trick is making sure that the leaf is in the same position so that when they are printed they match up. This is done by first placing both the leaf and background together onto the first stiff board piece, but then only gluing down the leaf and removing the background piece afterward. Unfortunately, a couple of kids then glued their background piece down flipped, so they still didn't match up. But it did make for some interesting prints.

I encouraged each kid to print the leaf (in green) and the background (in brown) on at least 2 different colors of paper in order to be able to compare and contrast.

After a long summer of teaching camp to a lot of children, I enjoyed quietly examining this grid of finished leaf prints. So many of them seem to be fading in and out, almost disintegrating. Each is its own unique shape. And many contain curious surprise drawings and details within.

Friday, August 17, 2018

High Resolution Image of "Lost Dog"

This is a higher resolution and generally better photo of my print from Big Ink at Fleisher. Click here for more info about that.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Participating in Big Ink at the Fleisher

Today I participated in a Big Ink event at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. Big Ink is a mobile workshop that promotes large-scale woodcut printmaking. I was very excited when I saw the open call and that they were coming to my city. Even though I am insanely busy this whole summer with teaching and showing and releasing my new book, I couldn't pass up this amazing opportunity to print a large block on the "big tuna" press.

The best part of participating in this event was meeting the other artists and printing together. Participating artists included John McKaig, Polly Perkins, Rosa Leff, Rraine Nolan, Sarah Matthews, William Worley, Zachariah Schmitt, Rebecca Gilbert, and the duo of Bobbie Adams & Bill Brookover. I rarely get to hang out with other artists these days, and I haven't been to a critique in years, so chatting with all these artists about their work and life and backgrounds was a welcome opportunity. 

Here are photos of the inking and printing of my 24" x 48" block and print titled "Lost Dog". The image of the dog is taken from a nineteenth century illustration of the short-eared dog, which is actually a type of fox, and currently an endangered species. The phone number is to the Canid Specialist Group based in the UK that works to maintain information on the status and preservation of canids. The music in the bottom section of the print is taken from a eighteenth century book of songs for children that I found in the Library of Congress archives: Oh Where Oh Where Is My Little Dog Gone. 


Lyell Castonguay applying ink to my block.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Imagined Bugs Print/Collages by 5th and 6th Graders at CAC

I am having a fantastic summer teaching kids at the Summer Spree art camp at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. This is a set of relief prints made with foam boards made by 5th and 6th graders. I had the kids draw bugs from their imagination into the foam and we printed 4 layers of color, adding pieces of foam or scratching in more marks and darkening the color of ink with each new layer.

We were originally planning a 5th layer in black, but the effects up until that point were so fantastic and we feared accidentally covering what was already there. So we switched up plans and decided to emphasize the colors and textures by cutting out and swapping the bugs and backgrounds printed in different color schemes.

What I love best about teaching at CAC is the ability to experiment with new project ideas and change plans in the middle based on what happens with the kids in the studio. These are probably the best prints by students I've worked with since the reduction prints I did with 6th graders at Kearny 2 and a half years ago.

Children's artwork can be amazing!

The Nautilus and the Ammonite is now for sale!

Announcing the release of The Nautilus and the Ammonite! 

The Nautilus and the Ammonite is my latest book project. It features an anonymous poem that I simply fell in love with. The poem dates back to the 1800’s, an era when the science of paleontology was still taking its first steps. Its narrative follows two ancient mollusks, friends who together witness the last days of the Cretaceous, and one - the Ammonite - who is lost in the same event that took the dinosaurs.

This book is unique in that it juxtaposes old fashioned poetic language with contemporary visual art. The result is a volume that explores scientific questions about our world while contemplating philosophical implications in a way that is as emotionally responsive as it is brainy. 

You can view all the artwork and hear the poem in a Read Aloud version of the book on YouTube found here

The book is 9" x 12" Smythe sewn case bind (hardcover,) color offset printing, 32 pages plus printed end sheets. First edition of 300. Retail price of $20.00. 
Get a signed copy (FREE SHIPPING for US customers) by contacting me directly at marfknox (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject line "Nautilus and Ammonite". 

Exhibition: Selections from Owl and Cat In Love at Metropolitan Bakery

Through the month of August I'm exhibiting 16 of the 20 color woodcuts from my book project Owl and Cat In Love at the Metropolitan Bakery at 4013 Walnut Street in University City. Here's some photos of the display. The menu is full of delicious items, so if you're in Philly in August, I recommend having lunch there.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sketchbook Sunday: Watercolors in the Garden at CAC

Last week I focused on watercolor painting techniques with my 4th grade Summer Spree campers. This was a demo I did along with them to showcase wet-on-wet, drybrush, texture with salt and rubbing alcohol, and oil pastel resist. They started with drawings from the flower garden. Much fun was had.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Linocuts by 4th-6th Graders

These are some linocuts by 4th-6th graders enrolled in Summer Spree at the Community Arts Center. First time these kids ever made linocuts. There were a few small cuts (nothing a bandaid couldn't fix) and three kids opted out for fear of those sharp blades, but overall I was super impressed with these first proofs.

This depicts a guillotine in a museum.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Big Relief! A Collaborative Print at CAC

This is a mixed media (mostly collograph prints) installation at the Duke Gallery at the Community Arts Center. This was the project I developed for the teaching portion of my teaching artist fellowship at the Community Arts Center's Summer Spree camp. The project was largely inspired by Maria Arango-Diener's puzzle print projects, the last of which I participated in. That work - the Peace Puzzle Woodcut, featuring work by 160 artists from around the world - was displayed in the gallery, and I used it as a visual aid to explain the project to the campers.

I based the design for this work on the camp's theme: Imaginarium. On the right, a watering can emerges, pouring liquid out onto the floor. The liquid pools and spreads, and eventually plant-like forms grow out from it, one of which shoots out a multitude of round bubbles. The whole piece was designed specifically for this indented window space in the gallery. The overall image is a metaphor for inspiration; it suddenly pours in after a period of contemplation. At first it can seem a bit chaotic, but soon orderly and unique forms emerge from it. And while the whole affair might seem unusual or somewhat out of place, it makes meaningful connections that soon allow it to fit in in a new way and make its own sort of sense.

The whole shape was divided into over 80 pieces of various shapes. Each camper received a puzzle piece and used various materials such as craft foam, yarn, lace, buttons, bubble wrap, and burlap, to create a plate to print from. The resulting prints were put back together to make the installation. Camp aids and volunteers added some color with tissue paper to work it more organically into the space, add a 3D element, and visually pull it all together.

My aid and volunteers putting together the puzzle
The finished work was completed and installed today by 68 campers (ages 4-11) with one amazing aid and a few helpful teen volunteers. It will be on exhibit through July 20, alongside the Summer Fellows Exhibit which includes all the artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite, selections from other books projects,  some of my related ceramics, and of course the Peace Puzzle Woodcut.