Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Dancing Spirit" by Nikkie Wilson

Image used with the permission of the artist. More about Nikkie Wilson and her work can be viewed at her website here.

Arms up, stick in hand, wobble back and forth like a rocking horse. Face fanned out to catch more sun. something wild exists in the reverberating asymmetry of this child, this beast, this tropical tree-spirit. He stands immersed in rusty reds and sandy yellows, while sparks of turquoise ring out like the unseen Cardinal's call above the forest's baseline hum. What does he think as he laughs and runs and waves that stick? Or is he simply a blind force in the rushing, passing moment?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"I want! I want!" by William Blake

Oh, if only it were that easy, to prop up a ladder against the crescent moon. A naked child, climbing up through the burlap sky to nap in the moon's curvature. So much quiet and calm, with only doting parents and a handful of stars to watch on.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Alice In Wonderland, paragraph 121

8" x 12" (image) 10.25" x 15" (paper)
Water based ink on Stonehenge paper

I created this woodcut illustration for paragraph #121 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as part of the Alice Project/What is the Use of A Book Without Pictures. This is a project where a variety of artists illustrate Lewis Carroll's famous children's tale paragraph by paragraph. This is my second illustration for the project, and I wrote more about it here.

To give a little context to this image, Alice has been speaking with the Caterpillar and here she mis-recites "You Are Old, Father William" for him.

Paragraph #121 goes as follows:

‘I have answered three questions, and that is enough,’

Said his father; ‘don’t give yourself airs!

Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!’

Michael Hepher's Cat in a Window

Image reposted with permission of the artist. Michael Hepher also wrote about this print on his blog here.

I don't know how many times I've walked past a brick, row house in the city with a cat in the window. The experience is so common, like roadkill. If I see roadkill, and I'm on foot, and I'm in a contemplative mood, I can't help but ponder my own mortality. Likewise, when I see a cat in a window while in a similar mood, I can't help but feel reminded that I'm surrounded by homes with real people who live in them. People with real lives and dramas all their own. Maybe the cat is all alone, enjoying a bit of quiet, because everyone is at work and school. Or maybe there's an old lady inside watching reruns of the Cosby Show on TV Land. Maybe someone is inside crying because their favorite aunt just died, and the cat is in the window oblivious to, or purposefully ignoring the expressions of grief. But someone lives there. Someone feeds that cat, and pets it, and loves it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"The Storm is Coming" by Antonio Frasconi

It's early spring, been pouring rain all day with no sign of let up any time soon, so this image is most appropriate to write about today. This is a particularly captivating woodcut by Antonio Frasconi. The girl runs through the rain, away from the heaviest part of the storm, which hisses at her from the upper, left-hand corner. The swiftness of her movement is emphasized by the foreshortening of her back leg and two raised points in the back of her skirt. It is as if she emerges from another world where some invisible creature is trying to pull her back. Who is this girl (woman?) and where is she from? (I assume girl since she is smiling as she runs, though her face looks older.) Her outfit is clownish with her jagged-edged slip, mis-matched patterns, and clashing red top with pink skirt. She shields herself from the rain with a folded newspaper, and it is interesting it-of-itself, featuring a humongous bird and curious, giant lettering. The background gives no more clues to the environment, but the more I look at it, the more I get lost in the multitude of textures. Wild scratches depict rain, fluctuating intensity of the black ink, subtle woodgrain and waves of crosshatch that resembles burlap pressed against the atmosphere. I hear noises as I look at this image: tap tap, pitter pat, flap, flap. I smell mud. I feel a cool breeze and a chilling moisture in the air. I am almost out of breath, yet I grin. There is a terrible, wonderful something out there, and our flight from it is exhilarating.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Round Cat"

4 color reduction
4" x 4"(image) 7.5" x 7.5" (paper)
Water-based inks on Stonehenge
Edition of 6

This cat has a very different sort of personality from the last rolling tabby. She seems to almost be smiling at me. She's isn't the least bit ashamed to expose her belly. Rolling over is natural and fun. Rolling over provides a continuous and refreshing change in perspective, like a shadow moving over the surface of a sphere. The loops in the background read like springs, propelling her forward. Her blue pillow is more like a moon, further pushing her upright. Though on her back, she seems to be perhaps dancing a jig. She breaks outta that blue bubble just as her stripes break in spaces and whip back around, making not a stripe, but a swirl. No bars, no cages for this fancy feline who is somehow both frisky and supine.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Sleep" by Belinda Del Pesco

Image reposted with the permission of the artist. Learn more about Belinda Del Pesco and her artwork at her website here.

She's asleep and alive, her head laid on the pillow like an explosion, like fireworks. In her unconscious mind she's standing in the yellow dessert, and hairy, black beasties with curly tails scurry behind her. She gazes to the east, one hand caresses her heart while the other covers her stomach. What is she looking at? It feels so profound, so beautiful, so very much the answer we are all looking for, but it's blurry and shrinking, slipping away into the distance faster than she can breath. And in the morning even more of the dream will be forgotten because, after all, that's what dreams do.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Pi Pa Player" by Seong Moy

If you have never listened to some pi pa music being played, here. Similar to the lines in Seong Moy's exquisite print, some of the notes are clear and singular in their direction and presence, while others come in vibrating flocks that sweep across in a lovely, melodic arch, or lightly stampede along like a herd of antelope running through a field. Some notes seem to laugh or cry, and some high pitched notes seem to gently claw at the air like some sort of primal scratching. The music made by this instrument reminds me wild animals, just as this image reminds me of tropical birds or a dancer whipping and waving around colorful scarves. It is alive and on the move.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Tortiseshell Kitten"

"Tortiseshell Kitten"
5" x 8" (image) 8" x 11" (paper)
Oil-based inks on Kozo paper

Edition of 28 created for Let's Trade Prints black and white print exchange. Some extra available for purchase here.

This cat is so damn hard to draw. She looks like she's covered in marmalade and soot. She is a genetic malformity and an embodiment of contradiction. A scraggly-lookin' thing and at the same time an elusive beauty.

These textures clash, and yet they seem oddly connected. A loop of lace resembles loops in the pattern, resembles the shape of the cat's eye. A thread of lace resembles similar lines in the pattern, resembles the cat's whiskers. Squares and ovals of negative space abound, and so on. These clashing textures remind me of aunts, uncles, cousins I have argued with over Thanksgiving dinners, yet look forward to seeing all the same. After all, they are family.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Big Grey Tiger Cat" by Willy Reddick

Image reposted with the permission of the artist. More about Willy Reddick and her work can be found at her website here.

A cat on a mat, asleep on its back. Soft, white paws limply bend while ears casually creep off the makeshift bed. A most comfortable, vulnerable sleep; the exposed belly, muzzle, paws, all blinding white amidst a dizzying sea of red and purple patterns. A white that gives the eye a rest between the busy braids and tiger stripes resembling purple seaweed. A white that takes on a life of its own, as if the naked, dove-shaped soul of the animal will soon take flight, leaving its skin behind. Like a snake shedding its skin, like Bartholomew or Hypatia.