Friday, June 26, 2015

Three Cats A-Z Prints With Trippy Colors

My cousin Gail is visiting and while coloring with our kids she created some psychedelic versions of three Cats A-Z proofs I had lying around. Thought I'd share the fun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dancing In the Garden: Far Afield

White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolors on 140 lb Canson watercolor paper
9" x 12" (image) 11" x 14" (paper)

On Children 

by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dancing in the Garden: Circle of Friends

White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolors on 140 lb Canson watercolor paper
9" x 12" (image) 11" x 14" (paper)

Trees have about them something beautiful and attractive even to the fancy, since they cannot change their places, are witnesses of all the changes that take place around them; and as some reach a great age, they become, as it were, historical monuments,
and like ourselves they have a life, growing and passing away, --not being inanimate and unvarying like the fields and rivers.

One sees them passing through various stages, and at last step by step approaching death, which makes them look still more like ourselves.

- Wilhelm von Humboldt

Dancing In the Garden: Second Duet

White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolors on 140 lb Canson watercolor paper
9" x 12" (image) 11" x 14" (paper)

A Bed in the Leaves
By Marian Kennedy

My yard is full of leaves today
Brown and yellow and gold
I think I'll rake them in a pile
Higher than my head

Then I'll pretend it is my bed
I'll jump in very quick
And pile their leaves up over me
For covers soft and thick

I'll just lie there so nice and warm
And look up in the sky
And watch more leaves float down for me
To rake up bye and bye

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dancing in the Garden: First Duet

White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolors on 140 lb Canson watercolor paper
9" x 12" (image) 11" x 14" (paper)

A sister is both your mirror - and your opposite. 

-Elizabeth Fishel

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Dodgeville" by Linda Kelen

Image used with the permission of the artist. Learn more about Linda Kelen on her blog Artings (here's a direct link to her blog posts specifically about white line woodcuts) and at her Absolute Arts page.

Motors are running, vehicles with rounded edges and painted all the colors of the rainbow move about, yet I detect no smog. Only a herd of puffy, white clouds, softly reflecting some yellow sunlight slowly existing the frame.

An older man with a brown bag lunch seems to watch the passing parade with some interest. I assume the blue bike he stands beside is his. The seat looks comfortable.

With all this coming and going, leaning and bending, I am reminded that nothing is ever truly still; the earth spins and orbits a moving sun in an expanding universe.

I have caught but a glimpse, the most fleeting of moments. It is an extraordinarily bright and vivid scene. This is what the world looks like on my happiest days or in my sunniest of memories.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dancing in the Garden: Black Tutu Solo

White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolors on 140 lb Canson watercolor paper
9" x 12" (image) 11" x 14" (paper)

The winds that blow -
ask them, which leaf on the tree
will be next to go.

-Kyoshi Takahama 

Monday, June 15, 2015

"Bark Park" by Sally Brophy

Image used with the permission of the artist. A higher resolution version can be viewed on her website hereRepresented by James R. Bakker Gallery, ©Sally Brophy 

The white line woodcut process typically produces a bright and airy image with a naivete reminiscent of certain folk art. Indeed, Sally Brophy describes herself as a "self taught artist," though I would not have guessed that from the breadth and sophistication of the collection of woodcuts featured on her website. 

This particular woodcut does remind me a bit of the paintings of that ever famous and beloved American folk artist Grandma Moses. As in Moses's paintings of weddings or seasonal festivals, the overall scene is thematic, but there are smaller scenes, some mundane, others touching or playful, found throughout the picture. The black dog in the foreground catches a frisbee while to his left a kneeling dog-lover hugs two pooches, and to his right a group of three frisky mutts run in a pack. Most of the vignettes convey the affectionate bond between dogs and their owners. To a slightly lesser degree, I also find the innocent and carefree spirit of pampered canines. These dogs remind me of young children. Even the yellow dog house looks more like a child's back yard play house. This assemblage of happy, brightly-colored characters sprinkled over a field of soft gray is deeply soothing. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Along the Canal" by Ingrid Davis

The color! Like a sizzling sunset! Like the sounds of revving motorcycle engines and pianos mingling on Bourbon Street in New Orleans! I am dry and hungry, and this seems certainly a place where I can get wet and full to the gills. This is the lighthouse on the horizon. If only I could break through the glassy exterior, I would jump in, swim, and sail to shore!

(If you are so curious, see and read more about the work of Ingrid Davis at her Star Arts page and in this The Times of Trenton article.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"The Storm" by Mabel Hewitt

Pedestrians move along
Stepping in time to the
Pitter patter of pouring rain
Others watch from a window
Or under an awning
Darker emptier windows
Look down from above
The woman in red
Her face obscured by
A green umbrella
Cradles books, protecting
Her precious pile
It is raining and it is
A beautiful day

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dancing in the Garden: Purple Dress Solo

White line woodcut (unique print)
Watercolors on 140 lb Canson watercolor paper
9" x 12" (image) 11" x 14" (paper)

This is the much improved proof of the print I posted about yesterday. I made the dress a bit more purple, I darkened some of the shadows, I added some purples and oranges to the red leaves, and I generally got a cleaner, sharper image because I set up a better registration block. This took me three hours to print just once, and that was with a block that was already painted up and saturated with color from the first proof. But worth it!

The photograph isn't great, but it was the best I could do at the moment. White line woodcuts are difficult to get a good photograph, so I'll have to work that out.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dancing in the Garden: First Proof

This is the first proof for the first print intended for my next book project, Dancing in the Garden. It will be a series of white line woodcuts of four particular children dancing in the stunning landscapes of the Morris Arboretum.

This print is definitely not a finished version. I need to play around with the colors and get a crisper overall registration. But I like the drawing on the block and many of the color interactions. It starts to give a sense of what I'm going for, which is a cheery, folksy,  mosaic of children in motion embedded in an array of outdoor plantlife.

Okay, back to work...