Friday, August 28, 2015

"Flora and Fauna"

8" x 10" (image), 10.5" x 13" (paper)
Artist's proof
Oil-based ink on Stonehenge paper

Now that I've published Cats A-Z, it's time to gear up for publishing Owl and Cat In Love. I'm about to start a pre-sale campaign for the book, and I made "Flora and Fauna" as a promotional print for the campaign.

It's a still life with two of my daughters' toys that I particularly love, and which are of course also an owl and a cat. I wanted two different types of flowering plants to parallel the animal pairing. I selected black-eyed Susans because I see so many of them this time of year and cherry blossoms as a quiet nod to Japan and its rich history of mastering woodblock printmaking.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Kids' Class in West Philly

Me doing a monotype demo for campers this summer at the
Community Arts Center in Wallingford. This is one of the art
making methods I'll have kids explore at the UCAL this fall.
This fall is going to be a fabulous semester for teaching! I'm teaching printmaking classes for adults, and I'm continuing my work at the Wagner Free Institute for Science's SNAP program.

And, now I've been hired to teach Mixed Media 2D Art to 3rd-6th graders on Wednesdays, 4-5:30pm at the University City Arts League. We'll be doing some printmaking, learn techniques in drawing, painting, collage, and some paper mache, too! To register, check out the class listing on the UCAL website.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cats A-Z Is Now For Sale!

Announcing the release of Cats A-Z!

In this cat-themed alphabet book for mature readers, light humor blends with sardonic wit and serious philosophical musings. This is not just another cute cat book. It is a cat book for the more deeply contemplative cat lover.

The book is 8" x 8" hardcover, cloth with embossing, Smyth sewn bound, 56 pages plus printed end sheets. First edition of 500.

Get a signed copy by contacting me directly at marfknox (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject line "Cats A-Z."

Or purchase it online through my Etsy Shop (cheaper US shipping) or my Amazon Store.

Or buy it in these stores:
Wagner Free Institute for Science's gift shop
The Open Book in Elkins Park

From the Reviews: 
Besides being an intriguing mix of stories, the book is also beautiful, and would make an excellent gift for the animal lover in your life. My own copy has a prized place on my coffee table where it has become a conversation piece.

-Miss Riki, Nov. 1, 2015

...most of the time the cat books I’m offered are either annoyingly humourous (sorry but I’m not into Lol cats or “I haz” cats) or too mawkish. Of course, I love my cats and think they are cute but they are far more than that. They are interesting, fascinating and complex. Something told me that Martha’s book would be quite different. I was right.

-Beauty Is A Sleeping Cat, Oct. 30, 2015

This is the woodcut created for the end pages as it appears
in the front of the book. In the back is its mirror image.

Friday, August 21, 2015

"August Afternoon" by Gordon Hartshorne

Clouds float by, waves swell 
Sea or sky, it matters not 
Wind blows, determined. 

What a treat to discover the colorful woodcuts of Gordon Hartshorne just as I've been printmaking more with watercolors and introducing a painterly quality into many of my own woodcuts. Hartshorne was a printmaker who truly managed to make painterly woodcuts. He used the Japanese technique of wood block printmaking (moku-hanga) so he applied water-based pigments with brushes and hand-printed with a baren.

The artist died in 2004, but the website devoted to his artistic career is a wonderful resource for viewing many more of his wonderful woodcuts and learning about his life and work.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Woman's Head Against the Shore" by Edvard Munch

The sounds of waves sloshing against rocks mingle with a pervasive howling wind. There is a noisy hum here that imitates quiet.

The past is only the world we think we know. The ground where we formally crawled, then toddled, stepped, and raced dissolved as quickly as we moved beyond it. This is why we cannot help but fix our gaze forward on the traquil-yet-terrifying and seemingly infinite unknown.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Woman Standing At the Sea's Edge by Gustav Vigeland

More of Gustav Vigeland's dramatic, black and white woodcuts inspired by the Norwegian landscape can be viewed on the Vigeland Museum website, here. If anyone knows an actual title for this piece, let me know.

I am on a rock hurling through space. Solidity is mere illusion. All is forces, attracting and repelling, catapulting across countless, great divides. There is equal truth in the statements: We are shattered. We are one. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The City of Rhodes by Hartmann Schedel

Look to the sturdily-built structures. Contemplate the brilliant design and sweat that went into their erection. Think us safe as well as inventive.

Pay the sea no mind. Ignore its chaotic churns lapping at the rocky shore. Do not wonder about its composition or seek to unravel what mysteries hide in the deep.

Focus on the civilized city, the straight lines, the neat rows of windows.

Forget that we are all sailors standing on the edge of abyss.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I'm Teaching Printmaking For Adults This Fall

Here I am demoing white line woodcuts for an
Allens Lane Art Center fundraiser
I'm teaching printmaking classes for adults at Allens Lane Art Center in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia this fall.

First is a White Line Woodcut Workshop which will take place on two Saturdays, October 3 and 10, from 9:30-12:30. Learn more and register for this class through the Mount Airy Learning Tree.

I'm also overseeing a Relief Printmaking Open Studio, six Thursday evenings, Oct. 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5, 12, and 19, from 7-9pm. Beginners are welcome as I will be there to provide guidance and project ideas as needed. Register for the open studio directly through the Allens Lane Art Center.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Eight Male Nudes in New Hope

All eight of my new white line woodcuts depicting the male figure have been accepted into this year's Naked In New Hope exhibition at Sidetracks Art Gallery! This will be my third year exhibiting woodcuts in this well-attended annual juried exhibition.

The show is open from September 12-October 31st with a reception on September 12th from 6-9pm. The address is 10 Stockton Ave., New Hope, PA. Come and check out not only my prints, but a wide variety of takes by regional artists on the bawdy theme of nudity.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Students' Relief Prints from Workshop at Second State Press

I capped off my summer teaching today with Easy, Fun Relief Printmaking, a Second Saturday family workshop at Second State Press and sponsored by PECO. This is a free, 2-hour workshop offered to community for people of all ages. It's an ongoing event, so if you live in or near Philadelphia and are interested in free art workshops, check it out!

There were about 15 attendees, with kids outnumbering parents almost 3 to 1. The youngest was 6 years old, and there was also a teenager present. I decided to work with sheets of craft foam sheets, cut apart, embossed with a pencil, and glued to pieces of chipboard. This is a very versatile and inexpensive material, so it's great with a mixed-aged group. We printed with water-based block printing ink and brayers, although some of the students gone creative with paper collage and applying some of the ink to the plates with brushes. Here are some of my favorite prints the students produced.