Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sunny - Much-Loved Feline Assistant

Sunny and my mom at the thesis show - the very first blog entry.
It's been a very sad few days in Artlandia.  Sunny, my Princess, Feline Assistant, Sr. died Saturday night after a long struggle with a chronic health condition that had recently taken a turn for the worse.

For the last 12 years - Sunny was my constant companion and helper in the studio.  She was there assisting from the very first blog entry to the launch of the most recent project.

She took her role as Feline Assistant, Sr. seriously. She was there with me from my first explorations into printmaking. She was there while I gradually acquired the tools of the trade and practiced, practiced, practiced, relief carving skills.

She sat next to me or sphinx-like on my back while I worked.

 She could frequently be found keeping the carving pillow warm, 

or guarding the blocks.

She was always ready to print - day or night...

...and then help keep the prints and collage parts in place

She was happy to pose with artwork to help provide a sense of scale.

...and was never caught napping on the job (ok, she was often found napping on the job - after all, she was a kitty.)  Sleeping many hours a day and keeping the human company for many hours at a time in the studio seemed to be enjoyably compatible activities for her.

Looking back at the photo of Sunny and Junior 2 weeks ago - now I wonder if my Princess allowing Junior to take the middle of the carving pillow (not typical) while she sat beside her, and Junior, ever-doting, gave Sunny a kiss on the head was Sunny's way of passing the studio assistant torch.
 She was my cuddly companion outside the studio too, and I want to end with these, because "kitty-toy-tree season" was her favorite time of year - from first Christmas to last and all the days in between, Sunny brought great joy to her human. She was a loving, loyal, and fabulous feline assistant and very, very loved by her human, little sister, and pup. Artlandia won't be the same without Sunny - she will be greatly missed.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Executive Decision! - Weekly Blog date changing to Tuesday

After the difficulties posting last week, I got to thinking that it might be better to post the blog on Tuesdays/Wednesdays instead of Monday, so I'm going to give it a try and see how it goes - back tomorrow :)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Swallows opening, Michelangelo exhibit, Gothic arches

...and we're back!  Back at my home away from home (i.e. the library O:) ) after holiday and snow closings.  Lots to report from Artlandia.

First - 10 Artists/ 10 Pieces opened at the Hotchkiss School.  I was so excited to see the whole show and that my installation piece, "Swallows," looked just like I had imagined it :) ! Even though I planned and planned, I didn't get to test it all together due to space constraints, so it's a relief to see it installed and working just like it should - no birds were tangled or down - whew!

It was also very nice that my parents were able to come to the opening!  They got in and out during the brief thaw :).

Me with my Mom and Dad and a pseudo-sky full or swallows.
Look at that relieved face!
- I think making the different size birds
to extend the space (like faux-perspective)
really worked.

Now that the "Swallows," have officially flown from nest...it was time to break into my new roll of block material. Even though it arrived in late October, I had promised myself I would break into it until the swallows project was completely finished - it was time. 

new 12 x 22" block with template from older block on the left
 and a print out of the template on the right 
The new roll of material is 12" wide and yards long, so it's a good fit for a new tracery block that's taller than it is wide. This is a larger block based on the central portion of the 12 x 18" tracery block I carved about a year ago when I thought my favorite block material was discontinued forever.  The thing about it is, the block material was so soft and thick that it was difficult to get it to hold as much detail as I wanted and then, it was very, very difficult to print - it was so soft that the cuts sort of healed back together (which it why for the next Gothic element I carved, the turret, I switched to MDF, which holds lots of detail. but has it's own set of issues.) One of my favorite Gothic blocks is still the finial I carved in 2014 - one of my early blocks (I took it out for inspiration and it's in the picture on the left).  So, while I like some things about the older tracery block, I've never been completely satisfied with it, and having renewed access to my favorite block material seems like a good reason to try again.  I scanned the best proof and changed some of the things that bothered me (I elongated the proportions, evened up the symmetry, and made it about 40% bigger), then transferred it to the new, toned, block as a template.  Then I carved and carved and carved...

block in progress with toes for scale and a proof of the older block in the background.
I also used the block scraps that I cut off from along the roof line. I carved and proofed this winding key (I have plans for this (steeples fingers :) )

There was also an art-adventure to New York City to see the Michelangelo exhibition at the Met!
from a visit to "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer,"
at the the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Oooooo - it was wonderful!  I had been wanting to see this very badly, but was worried that it was going to be too crowded for me.  Luckily, it was all good. I was extra (extra!) excited to see the large scale cartoons - the preparatory drawings which I feel help reveal the process, and because they are rare and super fragile, are not often displayed. Almost impossible to choose a favorite, but I particularly liked this drawing - and I think it's funny that he let the feet trail off like that which, academically, is a no-no. 

I also liked the non-Michelangelo pieces that were included in the exhibition for comparison and/or to show his designs executed by other artist. One of my favorite was this Hellenistic sleeping Hypnos - ahhhhh those wings!

Tom checking out part of Nene Humphrey's Transmission
It was perfect timing because Tom McGill and I also got to go to some openings, including seeing Nene Humphrey, Ken Buhler, and Ellen Driscoll's work at Lesley Helller Workspace.  

It's been a very busy week!  And outside of art there was snow, lots and lots of snow. 

This made a particular Wonder-pup very happy.

She also seems pretty happy recharging inside while the Human drinks coffee to warm up.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Swallows take flight!

partial view of "Swallows," mixed media installation, including: relief prints, decorative paper,
ink, acrylic, wire and thread, 2017
 Yay! The swallows are installed! (Whew!)  "Swallows" is part of the upcoming exhibition 10 Artists/ 10 Pieces, curated by Joan Baldwin and opening Friday, Jan. 12th 4 -5 pm at The Hotchkiss School.

As you may have guessed - it was a very (very!) busy week in Artlandia, and I'm looking forward to seeing the whole show Friday :) !

All packed up and ready to go!
reassembling on the carpet
view from the bottom floor looking up

view from the upper floor looking down
view on the upper floor looking through at (drumroll...) Audubon's swallows(!!)

Of course, now that the swallows are done...it's time to get back to all the things that have kind of been on "pause" while the swallows were in process including the second side panel for the fox.
Detail of 12 x 30" collage
Detail of 12 x 30" collage

Detail of both 12 x 30" collages side by side

with the fox for scale

I enjoy these, but I felt like they really needed a little something to relate them back to the seven deadly sins project, all of which include faux-garbage, so I carved a new block of refuse to go in at the bottom.

"Oh my Human would like to give me extra
chin scratches and stare at my nose? Ok :)." 

And in creature news - there was a bit of a pup-mystery early in the week.  Honey's nose has been turning pinkish-brown for a couple of weeks. It didn't seeming to bother her, but I did some research, and apparently this is a thing in White German Shepherds as well as Golden Retrievers, called "snow-nose." Now that I know nothing is wrong, I think it's super cute. 

Junior and my Princess were in fine form this week.
I thought this was funny -
while Honey loves playing in the snow,
Jr. opened the clothes cupboard and
snuggled down on top of my (formerly clean)
sweaters - smart kitty!
Jr. "helping" with the new collage

My Princess giving Jr. a very dirty look, though I'm not sure whether this means: "You're not doing it right," or
"If anyone is going to sit on the collage, it will be me."? 
Jr. getting back into big sister's good graces (...notice how they are
both on the carving pillow, while the cat bed sits empty in the
background,and the human is left to sit ...on the floor.  Haha.)

And our nature shot of the week: