Monday, December 11, 2017

new collages and first snow

Funny story - so I woke up this morning, and thought, "Monday - time to write the blog - hmmmmm - have I done anything this week?" (While I remember that I've done things lately, it's sometimes difficult for me to relate them to a week by week timeline.) Checking last week's blog entry and uploading new photos reminded me:  "Oh, that's right...I carved a new block, made to completion 2 collages, and rephotographed everything for the flat file submission.", there's that, haha. 

The flat file deadline got extended (most excellent O:) ) - and fortuitous, because when I went to pack the collages, I realized I was out of the correct size sleeves. So, I'm waiting for a supply delivery before packing and submitting everything. I'm not very good at letting things sit.  

I decided that both sets of 3 needed one more collage (of course they do ;) ).  The thing is, the compositions of the sets of 3 are pretty tightly coordinated, so to add a 4th, I decided to do something a little different and print the background in gold on black and use the change in color to represent the same space in a parallel universe.   

This was incredibly fun because it allowed me to use some of my favorite blocks and block combinations - in particular the tiger with wings and the winged rats. 

The four 20 x 16" collages together
The four 12 x 12" collages together
new 12 x 12" collage
detail of new 12 x 12" collage

new 20 x 16" collage

detail of new 20 x 16" collage

detail of new 20 x 16" collage

 Of course, as much as I told myself that I would focus on making these collages from existing blocks without carving new ones... it "needed" a new tiny carousel.  Fun times carving this - it's still magical to me seeing the finished proof for the first time. Working this small is especially rewarding in that way because, even though I carve conscientiously, I really don't know what it's going to look like until I see it. It's still kind of surprising to me when something turns out looking the way I wanted it too. (Though it probably helps that this is not the first carousel block I've carved :p ).

5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 minute poses
By Sunday, I was pretty tired (and also really need to clean the studio), but I decided to go to figure drawing anyway, because it's been a while, and I miss it. Also, I wanted to try something new.  With this group, the poses are relatively short, the longest being 25 - 30 minutes. Other members of the group use wet media to effectively cover large areas quickly - like these by Gretchen Kelly.  I admire these but don't want to give up charcoal completely (I like its sooty darkness). Last week I saw this nice Jared French drawing at Stair Auction House - it was good timing. It reminded me of this traditional technique - combining white gouache with drawing materials on a toned paper. I thought it could be a good compromise for me to use wet media for the light and charcoal for the dark. So that's what I did. Like anything, more practice, but I think it did work pretty well - thumbs up!     

10 minute pose
25 minute pose

And in non art news - first snow! (I don't really like snow, but I like seeing how happy it makes Honey to play in it - look at that head and tail blurred with joy!) 

Also, an update on the new bed...I came home from writing last week's blog to discover that "chew proof" did not last 24 hours against Honey... (Ooooo Pup - we're working on it).

first snow sunrise

Monday, December 4, 2017

Swallows 5

We have a mobile!(!!)   This week, the first swallow mobile took flight! 

...I'm excited that it works...and now to make 5 more.  I've been busy wiring the rest of the birds...

I also made a new collage, getting back to some of the things that I dropped to work on the swallows.  It's been bothering me a little that the rose bough that I finished just before starting the swallows has never made it into a finished collage.  In July I tried one where I collaged the roses in, but this time, I wanted to try selectively painting the roses (very, very, carefully).
in process

close ups of new collage, 36 x 12" 
 I like the way this looks with the fox (I did some digital magic to double it and put it on both sides to see what it might look like with pendants)...

I like this, and the funny thing is how very much it reminds me of a piece from my thesis in 2010 (the composition, the flat background, even the palette and sprinkling in of the little lizard and bugs in the borders, haha). On the one hand, I guess, in some ways, my taste hasn't changed that much; on the other, one is a painting and the other uses relief prints, so I've learned a whole new medium since then (and I think this one is a better fit - the borders in the painting are based on relief prints, it just didn't occur to me at the time to keep them in the same medium.)   Also the marbling is a new addition since then and the change from canvas to paper. More than the particulars though, I think it's a change in the way it works as a system - by making blocks I can repeat aspects without having to start from scratch every time (which I appreciate O:) ).

It was a very busy week outside the studio too - En Masse 2017 opened at Thompson Giroux Gallery and I think the show looks great!

I also went on an art adventure with friends to the Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair (which was awesome - I was so busy looking at the prints that I forgot to take a photo, haha).

I made the first batch of gingerbread cookies of the season (kittied and owls, naturally.) Saturday was the annual Winter Walk in Hudson, and I saw a terrific show, Colly in the Milkyway by Colly Howan. at Gallery at 46 Green St , and then there were fireworks.

In creature news...
 My Princess "allowed" Jr. to nap on the heated blanket - she is becoming very magnanimous in her maturity.

Ahhhh - it's good to be Queen.

And Honey got a new bed from her Auntie for Christmas! (This one is *guaranteed* to be chew proof  - we'll see :) ). It's fluffy, and she seems unsure about stepping on it so far, but she does seem to have the general idea.

Monday, November 27, 2017

new flatfile work!

new 20 x 16" collages (thumbs up!)
A very (very!) busy week in Artlandia.  This week was all about new work for the Zea Mays flatfile.  I made these 3 new 20 x 16" collages. It's hard for me to put in words right now all of the steps I went through this week to make these, but one thing I did was spray layers of aerosol gesso to get a sfumato effect.  I also sprayed gold and black (on the climbing squirrel one).  Spraying these (especially with the black) was pretty nerve-wracking, but I think they turned out well.  I like how the different marbling in the paper gives each on a distinct atmosphere.  I also added branches and printed slightly different sections of the tree block so that the tree turned out differently in each piece. 

It was a fun creature week as well.  For Thanksgiving, and I baked special pumpkin treats for Honey.  

I made pumpkin bread too. O:) 
Look at that face!  She was a very patient pup,
waiting for them to be ready.

The kitties don't seem to care for
pumpkin treats, but they appreciated
that I left the heated blanket on for them
(it was a holiday, afterall ;) ).

...and then it was time for the kitties' favorite
day of the year -
the day the human brings them their tree. 
...and fills it with kitty toys
and a nice soft blanket beneath.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

flat file submission

A busy week in Artlandia!  Making new work for this year's Zea Mays flat file submission!
I looked at the calendar and realized I have a month to make, photograph, pack and transport new work (Eep!)  I tried something I've been thinking about for a while - making multiple collages with a fixed background so that it can be read as stills across time or continuously as a panorama. 

I like the way they turned out - they're small (about 11 x 11") but complex enough to have a narrative and I think I'm getting better at integrating all the parts. 

These ended up having a lot more drawing/painting in them than I realized, as evidence by the
number of pens, pencils, and brushes that I used and dropped on the floor.  
I think it went well and decided to try it again, larger this time (20 x 16") by printing a section of the giant tree block.  I marbled new paper, printed the backgrounds, and am in process testing out bunches of parts.  I'd like to have 6 - 10 all new pieces - wish me luck! (Fortituuuuuude!)

Not just one, but both Feline Assistants on the press (doh.)