Tuesday, February 27, 2018

more snow leopard, visit to Dia Beacon, nature

A busy week in Artlandia! Work continues on the snow leopard.  I finished carving and printed the head and the tail. 

prints of the head and tail with my feet for scale

 Then I printed the template for the body onto an MDF block.  It wasn't my most successful transfer - it came out really light and I lost a lot of detail, but I decided to go for it anyway (figuring, it's only natural that the spots are different on the big leopard than on the small one.) As we can see, Miss Mini was an excellent helper/ fur model.

24 x 30" wood block of snow leopard body in process
It's coming along (and as we can see, I ended uo using most of my tools, haha.). 
I also framed and delivered artwork to Albany Center Gallery for 2018 Mohawk-Hudson Regional Invitational opening Mar. 2nd - thumbs up!

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2018 Mohawk-Hudson Regional Invitational at Albany Center Gallery - opening Mar. 2nd
There was also an excellent art adventure - my first time visiting Dia Beacon

me enjoying one of the many works by Dan Flavin
 (I'd never seen so many in one place - heart!)

It seems like a perfect space for the paintings of Robert Ryman

This installation, Excursus: Homage to the Square^3 by Robert Irwin was one of my favorite things...

...along with this piece,  No End Neon by Francois Morelle
 And! There was a wonderful wildlife encounter - I saw a pair of wild turkeys who seemed very content on the museum's grounds.

I'm very excited that tomorrow, I'm headed to Zea Mays to work with most excellent print-animator Lynn Peterfreund.  In addition to making the printed elements to animate and the marbled background last week, this past week I researched and reacquaint myself with some software.  I came across this series of stills of Sunny and me in the studio and decided to make them into an animation to practice with the software.  I love these because I think they really capture us on a typical day in the studio.  

Speaking of the creature family, while Mini helped with the snow leopard inside, Honey and I got to experience a full spectrum of weather outside.  When carving this much, I try to make an extra effort to walk outside during the day to stretch out my back and rest my eyes. Honey was very happy to keep me company, and we got to spend one of the first warm days in the conservation area.

The water was oddly opaque from all the snow melt.

She got joyfully muddy (look at that belly!)
Then, the next day...

Only the human was sad about the snow. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

snow leopard, automata, marbling

A busy week in Artlandia. I'm very excited to be preparing for a new animation. In preparation, I marbled a round of paper that, hopefully, will make up a sky - thumbs up.

I also printed new swallows for the same project.  This was funny to me because I feel like I printed so many swallows, but because I used them all in the swallows installation, I actually didn't have any for the animation. Also, I wanted to try printing them in a color. 

Another project in the works is trying to finish the seven deadly sins series now that the first three in that series have returned home after a stint proudly representing in the Zea Mays Flat File.  I cut out the recent polyester lithography prints of the new automata birds that may (or may not) find their way into new work.

As part of the same series, I also started on the life-scale snow leopard. Right now the plan is to carve the head and tail in linoleum and the body into MDF.  I did the tail first and then the head. 

in process 12 x 26" block

in process - 12 x 12" block

3 hours later
This is interesting because one questions I sometimes get is "how long did that take?" Even though I can anticipate the question, I never really know the answer. The preparation time before carving varies widely depending on factors such as, how much research I feel I need to do and whether I've ever carved a similar block before. The actual carving time also varies, making it hard to estimate, but this case was helpful because I took the first photo after one sitting, about 3 - 4 hours, got up, got a snack and took Honey out, posted the photo, then decided to resume working. When I was done for the night, I photographed and posted the second state. Because of the time stamps, I know this was a single day session with about 3 hours between the photos, so this is a single day of 7-8 hours of carving (with breaks for human and pet bio-needs). I'll probably do one more carving session before proofing, then, depending how the proof looks, possibly one more quick round.

Speaking of the creature family - Mini was a big help on this.  At one point I was questioning the direction of the fur on the nose, and she happily sat and purred while I petted her head and stared at her nose - what a helper :). She's taking her role as sole Feline Assistant very seriously and has been sticking close to me in the studio. I love having her with me and at the same time I miss Sunny. It helps knowing Mini misses her too - here are some of my favorite pictures of them doing "synchronized napping."

Outside the studio, but still art-related - my Muse seems to approve of the snow leopard/ sphinx project. I know because look what just went into the windows of the local auction house - haha.

And our nature shots for the week:

tree cloaked in sky

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

pseudo-tapestry in process

A busy week in Artlandia - work continues on the pseudo-tapestry. 

This week I started sewing the parts into their final locations.  This was a multi-step process of sewing parts together, then sewing them onto layers, then sewing the layers together - for example, sewing the bird to the tree branch, sewing the tree branch with bird to the the tree, sewing the tree into the layer, then sewing the layer to the one above and beneath it.

To summarize - lots and lots of hand stitching.  The good news is that is seems to be working. 

One issues is the scale - it's composed in layers, in part, so I can handle it alone.  As the parts come together, it's becoming more physically difficult for me to move and reach sections without wrinkling or damaging the paper. Also, it's close to the width of the room, so walking around it is also challenging now. I'll be excited to get this off the floor and onto the wall. 

 I used a multi-pronged approach to attach the layers - I used (archival) double sided adhesive film in thin strips to hold it in place while I position it, then acid free glue along the edge, then sewing.  I had to be pretty careful about the order I was sewing things down to try to get the maximum amount of adhesion (so that the final round of sewing is sewing together the most layers). It's heavy. 
All laid out.
looking at it at an angle to check the seams between the layers.
This is a view of the back of the tree trunk
This is as far as I got this week - all the layers except the background layer, which will be attached to a large piece of paper
that will cover as much as possible of the back to protect all the stitching and provide support.
Here it is at a raking angle from above.
Once all the parts are together, I'll trim and finish the edge and attach it to the mesh that will hang on the wall.  I'll be very happy to get this off the floor and have the space back.   

Landscape shots from this week - the whole gamut from snowy to sunny. 

Just me and my 75 lb lap dog.
Naturally, my creatures have been keeping me company and lightening the mood - here's Honey (or as much of Honey as I can fit in the frame) sitting on my lap, and Mini who has decided that the pseudo-tapestry is the best napping spot in the entire house ("Look, Human, I'm helping keep all the parts in place. :)" She knows I can't be mad at that face (or resist petting that fluffy tummy), but it's still a (mostly) kitty-free-zone until I can get this on the wall.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

a sphinx in the making

Honey was so cute - she doesn't know what's in the box, but if it makes
her human so excited, it must be something worth guarding - such a good dog!
A very busy week in Artlandia!  My paper roll came! I got back to printing - after experiencing some frustration with printing the snow leopard, I did some research and adjusted the press blankets (taking out the pusher), changed to my larger brayer, and got better results printing the second state (thumbs up!)
Second state proof of new 12 x 15 relief block
detail of proof of second state

 I think the block has enough detail to work well as a template for a life scale block, and I scanned it this week.  I'm excited about making a life scale one, but also decided to work with it at this scale - I'd like to make a sphinx.

...Of course, none of the 5 sets of wing blocks I have are quiiiiite the right size.  So I used the next closest size blocks (from August 2015 ) as templates and made a new block.  It was a little weird, because at one point, I began doubting that they were really that much bigger (they're almost twice the length of the older ones, 5.5 vs about 10 inches). I re-measured to be sure, and they are indeed larger.

Then I reprinted this head block (from May 2015) that I think may be a good fit. Next, I cut the parts out and put them up on the white board together to get a sense of what they might look like 

Also, in excellent supply news - my new marbling tray arrived this week (it's actually a replacement tray for a pet kennel 0:) ). One thing that needs adjustment is that because the tray is so dark, I had a little trouble seeing the marbling patterns this go round, but I think I can fix that by adding a white mat or contact paper along the bottom for next time (and the important thing is - it fits a 48" piece of paper perfectly :) ).

I haven't decided yet what size I want to work with the sphinx yet, but having a full sheet allows for lots of possibilities.

I also carved a block that can be used to make a modular pattern because I have been thinking that I may want a pattern behind the unicorn in the pseudo-tapestry (not sure yet - hmmmmmm.)

Speaking of the pseudo-tapestry...now that the swallows have taken flight, I'm getting back to the pseudo-tapestry.  This week I cut out and toned a branch for the tree and am testing some birds for it.  One reason it's not finished is that I wasn't quite sure how to assemble it, but after trying some things on the Zea Mays flat file pieces (which are similarly structured but on a smaller scale) I think I'm ready to start putting it together (or at least, I don't think I'll become more ready by waiting/ researching).

Jr. helping establish scale.  (Usually, she is not allowed in this space, and since it's the only "kitty-free-zone" in the house,
naturally, she's eager to take full advantage any time she sneaks in. (doh.)

In other art news, I went to a lovely opening for Giovanni di Mola's new book, Kindred  at Leslie-Lohman Project Space in New York.

In creature news - we continue to miss Sunny very much. The house and studio and life in general are not the same without her. It's been hard on Mini losing her synchronized napping buddy. The heated blanket was one of Sunny's very favorite things (and she could not infrequently be seen with her blanket on the blog, for example here and here and here). It felt wrong sleeping with her blanket without her, and, like the carving pillow, I had to put it away for now.  My parents very thoughtfully sent Mini and me a new blanket - Mini approves - thank you!

Last, but not least, this week's nature shots, from the train: