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 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'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:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Artlandia!  Things I wanted to do before the end of 2017: more birds.  

 One might think I have enough birds (never!), but there actually are a few poses that I wanted - for example, this side pose leaned back/away (and once I had it facing one way, I thought I might as well carve it going the other way.)

proof of the first state (I went back and did a little more carving
especially around the eye and wings.)
Thinking of carving mirror images, I finally (finally!) carved the front facing bird looking left (to go with the front facing looking right bird from August 2014 . )
bird from
August 2014
  I included a little size variation when carving the inverses (the second ones are both about 12% larger than the first ones). I wanted to be in keeping with the variety of sizes in nature and to make the inverses distinct from the first views.  I plan to use some of these to finish the second border for the fox ).

5 minutes
I spent the last day of 2017 figure drawing, then came home and started reorganizing the studio and sharpening and cleaning all my wood carving tools so they'd be all nice and ready for the start of the new year. :)

I also put new feathers in the cloche and photographed it - getting ready to pack up all the Swallows components for installation January 8th. (Eep!)

10 minutes

In creature news...
It continues to be very, very cold here and Honey continues
to revel in the snow - I marvel at how she's so elegant and content
 in this weather. 
My Princess on the other hand decided that the best place to nap
was on her human's heated shrug...while the human
was wearing it and carving blocks. 
It was time to put away the "ornaments" from the
kitty toy tree. Junior went
right into the box after them to retrieve them,
 "Oh, Human, you dropped these." 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cloche, Birds, and lots of Snow

Happy Holidays! This week, an exciting new addition to the swallows project - I finally made the cloche element that the swallows will be orbiting.  It's a house made with wire, thread, and 3D doodled plastic. (Those are feathers inside - I started with what I had on hand and will be adding some longer ones. Due to a big snow, there hasn't been a good time to go feather shopping, haha.)

A very exciting picture here - this is my sophisitcated
storage and organization system for the wired
swallows so that the wires stay straight and untangled and
 the birds stay separated into their groups for each mobile.

As we can see - it meets with Feline Assistant
approval - in fact, I think the feathers may meet
with a little too much feline approval
(and it is now being stored in the one kitty-free
spacein the house). 

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I figured it was a holiday, so I'd do whatever I most wanted to do in the studio.  I carved two new birds - these are pretty small - I think about 4.5 inches tall. I carved the first one and then printed it on another block as a template to carve the mirror image.

 There was a big snow this week:

The member of our creature family who most enjoys snow is definitely Honey - she loves the new toy her grandma sent - it has fins so that it sits on top of the snow when we play snow-fetch. She also loves making pup snow angels - rolling on her back and scooting back and forth to make a blurred, Honey-sized imprint in the snow. I enjoy seeing how happy the snow makes my joyful pup, but I remain firmly in the kitty camp on this one -
Jr. watching the snow from the
heated blanket. 
my Princess in the exact
same spot, a few hours later

The kitties may not be huge fans of snow, but they like Christmas (or kitty-toy-tree season).

Guess who's Queen of the wrapping paper pile
Jr. "helping" with the ribbon
Other random marvels this week - I came across this turquoise poinsettia with rainbow glitter - oddly fascinating (I documented, but didn't bring it home due to its potential as a poison hazard to pets.) 

Last but not least, a beautiful, pre-snow landscape shot from earlier in the week. And on that note - wishing a safe and happy 2018 to all! :)