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! :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

tiny trees

A very busy week in Artlandia! The latest digital print arrived in time to sign, package, and mail out for the holidays - thumbs up!
Latest digital print, 5 x 5" 
I also made a new block of trees based on resized and distorted versions of some of my other tree blocks - my thinking behind this is so that I have more options in terms of the depth of field in upcoming landscape pieces.  
What fortuitous timing - I got to study the trees in this Durer print up close and personal 
 I'm working on some other projects as well, but they're secret until after the holidays O:) . I've been a busy little elf.
In creature news - Jr. was a helper, doing a quality control check of every box before I packed it. Meanwhile, my Princess sat on the chest beside me and leaned her face out over the heating vent so that she looks like a model doing a photo shoot with a wind machine, haha.
They also took turns keeping the carving pillow warm while I worked on the tree block all week (and I felt the need to document this instance of peaceful sharing!) 

In pup news - Honey loves (Loves!) her new bed and seems (fingers crossed!) to have stopped chewing on/ tearing it.

My friend Tammy made me a 3D printed Pieta!  
Sunrise from my bedroom window - "tree research"

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."...so, 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.