Saturday, November 29, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 18

Back to the Studio this afternoon. Part of that time included some grading and shooting student work, and also a trip to see that print show over at Crybaby. (38 of 96 pieces were giclees, but don't get me started on that) But mostly it was working on the current block. I finished the areas I intend to cut (for now) on the left side panel, and took a pencil rubbing on newsprint (top photo). Although they tend to be a little dark, especially in the areas cut for gray, such things can provide a little clue as to how the image is developing, as long as you know how things will translate to an actual print. For the moment I'm leaving the area at the top and around the wheel black. It's not very Japanese in style, but when in doubt, I'm going to fall back on my own compositional approach. And even if it is a little heavy in this panel, I also have to think about the whole diptych, and the other panel should balance it out. I can always change my mind later and cut some more out of there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 17

Took advantage of the day off to get some extra time in the Studio. I finished off the shelves by cutting vertical stripes into the back and side walls of each. This will give an optical gray when printed, which will separate from the white and black objects, such as the wall behind the black cats in the top photo. After finishing that, I started on the counter. The bottom photo shows the extent of today's progress. I cut away most of the broad empty parts, and got a good way into the game board. Should finish that tomorrow, and probably the piece of the wheel in the left side panel. That way I'll have at least the one side cut before the crit group next week.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 16

Late Giants game today, which meant that I could put in a few early afternoon hours at the Studio. Actually more like 1.5 hours. But that was enough to finish cutting all the prizes on the shelves in the left side panel, as well as the shelves themselves. Still remaining are the back walls of the shelves. I'll deal with those next time, then move on to the counter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 15

Late last night I turned on my cell phone and found a message from Molly, left hours earlier. She was wondering about a few things, including why I didn't have any work in the new printmaking group show at Crybaby Gallery in Asbury. She assumed I would, since they asked for my contact information, but thought maybe it was because I had so much work out in Iowa. While it's true that much of my best recent work is out in the midwest, the real reason I have nothing in the show is because this phone message was the first I had heard about it.

Anyway, today I took a roundabout trip to the Studio, delayed by a train, detouring a traffic obstruction and a raised drawbridge, and finally arriving at the building only to find the lot jammed full, requiring me to open up the gate and park in the back. (turned out that there were auditions going on for two different shows) But once inside I was able to get to work on the block. Molly was also there, and late in the afternoon we took a break to go into Asbury- her to pick up work from a gallery, me to see the mysterious print show. I was not successful, as the gallery was closed. I'll check it out another time. Still, I made some good progress on the block today, finishing cutting out all the prizes in the top two rows. I expect to finish the rest of the prizes in the left side panel tomorrow, and maybe start on the counter area.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 14

I went up to the Studio for a few hours in the afternoon and continued the cutting of my new block. I decided to start with the figure on the left side. When I finished that, I did the toys hanging in the top row, the front edges of all the prize shelves on the left side, and the cardboard boxes down below the shelves. So far it seems to be going well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Global Footprints in Union, NJ

The Global Footprints show has been installed in the James Howe Gallery at Kean University in Union, NJ. My piece is shown at the top, and the others show views of the installation. Looks really nice in the space. The exhibition remains up through November 26th.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 13

I had a little time to spare this morning, so I went up to the Studio to begin the process of cutting my current block. One thing I quickly discovered is that this piece of wood is a bit different from what I'm used to. Usually with the lauan I use there is a veneer layer on either side of a hard core of wood, and I cut through the veneer to the hard stuff underneath. When cutting out broad areas with a chisel I get underneath the veneer and clear everything above the hard center layer. This board has a very thin skin of wood grain surface, with a soft wood layer between that and the core. The problem is that this doesn't work so well with a chisel, which takes the skin off easily, but not the wood underneath. Which means almost no difference in levels between what's cut and not cut, a problem in broad open areas that would pick up a lot of unintended ink. On the other hand, the stuff cuts great with a gouge, which digs into the surface enough to give me that deeper relief. In this way, the board is acting more like a piece of birch.
Luckily, the current image has a lot of detail over most of the surface, the kind of thing that gets cut with gouges and not chisels, so it should work out. It just will take a little longer to get some parts done. Seemed a good a time as any to sharpen some of my gouges, so I got out my water stone and did that while I was there, which means I'll be ready to start cutting inside the image next time. For now I did cut out the borders, including the space between the two panels and the quarter-round corner cuts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 12

Before going to the opening in Belmar, I spent a little time at the Studio. Part of it was shooting photos of recent student art, but most of it was spent with my current block. I made the change I had decided after last time- tilting upward the kid's head, as if he's looking at the prizes or wheel. Above you can see a detail, as well as the full drawing as it stands now. I had considered putting more elements in some parts- like the empty space around the wheel, or a pattern on the girls's shirt, but I think that the composition needs some empty spaces, so I'm inclined to leave them blank. Which means I think I'm done with the drawing on this block. Next time I begin cutting it. I also spent a bit of time looking at Japanese woodcuts, thinking about color, but that's a decision I don't have to make for quite a while.

Small Treasures Show

Today was the opening of the Small Treasures show at the BAC Boatworks. Artwork by members, framed pieces on walls and small stuff in bins and racks, everything under $75. My framed contribution (bottom photo) is the piece that didn't sell at the Beaux Eaux Ball last month. Better luck this time. And I contributed my usual assortment of mini-saints as well. The latter were originally done for the holiday sales up at the Printmaking Council, but they haven't held any of those lately, so I can park them here for the season. The show and sale are on display Wednesday through Sunday (except holidays) from now through January 2, 2009.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

America, the Exhibition

Today is the official opening day of my latest solo exhibition. It's called America, and includes 44 woodcuts from my post MFA experience. The show is in the Bing-Davis Memorial Gallery at Upper Iowa University, in Fayette, Iowa. I won't make it out there, but I'm told that the work fits well in the gallery. (I'm expecting to have some photos to post here soon.) The exhibition remains up through December 18, 2008, and the gallery is open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Special thanks to John Siblik of UIU for inviting me to present my work and for guiding me through all the steps in the process.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Global Footprints Show On The Road

The Global Footprints members exhibition that originated at the Printmaking Council of NJ is now at its third stop, the James Howe Gallery in Vaughn-Eames Hall at Kean University in Union, NJ. The show opened yesterday and will remain open through November 28, 2008, with a reception on Thursday, November 13 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. I have one piece in it, which can be seen here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Boardwalk Wheel Game part 11

I spent the entire month of October preparing for my exhibition in Iowa, as you can see by going back through this blog. But the work is now out there, and I put in time over the past few days finishing all the various artist statements and other handouts, so my part of the show is pretty much finished.
That meant I could get back into the Studio today for the purpose of making new art. First I took care of printing a few student blocks (top photo). Then I turned my attention to the boardwalk block that I haven't worked on since September. One of the suggestions that came out of the Crit group this past Wednesday was that the kid playing the game (second photo) should look more excited by the game. Someone even suggested he should be jumping or waving his arms with excitement. That seemed a little extreme, but I did think it was worth exploring a more subtle suggested change, having the kid look up at the prizes. The simplest way to do that was to cut out duplicate head drawn on a newsprint scrap, and reposition it over the original. The results can be seen in the last photo. I think I like this change. The cap brim creates a new implied line that I like, helping the eye move across the diptych and through the heart of the composition. Next time in I'll make the change in the drawing. I'm leaning toward leaving the area around the wheel blank, but it's now a matter of deciding whether that will be left uncut (black), or become a solid lighter color. The black would help the wheel stand out, but it might be too heavy. I don't have to make that decision right away.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Crit Group Takes a Walk

Molly invited her students to come to tonight's monthly critique group. Expecting a larger crowd than usual, we decided to move things out to the cafeteria portion of the basement, as we did the last time she invited students. People arrived slowly, but they did come, so we had at least 20 people there, including several of the regulars. The top photo shows all the art (click to enlarge) that was brought in. We led off with Sandy's experiments in abstraction, coming out of a workshop at the Belmar Arts Council. Molly sought opinions on a commissioned piece, seen in the bottom photo. Since the piece is designed to be a bar top, I suggested we look at it flat rather than upright. It did make a difference. Michelle brought some collage pieces that were passed around so we could enjoy all the details. Harriet brought in something "old and crusty", but interesting nonetheless.
Having spent the entire past month making boxes, I had nothing new to show. However, the only person here tonight who was also here last time was Molly, so I decided to bring the first boardwalk block out to show again. This worked out quite well, as I got some input I hadn't heard before. For example, one person asked me if there was anything in the image that identified it clearly as New Jersey. The closest thing I could think of was the Derek Jeter shirt the kid is wearing, but those can be found across the country. This particular scene really could be in any boardwalk or summer carnival across the country for that matter. Something to consider for future prints though. Another thought that the kid placing his coin didn't seem that excited- not having fun. Maybe, but he's based on a sketch of an actual kid playing such a game in Seaside. Still, another thing to consider for subsequent prints. Also questions/comments about whether the prints will represent individual boardwalks or composites, are they about boardwalks now or in my past, how will the Japanese influences play out, and more. I hope to get back to art making soon, now that most of the exhibition stuff is past, but I have some thinking to do as well.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Drive By Press Comes to Union, NJ

Quite a day here in New Jersey today. Light traffic on the Parkway, with people off voting I guess. My afternoon class was devoted to the history of printmaking. But the big excitement was in the evening when Drive By Press came back for their second day of printing at Kean University. The top photo (courtesy of Julie Harris) shows their outdoor set up yesterday, and how they work out of the van. (Click to enlarge) Tonight's event was indoors, in the art department's Printmaking Studio. I brought my whole evening class to the special event. Greg and Drew showed off some of their collection of prints, including passing around prints from a couple of group folios so that all the students could see them up close. They also displayed a huge sewn print/mural piece from the guys at Cannonball. After a break, they brought up a selection of their wood blocks and printed t-shirts for anyone who wanted one. I went for something different, having them put a print on my print shop apron, as seen in the last few photos. I now have the coolest apron in New Jersey.

Monday, November 03, 2008

On the Way to Iowa

The weekend was a blur of cardboard, bubble wrap and sealing tape, but when all was done, the exhibition was ready to go. Most of the art itself was already framed, but I had to swap out about half a dozen pieces with some in frames already. There will be a few prints getting their first public exhibition. More time was spent putting the final touches on the shipping boxes, including trimming cardboard sheets to be spacers between the bubble wrapped prints. When all was said and done, I had depleted most of my stored supply of corrugated, but this is what I had stored up a lot of it for, and I can get more for the future. I used 109 yards of clear package sealing tape to cover over the paper taped seams, and then to seal the lids shut. The art was packed into 6 cardboard boxes and one mailing tube, which was shipped out this morning, and expected to arrive in Iowa toward the end of the week.

Now that it's on the way, I know that the show will consist of 44 prints- 14 prints each from 3 of my series- Everyman (the saints), Scenes from the Grand Opening (supermarkets), and Ecclesiastes, plus 2 of my large format prints- Employee and A New Year For America. The show will open in the Bing-Davis Memorial Gallery at Upper Iowa University in Fayette a week from Thursday. For more information, go to