Saturday, May 30, 2009

Assorted Studio Business

I put in a few hours in the Studio this afternoon, doing this and that. I decided to take advantage of the extremely tidy state of the room to take some new photos of the two most photogenic corners. The last ones I took were 35mm prints, which don't quite look as nice when scanned as the digital photos I can take now. Above are the low resolution shots, and I have higher res saved should I need it.
Also did a little coloring, futher touch up on the 3rd proof of the tattoo print. (The one I framed last night was dropped off in Belmar on the way up to Ocean Grove.) Mostly it was the dragon, repainting the whole thing, making the blue a little lighter and more even over the whole thing. Adjusted the orange values on the ukelele girl as well. That should do it for this one.
The rest of the time was spent thinking about the possibilities for the next print in the series. Looked through a book of Japanese prints and at the sketches from earlier in the week, and took some notes. If I'm going to do the next one with the Belmar Memories exhibition at the BAC in mind, I need to start it very soon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Riding the Tattoo Circuit

That tattoo print kept me on the road for a little while today.

First stop was in Bradley Beach, at Electric Tattoo, the shop where I did the original sketches. I had made arrangements to meet with Rob this afternoon before his first customer of the day. Not that he was as invested in the process of making this print as I was, but he was happy to have the opportunity to see the results, and liked what he saw. Some specific things that he mentioned liking were the rough symmetry of the dragon and his tattoo designs on the left, the subtlety of the wall of flash seen over his shoulder, and how well I captured the complex shape that is the tattoo needle. He noted that I changed the apron from black to the indigo stripe, but agreed that it was better for the composition. He said he was very much looking forward to seeing future prints in the series.

From there I took the short ride up to the Studio. Not to work today, just to pick up my metal straight edge ruler. The place was very clean- Molly had to straighten up the place for her Ladies Night silkscreen party. Now it's all clean for Monday's Critique Group.

Took the ruler home, where tonight I used it to measure a mat I needed to cut. The mat is for a framed copy of the tattoo print that I will put in a group show in Belmar tomorrow. (the frame and plexi are from a 9 year old print that I can't imagine exhibiting again any time soon) The show is called Brave New Works, and the participating artists are encouraged to submit work that is more ground breaking or experimental. Other than the fact that a woodcut in general is kind of radical for the Belmar Arts Council, for me this piece is unusual in that it doesn't exist completely in a defined space, but combines the scenes of people with the free floating art surrounding them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Again With the Coloring

Dropped by the Studio after work and stayed until I pretty much finished coloring the 3rd proof. Started with some touch up on things done earlier in the week, but mostly was painting blues- water and bubbles on the right, and the customer's jeans on the left. Her pants are closer to the color in the first proof, more indigo than ultramarine. Some of the other colors are a little different than the last proof, and I may try to adjust them in the near future. But at least this is a finished print suitable for exhibition and critique (I'll need one for each over the next week) and I can turn my attention to other tasks over the next few days.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Still More Coloring

Put in a few more hours on the 3rd proof this afternoon. Worked on a lot of little things and one big thing, the dragon. On another day I might have been tempted to continue and finish the whole thing, but I wanted to get dinner and take care of something at home before an evening arts related meeting, so I'll leave the rest until next time. Still on target to have this done by the end of the week.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More Coloring

I decided that the 3rd proof of the tattoo print was sufficiently dry to allow me to begin the coloring process. Having been through this a couple of time already speeds up the process. I still have to work carefully, but got further in the 2+ hours I put in today than I had in any previous session of similar length. As usual, mostly light and warm colors on the first day. Some of the things done today still require additional layering, but otherwise it's on to cool colors next.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Boardwalk Interlude

With the tattoo print finished (I'll color another proof over the next few days, but it's all worked out), it's time to start thinking about the next one. I put in a few hours in the Studio today, going through my notes and sketches of the past few years, as well as a pile of newspaper photo clippings of relevant material. I narrowed it down to a few possibilities, and started working out a composition sketch of one of them, but I'll save the details until I'm ready to start working on the block.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 34- Finished

A few minor changes made today. I put more of the light color on the customer's jeans, reducing the hard shadows a bit. Other than that it was mostly minor touch-up, the most noticeable might be the little red glows around the ukelele girl. I played around a little more with the dark red on the 1st proof, making the shape more like a shadow of the table. Better, but I decided it didn't add anything to the composition or clarity, so it need not be part of the good proof. And with that, I decided that this print is done. For a reminder of how this all started back in late February, click here. Next week I'll start coloring the next copy, using this one as a guide. Meanwhile, I need to start thinking about which idea will be the next image in the series.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 33

Back to the Studio for a little while this afternoon with my two proofs. Started with the first proof, trying some of the ideas suggested last night. I darkened the legs on the table. Liked it. Thought about the idea of putting some dark color toward the bottom of the right side, under the table. This kind of thing, a dark color fading into the scene, is not uncommon in traditional Japanese prints, and I found many such examples in the Hiroshige book I had with me. The only question was the color. I didn't want anything that was too similar to the color of the table, and I thought there was enough blue already. I looked through the book and found an example with a dark red, which seemed like it might work. I mixed up some alizarin crimson with black and put in a gradated wash along the bottom edge. Not sure that it helps. Molly came by to do some of her own work and I showed her the results. She felt the dark red stripe didn't really add much, maybe because the shape isn't related to the table. And she agreed that the lighter color on the customer's jeans in the first proof worked a little better, but otherwise she liked the colors in general, especially in the 2nd proof.
Then I went to the 2nd proof. Darkened the table legs. Put a wash of very light indigo and white on parts of the jeans to make them less bold while reinforcing the modelled shape. I mixed two colors for the table and put them in place, one a little more orange for the left side panel, one a little more neutral for the right panel, matching the accidental results of the correction I made on the first proof. Left off at there today, though I'll consider further work tomorrow. Above are both copies of the print for the purpose of comparison.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 32

Tonight I brought both copies of the new print to the critique group that meets at the Boatworks on the 3rd Thursday of the month. (I have gone occasionally in the past when I don't have a conflict with my work schedule) Like the majority of the BAC, the group is a bit more conservative than the one that meets in the Studio, but they are all experienced artists who have a good understanding of formal issues. That's what I was looking for tonight, suggestions as to how to resolve the remaining parts of the 2nd proof. In general, everyone liked the color I used on the table in the first proof and recommended using it again. There was some debate over the lower part of the right side panel. One suggestion was using a darker color in the negative space, while another was just to darken the table legs, so that they echo shapes in the boardwalk rail. One person preferred the jeans in the first person, which were much lighter in color. Over the next few days I may do some experimenting with the first proof, try out some of tonight's advice, and put the results to use on the 2nd proof.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 31

Some minor touches to the current proof today- adding deeper blue to the customer's jeans (a little shading to show some modelling of the form) and to the bubble shapes (the color had been too light to be seen from any distance) in the right panel. But most of my time there was spent printing a new, almost flawless proof of the block. With this one in progress just about done, I'd like to color a second copy next week before I put this one in an upcoming show.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 30

Back to the Studio after work today to continue coloring the new proof. Mostly worked on the left side, finishing the coloring of the tattoo designs (fish/hand, ukelele girl, bird, butterfly), the tattoo artist, and the flash wall. On the other side, light blues for the bubbles/water, browns for hair, and greens for leaves and dragon parts. In a few days I'll go back and do a little touch up, but I'm leaving the table alone until after I get some opinions at the BAC critique session later this week.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 29

I used up a good bit of the afternoon walking around Ocean Grove and Asbury, but I still wanted to put in a little time on my new piece, so when I returned I went down to the Studio. Today I was coloring with blue, applying some color (phthalo I think) to the sky and water in the beach/boardwalk scene, but mostly dealing with the two big items. The dragon is ultramarine with a slight white tint, which is what I used in the first proof, but there it mixed a bit with the green it was covering. I used the same blue for the customer's jeans, which were a wash of indigo last time. All this took about 90 minutes, working slowly and carefully. Next time it will be lots of little details and a variety of colors, but nothing too large.

ArtWalk on the Boardwalk

Today was the least pleasant weather of the 3 day Tri City Arts festival, but with the rain ending in the morning, I thought I'd still take the trip out to the Asbury boardwalk to check out the events scheduled for that part of town. Although I knew there would be plenty of parking up that way, I decided to leave my vehicle at the Studio and walk. I went straight up Main through Ocean Grove, then turned north at the boardwalk and walked until I crossed into Asbury. First stop was the former carousel house, seen above, where a "vintage flea market" was taking place. Indeed, lots of old stuff, but nothing particularly interesting. I continued down the boardwalk, finding a few official ArtWalk stops along the way, but generally nothing interesting in those places. Two of the better stops were two new art studios that had opened since the last time I ventured as far as the 5th Ave Pavilion- Hot Sand glass blowing and LaPlaca Pottery. Photos of visits to each location by the Belmar Arts Council can be seen here and here. I also took a short walk to Asbury Lanes to check out the Record Swap and Garage Sale, however I lacked the patience to go through all the boxes, especially with my turntable not completely functional at the moment. So I took the long walk back to the Studio. The least interesting art viewing day of the weekend, but at least I got some good exercise.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 28

After I was done checking out the street art fair a couple of blocks over, I went back to the Studio to work some more on my latest proof. Today was reds and oranges, including some layering over some of yesterday's coloring. Not much to show for 2 hours, but it's better to go slow than to have the watercolor end up where I don't want it to be.

Asbury Street Art Fair

One innovation for this year's Tri City Arts Asbury is that they closed a few blocks of Cookman Avenue so that they could hold a street fair, bringing in additional artists and craftspeople to supplement the attractions of the Art Walk. We got a break with the weather and a bit more of a crowd than last night, far more than we had last year on Saturday. I walked up and down, checking out the various merchandise on display, even finding a former student of mine. I was happy to meet a couple of local (silkscreen) printmakers, Jason and Briana of Brainstorm Print and Design. Also seen here was a crowd working the interactive "Mayor's Chair" exhibit (I took a turn in it last night) and blues/rock power trio Burnside, one of about a dozen musical acts performing on the main stage at the intersection of Cookman and Bond. I considered walking up the street to check out the Boardwalk exhibits, but the sun was being replaced by wind and fog, so I'll take that stroll tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tri City Arts Tour 2009

Tonight was the opening night for the 2009 edition of the Tri City Arts Tour. I arrived at Cookman Avenue around 6:30 pm and went straight to Heaven, the store that's hosting my art that is. It turns out that all 4 pieces were kept together in the space that was shown to me yesterday. With the permission of the shop owners, I left some postcards of my work (including 2 that are in this show) on the little shelf under the framed prints. I took a copy of the Asbury schedule of events and set out to see some art. I went up about 3 blocks and back, stopping in to see about 25 locations that were hosting art for this occasion. After seeing the 5 shows set up in the Shoppes at the Arcade, it's probably for the best that I didn't end up with my work there, as it really wouldn't have fit in well with any of the other art I saw. In only a few cases tonight was the artist present. Unlike last year, my name doesn't appear in the guide next to my location (the place I would have been and where I ended up both just list the artists as "group show") , so there should be no particular confusion over having my location switched. A few places had live music going on, the best of which the performance seen above at the Twisted Tree Cafe. Crowds were much lighter than last year, but there were people all up and down the streets and in many of the stores and galleries. Ran into a few people I know. Perhaps things will pick up with the street fair tomorrow, weather permitting. I'll try to get back there one more time over the weekend, and check out the events up by the boardwalk.

I also confirmed that my little exhibition will be continuing past this weekend. The store owner wants to keep all the art (the rest is all photography) up for about a month. Don't need any of those pieces before then, so no problem for me. If you want to see it in person, Heaven is open Thursday to Sunday, 11 to 5.

Boardwalk Tattoo part 27

After work today I went right to the Studio to start coloring the first real proof of the new print. Again started with the light colors- yellows, base skin tones, etc. What time I saved in knowing what colors would go where, was lost in having to be very meticulous in application to keep it from spreading to unintended parts. In a little over an hour I accomplished what's seen above. After that I changed clothes and walked over to Asbury for the opening night of the Tri City Arts festival.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Persistence Pays Off

Last June three cities in Monmouth County known for their significant art scenes (Red Bank, Long Branch, and Asbury Park) got together to hold the Tri-City Arts Tour, a three day celebration of arts in the area. Visual arts, theater, music, crafts, etc. Since the Studio is located only one block from the Asbury city limits, it's not surprising that I was involved in events in that city. The opening night was great- huge crowds everywhere, enjoying the festival atmosphere. Things were considerably more quiet on Saturday and Sunday (at least during the day) due to nearly 100 degree heat. Still, it was considered a success and I was told that there were plans to repeat it again in 2009.

So last month I started asking around and was told that it would indeed be happening, but moved up to mid-May, at least partly to avoid last year's heat problem. I submitted some images of example works to my contact, but didn't hear anything for a while. A few weeks ago I e-mailed her and was told that she believed my work had been scheduled for a group show and I would be contacted by the event organizer soon. A week passed and no word. I contacted her again and she replied that I would hear very soon. Still nothing. I tried e-mailing the organizer directly, but as of this morning, still nothing. With time running out before tomorrow's opening, I put some framed pieces in my car before going to work. Late in the day I called my contact, who told me they were expecting my work earlier today. Luckily, work was still being hung, so I stopped by Cookman Avenue after work and brought what I had to where people were still working. The organizer was very excited by what I brought and decided he would find a place for all 4 pieces- 3 from Ecclesiastes and my first boardwalk print.

As of now, my work will be hanging in Heaven, an art and antique shop at 721 Cookman Ave (1st block off Main, next to Parlor Gallery) and maybe one in one of the galleries at the Shoppes at the Arcade, 658 Cookman (2nd block). I'll know more tomorrow night when it opens and eventually post the specifics here. In any case, there will be guides available listing all the area businesses hosting art- just go to all the locations on the self guided tour and you'll see my prints, and probably some other cool art as well.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 26

On the way home from school this afternoon I stopped by the Studio to do some more work on the color proof I started over the weekend. One of the things I considered after yesterday's session was to balance the color by changing the customer's pants to green. To test this theory, I cut out a piece of scrap paper to the shape of the pants, colored it green, and stuck it to the proof with some tape. Results seen in the top photo. Okay, definitely not the way to go. So I went with option B, change the dragon to blue. I did that, along with lightening the water and bubbles, and lightening the flowers (accomplished with layers of white plus other appropriate colors) and some other minor adjustments. Second photo shows the results. Definitely an improvement. Made one more significant change- now that the lowest flower on the right was much lighter in color, I made the customer's hair darker to help it separate from the background. The third photo shows were I ended work today. I wouldn't say that it's finished (still not sure what I'm doing with the table), and the exact shades of the new colors has to be worked out, but I feel this is the right direction and that I know enough to start on the first real proof.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 25

Put in several hours in the Studio this afternoon, continuing the coloring of the first proof. I went on to the cool colors today, finishing the tattoo designs on the far left, the dragon, water, and bubbles on the right, the boardwalk and beach, then the two main figures. Changed that pink flower, too. Everything according to plan, but I wasn't satisfied. The biggest issue I saw was a significant imbalance between the two halves, the right side so much darker and heavier. (see first photo) As an experiment I made a few changes (seen in the second photo), the color of the table and the customer's jeans, and darkening the background a little more in the left panel. A little better. The first print in this series was a scene spread across 2 panels, but with the color added this one seems to be more two individual prints bridged by the prone figure of the customer. I included images of the individual panels as they looked at days end.
If nothing else, the first one was a learning experience. Much of what I did here will remain the same for the next proof. I probably won't need to darken the negative space in the left panel, since the Okawara paper is already that dark. I may push the colors a little more in some of the tattoo designs on that side, however. On the right, I'll keep the same colors for the dragon, but just make them much lighter. The large flowers will probably at least start all the same orange-yellow color seen in the largest one, and the water and bubble colors will also be applied lighter. All easy changes, since I can always go over them and make them darker if I need to.
More radical possibilities- Right now two significant colors are unbalanced between the two panels. Much more blue/indigo on the left, much more green on the right. One way to resolve that is to change the color of something big, such as make the dragon blue (not uncommon in dragon tattoos) or make the customer's pants green. Then there's the table. Logically it should be the same color all the way across, but would it be too strange if it was different shades or colors in the two panels if it would help with color and value balance? I'll give these ideas some thought, and maybe I'll play with some of these ideas on this first proof over the next few days.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 24

I brought my color sketches from Thursday to the Studio this afternoon and began coloring the first proof. I did this with the BFK proof, since it's a much heavier paper and can hold up to repeated applications of the watercolor better than the almost transparent Okawara. That's important as I work out a lot of things. Today I started as I usually do, with mostly warm and light colors- skin tones and off whites, yellows, oranges, and reds. I also put a warm tone into all the empty areas to simulate the color of the Okawara and how colors will react against it. (also makes it easier for me to see what's left to color) Generally I like what I see so far, though I'm a little bothered by the pink flower on the right side. It's a common enough color in tattoos, but it doesn't fit with all the other colors right now, and the only color up there so far that has no equivalent on the previous boardwalk print. For now it stays until I finish coloring everything else, but if I don't like the final results I may try to go over it with something a little warmer, or at least change it on the next proof.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 23

I had brought my watercolors home from the Studio the other day, and this afternoon I put them to use. I went online to find some of the source material I used in my current piece, images of the artist's tattoo and paintings, as seen in the top photo. My computer also held the photos I took in Rob's shop, of him and some of the flash on the walls. Consulting these various sources, I applied the colors (or close enough approximations) to the ghost proof I had brought home on Sunday. The second photo shows the results. Nothing else in this print (including everything in the other panel) needs to be a specific color, so the rest will be worked out on the first real proof.

Monday, May 04, 2009

May Critique Group

Big crowd in the basement tonight- 10 artists brought work to the monthly critique group that meets in the Studio. All were people who have been to at least one of these. I showed my new print, which was well received. Other media represented tonight included painting, etching, silkscreen, collage, sculpture, ceramics, and photography. Click on the top photo to get a better look at those artworks. Next meeting of the group will be the first Monday of June at 7 pm.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 22

Got up to the Studio in the afternoon. Took care of a class related item quickly, then settled into printing the new block. The top photo shows the inked block. It looked like I cut everything that I needed to, so I pulled two proofs. First one on a heavier paper (Rives BFK) to be the one I work out colors on, and the second on the Okawara that I used for the first editioned print in this series. The second photo shows the second proof in progress- the left half has been mostly rubbed, while the right half is just what comes through the thin paper with simple hand pressure. The last photo shows the finished print. The balance of value is a little off right now, but that will be fixed when the color is added. I also pulled a ghost print on light weight sketch paper and brought that home with me. I'll use that as a worksheet to copy colors from some of my computer based source material later this week.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 21

Busy in the early afternoon, making lots of area stops (including picking up my piece from the recent juried show at the Boatworks), but eventually ended up at the Studio. I started today's cutting by finishing the customer- the part of her torso seen in the right panel, the belt and towel. Then I moved into the tattoo artist, doing the arms, needle, head, and clothing. (these things can all be seen in the 2nd photo) The last thing I did was finally deal with the space under the customer's armpit, going with a combination of hand and hanging hair, which should obscure potential problems with the hand. I took a rubbing of it (last photo) and didn't see anything that I had missed, so I guess it's done. I took the rubbing home with me to study, and if I see nothing that needs addressing, I'll probably pull the first proof tomorrow.