Sunday, February 28, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 14

Back to the Studio for a little while today to continue work on the miniature golf block. First I again increased the size of the bluefish, bringing the top of its head in line with the top of the back fence, and lifting its belly a little higher off the ground, both adjustments making it a little closer to the original photo. It also makes a little more sense relative to the scale of the figures all around it. With the fish settled, I redrew the platform in front of its mouth. It is now taller, going from 2 steps up to 3 steps up. Of course, that meant redrawing the figure standing on top of the platform. Before ending the session I redrew the overhead wires again. The curves need more work, but I think the overall heights are ok. Almost ready for the critique.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Really Big Show

Got up and out of the house this morning much earlier than I typically do on a Saturday. The most recent snowstorm had stopped early enough yesterday to allow all the roads to be cleared, so there was no problem getting up to the Printmaking Council. I had been asked to come up as a member of the Advisory Board, so our director and others could discuss some future plans for PCNJ and get our feedback.
That meeting went right up to the beginning of an opening reception for the Grande exhibition, a show of all large format prints. Only 11 artists in the show, but because of the large sizes, only one or two works could fit on each wall. One of the participants is someone I know well, Anne Dushanko Dobek. A few years back she featured me and my work in a lecture she gave at NJCVA in Summit, called Printmakers as Social Commentators, and she came down to see my show at Landmark Books in Manasquan. For this exhibition she had installed a version of her "Parallel Migrations" piece (shown below), made up of hundreds (and in bigger spaces, thousands) of silkscreened butterflies.

I hung around for a while, talking to various people I knew, until about 3 pm. Headed south, with another art reception on my agenda, and a planned stop in between.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 13

My second art related stop of the day was at the Studio, to kill an hour or so I had before the reception at the Boatworks. I had brought the new block with me in the car, so I had it to work on. Rather than deal with the big issues in the upper half of the whole composition, I decided to go ahead and fill in the foreground fence. This picket fence with a gradually rising and falling curve is based on the one in the original photo. It echoes the curve of the wires above and obscures some less finished parts of the figures behind it. Eventually I'll add a few people on this side of the fence.

Walkin' The Line

The last stop of my very long day of art was the Boatworks in Belmar for the opening of Walk The Line, an exhibition of drawing. I had put one of my better efforts (shown above) of the last few months into a frame just in time to get it to receiving last week. Good crowd turned up to see the show, and enjoy the refreshments and live music. More photos of the reception can be seen over on the BAC blog. I didn't win a prize, but got a few compliments from the juror, who was present. (he had a few criticisms as well, nothing that surprised me) The show will remain up through March 19th, and I'll likely do a shift or two of gallery sitting in that time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Gotta Be Kidding Me

Really, another snowstorm? School cancellations and early dismissals all over the state, though around here accumulations were minimal and things had eased considerably by early afternoon. But this one may not be over for quite a while and my shovel may see a lot of action in the next 36 hours. If I'm going to be stuck in my house, I've got plenty art related stuff to keep me busy.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 12

Hearing rumors of the possibility of more snow, I decided to bring my block home from the Studio after my last session there. Guess that was a good decision. I put some of my weather-related time off today toward advancing the block a little bit. As I said last time, the back fence needed to be much taller. Rather than erase and redraw it, I decided to just add a third rail on top, a not uncommon design on local boardwalks. I also made the bluefish a little larger, especially taller. Better, but I may want to make it even bigger at some point. The platform in front of the fish mouth will also need changing, but I'll wait on that until the fish is settled. Over on the left side I made the kid just behind the clown's head (playing the loop hole) just a little bit shorter and put another kid next to him leaning against the fence. There are lots of adjustments needed all over the course, but I don't expect to add any more people in that part of the composition. Maybe a few will be added on the near side of the foreground fence.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 11

Spent the afternoon on various errands, but on my way from one place to another I found time for a short session in the Studio. Continuing with the boardwalk golf block, but now all over on the left side panel. Before I could add anyone I had to make a few architectural adjustments. Of the three holes that line the left side, the windmill hole's green stayed the same, but I extended the one at the bottom and shortened the one at the top to bring all three in line. On the top hole I also moved the loop for the second time, this time a little to the left. Finally, I added two more figures. At the bottom I put in another of my sketches of my bikini-clad model as a golfer. At the top I put in a boy playing the loop hole.

One thing that has become very obvious to me with the addition of the last figure is that the pipe rail fence behind him is way too short. The scale is as seen in the original photo, but it doesn't make sense in the perspective of my block drawing. So I'll deal with that next time. May have to adjust the size of the bluefish as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 10

Between the record winter weather, school, and art world commitments, it's been almost 2 weeks since I was last in the Studio, possibly the longest gap since we moved in there. Because my current block has been home with me for the last month I have been able to add to it a few times, but I really wanted to get back to my usual workspace. Today I was able to do that, continuing to add figures to the golf course. In the lower right corner I put in two figures, seen above. The girl in the bikini is actually one of the sketches I did months ago when I hired the model. The excited kid is based on a photo I found.

Being the nicest weather I've seen in weeks, I decided to take a short break and walk over to see the latest show at the Parlor Gallery in Asbury. The break ended up being longer than expected, as I had a nice time talking prints with the gallery sitter. Not every day that you meet someone who is a Frans Masereel fan. But eventually I returned the Studio. The next task on my list for today was to rough in two figures (seen above) near the center of the diptych, watching the bikini girl (the three are meant to be a group) play the clown hole. The female is based on a quick sketch of someone I saw on one of my Seaside trips a while back, the male is just made up. Both need some work, but what's here gives the idea of what I'm going for.

The wider view seen above shows the placement of the four new figures in the overall composition. I have a good idea of where the next two will go on the course, and maybe a third. After that I expect there will be at least a couple in the immediate foreground, this side of the picket fence.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 9

Because I was all caught up on my lesson planning for today, I could devote a little time this afternoon to working on the current block. Decided it was time to put some of the figures in. I knew that somewhere in my big box of photos I had some pictures of a miniature golf outing involving my relatives down in South Jersey- the scene needs a family group. Within a few minutes I found them, giving me some reference material. Since the photos include the cousin that we used to golf with at the old Belmar course, I decided to put them at the big bluefish hole. On the lower part of the hole I have my cousin helping his then young son (now recently enlisted) make a shot, while his wife looks on from the upper part. Roughed in the three figures for now- if they stay where they are I'll try to make them look a little more like the real people before I begin cutting.

After class tonight I celebrated Mardi Gras (and the fact that I didn't have to shovel any snow today) by making a big pot of jambalaya, washed down with some cold beer while I listened to some favorite cajun and zydeco music. While this has nothing to do with printmaking, here at Studio Arrabbiata we appreciate spicy food from all cultures.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Studio Of My Dreams

Today was one of those days where I had to take care of various art related tasks. Drove a framed print up to the Printmaking Council for an upcoming show. On the way back I stopped in Belmar to take blog photos of a reception for the current show.

So I didn't get into the Studio today. But I guess I always take a little bit of it with me in my subconscious. It's been about four years since Molly and I began to move into our space at the Jersey Shore Arts Center, and in those years I've had a number of dreams about the Studio. But the odd thing is that in my dreams it's never looked anything like our colorful little space. However, there are certain aspects that are always the same. It's always in a large industrial looking building, not the 19th century brick schoolhouse we inhabit. Getting there always involves a descent of some kind- going down a hill to the building, or walking down a ramp or stairway to gain entrance to the building itself. Perhaps a reference to our basement location. Our space is located near the entrance to the building, behind either a single or double steel door. Inside is a huge room, maybe ten times the size of what we really have, usually subdivided into a main room and a few smaller rooms. Very plain- gray concrete floor, white painted walls, not much furniture. Lighting is usually dim, as if I haven't turned on all the lights.

Once in a while there's a variation. In one dream, our landlord Herb had moved all our stuff into a corner, had installed hundreds of feet of freestanding racks/walls, and some group was holding a temporary art show. (the room was very brightly lit for the occasion). Last night I paid another visit to the dream studio- Molly was there, proudly showing me how she put a full sized kitchen area in a corner just inside the door. Lots of cabinets and counter space, sink, stove, fridge, small dining table, and some nice curtains in the window.

What I'm not sure of is why the dream version of the Studio is so different from the real one. Having that much space would really be nice, and that kitchen area would come in handy on critique nights, but otherwise it's not nearly so nice a place as what we have. Maybe it's just a reminder of how lucky we are to have a great space to work in.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 8

Mother Nature has been at it again, our third snow in a space of one week, and the 2nd major storm. The timing on this one was just right to cancel 3 of my classes this week, so even subtracting all the endless hours of snow shovelling (and dealing with some downed trees in my driveway), I still had more time than usual to think about art.

It's been exactly one month since the last time I worked on the latest boardwalk block. Most of that time was occupied with the For Love Not Money post card, but as there is nothing more involved for me with that until my collaborator's card arrives, it's time to return to my mini golf image. All during this month I had been considering the next major piece, the statue hole. My first idea had been some old semi-obscure cartoon character. On my short list was the Frog, arch-nemesis of Courageous Cat, even had a video freeze frame sketch that was a perfect pose for the hole. But in the end I decided that the combination of the Frog and the course would be too much green. Could have gone with a random funny animal, but nothing stood out. In the end I went with my third option, a clown. Used some of my extensive hours stuck in the house over the past week to look at a lot of clown images, especially ones that skewed weird. Chose not to copy any one of them, but came up with a clown that borrows ideas from some of my sources.
Put in a few hours with the big wide shovel in the morning and afternoon, but after that I had some time to sit down with the block and I put a rough version of my clown standing on the two foot pedestals. A detail featuring the clown can be seen above, and the full block is below. There may be some adjustments in the near future, but this is the idea. I'll deal with surface decoration on the clown's outfit later.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Better Late Than Never

Tonight was our one week delayed February critique night at the Studio, which we managed to squeeze in between snowstorms. Seven artists turned up with work- above are sculptures from Adam, and prints from myself, Molly, and Mary, below are paintings from Jane and Lisa's sculpture of a piping plover made from trash. (not shown, Tim's watercolor, as he arrived a little late) I was up first, so I talked about how I developed the idea for my postcard print and offered copies to anyone who wants to try a collaboration with me. All of the other six artists decided to take me up on it; results are due at the April critique, which more or less matches when those of us in the organized events must mail our completed pieces in. Response the the card itself was very positive, both for how I came up with the idea and for the visual qualities of the scene. As usual, everyone had a good time and we're looking forward to the next one in March.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Boardwalk in Somerville

After my second time this winter digging out from two feet of snow, it was nice to come inside and get some news with a little bit of a summer feel. On schedule, I received notification regarding the upcoming 35th annual PCNJ Member Exhibition, called "Where Have We Been?" The rules required that submitted work be from the last year, but also promised that at least one work would be accepted from each artist. So I knew that meant I'll be showing one of my boardwalk prints in this multi-venue exhibition, but I was waiting to find out which one. The jurying committee chose the print seen above- The Floating World: Tattoo Studio.

The show will actually debut at the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission Gallery, which is in the Somerset County Courthouse complex. I have gotten word that the show will actually be split between two locations there; I'll post which place will be hosting my piece when I know something. No word yet on an opening reception or gallery hours, but I do know that it will be there from March 1 to April 9, 2010.

The exhibition will also be seen in the PCNJ gallery in North Branch Station, opening on May 15 and remaining up through July 24, 2010.

Those wanting to know more about the print can follow the piece from early sketches to finished work by looking through my blog archives from February 2009 through May 2009.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

In and Out

Had a brief stop in the Studio this afternoon. First I brought back my old wooden chair, used yesterday as a drawing prop in my Intro classes. Next I cranked up the postcard factory one last time, trimming the last six cards to size and adding the yellow dots along the wheel. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes.

My third purpose there today was to pick up a wallpaper sample book. I few years back I had acquired a few that were destined for the dumpster, no longer needed by the interior design program at my university. So far I haven't gotten that much use out of them as reference material, but that could change in the future. Right now I could use one to demonstrate something in one of my classes, so one came home with me.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Drawing Between the Snowflakes

We had a bit of snow around here overnight, which luckily turned out to be no significant trouble. If anything, my ride up to North Jersey today was faster than usual, with perhaps a lot of people delaying their work day. And what little had been on the roads had melted long before my ride back home. Current forecasts are for a much larger storm coming in over the weekend, and maybe more a few days after that. Looks like it's going to be one of those winters. But for tonight the sky is clear, so I was able to get up to Belmar for the usual drawing night. The above 30 minute charcoal isn't perfect, but it was my best of the night.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Holding Down the Fort

Molly decided to postpone our February meeting of the critique group to next week. Last week we contacted all the regulars on our respective lists regarding the change, so there was no reason to expect any of them to show up tonight. However, there are some irregulars, friends of friends, etc, who might show up once in a while and might not have known about the postponement. Since I had nothing else to do at that particular time, I decided to go into the Studio for a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening, just in case anyone showed up.

Took care of some printing first, adding the relief print to the latest batch of postcards. I mixed up some new ink for the occasion. This color is a little lighter than the one I used last time, but it still does the job just fine. I printed on the six cards I had printed colors on last time, seen above. That will be the last action for this block for a while. The effort I made to offset the key block probably won't go to waste- it can be part of a multiblock demo next time I do a woodcut workshop. Meanwhile, I put these in the rack to dry, and I'll add the yellow dots and trim them next time.

With that done I used the big table and lack of distractions to spend some time working on my lecture notes for the coming week's art history class. Finished almost all of it. By half past the normal starting hour no one had come by, so I decided that it was unlikely anyone would, and closed up the shop for the night.