Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year That Was 2015

2015 was another year where things conspired to keep me out of the Studio and away from making art. No major blizzards, but a winter where it snowed a few times per week, creating problems for exhibitions and classes.  And the disappearing of some of my usual jobs forced me to take a part time supermarket job that sucked up most of the time I would have spent in the Studio.  Have lots of ideas, so I'm hoping to get production up next year, but for this year things were quiet.  Here's the usual breakdown.

Prints- Only one brand new woodcut produced this year, the latest in the supermarket series.  The next in that series is planned, but not past paper sketch stage.  I also colored a Fourth of July print for a recent show,  making a half new print.  Plus the annual Christmas card, the first batch done even if few have been distributed yet.

Shows- Not as many as I would like.  By my count I had 9 prints in four different shows.

Publicity- Also down compared to recent years.  Don't recall anything related to my art published out there.

Awards- A print I had in the Belmar Arts Council's big annual show received an Honorable Mention from the juror.

Firsts-  Seven years into the process, dozens of exhibitions, several awards, and this year I finally sold a few of the boardwalk prints.  Hoping it's a new trend.  And though it's not strictly my art, I did have a hand in becoming a published author in Sweden, with one of Dave Lasky's old comic book stories (me teaching him how to make tomato sauce) being reprinted there.

The Studio- We now officially have a third partner, Jackie, a pastel artist, and now much of the floor is covered in red pastel.  But I found the most recent boardwalk block I had started, and have ideas for a bunch of other prints, so I'm thinking I'll be working on more woodcuts really soon.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from Studio Arrabbiata

Late on Christmas Eve I colored a few prototypes of the latest card, one to give out today and one to post here for everyone to see.  This time of year is always very hectic, what with shopping, baking cookies, creating cards (all done), and grading (still in progress, but well ahead of the deadline).  This year I had Rembrandt as my assistant and one of his most widely seen images, though maybe not from the world of fine art.

Next time I'm up at the Studio I'll print a few more copies, which should give me more than enough copies for all those who might be expecting one this year.  So far very few have come to me, but just as it's tough for me to get them out to everyone by today, I won't be surprised if more arrive later, and want to be prepared to reply to those I get.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More Christmas

As planned, I headed up to the Studio in late morning to finish my holiday card block and print some proofs to both test the colors and have one to show here on Christmas Day.  The building was close to empty, but the door was open so I had no trouble getting in.

The composition is simple, but I found myself having trouble with the block splintering a bit, more so than typically happens with birch.  Maybe it's because the grain in this piece I found is going horizontal, not the way I typically work.  Or maybe my blades just needed sharpening.  (both my personal tools and the ones I use in my classes were lacking)  I was pretty sure that my stone was out in the back of my car, and indeed it was.  It's a water stone, so I put in to soak for a while, which gave me an opportunity to walk across the street and get a ChiliDog from the WindMill, which I haven't had for a quite a while.  With lunch done I sharpened my small round blade and quickly finished the last few parts of the block.

Time to proof it.  I had torn down the paper yesterday and found where I had the ink, knives, brayers, etc, so I quickly set up for printing.  I pulled 8 proofs, most of which I think could be used for cards.  I cleaned up and packed my proofs for transport.  By the time I got home, the light sprinkle I had in Ocean Grove had become a heavy downpour.  No problem for me, but my freshly printed cards would not do well, so I just left them out in the car.  I'll get them tomorrow when the weather is expected to be nicer.  (no camera with me today, but then I wouldn't show the card before Christmas Day anyway)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Time?

My supermarket job is now almost a week into the past, and my classes have had their last meetings.  Grades are still being calculated, but that process is well underway.  And from this point on, the days are actually starting to get longer.  Temperatures were expected to hit around 70 degrees today, which does make it hard to believe we are just days from Christmas.  Considering the past few winters, I'm kind of glad that cold and snow is taking its time getting here this year.

But the calendar marches on, so I've got to get going on my annual Christmas card.  Got the idea of what to do a few weeks ago, but with everything else, had no time to start sketching out the specifics.  Picked up suitable print paper over the weekend, and this morning finally officially began the process.  I have a bunch of irregular scraps of wood in my car, left over from the Belmar workshops, but the cards don't need much.  Brought a book with me with the inspiring image and did a basic pencil sketch, though wanting a further reference for my changes, that's as far as I could take it today.  But did verify the supply of other materials and tools, and tore the paper down to the proper size, enough to print several proofs.

Took the block home and finished the sketch at my kitchen table in the evening.  Even started cutting out a few of the figures.  The plan is to go to the Studio early tomorrow, finish the block and pull several proof, so that I can color one successful copy to post here on Friday.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Monthly Visit

In recent months I've been to my Studio maybe twice a month.  That has generally included the monthly critique group, and maybe one business visit- dropping off the rent, or picking up something I had stored there that I needed for school.  My supermarket job has sucked up all the time that I would normally devote to making art.  Luckily that will be coming to an end soon.  My biggest artistic output in recent weeks was helping to put together the outdoor snowman decoration above.  (Being a professor of 3D Design brings me a new expertise.)

But here we are at the start of another month, so the critique is back again.  I had only heard from one person I had sent the e-mail reminder to, so it was a pleasant surprise that four other people showed up. Not a huge crowd, but we decided to go ahead down to the cafeteria.  Above on the left are two paintings from Sheilagh, which have evolved over time.  On the right side, we have a t-shirt from Molly, a design which we saw here in the crit group as a sketch last month.  The two colorful pieces in the lower right corner started as artworks from long time group member Tim (who couldn't be here tonight) and had new collaborative aspects from two people who were there tonight.  Gwen had a few sketches to pass on to members to get some new things started.

The stools are not artworks, but they hold two small clay sculptures from Margery, and glass plates in progress from Molly.  In the latter case these are versions of the turtle drawing she showed us last time, now being reworked as ink drawings on the glass.  When she's satisfied, she'll use them to make silkscreens and we'll get a better view of them.

Had nothing new to show tonight.  Brought some photocopies of images from the Bayeux Tapestry with me, something that should be an influence on the next supermarket print, but rather than present that, pulled out one of the wallpaper books I have, showing something to Sheilagh that had come up in a conversation in a gallery in Belmar over the summer.  However I did leave with one of those colorful collaborative Tim paintings, to which I  can add something if I get inspired.