Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Exciting Day

So what do these three images have in common?  All are things that I photographed in recent weeks.  Today I had my latest consultation with my computer/photographer friend and I was able to advance my efforts to document art once again.  The pizza and the fish both relate to class, while the saint was shot to be part of a website at someone's request.  I had already figured out how to use the computer's software to edit photos, but today I added knowledge of how to change the filenames to something besides the number of the exposure, and how to get them to places on the web (as in this blog), both a big deal.  These processes involve way more steps than my old photo software did, and I'm still not sure where to find certain things, but I'm starting to get confidence that I'll be able to do what I need to do, which I was starting to doubt.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016 Art Tournament Continued

After the first weekend of the tournament I had been reduced from 5 art schools to 2 art schools.  We have now just completed the second weekend of the tournament, two more rounds in the books, and I still have two active schools.  That Villanova is still in the thick of things doesn't surprise me- I had picked them to win the whole thing.  They've had to hold on to slim leads at the ends of games, but when they got to that point they did what needed to be done.  That my other art school, Syracuse, is also still alive is a bit more surprising- a 10 seed that I didn't expect to get out of the first weekend.  And it hasn't been easy for them, requiring some big comebacks late in the games.  So now two of the Final Four schools are places I have exhibited my art.  The story will conclude a week from tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Supermarket Battle part 3

This past week I ordered some new cans of ink.  Pulling a proof for the Belmar show confirmed what I had expected, I was just about out of ink.  In a related story, last week at school I had a former student ask me for information about where to get woodcut tools, so this week I had brought in the most recent catalog (same source as my ink purchase), found him on the 2nd floor, and went over the basics with him.  Sounds like he's developing some real interest in relief printing (as all art students should), so I hope he carries through his plan to get some quality gouges.  We have 6 more weeks left in the spring semester, so perhaps I'll hear something before school ends.  (Don't expect to have him as an official student any time soon, as he has already taken the one class I regularly teach these days, but it's a small art department these days and you eventually see everyone.)

Got word yesterday that my new ink had arrived, so that's got me thinking maybe I need to start working on a new project.  Had some time today, so I went up to the Studio for a little while.  Have spent time recently looking at my sketches of this Battle of Hastings idea, and my photocopies of the Bayeux Tapestry, and I think I know how to resolve this into my supermarket series.  It's all in my head right now, but I'll convert it to an official paper sketch soon, then start working on the block drawing.

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 Tournament Continued

We are now through the always busy first weekend of the basketball tournament.  Could have been better, could have been worse.  I started with 5 teams this year.  Two faced each other in their opening round, so only one could advance, in this case Northern Iowa won and Texas lost.  Florida Gulf Coast University won their opening play-in round game, but got crushed facing a one-seed in the first full round of the bracket.  Northern Iowa had a nice lead going into the last 30 seconds of their 2nd round game, the kind of lead where most would just go ahead and mark them down for a win.  Instead they found ways to give away the game in a double overtime loss, being called by many one of the worst end of game performances in the history of the tournament.

That leaves me with two alive for next weekend.  10 seed Syracuse has managed to hold on for two rounds, and now will go against an even lower seeded Gonzaga, which so far this year has played better than most have expected.  And Villanova, one of the top teams in the country this spring, has a good chance of keeping things going for at least another weekend.  I'll have an update for you in about another week.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Two Traditions

Late in the morning I packed up my piece for the juried show in Belmar and headed to the car.  While waiting for the car to warm up I called my photo contact, reaching her.  The latest plan is to talk by phone on Sunday.  The hope is that all the various things downloaded since January have brought us to the point where our computers are more or less compatible and I can finally do all this on my own. With that settled, I drove to Belmar.  Dropped off my framed print for the show.  The plan is that the show opens to public on Wednesday, what is typically called a soft opening.  The official opening reception will be Saturday, April 2nd.  This is 12th Annual Juried Art show.  I joined the BAC in time to be part of the 2nd annual show (before we had moved into the Boatworks) and have been included in every one since then.

Around the corner (on Main Street) is a small Italian place, so I dropped by in search of a St Joseph's zeppole, as today is that day.  They didn't have one at the time but told me they were in the works, so I swung back a little later.  Just the custard filled, but those are tasty, too, so I got one of those and spared myself from driving around from place to place looking for one.  For dinner tonight I had a classic Italian meal, fettuccine with a bolognese style meat sauce, and the zeppole for dessert.  The image above shows a cannoli cream filled pastry, as I'm still at least one day away from being able to download images from my camera, so this shot is a file photo from last year's meal.  You get the idea.

Friday, March 18, 2016

This and That

Took care of some art business today.  Yesterday I had stopped by my parents' house and picked up another framed supermarket print.  Today I opened it up, removed the print that was matted and framed (ninjas in the deli aisle), and replaced it with the proof of the bricks print that I produced last weekend.  The proof was trimmed, stamped, numbered (having made a trip to Ocean Grove on Sunday to verify the number on the one hanging there), signed, and mounted.  Framing is complete, ready to drop off at the gallery in Belmar tomorrow.

In a related task, I went and placed an order for ink this afternoon.  I was able to dig enough ink out of the can I had going to pull that proof, and there is probably enough for another medium or small print, but I'm hoping to start some new prints soon, and that will require ink.  So another can of the Outlaw Black, plus one of a more standard black relief ink.  They shipped today, so if the truck can find my town, I should have them by late next week.

Earlier this week I got together briefly with my friend who is my computer/camera consultant and she helped me download photos shot early this year to my computer.  I can view them, and edit them.  However, I still can't figure out how to upload them to anything else, nor did I have any luck today trying to download new photos from the past few days.  I'll need to get in touch with my friend again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2016 Tournament of Art

It has been a tradition of mine for several years to post my annual list of NCAA Men's Basketball schools that are also places I have had artistic links to.  For the second consecutive year the first college I went to, William and Mary, made it far into their conference tournament, but came up short, thus not earning the automatic bid, and maintaining their three century tradition of not getting to play in the basketball tournament.  That field was announced on Sunday, and I had 5 schools this year, and I will follow their progress in the coming weeks.  Here are the schools and my involvements:

Villanova (1997, Art and Religion exhibition)
University of Texas (2001, Culture Rot exhibition)
Northern Iowa (2001, Question of Faith exhibition, cover illustration for Religion and Eduction journal, 2002 and 2009)
Syracuse (2005 invitational group exhibition)
Florida Gulf Coast University (unofficial, but a former co-worker of mine moved down there and started studying art.  From 2007 to 2014 she was consulting me by e-mail on a regular basis to get general advice, critique her work, etc.  Going through that mailbox, I found over 30 art related communications from me, the equivalent of two semesters of classes, so as far as I'm concerned, I was teaching art there.  They won their first game already, a play in game for a 16 seed, but I have doubts about them beating North Carolina tomorrow.)

As for the other schools, I've seen a few Villanova games on tv this season and they are a very good team, but in recent years they have struggled come tournament time.  I'll have an update on all 5 teams after the first weekend.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Back to Work

Looking at my schedule for the coming week, I concluded last night that Saturday might be my best day to print the supermarket proof that I needed for the next Belmar show.  Maybe my only day to print.  So this morning I gathered my stuff and headed up to the Studio.

Somewhere I believe I have stashed away a whole sealed can of Traditional Relief Black #79, my preferred ink before they went out of business.  But I don't know right now where it ended up.  In my Studio I do have the remains of a can of Outlaw Black, which is very concentrated so I assumed it would be enough to get me through this project.  Hacked out a hunk, worked it with an ink knife to loosen it up and separate some dried skin, and then started inking the most recent block, which is the one I need for next week's show.  I had brought a packet of Rives Lightweight with me, but in my rack at the Studio I found a piece already cut to the right size, saving me from that task.  The process ended up taking a long time.  I had enough ink to do the job (a little goes a long way, formulated to pick up lots of extreme details) but a lot of rubbing was required.  But two hours later it was all done, and I had a proof acceptable for the show.  I decided to bring it home, since I'll be needing to frame it in the near future.  This ink dries relatively quickly, so it should be ready to go later this week.  So this job is now complete.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Here We Go Again

If this image seems familiar it's because it's been on this blog a bunch of times in recent weeks.  Part of that is because it is appearing a bit in my art life of late, and part of that is because I can't upload any new photos right now, though I hope to have that fixed in a few days.  Tonight I got word that this print was selected for the JAS12 at the Belmar Arts Council, making it 11 years in a row that I have been accepted into that show.  The down side of this is now I have to print a fresh copy, as the only good proof I had of the final version is currently hanging in the Winter Arts Festival show at the Studio.  I'm pretty sure I have enough ink (though I should probably order some more) and I know I have enough paper, and I have plenty of frames and cut mats.  The piece is due a week from tomorrow, so I need to deal with this soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Lot of Things Happening

One of the things that happens with art is that sometimes whole bunches of things all seem to come at once.  That's why I don't worry when there's a slow period in my art career, because likely a busy season is going to pop up really soon.

Ended up with a bunch of good news the past few days.  First, I finally heard from my computer and camera consultant.  Back in January she guided me though updating my computer so I could once again do my various blogs (sure, this one, but also the one I do for the BAC, and more important, the ones I do for my classes), but the process wiped out my camera software.  I can still access photos I have in memory, but reviewing them is a bit trickier, and I can't upload or edit anything.  My entry for this year's Belmar show is one that was rejected from that show last year.  But it's a perfectly good print, it still had the proper title and was edited for submission.  Anyway, we tried to do a remote hook-up of our computers yesterday, but consistent with how computers have been treating me lately, she couldn't get it to happen.  So now plan B, I'll meet her up at school on Monday (her teaching day, currently my day off) with my lap top and camera, and hopefully we can resolve this digital impasse.

A few days ago I got an e-mail from an unfamiliar name, letting me know he had used one of my saint images on his blog site, in case I had a problem with it.  (He's not making money and I was credited, so I'm ok with it.)  It's a site devoted to "strange saints", citing a new one for each feast day, and he had covered St Frances of Rome that day.

Most of the images he puts on his blog are typical saint depictions, but it seems mine popped up early in a Google Image search of the saint and it's anything but typical.  It seems he really liked my approach.

This afternoon I was about to go out for a haircut when I got a call from my father passing on a message, from Kay Myers.  I remembered the name well- the organizer of the 1997 ART AND RELIGION exhibition in Philadelphia.  I ended up with two of my saints in the show at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, and two more in the second half of the exhibition going on simultaneously at Villanova University.  Kay and her husband later came up to visit me in Wall and purchased a print.  So if she wants to talk, I listen.  My father said that it had something to do with a 20th anniversary exhibition related to that original show, and she was most interested in the St Augustine print.

When I got back from my errands I called her for the details.  Following the original exhibition she wrote poems related to all the artworks and artists, and was hoping to have it published, but found that books can be complicated.  So she's going for a digital deal.   The poems are all finished and posted, but she wants to get the images to accompany them, permissions, etc.  She did two poems about me, one about my St Augustine print (see above), and one about my whole Everyman series, both limericks as she felt the humor found in my work was suited to a light approach to poetry. Right this minute I can't provide an image of St Augustine (to her or this blog), but maybe by Monday I will be able to.  So in the end there won't be an exhibition credit, but I don't have to frame or ship anything either, she will probably link to my site, and there may be a small honorarium involved.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Critique Night

The first Monday has come and gone again, and with it was the March critique.  Still having camera issues- maybe by next month I'll be able to show you again what we have going on in the Studio.

I arrived around 5 pm, hours before the event, so I could work on plans for sink construction.  I have been hired to construct a frame for a very large sink, a six foot basin.  This is for my former student Mary, who has acquired the sink, but now needs to have something to keep it off the floor.  I have experience in this area, having gotten over a dozen of Molly's tables off the floor.  Mary had dropped off a plan at the Winter Festival a few weeks ago, but looking at it today there were a few questions, things I wanted to get the answers to before continuing to design.  When she came in later for the critique, I was able to get that information.  Meanwhile, I had taken notes and measurements of the large tables I had made for the Studio, since that will be the basic plan for the one I'll be doing next.

Molly arrived about 6:45, with plans to set up something large, so she went to the cafeteria (unclaimed tonight) and did so.  Since Mary was really anxious for some reactions to her latest project, she went first.  She's participating in a group exchange folio later this spring, and has two woodcuts in progress, wanting our suggestion as to which path to take.  Either would probably work, but we suggested the portrait piece would be better.  Margery had brought a series of life drawings, something we've never seen from her before, but also ceramic human heart.  Jane (who brought her sister along for the night), had some watercolors, landscapes from the part of the state she lives in.  Our other Mary (who has been coming to the Studio for as long as we've been open) brought a series of small works in a variety of media, seeking our opinions on options.  Gwen had some sketches- potential ideas for a t-shirt, a thing Molly has been working with of late.

What Molly had set up was something she put together for Winter Festival a few weeks ago.  As part of one of her dancer collaborations a few years ago she had put a large bear on a much larger piece of cloth- now that large piece of cloth was hung up and being used as a screen for shadow puppets, back-lit from behind.  The puppets were made from cardboard, and there was a political theme appropriate to the current presidential campaigns, so her prototypes included a Hillary Clinton and a Donald Trump, plus lots of symbols.  Lots of technical questions to be worked out, including whether this is something for her to perform and for viewers to interact with, but we had fun playing around and offering ideas.  She also showed us the progress on her turtles project.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Business in Belmar

It seems like the Hollywood themed show just got started and already it's time for the next show.  I'm not exaggerating here.  The application deadline for the next show in Belmar, the annual Juried Show, is Sunday or Monday (different places list it differently), just a day or two after the opening reception of the current Hollywood show.  So this afternoon I submitted something, the most recent supermarket print (the brick one above) since my camera and my computer still aren't getting along, but I had this image (with its properly titled file) left over from last year's show, and it's a good print.  So that went out this afternoon, because I knew I'd be at the gallery shortly after and would be paying  the fee.  I do have a framed copy of this print currently hanging in the show in Ocean Grove, but one of the advantages of printmaking is being able to have a piece in more than one place at a time.

And then I was in Belmar for the opening of the current Hollywood themed show.  I have my colored version of my Godfather themed print (see above) in the show, so brought some cannoli cookies as my contribution to the refreshment table.  There are 37 total pieces, wide variety of media.  We had a decent crowd show up.