Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Back to the Studio

The weather forecasters had promised us one nice day this week and this was to be it.  Looking out the windows this morning I saw sun, so I guess they were right.  So one day to get a lot of stuff done.

Took care of a few minor errands before lunch, and then in the early afternoon, after a few more local errands (including letting Diane at BelmarArts know that I had someone interested in the woodcut class a few days after we cancelled it, but info saved for next spring) I got up to the Studio building.  The first thing I noticed was that the hook for our room had a tag on it, so either Molly was in or had been there recently. Getting to the 1st floor, I noticed her artwork was down from the wall (the last one to be removed), so she definitely had been there if not still there.  I had carried in a tote bag full of print stuff, including a block to work on if I had time.  Took the elevator down to the basement and found Molly was indeed in there, working on a few things, and then about to head out for some lunch.  I walked out with her to the parking lot to get more stuff from my car, then back to the basement to get some work done.

The thing I had gone back to my car to get was a crate full of bench hooks, from a collection I had made over the past few years.  A bench hook is a very simple device that helps hold a wood block in place, allowing the artist to devote full attention to using the gouges for the intended purpose.  I make them out of wood, but I've seen metal ones for sale, and people sometimes use those as a place to roll out ink, but my wooden ones would not be as good for that.  The ones I made vary in size, but would be best used with relatively small blocks, smaller than most of my recent work.  On the other hand, they are a good size for the kind of blocks my Belmar students make, which may be why these things have been popular there.  In fact, a few years ago I had a student who was so impressed with the concept, she made her own a week later.  Between classes I keep them in a milk crate in my Studio, but I had them in Belmar this summer, stored there for the duration of my two series of woodcut classes.  They were in my large plastic bin, marked with my name and class/dates in the storeroom, but it had disappeared at one point, part of an ill-advised reorganization of the storeroom by people who didn't know what anything was.  My storage bin had been removed from the shelf it had been on the past few years and left in a corner, sign turned to the wall, under an old tarp, but at least my stuff was still inside.  Leaving it in its new place, it stored the bench hooks for the second summer class, but when that ended I decided it would be safer to stash the stuff in my car.  With the fall class now cancelled, I figured it's better to pack them up and leave them in my Studio for now (need some of that car space for a snow shovel, since that may be coming this week), except for one small one that I stuck in my backpack to bring to school on Friday, to show a woodcut student who knows what it is but never made one.  Teaching never ends.

And speaking of school on Friday, my other Studio task today related to that as well.  This is one of the projects I do regularly with my Intro class- creating a collograph plate out of cardboard, scraps, and whatever else they come up with, which fits in with the formal issue of texture, something we are supposed to cover.  Ink and printing tools aren't sold on campus or anywhere near it, so I provide those as part of my deal for getting to work on a print project.  I had bought some water based relief ink yesterday, but I was sure I had more in my very messy ink bag (all those summer classes had their effect on my bag) and my large work table and the Studio are much better place to organize all that than my apartment.  I suppose I didn't need a sunny day to do this, but carrying all this stuff to my car, and then to the Studio building, is just easier on a day like this.  What I had in there before yesterday was all my oil based ink cans (not to be used in this week's class), my collection of water based color inks (brand no longer manufactured, but still good, used last year to color my mermaid sculpture and in my linocut class), some black ink tubes, a bag of brayers, and some ink knives.  One of the color inks was a large tube of phthalo green, and even though the cap was on and tube seemed to be intact, thick sticky green ink seemed to be on everything in the bag, so part of my task was to take advantage of the space and our big sink to clean everything and see what I actually had. Turned out that I have a bit of water based black ink in tubes, which I may try mixing with some of the new black ink in the can and use that this week.  Tossed out some empty black ink tubes, probably left from last spring's college class, and got as much green ink off everything else as I could.

The bag was still quite heavy taking it back to the car, but I'll load it more selectively for Friday's class.  Didn't get a chance to work on any woodcuts today, but no immediate deadlines on those, but these inks, etc will be used this week, so that was my priority.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

More Art Stuff

By this past weekend the forecasts for the coming week were predicting rain and/or snow for four of the five weekdays.  What will happen remains to be seen, but rain had started falling last night.  As both an artist who works with prints and a professor/teacher who works in 2D and printmaking, water can be a dangerous thing.  Water can have a very negative effect on things on paper.

Meanwhile I had a thing to deal with.  The Tenants art show at the Jersey Shore Arts Center was scheduled to end this past weekend, with some confusion as to whether it was ending on Saturday or Sunday.  But it would have to end, as Christmas decoration was already starting up and those walls had other plans.   Adding to the confusion, yesterday was Veteran's Day, so no one was in the office.  Life started up again today.

Tried phoning, but no one answered when I called, so I just decided to go up to Ocean Grove after lunch and figure it out then.  Last night's major rain storm ended up moving out to sea earlier than expected.  The sun never came out, so the day remained dark, but at least no rain was falling on everything, and one must take advantage of these opportunities when they happen.  In the office I found a newly hired building manager, who knew very little about the recent exhibition, and Nichole wasn't expected back until late afternoon, but he did know that they were in the process of installing wreaths and trees, which meant the art had to go, and he was more than happy to help take it down so I could get it out of there.  He also knew that Nichole had wanted to get Molly to come remove her wall installation, but they'll have to work that out with Molly themselves.  If it was still raining, I would have moved the framed art temporarily to my Studio, but it seemed safe to take it home, so as the building manager was taking the pieces down, I went out to my car and got some packaging materials.  Back inside, I thanked him for his help (saved me from having to climb the ladder), packed the work into various large plastic bags, and loaded them in my car.

Decided to take advantage of there not being a storm to take care of another errand that can't wait much longer.  This Friday my college classes are printing collagraphs, which means we need ink.  I probably have it, but the ink bag is big and messy, so best to organize it in my Studio space (I'll do that tomorrow), and get more ink today just in case.  (if I don't need it for this week, it will eventually get used) So I departed Ocean Grove, took route 33 to route 18, and made it up to Shrewsbury with no trouble, which is the home to only major art supply store in the region, at least he only one that carries any printmaking supplies. Got a jar of water based black ink suitable for relief, and headed home.  A couple of trips to unload the art into my apartment for now, then I could relax indoors the rest of the day.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Art Comes, Art Goes

Haven't done much new art over the past week, but art is never far from my life.

Last weekend I took care of something at the Boatworks, the headquarters of BelmarArts.  For a few years now we have had glass cases in the back gallery room, which are used to hold art pieces for sale, created by members.  As part of the redistribution of responsibilities, long time member Jim Aberle is now in charge of the "store" and sent me an e-mail offering me a chance to put some small prints in the case. (somewhere between an offer and a request)  What struck me as the best thing for this situation was some of my mini-saint prints, made years ago for sales and things like this.

The above photo shows some of these at a small works sale, in a rack that I acquired long ago, from a store closing sale I believe. The problem was that I didn't know where the prints were, or the blocks that made them for that matter.  I suspected that they were in the Manasquan basement, but finding them would probably require a major excavation of all the junk that's been piled up down there.  Then I was surprised to find about a dozen packaged prints (mat backing boards, typed labels, comic book bags and tape) in a box in my living room, more than enough for this purpose.  (still more missing, so that basement excavation will have to happen eventually) Traded e-mails with Jim for a few days working out the specifics, and then last weekend I dropped off 3 prints as requested, and the inventory form, at the Boatworks.  The work will be there for 3 months, with me being able to replace anything that sells with more of the same.  No official "opening", but there is a brief holiday sale that may bring people in.

Meanwhile, I had a print workshop series scheduled to start there on Wednesday, but promotion was not as good this time, or maybe it's that we are getting close to the end of the year, but no one signed up as of the first day, so we decided to cancel the class.  If I can find a good time slot, I may try to offer it again in the spring.

I know that the Tenants exhibition we have in the Studio building in Ocean Grove is scheduled to end this weekend, but we have received no notice to come pick up our works.  I may need one for another show in the spring, so I stopped by this afternoon to get some information and measure the size of the frame.  I don't know what was going in the building, but the main parking lot was full.  Someone must have left early because there was one parking space.  Since one is all I need, I grabbed it, went inside, and found not much going on.  The art show is still up, no one was in the office, and no events were going on there on the 1st floor.  Took care of my measuring business, and started working my way home.  Just a week ago my classroom was hot and humid, and opening all the windows did no good, but today was like full winter- ambient temperature well below normal for this time of year, plus sustained winds made outside feel like around freezing.  Glad to be done with errands and get home.

Actually I was in the building earlier this week for another meeting, regarding the print exhibition planned there for February.  Questions were answered, plans were made, and we still seem to be on track for the February opening of the show.

Took care of one more thing from the comfort of my apartment, information for an upcoming show.  Back during the faculty show last month I was asked if I'd be willing to participate in another one in the spring, off campus this time.  It seems we were invited by the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences to show in their gallery, part of a rotational thing involving college faculty around the state.  Besides being a regular exhibiter, I was also sought for this because I'm a shore area resident.  Actually LBI is still about an hour away from where I live, but I am probably a lot closer than those faculty who live near Union, not to mention those up in New York, and we will probably be expected to deliver our own work to the gallery.  As with the last faculty show, everything is being coordinated through an online document edit, which as of tonight shows a roster that is pretty much the same as that faculty show, but only about 4 or 5 people (including me) have so far put information  on the form. The deadline is still a few days away, so maybe more will be coming, or maybe more works will be requested.  I'll post details when I know them.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Circus part 3

These woodcuts don't make themselves, so it was time to get back to the Studio, bringing with me the current block.  Grabbed a slice across the street, then got to my space and eventually got to work.

The pencil doesn't always show up as well as one might like in these photos, but it's there enough for me to see what I'm doing.  The thing I was working on most was the food in the foreground, for which I at least had a photo reference.  In keeping with my orientation plan for the composition of this piece, I would have to reverse the image I had of the soft-shell crab platter, so the sandwich would end up on the right side of the drawing, and the fries and onion rings on the left.  To get he basic shapes I just turned the page with the printed photo over and held it up to the light (window in front of me) so I could see it in reverse.  To see more details, I used an actual mirror I keep in my printing cabinet.  Not easy drawing an accurate deep fried crab in any direction- both symmetrical and irregular, and with so many appendages.  Biology tells us that the crustaceans and arachnids developed along very different genetic lines, but he end results turned out to be quite similar.  As for my drawing of the crab, color and value will play a big part in showing the form and shape and making sense of all the legs, etc.  Also put in a little time on the Circus sign, but this will have to be worked on quite a bit before it is right.  Luckily I got a bunch of photos of it before the building was demolished.  Probably much of what I drew today will have to be redone, but you really can't fix things until you've got something down on paper (or wood) to fix.

On my way out of the building I noticed wreathes and Christmas trees stacked around the hallway.  So I stopped by the office to check with Nichole if the art show had to come down soon.  She assures me that the Tenants art show will remain up for its full planned time, about 2 more weeks.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Another Long Day

Being that it's Friday, that is expected.  Actually traffic up the Parkway was light this morning, and the school didn't shut down any parking lots today.  Taught my 2 classes.  Coming home, lots of traffic, due to multiple accidents on the Parkway South, but I got home.  Most important, I got home before the big Nor'Easter is expected to arrive, so I was able to move my pieces from the recent faculty art show (picked up at school today) home safely.  As I write this, the rain hasn't started yet, but a lot is expected, so tomorrow may be a good day to stay home.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Circus part 2

Took care of a few errands today, gradually working my way north.  For example, I stopped at the Boatworks to drop off the filled out form to register my woodcut class, a form I was e-mailed and found last night.  On the schedule for today was another meeting with Nichole at the studio building in connection with the upcoming print show.  This was something Mary was requesting, and so I set up the appointment while I was there yesterday, sent Mary an e-mail, then heard nothing.  Finally called her early this afternoon, at which time she apologized for not getting in touch with me sooner, but she's still sick and needed to postpone today's meeting.  When I got up there I informed Nichole, who was very understanding, discussed possibilities for a new meeting, and since I was there, went down to my Studio to get a little more work done.

And I mean a little more work.  I had left the wood there yesterday on my table.  The building faced route 35, and in it's last form, had the original round section and two wings that stuck out left and right.  There was parking all around the building, but the section for car service was the wing to the right, so I decided to make that the location of my piece.  The building was fairly symmetrical, which makes it easier for me.  I took photos of both sides, but the sun was always low and strong when I was trying to shoot the right, making everything extremely backlit.  This means I can draw directly from one of my left side photos, and the mirror image effect of relief printing means it will look like the right side- just have to reverse the lettering on the sign.  Didn't get too far on the block drawing, but important decisions were made.  The above image shows what I came up with today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Too Soon No More

I don't like going too long without working on a print, but I feel like it's been a long time since I got any artwork done.  Art related- there's been a ton of that.  College classes, workshops, exhibitions- I've kept pretty busy.  But not much art getting done.  Maybe it's the effect of this Intro class they've had me teach the past few semesters; the most anti-art art class I've ever seen, but that is the way the university seems to want it.  The students who did see my work in the recent Faculty show seemed to really like it, but that started coming down this week.  The work in Ocean Grove also got some good reactions- that has a few more weeks.  Work is progressing on a print show I am providing guidance for.  A studio visit that happened last month was very much appreciated by those who came.  And I got word today that my next workshop in Belmar is officially on the schedule.  So maybe it's time to start acting like an artist again.

Ever since I decided to concentrate on printmaking, I have never had a lack of ideas for artworks.  I have a couple of blocks going already, but I had another one I wanted to get going on, an idea that's been kicking around for a few years.

Anyone who knows this area is familiar with the Circus Drive-In.  It's practically in my DNA.  It was built in the 1950's, which meant that my father worked there in his high school years.  It eventually became a landmark.  It was a pretty standard drive-in type restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, with a mix of burgers, sandwiches, and other typical road side dining fare.  The original shape was round (like a circus big top tent), but later wings were added to both sides, seating for parties, and more spaces for cars to park and order.  A few things set it apart.  One was the inclusion of soft shelled crabs on the menu- common enough in seafood restaurants, but you won't find then at most drive-ins. The second was the theme.  Every item was named after an animal or a typical circus/sideshow attraction.  However, circuses aren't as popular as they once were.  Several years ago the largest of them all, the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey circus, closed for good.  The original owners ran the place for almost 50 years, then retired, and it was operated for a few years by different people, but the drive-in closed for the season a few years ago and never reopened.  The building remained in place for another year, but now it is torn down, with only the big sign (above) left to mark where it was.

A lot of what once existed in this area is now gone, the land worth more than the value of the businesses that were on them, so the businesses were closed and the land was sold.  Running a business is a long term commitment, while selling property is quick and profitable.  But, as my old professor used to say, art is forever.  The title of this post is a working title for this potential series of artworks about regional businesses that have closed and been demolished, never to be seen again.  It is adapted from a song lyric by the band Bad Brains, from their debut album (circa 1982), regarding the band's being driven out of its hometown years earlier.  Many businesses that were once big are now gone.  I dealt with a few of them in my boardwalk series.  This possible new series begins with the Circus.

My starting point was two photos that document things that no longer exist, one showing the last fried soft shell crab sandwich platter (with fries and onion rings) I ever had there, and a view of the building itself, one of a few I took after it closed but before it was torn down.  The idea is to show it as food on a car hop tray, hanging outside a car window, as a customer might have ordered it.  I've been seeing these images for years, thumbnail icons on my desktop every time I turn on my computer, and I've even tried sketching it out a few times, but turning those tiny images into a block sketch was a challenge.  So today I bit the bullet and printed out full page copies of the two most significant images and brought them with me to the Studio.  The above sketch is the idea I am going with.  Still have to work out all the mirror reversal stuff, and I'm not worried about exactly copying anything from the photos, but at least I have a plan now.  When I get it all figured out, I can start working on a block drawing.

Woodcut Class Returns

Well, I hope.

A few weeks ago I noticed a class or group (whited out, hard to tell what had been there) was eliminated from the Belmar Arts Council schedule for late fall, and decided to try to get another one of mine going.  Had two over the summer, both getting enough to make enrollment, one was actually over the cap I had set, so I decided if there was any demand, I'd be happy to add one more.  Plus, other than needing to buy one more board, I have all the supplies I need to have the class.  Would have been happy to fill out the official form, but no one knew where they were.

Unfortunately, our new director was on vacation again, so nothing could be decided right away.  She was finally back last week, and her quick reaction was to say it shouldn't be a problem.  I was there on the weekend to shoot the opening for the blog, but she was off for the day.  And the college student office assistant is no longer working there- don't know exactly what happened with that.  But today I checked the BelmarArts website and the woodcut class is now up, complete with registration form.  Now all that has to happen is for potential students to discover that it exists and hope that some  people sign up for it.  First class is in two weeks.  Didn't want to go much later than that, as I like to not push things too close to Christmas.

The class will meet 4 times, not quite as spread out as we were for the early summer classes.  The dates are November 7, 14, 28, and December 5.  At the usual 6:30 - 9:00 pm time we have used the past few years.  I'll start spreading he word tomorrow, and hope that BelmarArts can arrange some publicity.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Almost Done

We had the official reception for the 2018 faculty show just a couple of days ago, and now it's almost on its way out the door.  Yesterday I had a chance to see the show one last time, as it was the day in the semester when I bring my Intro class on a tour of the whole art building (they rarely have seen such things) and this typically includes the main gallery.  This year there happens to be the faculty show there, so when I didn't get to take photos of the show on Wednesday, I knew I'd have one more chance.

(my pieces are in the two alcoves to the right in the photo below, so you can't see them here, but they are up on this blog a few weeks ago)

Got the door combination from the person in charge of the show last week, so I let myself in this morning.  There was a gallery assistant there for the afternoon show.  The exhibition used to be much bigger in the past because the department was much bigger in the past.  When I first started working there, separate shows for full time faculty (over 10) and adjuncts (over 30) and the galleries were full each time, both with art and visitors to the reception.  A few years ago the numbers had dwindled to the point where the two groups were combined into one show- I think we had a total of 13 participants this year.  As for visitors, the assistant at the desk yesterday told me that over 100 people have been recorded over the duration of the exhibition and about 30 total had shown up at some point during the reception, though not all at once.  She also expressed disappointment (as she had when the show first opened) that it was so short, feeling the art deserved a longer run.  I do know that the gallery was empty for the first month of the semester, but something else is on the schedule for next week, so it will come down by then and the organizer will store my work in her office until my next class day next week.

As for the students, on the tour they reacted most strongly to the large charcoal life drawings in the hallway on another floor (my class covered charcoal so I told them with practice they could do the same thing), and in the exhibition they particularly liked a large carved bench (furniture design had been on the tour, so I pointed out that they could take a class to learn this sort of thing for college credit).  The show is being kept up through the weekend, perhaps to take advantage of homecoming activities (which resulted in much of student and faculty parking being eliminated yesterday, although at least my usual spots weren't roped off this time and I'm always there early enough to get available spaces), and while I don't know if the gallery will be open, if it is a few more people will get to see the art.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Very Busy Day

An artist's work never ends, and today ended up being an exceptionally long day.

The change in weather may mean that the lawn mowing schedule may finally slow down, but it hasn't happened yet.  Finished this week's cutting today and drove straight to Belmar with hopes of catching our current director in the office.  A question had come up last week of whether I would be doing more woodcut classes in 2018, but it's not my call.  I'm available, and there seemed to be a hole in the building schedule that would allow it, so I left a note and an e-mail, but heard nothing.  First I need the approval of BelmarArts, then I need students, thus my visit today.  She was back from vacation today.   Gave tentative approval and said it would go up on the website.  That's the first step.

Stopped at home for a quick snack, a change of clothes, updating and printing a document, then put some gas in the car and took off.  The destination was Kean University for the official reception for the current faculty show, which does have a few of my pieces hanging in it.  The document is a handout for this week's class, and having it ready to copy today would mean not having to do it on the class day.  The timing for today's event was good, bringing me to campus in late afternoon, after the day people have started to leave, but before the evening crowd arrives, freeing up some parking spaces one hopes.  Saw a few spaces as I passed through the lot where I usually park, but when I got to the section close to my building, the place where I usually park, it was all roped off.  No reasons that I know of (no announcements about it went out), so maybe just to annoy faculty.  At the big lot on the other side of my building I discovered that the faculty spaces there had been converted to student spaces.  Luckily my permit allows me any space, and students also leave that time of day, so I found a decent accessible spot.  Went up to the 4th floor to make my copies, then came back down to the 1st for the opening.

Initially I hadn't expected that we'd have a reception, since the last time we had a faculty show the school refused to provide refreshments.  We got an e-mail last week saying that there would be a reception and refreshments would be provided, leading me to ask questions.  Turned out that the refreshments were being provided by the three remaining full time faculty, not the school.  And that refreshment table was sparse- bottles of water, cheese and crackers, grapes, a few cookies.  Luckily, there was no one there to eat anything.  I never saw more than 8 people in the gallery at any one time, and often less.  Most of the artists weren't there either.  Usually free food lures students, but not this time.  I was told that our Dean had shown up, but I've never met him and wouldn't recognize him anyway.  One of our full time faculty mentioned that we were all invited to be part of a show down at Long Beach Island in the spring, and wanted to know if I would consider participating, since I live closer to there than most faculty.  I said yes, even though it's still about an hour away.  (I had an hour drive tonight each way, so I can handle that) My woodcut student was there of course (he practically lives in the building) and we had a former student stop by.  Didn't recognize him,  but he said he had me for a class and they did woodcuts, so that had to be me.  Said he didn't particularly enjoy that project (all they had to work with were x-acto knives), and he doesn't much like printing, but he must have liked something about it, because he kept doing them.  Showed me photos on his phone of prints  and they weren't bad, so I guess I got another convert there.  With so few people around, I never got around to taking photos of the whole gallery, but maybe I'll try to get some when I'm teaching, as the show will still be up through this weekend.

Hung around past 6 pm, hoping the Parkway would clear a bit.  Whatever may have happened, there was still plenty of traffic heading south when I left.  But the day was not over yet.  At home I got on the computer to take care of one more thing- my former student Mary had been to a talk at an arts center in Burlington and thinks it would be a great place to have some woodcut classes, and gave our contact information to the other.  I waited a few days to see if the Burlington contact was going to write me first, but it hadn't happened yet.  So tonight a quick e-mail to introduce myself and what I can offer.  Mary mentioned that the place had received a large donation of print equipment and had no  one who knew how to use it, two things that may go together.  (my two colleges have disposed of much printmaking equipment in recent years, severe cuts or elimination, and with no classes, it's hard to learn printmaking)

So pretty much this whole post is a giant to be continued.  What happens with the Belmar class, with a potential Burlington class, the show in LBI, images of the Kean gallery- all is wait and see.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lots of Errands

Lots to do every day, and today was no exception.  In the morning alone I had mowed the lawn, moved stuff to the basement (finding some things I had wanted in the process), and visited recycling. Art stuff started in the afternoon.

Got an e-mail a few days ago from someone at BelmarArts, saying that they were working on the new website and wanted to know if I had class information to put up.  Since there is no class yet, no, but maybe I should get one going.  So I talked to the office there, found some information, came up with a plan.

Next up to Ocean Grove to see if I had any mail.  My visitor to the Studio last week had asked in an e-mail about an address to send something to, and rather than give her my home address, I gave her the mailing address of the place she had been to already.  I dropped by the building today and sure enough I had some mail.  (we all have mailboxes there, but this was the first occasion I had a reason to expect something) What had been sent was a small woodcut print.

The image of a brayer had been a prize of a sort from an event at PCNJ, a place I haven't been for years but I know quite well.

I spent part of the evening writing e-mails to all these people, replying to things I had gotten from them over the past few days.  We are expecting a big rain tomorrow, which may make it a good day to deal with all this stuff some more.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Time for a Fun Pak

Had a birthday recently, which brought me back to an old tradition that has roots in my college days.

At my undergraduate college, we had a convenience store near the campus, easy to walk to, called the  Tinee Giant.  It is part of a chain in that part of the country.  I always assumed that they were connected to the Giant supermarket chain, but I don't know for sure if that is true or not.  Anyway, a typical convenience store, selling bags of chips, candy, snack cakes, some groceries, lots of beverages  (as a senior I remember buying a 6 pack of malt liquor there for me and a friend to share with a professor at the end of the semester), self serve hot dogs and condiments (50 cents), and other stuff.  A rack near the front window had an assortment of "fun-paks" as they were called- small bagged with a cardboard header, dime store quality items, or things you might win with a visit's worth of tickets from a boardwalk game.  I remember one called "candy and water weapons" which had really cheap candy, and something almost like a water pistol (unlike the ones I knew, this had no trigger, just soft plastic gun shape that could hold some water, and you squeezed the whole thing to get water to shoot out the nozzle), some very cheap amusements.

One of my art school buddies was my friend Dave (the malt liquor friend above) and we adopted a form of the "Fun-Pak" for ourselves, often sending each other birthday gifts of stuff we made or picked up for free (artist post cards, etc).  Got one from Dave a few days ago.

Being a comic book artist, often the content of his packages is comics related.  This time it included a complication of recent short comic strips, a preview issue of an upcoming graphic novel about the Georgetown Steam Plant (funded by the city of Seattle), stickers, and a t-shirt that he helped design for a convention in Hot Springs, Arkansas (who'd have thought he's have a connection there?), plus a card.  Got it Friday, had time over the weekend to finally read everything. Fun, as expected.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Studio Visit

Today something happened that was a long time in coming, and it almost didn't happen.  Pam had contacted me last year regarding a visit to the Studio.  I'm not against such things, but it didn't happen last year.  Perhaps we couldn't work it out around my many part time jobs.  We decided to try to set up something another time. She contacted me again (all by e-mail) early this year, but again the timing wasn't right.  At least part of that was Jackie's impending move out of the space and there was quite a mess.  But eventually the move happened, and after a long delay, Molly finally cleaned up her mess and we now had a more presentable space.  Pam contacted me again several weeks ago, wanting to bring a cousin from Brooklyn who had some print experience and this time it seemed possible.  We ended up with a date the end of the summer (less crowds) and that became today, at 1 pm.  Since a lock was put on the door to the stairs earlier this year, I suggested we meet on the 1st floor, which happens to have an exhibition of work from people in the building right now, so they would have stuff to look at.  Fridays are very long work days for me, so Saturdays are often spent recovering from Friday, but I got up at a reasonable hour today, got through the usual morning routine, and gathered some stuff to bring with me.  Planned to leave about an hour before the scheduled meeting, maybe get a little work done, and sat down for a minute.  Next thing I remembered, my phone was ringing, my brother calling to invite me over.  The time- 1 pm, when I was supposed to be in Ocean Grove.  Not good.  Tried calling the office, maybe they could let my visitors know I was on the way, but usually no one there on a weekend.  So I got in my car and got up there as fast as I could.  Perhaps they would have spent time looking at the show.  Perhaps taken advantage of the nice weather, go for a walk and come back.  Perhaps gave up and left.  Hoped for the best and got it.

Went straight to the 1st floor, saw and man and woman, and they turned out to be my expected guests.  I apologized for my lateness, but they were good about it, having spent some time looking at my prints on the wall, and wanted to talk about those.  I know all those stories well, so no problem.  Eventually they wanted to see the Studio, and the elevator was the most efficient route from where we were, so we took that and I led them through the bowels of the building to my space.  There they had the opportunity to see some finished prints (both black and white and colored), and lots of the blocks, which are all stored there.  Her cousin (Steven I believe) brought a small portfolio of his own prints (both woodcut and wood engraving), sketches, and other related things he had done.  We talked about those, and some print stuff in general, but mostly they were interested in my work and the process.  Some of what I do is very traditional for a process that hasn't changed much in 1000 years, but I've also developed some unusual techniques over the past few decades, so I was able to share some of that as well.  (same as I would do for my college students, or my local students, or even on this blog)  Is he going to try any of this stuff in his own art? They talked of coming back for he spring print show, and if so maybe I'll find out then.  Around 3 pm they had to leave to get to their next planned location, so I helped them though the basement to the main stairway and made sure they found their way out.  Then back to the Studio to straighten out the disorder from the visit, and home before going out to my brother's house.  All in all a very pleasant day.  It would have been very unfortunate if I had missed it, so I'm glad I was woken up in time.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Faculty Exhibition 2018

Two weeks ago I brought two framed pieces with me to school to loan to the next faculty art show at my university.  I was a little concerned as my chosen pieces were not particularly new, but of the things I had ready to go, I felt they were the best choices.  Since no required dates were given I went with my own criteria- things not shown in that location before and art that could hold a wall well.  Last week we were asked to send titles and such so they could create title cards for the works, and a few days ago they requested that we fill out an insurance form.  Couldn't make the insurance form attached to an e-mail work, so I went with plan B- grab a printed form left in the mail room, fill it out this morning, and leave it in the organizer's box.  Despite delays caused by the 4th major rainstorm this week, I got to school in time to take care of this before class.

The show was scheduled to open today, but as usual, when I arrived the gallery was locked and dark. No problem, as I would be there for several hours anyway.  During a class break I wandered down to the 2nd floor where I found Tino at work on a new woodcut in the print room.  I shared some requested information about tools, and he asked about ways to transition patterns and stuff in his complex composition.  I told him he might find answers in my portrait piece in the faculty show, and the organizer mentioned that she had opened the gallery so people could check it out.  We took a walk down to the 1st floor, and while the lights were on, the gallery doors were locked.  Have to try again later.

About an hour later the organizer stopped by my classroom and mentioned the she had opened the door again (mystified as to who had locked it earlier) and on my next break I collected Tino and we checked out the faculty show.  When I show my work to students, whether it be at the college or in a local class, I always emphasize that it's not because I want them to copy what I've done, but just to show them how I decided to resolve the issue.  His subject and style are very different from mine, but it seemed he was getting ideas looking at my piece from almost 20 years ago.  I'm sure we'll talk more in future weeks.

After my classes were over, I was up on 4 returning the slide projector and ran into another adjunct who has work in the new show.  He had a few general questions, including whether I was planning to hang around today for the opening reception.  I hadn't heard anything about a reception, and told him I was planning to go home after class.  On the way out, I stopped in the gallery and talked to the student watching the place.  She knew nothing of a reception, just planning to lock up when her gallery shift ended a little later, but seemed a little disappointed that one wasn't planned, feeling that the show was good enough that more people should come to see it.  I wasn't surprised at the lack of a reception as the last faculty show we had the school declined to hold a reception or provide refreshments, leaving it up to the faculty to provide whatever we decided to bring in.  We are now fewer in number than we were then, so I'm not expecting anything over the next 3 weeks that the show in on the walls.  I took a few quick photos of my pieces to document my part of the show

and when the gallery student realized who I was, she became very interested in talking to me.  She said she had been very curious about the title of the portrait piece and what it meant, so I gave her a quick version of the story of my model and how I came up with the idea, which seemed to satisfy her.  As long as she was there, I gave her a brief version on the boardwalk story as well.

After all these conversations today, I am no longer worried if my pieces are too old for this show.  Our chair was eliminated years ago and our deans are now in a new building and never set foot in the art building, so no one of consequence is likely to see the thing.  All but a few of the faculty are part time, so we have little interaction.  I figure this show is something for the students to see, and today students who need no grades from me were very interested in the work I showed, so my decisions must have been fine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

East Meets West part 4

It looks like most of the East Meets West show has been resolved.

After things broke down with the plan to hold it at BelmarArts, and East Coast Mary was  considering looking elsewhere, I made the suggestion of the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove.  I knew that they were looking to expand their art exhibition schedule, and I knew that Mary knew the location of the building, from having been to critiques in my basement studio many times.  What I hadn't realized at the time was that she had never seen any of the rest of the building, so I arranged for her to stop by and tour the more than one century old building, and it is an impressive location.  We also set up a meeting with Nichole, the new director there, who I had sounded out about  Mary's exhibition idea and seemed potentially interested.  Both parties came away enthusiastic about the possibility, and there has been a series of meetings since then as details have been worked out.  West Coast Mary (Pacios) arrived in town a few weeks ago, a trip originally planned to coincide with the planned exhibition in Belmar, and she got to tour the new building and meet with everybody.  She was also impressed, and I found out a few days ago that they all had a second meeting several days ago and worked out more details to everyone's satisfaction.

Today I attended a meeting at (East Coast) Mary's house in Bradley Beach, with the other Mary still hanging around the area for a little while.  (They've known each other for about 60 years going back to school, and enjoy getting to hang out)  Lunch was served (taco salad) and the three of us, and Katie, went through letters, dates, and other details, trying to make sure were are covered for all possibilities.  I'll save some details until we get closer, but we're looking at the show going up in February and coming down in April, which seems fine for all parties.  We may have some sponsors lined up and perhaps a vendor demonstration.  We talked about trying to make connections to some local schools, and I have been given the task of investigating the possibility of conducting some print related classes around the time of exhibition.  I'm also going to try to get some of my former students to participate- college, Belmar.  Showed them photos in my camera of some of this work, and they were impressed with what these relatively beginning students accomplished.  Decisions made at today's meeting will go into the creation of a revised Call For Art, which I will get into the hands of my former students as soon as I get it myself.  So a productive day.

Since the sun had dried things out all day,  I went down to Manasquan and mowed until the batteries ran out (just one piece left), then home for my second Mexican influenced meal of the day.  Last night I cooked a pot of chili (pork, black beans, etc), intended for a burrito week, and since I had bought the rest of the ingredients already, I wasn't going to let the taco salad lunch interfere with my dinner plans.  It helps that I have a stomach that can handle all those spices.  Never any heartburn here.