Tuesday, November 29, 2022

32-20 Blues part 8


Not much left to do on the latest block.  One more line of words, and I think that's it.  Got to the Studio and heard the fan, though not the heater.  Inside the door I could see that quite a bit had been cleaned up, though I didn't know why.  This couldn't be for the benefit of the open studio, which was a few days ago.  I decided to go ahead and use the bathroom before I did anything else, and found the door to the cafeteria to be open. with no one inside the room.  No bundles of paper towels in the bathroom, but a roll on the dispenser, which would do just fine.  Meanwhile, back in my space, the press was almost clear of stuff, which I haven't seen in years.  On the other hand, my portable tack board was draped with dozens of Molly's towels.  I'd have to move those before taking any photos of my day's work, but at least I had a place to pile up Molly's stuff temporarily while I took that photo. 

I had brought my Jazz/Blues book with me today for this last day of blues cutting, and chose my Buddy Guy disc, which I have written about in detail back on February, 2020.  Just a few songs into the first album on that disc (or on the third word of my cutting plan for the day) when I got a surprise visitor- Molly.  Haven't seen her there during the day in a long time, maybe a year.  She was there to work on things related to her products, but we had time to exchange a few words.  She volunteered that the place was a bit cleaner because her daughter was there working recently, a class assignment in intaglio. which necessitated use of the press.  That explained a lot.  She was very proud that her daughter took so well to the process, but I wasn't surprised- I've seen a lot of school age students over the years, and they tend to like making things.  A few times Molly had to turn out the lights so she could pull photo screens out from behind the tack board, so I used the opportunity to let her know I needed her to move her draped towels off it so I could use it.  But mostly she worked and I worked.  

My work didn't take that long, and partly into the second album on the disc I had finished what needed to be done today.  Took a photo of today's progress (see above), cleaned up, and let Molly know the place was all hers for the rest of the day.  (she had a Zoom meeting planned for 2 pm, but no need to move because I'd be out of there in time to be home to see the United States play an elimination game against Iran in the current World Cup.  Made me think of being in Carbondale, when our nation hosted the games that summer and there was always an early afternoon game that we soccer fans watched at the Island, and sometimes a late afternoon game that we watched at the Cellar.  I made a stop on the way home, but still got there in time for the opening minutes of the game.  (we won, so move on the next round and get to play the Netherlands next) 

So it looks like this block is done, though I won't know for sure until the first time I ink it.  However, this means I do definitely need to order some ink, and I will work on my holiday card next.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

32-20 Blues part 7


Having no idea if I would get any visitors to the open studio event, as people don't go down the basement much anyway, and all the promotion I had seen was for the upper floors, I decided to bring along something to work on.  I had work that needed to be done, and no point in wasting hours doing nothing there.  So I had my current block, blues discs, and my best tools.  Before I started, I gave my smallest gouge another sharpening.  I have used it a lot lately, and knew I had to use it more for this last block.  That only took about 15 minutes.  For music I started with my disc of my last radio show, which I knew had plenty of good blues on it.  You can read about this on July, 2022.

What I had left to do was the floor, the front of the bedside table, and all the text (lyrics) below the image. Did all those in the order mentioned above, and used my newly sharpened gouge.  The things in the image area were easier, and got done quickly.  The words would take longer.  Not particularly difficult, but there are just a lot of them.  In a few cases I didn't like the size or spacing of the words, so before doing any cutting, I erased and/or re-wrote the lettering, so things would be more even.  Somewhere along the line, my radio disc ended, and I put on my homemade Homicide soundtrack, which does include some traditional blues among the songs.  You can read about that in detail back on February, 2020.

When I quit for the day (around 2 pm), I had completed everything except the final line of the lyrics, so that will have to wait until next week.  The photo from today's session can be seen above.  I should definitely order some ink soon, which I also need for my Christmas cards, too.

Ocean Grove Craft Sale and Open Studios


I decided to get up there in the morning, about an hour before the beginning of the events.  There was a craft fair and an open studios scheduled for today, from 11 to 5pm.  It was established that this was not a building supported function, but something organized by a tenant.  At least the open studio part- the craft fair was probably related to the building, as I don't think something like that could come from anyone in the building.  There were still a lot of cars when I got there, front and back, but I did find some spaces in front and went there.  

Vendors were busy setting up inside on the first floor, tables on the sides, in the center, and even around the stairs on all sides.  I didn't have to do any of that.  Took the elevator to the basement, and saw the back door was propped open and lots of people carrying things in through it a down the ramp.  Large things would be to big for the elevator, but the central stairway was cleared.  In the elevator were signs listing all the vendors and open studios that would be on the three floors, but nothing about the basement.  Typical.  Dropped off my stuff in my Studio, and found it a little warm.  The heater was running.  Molly had gotten to it, removed some of the things she had made, but piled up a bunch of stuff all around the thermostat- more than had been there before, and more than I could move today.  I would have to tolerate the increased temperature.  Went to the office and found no one there, until I went to the back room and found Bobby there.  Also noting that the basement was left out of the signs in the elevator, he decided to make one that promoted the location of his studio, for anyone who came looking for it.  He told me he planned to put it by the elevator on the first floor.  Eventually he did.

Thanks to what Molly took out, I didn't have much to do to get the room in shape for visitors.  But I did go back upstairs, to access my car and use the restroom.  While there, I climbed part of the central stairs and took a few photos of the main hallway being set up for the craft fair.  Here are some of those:

Above is the center of the hallway.  Below is the left side (from the stairs), and the right side was set up the same way.  There were also tables set up along the side walls outside the stairs, and alongside the stairs, plus some near the theater on the first floor.  I heard that there were more set up on the 2nd and 3rd floor as well, but I didn't go up there.

As I was walking through, I passed Joe Borzotta (our organizer) and he said hello to me, so he knew I was there.  But there was nothing more for me to do up there, so I headed down to my space.

I decided to open both of my doors, figuring the excess heat would blend with the cool air coming in the propped open back door, and it would all even out. As all of this was going on I had a disc on, one of he discs I had left there in the Studio, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Live at the Fillmore.  Still don't have many details on this, except that I got it from John Siblik, and it must date from the years when he was working with Crazy Horse.  For what it's worth, he bills "Let's Go Downtown" as a song from an upcoming album.

Around 11 am, at the official start of the event, I put on a blues disc, got out my latest project, and got to work, but I'll save all that for a posting just about that project.  An hour or so into what I was doing I had my first visitors of sorts.  It was a family group of three, but they were looking for the studio of Little Bobby Duncan, so I directed them there, then got back to my work.   

No one else came by.  At what seemed like a good stopping point I put away my tools, took a photo of today's work, cleaned up, and started heading home.  Heard a dog barking, and saw some people in Bobby's studio, which turned out to be Elyse and her husband.  They took off, so I took the elevator up with some guys who had been in the basement looking at the old boilers.  The crowds were thick up by the craft tables, but I had seen nothing I needed there.  Meanwhile, more were coming in the door, including some people I knew from Belmar.  I figured my parking space would be much coveted, and decided to go home and have some lunch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

32-20 Blues part 6


An unexpected situation came yesterday morning.  Clear weather, just a bit chilly, and around 9:15 the power went out.  No storm going on, no heat to stress out the electric grid, but no power.  Usually in this case my mother checks with the power company to get an estimate of what the problem is and how long it will take to fix, but her cellphone had no reception.  Nor did my father's or mine.  Based on previous experiences, this sounded like a very large blackout, and perhaps all the regional cell towers were incapacitated as well.  My first instinct was to just turn off my phone.  Lack of cell towers can mean cell phone batteries wear out quickly from attempting to make connections with an available tower, and with no power, not much chance of recharging that battery.  Meanwhile, my mother decided to go over to historical society to help with some holiday related things, and had to take quite a detour to get there, as the traffic light was out at Main and Rt 71.  Turned out this was a big outage, knocking out miles of traffic lights on the main roads, and seemed to go up to Brookdale College, a ways from here.

One thing I knew that can be done during a power outage is to cut wood.  The process is so old and basic, that it predates electricity by a few centuries, and I heard stories from students who had done a lot of block carving during the long outage we had following Hurricane Sandy.  We had plenty of daylight, and I had everything either in my home or in my car.  So in the afternoon, I put in a few hours without power but cutting with my hand operated tools.  I decided to concentrate on the figure and bedding, now putting in those gray tones and cross contour lines that I ignored last time. Also finished the window, including the frame and sill.  Power came back on later in the afternoon, but it was too late to go anywhere.  We had to change plans for my nephew's birthday, when his choice of restaurant decided to stay closed for the rest of the day.

Today was sunny and cold again, but we had electricity, so I decided to go up to the Studio and get some work done there.  More space, and a better table.  Brought the smaller Jazz/Blues set of discs today.  The beginning of Christmas decorations were there on the first floor, but they had a long way to go.  Went straight to my Studio, set up to work and decided that the week of cold weather had some effect on the room.  Not unbearable, but I felt a little chilled, and this seemed as good a time as any to make sure the heater worked, as it probably hadn't been used since last spring.  This meant moving some of Molly's piles of stuff a short distance so I could get close enough to the thermostat to turn it on. For music today I decided to go with things that weren't blues, but could be heard over the heater.  Started with Marc Ribot and the Cubanos Postizos (prosthetic Cubans), one of Ribot's many side projects.  Obviously a latin inspired music, mostly instrumentals, some sung in Spanish, so good to work to.  Copied directly from the original album.  Wrote about it back in July, 2020. When that ended, I chose another copy of an album I had on my shelf, the soundtrack to the movie The Naked Lunch, which featured saxophonist Ornette Coleman playing leads over the London Philharmonic Orchestra.   I've never read the book, but I've heard it was unadaptable, so the movie was a fictionalized account of the life of author William Burroughs, and his slipping into drug addiction and other lowlife behavior, sometimes believing he was in the middle east.  All of these ideas are reflected in the instrumental music, which combines jazz and orchestral music, why it's in this book I had today.  Wrote about this one back in July, 2019.

As far as the block goes, today I tackled the largest thing not done yet, the walls.  This is just background, but I do want it to stay back and not draw attention.  So mostly gray tone, and some light on the side wall (influence of Vermeer this time), and a few cracks that represent plaster spread over wooden lathe, the way walls were built a long time ago.  Also did the top of the little dresser/bedside table, with the whiskey flask and glasses.  What I have left is the front of that piece of furniture, and the floor, plus the lyrics.  

Saturday, November 19, 2022

32-20 Blues part 5

 Today may have been even colder than my last Studio visit, but I still wanted to go.  Normally I am there on Thursdays, but next week is Thanksgiving and I may have something else to do that day.  So why not go today?  A lot of cars in our front parking lot, but some available.   No one sawing by my Studio today, so that was good.  Molly had been in, as she left a tag up on our hook, but no one was there today.  More color on her latest batch of towels, so what the tag had me expect, the towels confirmed.   I did hear some kid voices, but chose not to investigate.  Despite the chillier weather outside, the room itself was still comfortable.  Good thing, because I wasn't able to get near the thermostat, Molly had so much piled up in that part of the room. Either way, I decided to go with some loud music again today, and put in my home burned Reverend Horton Heat disc, details of which can be seen back in November of 2021.

I had spent some time looking at my current block, and knew what I wanted to do.  Used my good tools again, and took on aspects of the figure and bedding.  Of the three blocks, this one has the most of what is commonly called drawing with the tools, meaning using the gouges in the same way I'd use a stick of charcoal or an ink brush.  Yes I was guided by the pencil drawing on the wood, but I was cutting out shapes of white, using a variety of gouges, and making decisions as I went.  And that's as far as I got.  Didn't get to the gray tones in the areas I did, just cutting out white shapes and leaving everything else behind for now.  Next time I'll handle some grays, and move on to the rest of the bed, the walls, the window frame, or whatever else I decide to take on.  I'm not saying that I am done with anything I have done, but I won't know how successful I was until I ink this thing for the first time.  Results can be seen in the photo at the top of this post.

My disc had ended, so I decided it was a good time to leave. Took a photo, cleaned up all my wood shavings, and locked up. Made sure to remove the tag from our hook, as Molly had made no appearances in the Studio in all the time I was there.

Friday, November 18, 2022

More art in Ocean Grove


We have another event coming up at Jersey Shore Arts Center, a holiday art market and open studio event.   I asked Molly what her thoughts are, as she has been very busy making product the past few weeks, all of which can be found in the space we share.  As I suspected, all those things were earmarked for other locations, well before this was officially announced, and that was only a few days ago.  Apparently it was not organized by the office, so not much is known about it.  I was told we could always sell craft items out of our studio, but Molly's stuff is all accounted for, and I don't have much that is suitable for such events, so I am not going to be doing that.  And as far as the open studio goes- last time we had an official one, few made it down to the basement (on the main site, they mention floors 1,2, and 3, but not the basement), so I am not committing to anything.  All I can do is show things I have, and maybe un-inked blocks.  I'l figure it out as I get a little closer to the date.  But meanwhile, here is the information about it.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

32-20 Blues part 4

 Mid-November now, and deadlines are approaching.  I decided to take care of two of them today, or at least do more work on two of them.  One thing is the holiday card for this year.  I don't expect to have them all out by the New Year (those who know me and get one of my cards, expect this), but I do like to post a finished copy here on the blog on Christmas Day, so that means I have a little over a month to get it done.  The other thing I have to finish soon is my contribution to the Robert Johnson project, and my goal is to have three images done by early 2023.  I believe Tom's deadline had been something like February or March, but I'd rather get the first step done before then, in case there are some changes.  I can't print anything until I get some more ink, so I should order some soon.  I can't cut and print the card until I have wood the right size for the task.  I can start cutting the 3rd Robert Johnson block, as that is drawn at least. So today my plan was to go to the Studio in the late morning, cut two pieces of wood, one of which will be my card block, and start cutting the design for the 3rd Robert Johnson block.

One thing I took into account is that temperatures took a nose dive this week, which could mean my Studio heater getting a real work out today.  It works fine, but is ceiling mounted right by the windows, and the thermostat on that wall.  Which means that in cold weather it runs more minutes than it is off, and it is quite noisy.  That might happen today, so I decided to bring some loud music, the kind of things that sound good at high volume, which I might need today to hear it over the heater. Lightest to carry are the discs in individual plastic jewel cases (as these things are called), and one that fit the bill was my home burned double set of cow punk classics, albums I got in Carbondale from a Texan (Dave Kirkland) from the Hickoids and Jon Wayne.  (details can be found on this blog back in December 2019) Music on, then put together what I needed for part one.  My old saber saw died on me last year (after using it for at least 25 years, and it was used at that point), but luckily I found a block that I could use.  Got a new one last winter, which has already been used for a number of projects, and today it was used again.

With that done, I moved right to the other block, already drawn.  I started as I always do, cutting out the outer border of the image.  One side is the hard clean edge of the board itself, so I had three sides to cut. I got that done, the started a few of the white spots in the image.  Did the window, and the bright parts of the pillow, and decided to call it a day.  Results of the day's cutting can be seen below:

As it turned out, the outside wasn't cold enough to set off my thermostat, so the heater never came on.  However, it's a good thing I had some raucous music there today, as a whole bunch of people set up in the loading area, and were using power saws, stirring up quite a racket, almost drowning out my rock and roll, just a few feet away.  This is space normally used by Bobby Duncan, but it wasn't him.  They knocked off and cleaned up around noon (lunch?) and were not back when I was done and leaving, but if they are there next time I have to work, I may talk to the office.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Love in Vain part 8


Back at it one more time.  Not much left on this latest block- mostly words, and I find letters to not be much of a challenge.   A lot of people ask me how I do all the lettering, which has to be backwards as per the way relief prints work.  I've done this so long that I can block print backwards just as fast as I can do it forwards, and cutting out a shape is cutting out a shape- whether a letter is backwards or forwards makes no difference.  

But first I had to take care of something else.  Actually got an email from Molly last night, partly a response to my questions about the upcoming holiday craft fair and open studio at the building, and partly some issues she has had with the alarm system that she wanted me to ask about next time I was there.  That may be because I actually know the people in the office, or it may be because I'm generally there during the day when the office is open, while Molly is there at night when no one is around.  So I stopped by the office and took care of the alarm questions. Then I got to work in my Studio.

I had brought with me my Jazz/Blues book of discs, and from that I selected a home burned collection of Duke Ellington, from a double disc set called The Essential Duke Ellington.  Going from 2 discs to one, obviously I couldn't include everything, so I picked my favorites (tend to be earlier ones) and put as many on a blank disc as it could hold.  Not really blues, but I do like the big band sound as well, and these are mostly instrumentals anyway.  (occasionally there are some vocals, but in this era of big bands, vocalists were just another instrument in the band, and never were the band leaders, who were typically musicians who took the responsibility to be in charge, and were responsible for hiring all the parts, selecting arrangements, and playing with the band itself)  And if you don't know what Duke Ellington sounded like in his prime, you need to go listen to some and come back here after that.

I started where I left off- the lyrics that I was illustrating.  I had a word or two left in the upper line, so I did that, and moved on to the lower line.  Lettering is not exciting, but methodical, and eventually it all got done.  The disc wasn't over yet, so I went on to the other bit of lettering that remained- the designation/logo of the Illinois Central railroad.  As I wrote before, I chose that as my railroad as it was the train that passed through Carbondale regularly, and it was one that stopped in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Johnson's home base.  The disc ended, so I cleaned up, took the above photo showing today's progress, and went on to my next stop.

I think this block is done being carved, but I took it home with me to look over.  If it is done, or I can finish whatever needs to be done there, my next time in the Studio I'll be starting something new.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Love in Vain part 7

Had a couple of emails from our director at the JSAC yesterday to reply to.  One was about the alarms, so I tried two times to send a thorough response, but the program refused to send it to her address.  Later in the day I sent one to her via reply all, and a shorter one too, but included the important parts.  Had another mail waiting for me later, questions about time spent in our studio, for a grant probably.   Sent that to her directly and that went went through.  No explaining this.

So today I went to the Studio, and after visiting my space just long enough to drop off my stuff,  walked over to the office.  Elyse hadn't seen my emails yet, so she gave them a quick look over, asked a few questions, and said she'd read them later.  Meanwhile I went to work.

Continued on my Robert Johnson project, block #2.  I had two discs along to listen to, and started with my homemade soundtrack to Homicide Life on the Street, which I have written about back on February of 2020.  I decided to start my cutting with the train itself, perhaps the star of this image.  What was left was grays and darks.  The latter is just left alone, so I was cutting vertical lines to make gray tones in parts of the car.   It took a while, but it's all done, save for the railroad name and logo.  Want to check my source before I do that.  First disc ended, so I replaced it with the Henry's Dream album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, perhaps the most Robert Johnson like album I have that isn't actually blues- just a shared attitude, also written about before, back in September of this year. I went on to the lyrics, and got most of the top line done before the music ran out. I could have gone longer, but I wanted to get home and have lunch, so I left it at that point.  Results of today's cutting can be seen at the top of this post.

I brought to block and tools home, should I decide to work on it over the weekend, but that will depend on what else I can get done in the next few days.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Love in Vain part 6


I had brought this block home last time, and did some cutting on my dining room table, but there are limits to what I can do at home.  Still, I got done the rest of the platform, the light pole, and even a little bit of the train car.  More would wait until the next time I was up at the Studio.  

That day came on Monday.  Not the easiest time though.  Fine once I got there, but before that I had to pass through Bradley Beach and that wasn't easy.  I had to make 4 separate detours, as every time I tried to go on a road, I got to the end and found it was being dug up.  Had to turn around and try a different road.  Luckily I know many different ways to get to my Studio building, and I found my way there eventually.  

Brought a few discs with me as individual items, all of which had some blues.  But what I started with was the recording of my last radio show in the midwest, which is all blues.  Have written about this on the blog before- you can find it on July of 2022.

Once again took out my best tools.  While still at home, I had looked up the image I based the car on, to verify exactly what I had drawn with my pencil.  Some I was right about, and some I wasn't, so it's a good thing I checked it while I had access to the internet.  There in the Studio, I cut out the rest of the windows- the frame around, the half drawn shades, and a few vague profiles, shadows in the dark.  Also did some elevated windows (at least I think that's what they are- if this was architecture I would call them clerestory windows), the rear observation platform and steps leading to it, and the rocks in the rail bed, between the ties.  That's where the disc ended, and I decided to call it a day there, and go home to get some lunch.  

What it does leave me with is the exterior of the car itself, which is mostly gray tones and black masses.   And then all the text/lyrics.  A few more times in the Studio and I should be done with this block, and can start cutting the third in the series. Meanwhile, results after today are shown at the top of this post.

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Love In Vain part 5


Now that we are in November, I have to start thinking about my holiday card.  So yesterday I did, looking at some images by particular artists, and different kinds of paper, as I will need something heavy for the cards and I have to order some supplies soon anyway.  This morning I heard about some thing else, something my mother saw online.  She thinks that there is a craft fair and open studio event coming up toward the end of November.  First I heard about it.  Something else to ask about when I'm up at the Studio today.

Left for Ocean Grove in the late morning, got there about quarter after 11.  Dropped off my stuff in the Studio, and saw that Molly had been there again.  New towels, this time colorful floral designs.  Then to the office.  Apparently there is a lot yet to be determined.  Elyse said that she would try find out more.  The open studio thing is once again the idea of Joe Borzatta, but I hadn't heard anything about it yet.  She sent him an email to see what's going on with it.  Once again, the Studio is a bit of a mess, now that Molly is back making product, so I have to check with her on what we do.  On the other hand, if all this product is not already earmarked for a particular store or event, this could be an opportunity for her to sell some stuff.  

I have plenty of wood, so creating a block for a holiday card would not be a problem, but that can wait. Right now I want to work on my Robert Johnson project.  That means block #2, my take on "Love In Vain."  Actually first I sharpened my smallest gouge, which I used a lot making the first block in the series.  I also touched up the few things I missed on that block, but not even enough to take a new photo of it.  Next time you see it, the block will be inked, and perhaps printed.  Meanwhile, the block for Love in Vain is all drawn, so it's time to start drawing that one.  I brought the smaller Blues/Jazz book with me, and found suitable music.  I started with my burned copy of T-Bone Walker's T-Bone Blues.  A classic record that could be called jazz or blues, but I think of it as blues, and it even has a song about taking a train out of town.  I played it as an LP on my radio show in Virginia, and as a disc in Illinois when it was finally reissued.  When that ended two vinyl LP's by John Lee Hooker burned to a single disc back in the day, a copy of which was in the Studio.   It includes Volume I, from Modern Records, collecting some sides from 1948 to 1954, and This Is Hip released by VeeJay, which collects sides from 1955 to 1964, and was the second blues album I ever bought, though that was on cassette back then. 

As far as this new block goes, I followed my usual routine.  I cut out the border on three sides, then decided to take on the two main figures, a mix of black, white, and gray tones.  While the music and table were good, I decided to also do the edge of the platform, a stripe of white. Long way to go, but what is done seems good so far.  Results can be seen at the top of this post.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Walkin' Blues part 11


Once I knew that I might not have any students today, I decided that I could work on my latest block instead, and maybe finish it.  I had worked on it some at home over the weekend, so there wasn't much left.  What I had done was cut out the last two figures, a standing couple behind my seated couple on the left, some of the light bricks, and the four recessed lights in the ceiling.  Also noted a few things that needed additional cutting, but it would wait until I had a better table to work at.  

Hanging out in my drawing classroom, I had the large folding plastic tables that we employ in this building.  Same as we used to use in Belmar for woodcut classes.  Not as good as my solid wooden Studio table, but I knew it would work, and be more spacious than the dining room table I had at home.  Put everything I needed in a tote bag, and added it to the materials I'd bring with me today.  

Took care of my office business, then went to my classroom.  Time to get to work.  Finished the bricks, except for a few that I missed and didn't see until I got home. A few minutes next time will take care of that.  My biggest task was the ceiling.  I had decided on a simple black and white texture, which I know from experience will read as one shape later when printed.  (a lesson leaned from Velasquez) I also cleaned up the lower corners, not quite finished before, and cut the last bit of text- the name of the man who wrote the words that inspired the piece, small letters that read "R. JOHNSON."  Results can be seen below:

What is left won't take long, so this is pretty much done.  Of course, I don't know what I have until I ink it up and print it, but that will wait until I have all three done. Meanwhile I should buy some ink.  In any case, I'll start cutting the next block later this week.

Drawing Class Again part 6

 Last night I got an email from my last drawing student, stating that she probably wouldn't make it to the last class today.  Also, saying she learned a lot and expected to try out her new knowledge.  I sent her a reply, expressing regret that she wasn't going to be there, but telling her what was planned, and encouraging her to try drawing on her own.  

I had already gathered materials for the last class, value with mixed value objects and charcoal, which she liked the first time we did it.  In fact, it was in the car, ahead of the expected rain.  At this point I wasn't expecting any students, but I figured I better show up anyway.  After all, I am being paid for this, and I want to do my part.  Plus, I needed to deal with the photo ID thing, and I knew I could use the time there to get some work done.  

So I got up there around noon, which is what I have been doing since we switched the class to 1 pm to start.  I went to the office first, to deal with the photo ID.  We got emails over the weekend, saying that this was going to happen, and we should send Kaitlyn a head shot if we had one, or talk to her if we needed help.  As an artist, I had a woodcut self portrait, but no photos, and no head shots.  And I'm not the selfie type. So I sought help from Kaitlyn.  Apparently I was the first.  She said it had to be a photo, and decided to take one using her camera,which was fine.  Mentioned that she had no idea when these ID's would actually get done, but I'm in no hurry.  Next I mentioned to Elyse that I may not be getting any students today, and we agreed to stay at least 15 minutes beyond the start of class.  Since the class started out as a 2-4 class, I decided I would stay until 2:15, which would cover any possibility.

Meanwhile, I went to my classroom, room #5.  Tables were already set up.  I had brought with me the current block and my tools, so I knew I could keep busy.  My props stayed out in the car. not as heavy as the paint can day, but still more than I needed to lift for possibly nothing.  If anyone showed up, I could run out to my car and get the bag.  Unfolded a chair, then got to work.  As it  turned out, no one showed up, but I had a block to work on.

So that is the end of the drawing class, my last class meeting of this cycle.  And we won't be doing any more classes this year, as we usually have several weeks between class cycles to allow time for people to sign up, and that would take us into the holidays.   So we will wait until next year to hold any more classes.  This leaves time for me to cut and print my last two blocks for this Robert Johnson project, as well as to think about and maybe make my holiday card. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Hurricane Sandy


Today (according to the tv) is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in the area.  Just last night my father remarked how the storm turned out to be nothing.  He seems to be basing this on images he's seen of Ian down in Florida, and seems to have forgotten all of what was on our news, after we finally got power back 8 days later.  And his sewage flooded basement.  And how we had to remove and dispose of everything in that basement.  And the damage to all the surrounding towns.  But I didn't forget any of that.  

Still, we lucked out.  Things could have been much worse.  What I lost, I guess I didn't need that much.   Not having power meant a lot of radio listening and candle burning, and I couldn't use the internet for more than a week, but I got by.   My brick building stayed intact, my position high on an embankment, and at the top of a hill, meant that I was in no danger of flooding, and I even had a working stove and hot water, so it was like luxury camping. 

Plus I had all my photos, so I don't forget any of what happened.   Here are just a few highlights of what  I saw, things saved on this computer.  From top to bottom- Ocean Grove's torn up boardwalk (the part not protected by dunes), the Manasquan municipal docks and something new there, and the front yard of my parents house, with everything removed from the basement and sorted for eventual disposal.   The people driving those crane trucks are surprisingly efficient and precise, but I guess they get a lot of practice.

Now it's been ten years, and while we were done with all we could do in a few months, and the free distribution of food has long ended, some people are still rebuilding.  

Walkin' Blues part 10


By the morning I knew that I was officially relieved of the duty of having to drive my father to a doctor's appointment, but I still figured it would be a good idea to be home, just in case I was needed to do so.  Toward this end, I made sure to leave a little early to get up to the Studio.   I decided to get a little more work in on my latest block.  Plus, I had to leave a rent check for Molly.  As I was writing out the check, I realized that today's date was October 27th, making this the birthday of the radio station I grew up with- WNEW-FM.  That radio station is long gone now, having changed formats a few times in the 90's, and the last show to date back to its days as a rock station ended at New Year's on 2001, so there hasn't been much point in even tuning it in for a few decades.  But it was something there all through my childhood, and part of my adult years, and it did introduce me to much of what I listen to now.  Back in those days, they often had big name bands come in and do a live show they carried, and some of those were taped and I later recorded them on discs, when I had that capability.  The Robert Cray Band that I listened to recently was such a show, a birthday concert done back on October 27, 1991, and a copy of that disc is part of my Studio blues set.  That disc would be appropriate for today, but I just listened to that, so I brought another live show recorded off the airwaves, originally to tape, then to disc, then a copy to keep in the Studio as part of my rock/pop set- The Smithereens, a rock band from Central Jersey recorded to tape on December 5, 1989.  (this was not a birthday show, but part of an Electric Ladyland concert series that did not happen as often as had been promised during that show)

In any case, I knew I didn't want to stay for long, so I planned for just whatever I could get done during that one disc.  I started with the background guy in the center of the image, lining up with the corner of the back wall, but technically part of the right side.  A balding man in a jacket and tie, who doesn't really look like he fits in with this crowd.  Next was the head of my other character facing forward on that side, the only part of him that is carved.  The only other figures back there are shadowy silhouettes, all taken from my photo reference book.  Some are outlined by light areas in my background brick walls, so I cut a few of those light patches, underneath ceiling mounted recessed lights.  Results can be seen in the image above.  That leaves one more couple in the background on the left side, behind the seated couple, a few more silhouetted figures, the rest of the bricks, and that ceiling.  

After that, I ink it up and see what I have.  If the print looks good, more on to #2. If not, make corrections and get done.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Walkin' Blues part 9

Normally I go to the Studio on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though lately my Tuesdays have been occupied with classes.  I am in the building, but no time to make art.  And I am told that I will be driving my father to a doctor's appointment on Thursday, so I figured I better get some art done today.  So I gathered my things and drove up to Ocean Grove in the late morning.  Lot of cars in the lot, and front door was unlocked, but I saw no signs of anyone on the first floor.  Went to my space.  Brought my blues/jazz set with me today, and started with my Buddy Guy disc.  Most of two rocking albums- Stone Crazy and Sweet Tea. (I have written about these albums back in February, 2020)

I continued work on the first Robert Johnson block, my illustration of Walkin' Blues. Today I took on the other two figures in the foreground, a couple sitting at a table with drinks.  He's looking at my striding woman, and the woman with him is none too happy about it.  Did their upper bodies and heads, then the table and its contents, then the lower bodies.  Decided that the legs would be best outlined by the floor, so I started cutting out all that.  Got partly through that when the disc ended.  More blues, my radio broadcast of Robert Cray's band live.  Like the first disc, both were created for my trip; to Texas, though never used there.  Both ended up in my Studio and part of my blues set, so certainly not wasted.  (Wrote about this a few times, but the best one is October of 2021) Continued with the floor, and also did the foot rest bar, skipping a few lesser tracks along the way.  But soon I was done with my day's work.  Time to go home.

Unfortunately, it's never that easy.  As I went out the front door, I was called over to a car by a woman in the passenger seat.  She wanted to talk to someone about doing something there, and had questions about phone numbers and such, but I had no idea how to answer that, as I have been in the building for 15 years, and tend to email if I have questions.  However, I thought Elyse was in her office, and said she was the person to talk to.  Was she there right now?  I could go look, so walked over to the outside door, and Jeanne let me in after I knocked.  I explained the situation to Elyse as best I could, but before anything could be done, the woman was there, having followed me.  So I introduced them and let them talk.  Had no idea what she and her husband wanted, but figured Elyse would know the answer better than I would.  So I went back out the door, up the steps, and was heading to my car when I was interrupted again.  This time a young guy, who wanted to know about joining.  Huh?  He said something about wanting to join an activity, but didn't seem to know more than that.  Didn't need a place to live, which was good because we don't have any of those.  Still wanted to join an activity, but didn't know more than that.  Seemed to have some photo equipment, but I wasn't going to send him to talk to random photo people (if they were even around), so I suggested that he also talk to Elyse, who I knew was in her office.  He set off to do that, and I took off. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Drawing Class Again part 5

 Another Tuesday, another class.  I sent another email to all 3 registered students to remind them of the time change, and what we were planning.  No one responded.  One I haven't seen since week 1, and one was planning a vacation, so I only expected one, but three were registered, so I get paid anyway. Planned was a complex line still life (things more complex than the shoes, bottles, boxes, and cans we have done so far) but I couldn't find a photo or description of what this would be from previous classes.  So I gathered some things from the basement and dining room that I have used in the past, and not for other things planned, so maybe they were for this.   Loaded my car this morning, and made the trip on time.

My room had more in it than I had left, including a lot of chairs, so I asked if something else was going on before I set anything up.  But Kaitlyn told me she had done the setting up for me.  More than I needed, but what I needed was there and so I rearranged things to suit me.  Checked the door, updated the hallway sign, and I was all set.  My one student arrived eventually, and she was ready to tackle it.  What I had set up was a still life with a blue glass vase, a pipe wrench, a metal candle stick, a hammer, and a small bronze pitcher, plus a towel, and stacked boxes under it.  Didn't take a photo of it, but at least I have an above list.  Nothing we have drawn before in this class session, but things that do make use of information we have covered in perspective (orthogonals, ellipses), proportion, negative space, contour line- this is all part of how I teach. I had her choose a view with 3 objects, about what can be expected in a two hour class.  She chose the right side (hammer, candlestick, and pitcher) and was very satisfied with how it turned out and how much she has learned. Prior to this, she mostly had online learning, and that doesn't teach much (news stories about how kids have suffered from computer instruction, on the tv these days, verify this), especially with art.  

At the end of the day I packed up my stuff and locked up, then stopped by the office.  My supervisor had found out something about my missing student.  Turned out she never paid. Not sure how you register without paying for it.  So I was told my next check will reflect that.  This person did attend the first class, so I expect to be paid for that. I have email and photo proof.