Friday, September 23, 2022

32-20 Blues part 3


 I had my block at home the past few days, and we did get a little bit of rain, though not enough that it would have kept me from getting up to the Studio if I needed to go, but because the block was home, I didn't need to.  Did some drawing, though, and used my bedroom to help out with it.  My preference would have been to draw a real figure in a real bed, to get all the shadows, furniture, and fabrics exactly right, but I didn't have the items available for this, so no point in trying to find a model.  Luckily I have a lot of things around the house and I'm artistically trained, so I got it done.  

The bedroom is similar to some I have drawn in the past, and the simple iron bed frame is the same one I remember using for a Dubliners print years ago.  The cracks in the plaster walls come from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, Little Red Riding Rabbit, if I remember correctly, one of the plaster walls in Grandma's house, frequented by Red, Bugs, and the Wolf in this wonderful bit of war time animation.  I used my actual bedroom as a substitute for the one in the image, so it's my sheet and blanket that are visible.  For the figure I used two things- a mannequin torso I keep in the basement as a drawing prop, and a pillow as the body under the covers, and more of my pillows behind the mannequin's back. My image has the light come from a window, but the window in my room is behind the bed, and didn't cast light where I needed it, so I used a small table lamp as my source, which would be about where the flask of bourbon and glasses are in the block drawing.  The one thing I had no substitute for was the head of the woman, so that stayed the same, and I made the hair solid, instead of all the individual drawn locks.  Looks just as messy in the end, but a simpler dark shape.  I used the light from the lamp to create the shadows on the bedding and figure, and made up those on the face.  

Later I sat down with it at a table, and refined the shapes and made it a little more logical.  Added more shadows around the room.  This image may be about done, but I'll sit on it a few days before making a decision.

Meanwhile, there was a lot going on at home this morning.  But that was all done, and I needed to move my car anyway, so I did it as part of a trip to the Studio.  First a bit of business at the office, where I checked in with Jeanne and the status of my drawing class.  I had seen nothing about further sign ups, and heard nothing from my boss, so it was all still a mystery, and I had no idea if she would even be there.  But I had to move my car.  And it turned out, Jeanne was there when I got there around 1:30 pm. She confirmed that no one had signed up yet, and we both agreed that one was just not enough.  However, I do know that my mother saw a reference to the class on the internet, so maybe something will happen.  We decided to wait until Monday.  If no one has signed up by then, we cancel the class, and try again in the future.

No need to do much artwork, as I had done it at home, but it is easier to photograph things there, so I took the above photo showing the update of the image.  And then I roughed in the lyrics on all three blocks, just to make sure there was room. 

For those who may be wondering, what the title means, it fits more or less with the other lyrics, which are mostly about the narrator's desire to shoot everyone.  A 32-20 refers to a particular cartridge from Winchester that could fit a number of rifles and pistols, inexpensive, and relatively small, suitable mostly for small game and varmints.  This seems odd, as elsewhere in the song he complains that a 38 special is too light a weapon, though it is a larger caliber than the gun he takes pride in.  He also sings about a gatling gun, which could do a whole lot more damage.


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

32-20 Blues part 2

 


Another nice day today, so after a visit to a lab for some required blood work, and breakfast at home, I took a ride up to the Studio.  It was about noon when I got there, and assumed all the office people were at lunch, so I got to work on the latest block.  I knew from photos that there were a few things I wanted to address immediately, then I would find more. Toward that end, I had done some sketches on paper since last time.  For example, I knew that I was not happy with the whiskey bottle and glasses.  I knew because I have drawn these kind of things before.  A few years ago I had drawn and later cut and printed bottles on the beach for Amy Kucharik's "99 Bottles" video (up on YouTube if you want to see it), but I didn't like the angles of those drawn bottles.  I went back further to my Fourth of July set of prints, having remembered a time where I took my favorite drinking glass (from glassblowing class) to Armen's studio to partake in a bottle of bourbon he was keeping there, and later made a print of it for the day's image.  Found it on the blog devoted to this set (February 17, 1994 if you want to see it) and liked that set up, so did a sketch.   Then hair.  I remembered a home made video of a song from Morphine that showed a model with some wild hair, so I did a quick sketch of that. Had that sketchbook with me today. 

I had brought one home burned CD with me today, a more recent album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Dig, Lazarus, Dig), the story of which I told back in August of 2019.  Like the other Nick Cave album, not blues, but subject matters fitting the drawing in progress.  When that ended, I grabbed one of Molly's discs. which is weird as normally she just listens to radio, but recently she brought in half a dozen discs to listen to, including one from the Pixies, Doolittle, which I wrote about back in October, 2019, as I had home burned copies of a lot of Pixies in the Studio in the past.  That particular disc includes the album (which is the last new release on vinyl I brought at a mall record store, all that gone soon in the time after that), along with some rare vinyl Pixies I had, but my studio copy looks like it had been chewed up (I certainly didn't do it) and plays hit or miss now, so I had no guilt about listening to her copy.  Part of why I wanted to listen to this album was a song about how two members of the band had a miserable time in Puerto Rico as college students, something I have been reminded of with news of how the hurricane has affected that island.

Anyway, as the music played, I drew. First I erased and redrew that bottle and glasses.  I copied my sketch of my earlier print, so this was a flask style bottle.  I put the new hair on the figure in bed.  Not really happy with this yet, so I'll probably go back and do that again.  I made some other slight adjustments to the figure, redrew the furniture and parts of the room (no real changes, just better), for now added some shadows, bringing it a little closer to the value balance I expect in the final piece.  Also added lines to put in the text from the songs, as the other blocks have.  My plan is to cut it all, including the song lyrics, though I will also pull proofs without the text to send to Tom, as I believe this will be added by letterpress in the final printings of the works.  

I decided to bring the block home with me, as we are expecting some rough weather in the near future, and I may not get up there again for a little while.

Before leaving, I stopped back at the office, and Jeanne was there.   We decided to set a deadline of Friday for deciding the fate of my next drawing class, now sitting on one student.  She promised to send out another reminder (which she has done) via email, so we can hope a few more sign up by then.  I reminded her that I still haven't been paid for the third class, and it would be good to get that before the fourth class begins, if it does. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

32-20 Blues part 1


 

Time for the third block to be started.  Originally I was going to wait until next week, but it was a nice day and there was no good reason to wait to start it.  The idea was sketched months ago, so it was just a matter of starting to draw it on the block.  The wood was ready.  I had no need to see anyone in the office today, or to stop at the store, so I just drove straight to Ocean Grove and went to my Studio.  One thing I noticed upon arrival was that some framed tent supports had been put up along side the railings of the main parking lot, I assumed for the big race tomorrow.  It's a good reason to stay away from this place for the next few days.  Inside the dark main hallway I could see tables were out, no doubt also for the race event.  I just went for the elevator and my trip to the basement.

I had my rock/pop set of discs with me today from last time, so that would do.  I had been in a mood to hear the debut self titled album from The Coral (a song had been running through my head lately, which turned out to be the unlabeled bonus track at the end of the album) and you can read about this on this blog back in June, 2020.  When that disc ended, I went with a home burned copy of Henry's Dream by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  Not a blues album per se, but the subjects of the songs did fit well with the subjects of the Robert Johnson song I was starting today- violence, sex, alcohol, lowlife behavior, etc. You can read about this album back in August, 2019, the one I had longer which included the St Christina song.

The song "32-20 Blues" is one of the more violent of the recorded Robert Johnson songs, with multiple references to shooting a woman for disobeying his desires.  Or shooting men- he just wants to shoot everyone with a variety of guns.  The lyric I went with is, "Babe, where'd you stay last night?  You got your hair all tangled and you ain't talking' right."  (actually one of least violent lines in the song) For the image I went with a woman waking up in a bed, half sitting up against pillows, with sheet and blanket covering her mostly, some kind of clothing covering the rest of her (not knowing where these images might be shown, I'm avoiding nudity in them), somewhat disheveled hair, and a bottle and glasses sitting on the bedside table.  As I wrote earlier, the basic sketch was worked out on paper a while ago, so it was just a matter of copying what I had.  I decided I liked the angle of the original drawing, so I used a mirror to copy the reversal of the image to the block.  One thing I changed was moving the bottle and glasses to the other side of the figure, from her left to her right (on the block), just because it made more sense visually.  The bottle is meant to look like a whiskey bottle, the favored drink of blues men, and a thing that often leads to bad behavior for everyone.  The image above shows the drawing as it looks now.

Of course, when I formed the idea, I immediately thought of other cases where I saw something similar, and made sure I didn't copy those scenes directly.  For example, in the film "Raiders of the Lost Ark", there's a scene where Marion wakes up in bed on the ship carrying the Ark from Egypt to a non-Nazi controlled part of the world, but Indiana Jones (who we all assume was in bed with her) is already up and dressed, noticing the ship's engines have stopped and fearing the worst.  She is more under the covers than my subject, no alcohol is present, and the angle and distance at which she is seen is different.  She also looks a lot happier than the woman in mine.  Also coming to mind was an 1895 painting from Edvard Munch called "The Day After" which shows a woman laying back in bed, mostly a side view, blouse unbuttoned but still on, looking somewhat unconscious (arm and hair hanging off the side of the bed), with bottles and empty glasses in the foreground. I used to show the slide to my college students when talking about narrative, and asked them to say what happened.  They always came up with the same answer.   I didn't ask how many had experienced a story like that- it would have been rude and had nothing to do with narrative in paintings.  In my version, the woman is sitting up and awake, a 3/4 view, and more dressed.  

As for my piece, the subject is the only figure in view.  As to where she woke up, how she got there, and what happened while she was there, I'll leave that to the viewer's imagination.  A lot more work to go on this one, but this is where I am starting from.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love in Vain part 4

 


This block is not quite done yet, so I decided to go in for a few hours this morning and see what I could do.  After dropping off a few things in my Studio, I went to the office to ask a variety of questions, and since everyone was there today, got a lot of answers.  

I wasn't sure if the reason I hadn't gotten any notice of any students yet was that no one had signed up for the class, or if the system just wasn't sending me notices. I spoke to Jeanne, my boss for those classes, and she told me that so far no one had signed up.  Not much I can do about that.  I still have a few weeks to go, and they will be doing a push to get more students, and it's been on the website for a while, so we have done the usual things.  If I get no one I won't be too sad, as I have had three classes already this summer, but it would be good for everyone if it happens.

Next I spoke to Elyse, the new program director.  I asked her about garbage (it would be preferred if we took it to the dumpster, instead of just leaving it in the hall, or in the loading area by the ramp).  She showed me the file where she will be keeping my stories of the building, answered my questions about locking the front door (came in an email this week from two different people), responded to my question about the lack of paper towels in the mens room in the basement, and gave me a review of the hot dogs at the Windmill across the street, a plan she had to eat there last week. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn was busy organizing silk screen stuff from a studio that was about to be used, possibly left behind by Nichole.  I was given a roll of paper towels to install in the basement mens room (we are out of the usual C-fold towels we usually stack by the sink), and I went to my Studio.

I had brought with me one of discs my friend Doug made me about a year ago, a compilation called "Mod Jazz" that he liked a lot.  I have no idea what mod jazz is, but it did go well with the images I was working on.  Seemed more like r&b to me, but I like that as well. I wrote about it back in December of 2021.  I looked it up on the web, and found most of the artists were vintage and legitimate.  While that was playing, I tied up the trash bag in the can, and put a new one in the can, leaving the tied bag next to the can for later.  

Not much to do with the existing block.  I did put in some lines where I thought they might belong, and added more shadows to both figures where I thought they might belong, but I have nothing to work from, so it's all just a guess.  A few details on the train and its parts.   After that, I decided it was as done as I could make it for now, and left it there.   I'll start block #3 next week.  The disc ended, so I installed my replacement roll of towels, took out the trash to the dumpster, and drove home to lunch.


Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Love in Vain part 3

 

The rain has stopped, so I decided to take a trip to the Studio and do more work on my latest block.  Still in the drawing phase, but that has to be done first.  I had brought with me my jazz/blues book/album, sitting right out on my back table.   I dropped off a few things in my space, and was hoping to talk to Elyse about some building stuff, but there was a meeting going on.  I was told they would stop by after.  So I went to work.  The drawing is in progress, and is based on a sketch done months ago, so the idea is all settled.  What I'm working on now is details, and making decisions about details.

I decided to go with a theme of Miles Davis for music today.  I had two home burned albums of his from the 50's, his most influential years. Birth of the Cool was released in 1957 by Capitol, though recorded in bits and pieces over the whole decade before.  Released the same year was my second disc of the day, Round About Midnight, also released in 1957, but just recorded that year, and on Columbia.  I had written about that one back in August, 2019 on this blog, but not the former.  Both are excellent jazz albums, almost all instrumental, with Davis leading the band with his trumpet.  Playing trumpet, he was parts of bands with so many of the saxophone players over the years, and I tend to favor a lot of the sax players in my jazz collection, which includes Charlier Parker, John Coltrane, and Dexter Gordon, but I do like Davis enough to have 3 discs in my portable set.  

As for drawing, much of what I planned to get down  was already done, but there are lots of things to fix.  Some of these I did at home in recent days, the block having come home with me for the holiday weekend, but some got done today.  Since last time, I had made a few changes to the train car, based on photos found on the web, such as undercarriage details, the platform at the car's end, the windows, and a lot with values, all of which combines bits from various photos of different passenger cars from different years, so what I have is probably not accurate to a specific car.  However, I don't think that matters, and anyway, the perspective is fine, and everything has roots in the Illinois Central.   I also spent some time fixing up the two main figures, but I don't think they are ready yet, specifically the shadows on them.  (cast shadows are done, based on myself and a bare bulb fixture in the basement, the kind that requires a pull chain to be pulled to turn on and off)  On another day I will work on that.  There is nothing to copy from, so all this is out of my head.  Details can be seen at the top of this post.

An hour and a half, and two albums later, no one had shown up yet, so I took off and headed home to get some lunch.  My questions and information about the building will have to wait.



Friday, September 02, 2022

Love In Vain part 2

 


I missed going to the Studio yesterday, so I decided to go up there today.  Nice weather to be out- sunny but not too hot and no humidity.  Things were tolerable in our basement space.  I had brought one of my home burned discs with me, a collection of Billy Childish songs, compiled from who knows how many albums.  I wrote about it back in December of 2019 if you want to know more about it.

In preparation for going, I pulled up another photo of the passenger car from Google Images.  A|though the search said it was for an Illinois Central car, and the caption said that it was, the designation on the car was something different.  Still, it looked like the one I had sketched in terms of design, so I decided it would do as a reference.  Made a quick pencil sketch of it.   Then I waited around for my parents to return and actually come inside, but eventually one did, and I left.  Saw a lot of traffic and some accidents, but these didn't have too much effect on me. Got up there around quarter after 12, later than I wanted, but enough time to get some work done.  

Put on my music and got to the block drawing.  I decided to mostly ignore the two figures, and concentrate on the rail car.  The perspective on the rail car was not exactly the same as the one in the drawing I had done, but I mostly wanted the detail information, and that I had.  The rest I just figured out, but I'm an artist so I can do that.  I redrew the platform at the end of the car, the wheels at one end, some of the stuff under the car, the lettering along the top (it was light against dark, not dark against light like I had the first day), the platform lamp, and threw in some values based on the image I had, and some of the tracks.  Still don't know if it's accurate to his time, but it's just a backdrop anyway.  Nothing is necessarily done yet, but it looks a little nicer than it did.  The photo above shows my progress to this point.

We have a holiday weekend starting tomorrow, and the town is already filling up.  I decided to bring home the block, in case I want to do some drawing in the next few days.  If not, I'll bring it back with me next week to work on there.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

A Class Ends, A Class Begins

 

Spent the past few days working on my next class up at JSAC.  Had my last meeting of the most recent one, color pencil, just a few days ago.  But already plans were being laid for the next round of classes, and my next drawing class is now up on the website, and corrections have been made.  (the initial version had mistakes in the hours and fees, things that had already been decided) The class will be the beginner version again, so shoe contours, negative space, perspective, and all the other things that people need to learn, but probably haven't yet when I see them.  

People who are interested in this class can register through the building website: www.jerseyshoreartscenter.org.  Or I guess you can call the office and they can guide you through it.  The class will meet on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 pm, for 6 weeks beginning September 27th and ending November 1st (we have both heat and air conditioning in that room, and may need both over the length of the class), and I think the cost is listed at $90, so quite a bargain for what amounts to college level teaching.  


The above photo is actually from 2019, but that's the room we will be in, and things we will draw sometimes, so some of what is there reflects the class that will be.

The one thing I don't know is if anyone will actually sign up for it.  Lots of people talk about taking classes, but not all actually register.  But we have about a month, so anything is possible.  I have and will send out reminders to people I know, but this will depend on the facility advertising it.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Love in Vain part 1

 


Of the three Robert Johnson songs I picked out as my initial choices, probably the most famous is "Love in Vain."  Not from his version, which has only been heard by his fans, and that is a small number compared to what many contemporary singing groups can bring in, despite appearing on a few albums that sold well and for years.  (I had read that a record company executive at Columbia, following the relative success of the compact disc set, wondered if he could go out on the road and do some shows, to take advantage of the sales.  Someone had to break it to him that the artist had been dead for several decades.)  Better known are covers by the Rolling Stones, who were definitely blues fans, the song appearing on both studio albums and live albums.  Perhaps Cream's version of Johnson's "Crossroads" has been heard more on radio, but maybe not.  The structure is typical blues, though the tune is a little slower, and almost has a country feel to it, a style of music that Johnson was familiar with.  The topic is very blues- the protagonist's woman decides to leave him, plans to take off on the local train to wherever.  Man accompanies the woman to the train station, carrying her bags for her.  He watches the train depart with her and her luggage on it.  The final lines of the song- "the train pulled out of the station, it had two lights on behind; the blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind".  Very poetic and visual, but we are not using color in these prints.  I can come up with a black and white idea as well.

Back in 2014, I was drafted to run the Belmar Arts Council's exhibition, "Belmar and the Railroad."  New Jersey Transit has a train that runs through Belmar, stopping at the train station in town.  As part of this, the BAC was given the task of producing a mural for the train station, which was rotting away.  I was begged to submit an idea for the mural, and was promptly rejected.  I assumed that they knew what the wanted all along, and just wanted to hire someone else from the start, but had to go through the process of an open call to make it legitimate.  They chose someone who had some mural experience (so did I as well, which you can see on this blog back in 2007), who liked painting things on parachute cloth, which could be adhered to the walls, which did make it possible to paint indoors in our building, and stick the pieces to our newly built walls despite the cold weather and the popularity of the station with commuters.  But then they had another job for me- creating the postcard.  I based my design on vintage railroad posters (reproduced in calendars I had saved) and of course did it in woodcut.  This design also appeared in the weather proof banner that hung on our building, and for extra promotion, they also made a banner to hang across from the platform at the station itself. This was completed and installed before the mural itself, so for a while, mine was the only mural design there at the train station.    When I asked why I was being tapped for this, I figured it might be because sooner or later everyone had to take a turn running a show, but what I was told was that it was because I am a train artist.  This was news to me.  True, I was the only one who actually included a train in my train station mural proposal, and looking back through all my hundreds of prints, I did find several examples of trains in my art, which could be an effect of having lived within walking distance of trains most of my life.   The image I produced for the card can be seen below.


Since the train and/or the station are mentioned in every verse of the song, it struck me that I had to include a train image for my visual adaptation of the Robert Johnson song.   What I came up with was a passenger car of a train, pulled up to the platform.  A woman in a dress walks triumphantly toward a stairway, hands on hips, face tilted slightly upward.  Following her is a man carrying a suitcase in each hand, weighing down his arms, head tilted down in despair.  She's leaving him, and he still carries her bags to help her leave.  For the train itself, I decided to go with an older looking train car, if not authentic to Johnson's time, at least somewhat vintage.  Based this on a photo found on the internet, which is great for finding images.  Above the windows is the name of the train, a line run by the Illinois Central.  I believe this train ran through Clarksdale, MS, one of many homes of Johnson, like the old City of New Orleans line that ran between Chicago and New Orleans for years, the name now taken by an AMTRAK line that covers the same territory.  Of a more personal note, the tracks of the Illinois Central ran right next to the Glove Factory, the building that held all the student studios at SIU-Carbondale, and I crossed those tracks almost every day.  We had about 20 freight trains per day coming through, separating one half of Carbondale from the other.  If I heard the train whistle, I'd quickly decide if I had to be on the other side of the tracks any time soon.  If I did, I'd run for the tracks, because once that train arrived, the tracks could not be crossed until it had passed, and those freight trains were usually at least 200 cars.  The tracks and the freight line were bought by a Canadian company a few decades ago, after I left town.  It was also then that they put in a tunnel under the tracks, so cars could get through.  

One thing that makes this different from the last one is that this one is horizontal in design.  Tom told me the dimensions of the print, but never said if the 11" x 14" was to be horizontal or vertical.  When I later asked him in an email, he ignored it.  My solution is to do examples of both, based on what the idea calls for, and let him pick what he wants when I turn them in next year.  This train idea seemed to call for a horizontal piece, so that's what I'm doing.  Most of what I've seen from him are vertical, but who knows?  What I have so far is very rough- the figures, the train, the perspective, everything, so this is just my start.   All will be worked on more as I go forward, but this is my starting point, a reversal of what I sketched in my sketchbook back in the spring.  I will probably add a lot more detail as I go, but I haven't given much thought to that yet.

For music today, I went with my home burned copy of the Giant Sand compilation, Giant Songs, which pulls tunes from the early albums.  I won't say hits, because I don't know that they ever had any, but I do like the collection, which I have written about on this blog back in July, 2019.  When the disc ended, I decided it was time to go home.



Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Color Pencil Class #4

 


Today was the last meeting for the color pencil class,  just 4 weeks to fit in before Labor Day, the official end of summer.  We are working on the same project, a full color still life using local colors, for which I found a variety of solid colored objects, plus a very colorful table cloth.  I had all the same objects in my large bag in the car last night, so just the backpack to be loaded today.  It's been decided that I will do a drawing class next (late September), though it still hadn't been added to the website yet.  Despite this, I decided to bring some print related stuff with me today, mostly because some of members of my current class expressed an interest in knowing and maybe taking it, so I packed the most recent catalog of tools, the kind of tools that we use, and a Masereel book, which is always good to have. 

I arrived about an hour ahead, unloaded my car, turned on the AC, as today is yet another hot day.  Rain was predicted for late in the day, but I have my doubts.  Set up the still life, a combination of memory and images from my camera (there's another version of it above), and unlocked the front door.  A little while later I went downstairs to see if Jeanne was in.  She was, and told me that Shay would not be there today, having gotten an email from her earlier.  As for the upcoming drawing class, they still haven't resolved all the computer stuff, and syncing up the website and the registration system has been too big a challenge.  Probably Kaitlyn could handle it, but she's on vacation this week.  Nichole is supposed to be helping with it, but it hasn't happened yet.  She said nothing about assisting with the class, though did say I was welcome to give away water bottles if they were in the fridge, and she hoped to stop by to take some photos.

I went back up to my room, now a bit cooler.  Eventually Rosemarie showed up, but she was the only one.  Well, she got plenty of attention with her color questions, and worked on both the large still life she started  in class last week, and a detail version she did during the week, based on a photo she took. I pointed out that the printed photo was a third hand version of the set up, after her own eyes, after the camera in her phone.  She had to admit that all had a different version of the red in the tablecloth.  As a further example, I showed her the postcard for the Belmar train themed show (for which I did the postcard), and my large bag which had been a banner once upon a time.  What was one color in the postcard was often a very different color on the bag.  She does credit the class with making her think about colors in a very different way than she had before, and says this is a good thing.  So I have done my job with her.

She definitely is interested in taking drawing, to learn more about perspective and things, and not in taking the woodcut, so no one benefited from all the stuff I had brought.   Luckily, that stuff doesn't weight that much.  I stopped by the office to let them know I had put everything away, turned off lights, and locked the front door.  Jeanne was around, so I gave her a class update (she never showed to take photos), and she told me the website thing was up. And then I drove home, no rain in sight.

I checked the building web site in the evening, and the class is listed.  The image is the one we chose, and the description is about right.  But the details are way off.  Not the time we agreed to, and the fee was a bit low for a 6 week class.  So I sent Jeanne an email pointing out these issues.  Not to complain, but to give her this information before anyone signed up and they had to change it later.  After that I started recharging my computer, so I guess I'll get her answer tomorrow.




Monday, August 29, 2022

Studio Business and then some




 Took off after lunch and made a lot of stops, but it was all planned.   Cashed a check I've been sitting on a while, got some walk around cash.  Filled my gas tank, which needed to be done eventually.  After a while I ended up at the Studio.  Dropped off a few things then stopped by the office.  Last time I was there (Friday), Jeanne seemed to be in a big hurry to get things from me.  However, she found the proposal from the first round, which had a perfectly good statement about the class already (though she said she would "spice it up a little bit")  and while I was there she found a suitable charcoal image that can be posted.  Not exactly the subjects I will use in class, but enough like those that it will do for promotion.  She told me it would probably go up on the web that day.  However, so far nothing.  Not a big deal as far as I'm concerned, but I was curious as to what changed.  She wasn't there today, but the boss was.  I was told that Nichole was going to help her with it tonight.  And with that answer, I got to my own work.

Another thing I had done on Friday was buy some new wood.  The Robert Johnson pieces are not due for another six months, but I do want them done on time and right, and I couldn't work on the next one until I got some wood, so I bought some.  Price has gone up over the past few years, and I needed to know that as well, as there is some interest in that class as well and I have to figure out pricing.  Bought some hand cleaner as well, as I am out of that now.  I had brought the wood to my space and left it there, so now I went back to my Studio with a straight edge and my new saber saw.  Measured and cut one horizontal piece of wood.  Tom never did answer my question of whether this would be horizontal or vertical, so my plan is to do both, give him some options.  However, I didn't have a horizontal piece of wood (I like the grain to be vertical, no matter the dimensions of the wood itself, so blocks are created to be one or the other from the start) so today I made one, making sure I had a space on it the proper size for the image and leaving room for text, in case I need it.  

Too hot a day to carry around my camera in the car for hours, so I left it home.  Which means today you get a file photo of the same idea from years ago.  I have a new saw now, and I use a different kind of wood, but the table is still the same, so that much is true.  


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Walkin Blues part 6

 

Back to the Studio this morning, to take care of class stuff, and work more on the Robert Johnson project. The latter was partly because the deadline will arrive in a few months, and partly because I saw it referenced in an email I got last night from my former student Amy, finally answering a mail I sent her last February.  I don't mind the delay, as in some ways I am just as busy as always.  But she assumed positive things and that I was already done with the project.  Not at all, but I was almost done with one block drawing, so today seemed a good day to resolve what was left.  

Didn't bother to turn on the light in my space when I dropped off my bag, and went to the office.  Elyse was in, so I asked her if she had received the email I had sent her regarding Mary and her plan to donate stuff to the JSAC related to prints.  She hadn't seen it yet, but found it and planned to read it after she found out about the graffiti.  Also heard about a torn screen on my window.  Didn't know anything about these, so we took a walk and I opened up my space.  Sure enough, there were three large figures spray painted on my right end window, the same one that was pried open as part of the break in to my space back in May of 2020.  And the screen was torn so they could do so.  The window itself was fine, so I guess they weren't interested in breaking in.  (Maybe word got around last time that we had nothing worth stealing.)  At first Elyse didn't realize what was on the window, but I recognized it instantly as the number "666" as it would look from outside- years of woodcut have made me quick at reading and writing backwards letters and numbers.  She heard there was more outside as well, so I lead her to the nearest door out of the building (the ramp in the loading area) and we went out there and saw more of the blue paint on the bricks, but I couldn't make out what it was supposed to be.   She had work to do, and so did I.  

For music I had brought my home burned disc of Morphine, which I have written about back in December of 2019 on this blog.  No reason- just felt like listening to it.  Pulled out my current block.  Amy's email had caused me to look at the photo of the most recent version a bit, so I knew what I wanted to do.  I made a few modifications to some figures, redrew the recessed lights to what I decided were more logical places, and started drawing in light and shadows on the brick walls.  Also scribbled in some dark on the ceiling where I expect it will be, though I will probably handle the texture in a way that resembles what I did with the ceiling in my Vesuvio print a few years ago.  Below is what it looks like now:


My current thinking is that this is pretty much all I can do with it right now.  I think the next step is to set it aside, start drawing #2 in the series, and come back to it with fresh eyes in the future.  If at that point I still think it holds up, I can start cutting. I may have to buy more wood.

Meanwhile, I let Elyse know that the window was now clear, and the bricks were being worked on, then left.  I wanted to stop by the deli I was planning to go to for lunch before the noon lunch crowd showed up, and I barely did.  There were a lot more people there when I left than when I arrived.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Color Pencil Class #3

 

I had prepared for the latest class a few days ago, gathering what props I could from around the house.   Much of what I used to use for classes is still in storage, but I figured I could find a few brightly colored objects, and I did.  There were possible predictions of rain for a few days, so I decided to move stuff to my car on a dry day.  As it turned out, there was no rain on class day, and the drought continues.  

I got up to the building about an hour before as usual.  Took two trips to bring in everything from my car, started the AC in the room, and later set up the still life.  The day before I had made a little complement mix of blue and orange and literally everything in between, to help explain how shadows work.  (normally I would have the students do this, but with only 4 meetings of two hours each, I'm doing a few things myself to show examples)  About a half hour before class, I unlocked the front door.  Later I went down the basement to see if my supervisor was going to be there today.  She wasn't expected, but I while there I talked to new director Elyse, who wanted to know about my former student Mary and her plan to donate print equipment to the building and why.  I told her what I knew, which is all second hand, gave her another tour of the basement (she's new, and it can be a very confusing place) and then skedaddled up to my classroom a few minutes before my class began.  I had two students present, and the other two showed up after a while.


I talked a little about color, then we began on the still life.  One of my students took an earlier drawing class, so she knew the drill, and there others caught on quickly.  Elyse stopped by to see the class in action, and was impressed with their skills.  Most of the credit goes to the students, but it's always good when the boss thinks you're doing a good job.  Asked a few questions about possible future classes, but otherwise it was business as usual. At 4 pm I wrapped things up, cleaned my room, packed up my props, and loaded my car.  Went back and locked the door, and went home.  One more week to go.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Walkin Blues part 5

 


Decided today would be a good day to continue on my Robert Johnson print, as it was a fairly nice day, and probably nicer than tomorrow, I had the time, and there is a deadline on this project, thought it is several months away.  Headed up to Ocean Grove in the late morning, when there is less traffic and heat.  After dropping off my stuff in my Studio, I stopped by the office, hoping to talk to either of the people in charge, about classes and things.  Neither were around, but I had a chat with Katelyn, who may not have any authority, but is always pleasant to talk to.  I didn't want to take up all her time or mine, so I went on to my space and got to drawing.

For music today, I had brought a home burned disc of two Texas cow-punk favorites I got from Dave Kirkland (also from Texas) in Carbondale, albums from The Hickoids and Jon Wayne.  For detailed descriptions, you can go to Dec 2019 on this blog.  I pulled out my block, and got to work.  A lot of drawing has been done, but there is a lot of things to be fixed.  For instance, I moved one of the overhead recessed lights to a better position, and adjusted the clothing of one of my older figures.   I changed a few shadows on the two seated figures and darkened their chairs.  I had big blank spaces on two places, so for now I put in some floorboards, and bricks for the back walls.  I don't know if any of these are the final versions, but ideas I had, and so I figured I should put something down for now to look at and consider.  

And that's about when my disc ran out, so it was a good time to pack up, leave, and go home for lunch, so that is what I did.  The results of today's drawings can be seen in the photo at the top of this posting.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Color Pencil Class #2


The good news is that today is not as hot as last Tuesday.  Almost nothing could be.  The room looked more are less as I needed.  So I did gather a few things stored in my Studio, some blocks and my framed boardwalk print, still there from making copies for Jeanne.  I learned that Jeanne would not be there today, so I was teaching by myself.  No problem for me, so I just had to hope they could understand me well enough.  I had also brought with me the last pad of figure charcoal drawing, as examples of portrait drawing for the student who is trying that right now.  All I needed was students.  But first Rosemarie showed up, having missed a week and ready to go.  Then Shay came in.  It was Shay that asked for a pencil sharpener, which we didn't seem to have, an issue in a pencil class, nor did we have a wastebasket, which we used to have in that room.  I had left my pencil case at home today (it's full and very heavy) so I went down to the office to borrow a sharpener.  And I thought I saw some garbage cans out by the front door, and sure enough there was one there.  Also found my other two students there, so I had all four today.

The assignment was to continue last week's project with color palettes, a concept new to all of them, which is kind of a problem- they should have learned about this stuff earlier.  It's my standard assignment from 2D class, except for pencils taking the place of acrylic paint.  Some of them have some experience with watercolors and/or oils, so the discussion also included pigments, and mediums. Everyone was very impressed with the woodcuts I showed, and so I was asked if I will be teaching it, because they all want to do that.  Fine by me, but the building has to decide what they want me to do, not me. 

Last week I had remembered to bring my camera, but was so busy teaching color, that I forgot to take it out and take photos.  So I brought it back today.  One of my students left today before I took any, so I made sure to get it out and take some photos of the class working with pencils, as this is something I didn't have at all in my files.  Here's what I got:




Above are some long shots of my small but active class in action.  Below a close up of Carolyn working on variations of an old boot, and doing a pretty good job of it, a monochromatic palette in orange, and a complementary one with blue and orange.  She may also try an analogous combination with orange, I guess her favorite color.   


By the end of the day, not quite four hours into the project, no one had finished it, though at least most had done some drawings as starting points.  And some seemed to have discovered that specific palettes do result in some potentially interesting art.  One student said she was very excited to try a complementary painting in blue and orange (oil), while another was very pleased with her drawing in blue/yellow/black/white, and wanted to try a painting like that (watercolor).  So I guess that the project was partly successful, if it got people excited about the possibilities of color.  Next week we begin a two week project involving a color still life and the concept of local colors.  Hope they enjoy that as well.