Thursday, May 19, 2022

Making a Living part 8


I decided to go into the Studio today and work on my current coloring job, as I may be busy tomorrow taking my mother to a very long doctor appointment.  Plus, a chance to investigate some other colors.  One thing I hadn't tried out yet was a plastic container with a clear plastic lid, containing 18 pans of watercolors, the kind of thing where you wet a brush and rub it in to make the paint.  Every kid has used one like this, and more than a few of my college students showed up with similar kits for their intro class (I allowed it, as regular watercolors can work the same way).  What I didn't know was exactly what colors could be found in this set, since I forgot to take it out when I last checked my supply, and it's not at all labeled with what's in it, plus it was out in my car and I didn't feel like going out there to get it.  It must have been a gift, but now if the colors worked out, it would be put to use.

The rain had stopped by the early afternoon, so I had a quick lunch at home, made sure that untried color set was in my car, and took off.  At the Studio, I noted that Molly had moved a screen from one part of the room to another, so she had been there again.  (her work was still hanging in the elevator hallway and the chalkboard was now very full, but those aren't my problem to deal with)  I looked at my new set of watercolors.  Not much to go on there.  First of all, not a real red in the set.  An orangey red, but not good middle red.  So I won't be doing those today and I would still need to order one.  The orange was a little light, but might work.  There was a light teal blue-green that could have some uses.  That white would definitely be useful, but not needed yet.  Probably the brown (will compare that to proof I have at home, see what it could be) and maybe one of the yellows will be useful as well.  Got some water.

For music I had brought my blues/jazz set and selected my home burned copy of Gil Scott-Heron, mostly because this had been a question the other night on an episode of Jeopardy.   (the clue asked what Scott-Heron had said would not be televised, and I knew it was the Revolution, his most famous song and the title of the album)  You can read more about the record and the man back on this blog back on September, 2021.  That disc lasts about an hour, which gave me that much time to work today. 

I put the teal to use in a prominent t-shirt, and it did well in a few small spots.  The orange wasn't quite as intense as what I had before, so it was good enough for some things I needed (pizza slice, small t-shirt, Irish flag design, balloon game sign, and a balloon) but an experiment showed it won't do for the large rooftop pizza sign, so I guess I will need a real orange after all.  I had carefully observed a boardwalk fireworks display as part of my research, and noted that the exploding overhead fireworks were surrounded by a ring of smoke clouds the fireworks had generated.  Against the night sky, these showed up as mere hints of colors, partly reflecting the colors of the yellow and orange fireworks, so I had painted those clouds with a combination on orange, deep red, and indigo.  Could I match that with what I had?  Tried on isolated piece, and it looked good enough to me, so next time I'll try to whole set of both rings.  (could take more than an hour just doing those)

So in the end, the experiments were successful, as even when I learned what I had wouldn't suffice,  I had learned something, and I was able to advance the coloring a bit in general.  

As a bonus, I stopped by the office on my way out and found Nichole (saw her car in the lot and hoped she would be there) and got some information on the upcoming classes, as well as the check for my cut of the first round of classes.  Not a lot of money, but every little bit helps.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Making a Living part 7


When I mentioned my plan to go up the Studio today to continue my coloring process, my parents were a little confused.  After all, I was just there yesterday, doing the same thing. What I told by father was true- I will only get paid for this when it is done, so I do have a reason to want to get it done.  However, I do have one other reason to continue work on the print- coloring the proofs is the best way to see if I have enough watercolors to complete the coloring.  If not, I will have to order some new paints to finish the job, and that process takes about a week.  I went through what I had on small palettes last week, and found I have enough to do most of it, but I won't know except by putting down all the colors.

So with all that in mind, I drove up to Ocean Grove today, with all my painting stuff already in the car.  I planned another short day, so one or two more colors.  Perhaps some orange or bright red, colors I will need for this piece eventually.  However, when I got there, I found that I had no significant amount of either color on any of my small palettes, so for now that is out.  Two more colors to add to my eventual shopping list.  The next major color to do was an earthy red, used as an architectural element on some of the buildings, and I had a big glob of that paint available.  (could be a terra cotta kind of thing)  I started with my lesser proof, in case there were mistakes, and ran into a new problem- some reverse leakage.  As part of the concept here, I have used a relatively thin Japanese paper, and what this means is that the paint can leak through the paper and appear in other places, coming back through the page.  After a few such spots on the first proof, I put a paper towel underneath, and that seemed to have solved the problem.  This hadn't happened with any of the other colors done so far, so I don't know if it has something to do with particular color of paint (as an oil painter, I learned that some reds behaved differently from other colors, but never learned why)  or if was just applying it with too much water today.  With the second proof, I used the paper towels from the beginning and there were no problems.  

Music today was influenced by something yesterday.  I was in a local supermarket, and heard playing over the sound system a song I knew from the Jayhawks, and while the arrangement and words were the same, it was definitely a different version.  A cover?  A new recording by a later version of the band for a new label?  Anything is possible, but I didn't know what was going on.  Except that I have the version of the song that I knew on my studio collection of Jayhawks that I kept in the Studio, now one of the things I have at home.  So I listened to that disc today, songs from the first two major releases.  I have written about this before, back on this blog you can find it back on November, 2019.

No images to post today, as all my file photos show things either much further along than what I've done so far, or some completely different colors than what ended up being used.  

Monday, May 16, 2022

Making a Living part 6


I decided to head up to the Studio today, do a little more coloring on my ongoing project.  It was actually raining a little as I left today, but not much.  In fact it had stopped long before I made it up there.  As I pulled into the lot I noticed Nichole's car was there, but as usual, she wasn't there.  I had nothing I had to talk to her about, so it didn't matter.  Luckily, there was other business to be dealt with. For example, my patron for this print was there today, for the firs time in weeks, so I was able to give her an update on the pieces I am making for her.  She was very pleased with where I am at right now.  And another surprise- Molly had been to the Studio at some point and had collected her rent checks from the past few months.  

As long as I was there, I was going to do more coloring.Normally I do a lot of light and warm colors in the beginning, and that is what I have done, but today I put in some light blues and greens.  I did this mostly because I was kind of tired and new I would only be there about an hour anyway.  For music I chose my disc of Tom Waits, as it fit the theme of what I would find on a boardwalk as well as anything I had.  (if you want to know more, find what I wrote on this blog back in February, 2020)  I put on several shades of colors, doing both copies of the print, which is the way I've been handling this process to this point.  And with that, I headed home to relax, before the rain came as expected.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Blast from the past

Not much is on tv on the weekends, especially now that we are heading toward summer.  My father suggested some entertainment for the evening, a new HBO series called "The Time Traveler's Wife.  It was based on a best selling novel from a while ago that sounded familiar.  I read a lot of science fiction, so things involving time travel are familiar to me.  So I decided to give it a try.  The show began at the time expected and suddenly I knew why I was familiar with the title, even though I never read the book.  I know the author.

Actually I don't know her that well, but we did spend a week working side by side back in the 1990's, in Carbondale, IL  Audrey Niffenegger was part of big print exchange program back then.  A bunch of printmakers from the Chicago area, a group of print faculty from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and a bunch of Mexican printmakers from a studio in Jalisco, Mexico (Guadalajara is there, if that helps any).  Audrey was an etcher from Chicago, I think attached to the Art Institute, as we had a bunch of people who were from there.  There were gatherings in Chicago, Carbondale, and Jalisco.  I didn't travel, but I was around for the Carbondale events, a print assistant as people like that were needed.  What I learned quickly was that the experienced printers from Chicago varied in knowledge-  those who had more "experience" (and more fame) claimed to know nothing, so they could make us do all the work for them.  (what they asked was often very simple stuff, things any professional would know, so assume it was just because they didn't want to work)  One of the Chicago people (Doug Houston)  knew a lot and showed these skills in silkscreen, and I learned much from working on his multi screen prints, often involving an image and computer color separation for each screen.  I used ideas from his set up when I had to do multi block color prints in my print workshops in Belmar.  Below is an example of one of those.

He later sent some tapes he made of interesting tunes, and I even ended up buying one of his conceptual books, a novel made from phrases found in numerous cowboy novels, all footnoted so that we knew they came from other cowboy novels (called "Vast"), an interesting piece.  Audrey was working on a series of etchings about bad things happening to hands, injuries and such.  I never kept up, and would not be surprised if she left the print world for the literary world once this book became a best seller, and the first movie was made, which was at least a decade ago.  This new series is also an adaptation of the same book. 

I had a bunch of prints that came from this combination of printmakers working in Carbondale, but they are all in storage right now.  Maybe later I will get hold of them and post an image here.  I doubt that I had any of Audrey's solo work, because I doubt she did anything while there.  There were some collaborative pieces done in that room, and maybe I have one of those. Someday.

As for tonight's show, it was strange, as happens when events occur in a non linear sequence, a problem with time travel stories.  For now I will continue to watch it.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Making a Living part 5


Well, I guess it's time to get back to work on the new proofs of the Boardwalk print.  I had my watercolor palettes with premixed colors out in my car, but I had one new thing to get- the latest bill from my insurance agent, since my half year payment is due in a few weeks.  The office is on my way to the Studio, so this is a convenient time to stop by and leave a check.  Unfortunately, the office was locked up for Covid, so I'll have to figure out something later.  

My first stop was at the office, to share information with Nichole.  Saw her car there, so I figured it was a good time to try. I was told that I must have passed her in the hallway, but I would have noticed that.  Turned out she was in the workroom, which was one of my topics anyway.  But first I asked her about the class registration(s).  Despite the email I got stating I had registrations, it turned out to be only one on the system.  But not bad, considering that she hasn't officially opened up registration yet.  (happens tomorrow) But I also had email from my former student (and exhibition organizer) Mary, who is working on setting up a print studio in the building, offering her accumulated equipment and aimed at the local high schools that have eliminated art programs.  Nichole likes the idea, and showed her a potential space (that work room mentioned earlier), but has been way too involved in other projects in recent months and hasn't dealt with it yet.  However, when I last talked to her about it she was still interested in doing it.  I had passed this on to my former student last night, and gave Nichole a heads up today that she may get a phone call on the topic soon.

Then I got to work.  Next up- yellows.  Long ago I was taught to do watercolors starting with the lightest colors and gradually working my way through darker and bolder colors, and that is what I'm doing here. So first a light lemon yellow, then some pieces of more like a cadmium medium yellow.   That plus the buff titanium I put on the other day looks a lot like the file photo above.  More time left, so I added some pinks, clothes, balloons, and a sign.  I decided to stop there, saving all the flesh tones for next time.

For music today I went with my home burned collection of the Flat Duo Jets (songs from first 3 full length albums) and a copy I made of Twang Bang's Kicking the Toybox to keep in the Studio.  Neither is what I would call boardwalk music, but both seem like they would be home in such an environment, so it worked for today's job.  You can read my descriptions of them on this blog at January 2020 and December 2021 respectively.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Studio Business


I stayed home today, but things keep happening.  I got an email from the JSAC registration system saying I had new students, but all I see in the mail I got was one student, in the drawing class.  Since it mentions students, I assume there is more than one, but I don't know yet.  Next time I see Nichole I will try to get some more information.  But either way, it appears that I am on my way to having classes next month.  That's a good thing.  Still need more for the classes to run, but I still have a month to go before they start. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Making a Living part 4


It's been a week since I printed the second copy of my night time boardwalk print, so I figured today was a safe day to start the coloring process.  Plus, I figure the only way to learn if I have enough watercolors to color the two prints that are ready is to start the process.  Had my watercolor palettes with their premixed colors, my can and brushes, all packed and ready to go.  Also had my back pack full of stuff, including my book of general discs.  

Got up there around quarter to 1:00.  I knew my parents were eating pizza for lunch (at a meeting of some kind), so I figured it would be good for my lunch as well, since I know we wouldn't have it tonight.  However, the local place (across the street) tends to be very busy during the noon hour, so I took care of a few other things first.  One was moving one of the prints to a lower position.  When I first printed the second copy I put it way high on the tack board to dry, actually in the spot that the 3rd proof  had been for a few years.  Problem is that it is not easy climbing up there, and this coloring will take a while, so it made sense to put my push pins in a place where I could reach the thing from the ground.  Also carried in my bags, and left them in the Studio. 

Went across the street and got a slice, what I think of as an eggplant rollatini slice, since it is a regular cheese pizza, but then covered with thin slices of fried eggplant, small mounds of ricotta cheese, and puddles of tomato sauce.  My Virginia residing friend Jenny is amazed that eggplant if available on pizzas up this way, but it is a fairly common pizza topping here in New Jersey.  I'll put a file photo of such a slice up at the top of this post if I have one.  Brought it back to my space, where I had a beverage waiting for me.  Pizza was still warm and all was very tasty.  Besides that I knew my parents were likely eating pizza, I also knew that I would start my boardwalk coloring with the building that holds "Don's" pizza and clams, a completely authentic rendition of a boardwalk eatery from the 50's, even though the place is completely made up in this century.  

For music, I started with the copy of the Brood's Vendetta album that I had kept there in the Studio. (you can read about it on this blog in August 2021).  I had chosen that mostly because something I had heard on a local radio station kind of reminded me of the band.  Didn't sound like them, just reminded me of them.  Followed that up with my home burned collection of songs by the Wipers from 1978 to 1988, which you can read about on this blog at July 2019.  I wouldn't say that either one is strictly boardwalk music, but both are good rocking collections of songs, good for working to.

Ready to color.  I knew from my study of the completed print I had in the basement that the outer wall of that whole building was a light neutral color, essentially a buff titanium, a color I had a big pile of on my largest palette.  That works out.  Study of the copy in my Studio showed that the same color was used for the small building that holds restrooms, and a few well lit spots on the boardwalk itself, plus a few undersides of signs and a counter in the pizza place.  So I took down the second printed copy (fewer stray marks) and started adding that color to the appropriate places.  For this purpose I put the print on a piece of foam core which seems to have served this purpose before, based on some color already on it.   As I finished the first print I started to wonder if I had enough of that color to do all its use in both prints.  It's probably the largest color I have to do in that print.  But it turned out I had enough, so for now I don't have to order more water color paints.  A view of painting from palettes can be seen here:

I did one other color today, a more golden version of that same near neutral, rising that buff titanium with a touch of yellow, and putting that in a few places. Left that to dry for a few minutes, and went to check the office.  Nichole's car wasn't there when I went out for pizza, but as I approached the office door I could here her in there, so I had a brief conversation with her regarding various teaching questions, then left her to her pile of tasks, cleaned up, carried stuff to my car, and went home.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Last Day of School

 Today was the last day of the six week class I have been teaching for the JSAC.  It's beginning drawing, a class I have taught plenty of times before in different places, including the same building I was in today.   The big difference was that it's now 6 weeks instead of 4 weeks, or the random drop-in thing we tried a few years ago.

Not a great day today.  We had a big storm arrive yesterday, as expected, and it continued to be around all day.  I had loaded my large art bag yesterday before the rain arrived, so I didn't have much to move in the rain today, and even then I was leaving during a lull in the weather.  Still, I wanted to leave on time, as I have driven through Belmar (can't completely avoid it going to Ocean Grove unless I want to take a really huge detour) and I know from experience that the town can seriously flood during big storms.  I figured I better leave time in case I had to detour a few times on the way up.  Luckily, not much rain was falling then, so I got through to the building okay.  Was there by 9:00 am, an hour before my class.   No one was there, which didn't surprise me, as I knew there was a big event there last night.  So not for the first time, I had to unlock the gate, open the doors, and turn off the alarm, before I went in to carry my props, open my classroom and get ready for class.  I knew I'd be missing one student, who emailed me that she was going to miss class, as she was on her way out of town for Mother's Day.

Today's plan was more with charcoal, this time mixing black and white, so I had brought suitable props from home. What I hadn't counted on was that the room was not cleaned up at all from the night before, so I had to spend a bit of time moving stuff off the tables and to the counter.  The square table I use to hold my still life was missing from the room, but luckily I found it in the main hallway, where it had been used the night before.  Now that our art was down, that hallway held some large paintings.  The paintings weren't the worst I'd ever seen, but there were issues with perspective, especially in the painting of cars.  The tires were very poor.   In an abstract piece this would not be a problem, but these were realistically painted solid objects, so I noticed.  It's something we had worked on in my current drawing class, so I had to notice.

Only two people showed up for class, which I blamed on the weather.  I set up the still life, the students arrived, and we started the drawings.  They had definitely improved in handling still life, seeing the objects, seeing how they lined up in the piece, using what was there in the set up to measure things. So some lessons had taken hold. Sometimes the best way to explain is to show examples, so I showed them actual charcoal and ink drawings I had done, and even did a sketch in charcoal of a object in the still life, so they could see an example of how an artist could draw an object in charcoal.  They were very impressed, but I did point out that I had been using the stuff for more than 30 years, and that experience does pay off.  Since they were there, I did promote the next drawing class, which picks up where this one ended, so if they liked what they learned, and wanted to continue, this new one is an opportunity to do so. What will happen remains to be seen, in about a month from now.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Making a Living part 3

Nothing I can do to the new boardwalk proofs I have until they dry, but I can start thinking about colors.  The next step is to color the proofs so they match the original piece.  I have a couple of copies of the original colored print, as well as photos of that colored print, so finding a source is not a problem.  Finding watercolor paints could be more of a problem.  I had taken them all home a while ago, sometime after the Studio break-in, but in time to color something else.  But then I had to leave my apartment, and all that stuff got put into storage.  A few weeks ago I got to visit that storage place for the first time, and one thing I came home with was a plastic bag with all the plastic palettes of mixed colors I had made over the years. Watercolors dry and can be reconstituted as created just my adding water back, so these colors are as good as they ever were.  However, what I don't have so far is the wooden case that held all my whole tubes of paints, my main supply.  The question was did I have enough to color these two proofs.

The only way to figure it out was to make a detailed chart of all the colors used, and then compare them to the paint I had.  If I'm missing anything significant, I'll have to buy more of those colors. (since one of these proofs is a commissioned piece, from someone who has already purchased and paid for one,  I can buy paint if I need it)  I had an unframed copy of the print in question down in the basement.  It still has the tape on the corners from being framed, and it's a little wrinkled as a result, but the image area is just fine and it could be framed again and look good.  For the purposes of determining colors, no problem.  In the end I found 91 different patches of color in the diptych, but some of those are duplicated, so it's maybe half that actual number of different colors.  After checking that against what I had, I think I may have what I need already.  So for now I make no paint purchases.  I start coloring next week, and that will tell me for sure what I actually have.  And then I will know.

When I start it will probably look like the image above, which is a file photo of the first time I colored this particular print, a long time ago.  

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Making a Living part 2


Another nice day today, so time for part 2 of my printing of the boardwalk block.  Plus I had another reason to be up at the JSAC- last night Nichole sent the teaching agreement letter, and that needed to be returned in order for things to go forward with classes.  So after lunch, I drove up to Ocean Grove. 

I had left the Japanese paper up there, so that was one less trip I had to take today from my car to the Studio.  I had hoped things would go a little faster today, with the block still having some ink from yesterday, but this was not the case.  Since the item of the day was a boardwalk print, I decided to play some Bruce as my musical background.  After all, even though my after sunset image is largely made up, I did take some general inspiration from Bruce's favorites- the Asbury Park boardwalk he sung about, and the Manasquan boardwalk, a place he gets seen on a regular basis.  This was my home burned selection of songs from 1973 to 1995, two discs.

Actually, before I did anything with the boardwalk print, I first went to the office.  Once again, Nichole's car was in the parking lot, but she was missing.  So I followed her directions and left the letter on her desk.  I assumed that she had a copy of my inoculation/booster card from the first round of classes, so I didn't need to worry about leaving a new photocopy of it.  Last night I had emailed another copy of the two page document that broke down the drawing and painting classes, week by week, plus the list of materials.  All part of the fun.  As of now, the plan is for me to once again be teaching drawing on Saturday mornings, and basic painting with acrylics on Saturday afternoons.  I don't know if the drawing is beginner or advanced, or both.  I do know that the next round of classes begins for me on June 11, 2022. This week the current students will be offered a chance to sign up for classes, and I think that the listings are open to all the week after that.  As with before, how much I make will depend on how many people sign up.  If they sign up.

With the school stuff taken care of, time to work on printing.  Got out a new sheet of the okawara, made lots of pieces of masking tape, since they tend to start falling apart after a few inches, and removed the tape from the block that had been useful yesterday.  I also took a few minutes to use my good tools and remove a few spots that had picked up ink yesterday.  Now they wouldn't pick up ink again.  

All together, it took a little over two hours to print another copy of the print, when you include both the original inking and all the re-inking that needed to be done. But in the end, I had a second satisfactory print.  There was one slight tear from rubbing, but it was small and I can repair that easily once the whole thing has dried.  Once again I hung it up to dry on my recently repaired tack wall, but this time I had to climb up on the cabinet and hang it higher than yesterday's proof. My patron mentioned that she'd be gone this whole week, so they may as well stay up there on the tack wall for now.  Maybe I start coloring next week, assuming I have the watercolors.  Probably tomorrow I'll stay home and check what colors I have against a colored copy of the print I have at home, and see what I have.

Around 4:30 I was finally finished with printing and cleaning up, and so loaded my car.  Saw Nichole's car was still in the lot, so I decided to go to the office via the outside entrance.  She was there, so I verified that she had received my teaching letter (yes) and she was all set on information.  She said she'd send me a copy of what she planned to post, but that can wait a few days if it needs to.

Once again today's photo is from my extensive files, probably from the last time I printed this, over 10 years ago.  But it's what you would have seen if you were there today.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Making a Living

While I was busy up in Ocean Grove on Saturday, a large package arrived at home for me.  I was too tired to open in that day, so I opened it on Sunday. It was only half the paper, which I kind of expected.  When I ordered the two kinds of paper, I was told that one type had not come in yet, even though the online catalog said it was available.  The person I spoke to said it would arrive and gave me a date, which was the day I was talking to her, so she hoped it would be soon. I opened up my package, not sure what I had, and it turned out to be the Japanese okawara paper.  Since I do have a few sheets of the other print paper ready, and I needed the Japanese paper sooner for a commissioned piece, this as what I needed.  Also, I looked at the okawara, and while the online listing said it was white, it was actually more a natural color that I wanted, not bleached white like I figured it would be.  More good news.

I did check when I arrived and Jeanne (my purchaser) was not in the office, so instead of showing her the paper for approval, I just went ahead and printed a copy of the image she wanted- another proof of the boardwalk after sunset image.  There were no major complications in printing it, but boardwalk prints are arduous tasks, and this one is set at night, so there is a lot of black.  It was all inked, and then there was a lot of re-inking as I tried printing it. But in the end, I got all of it.  I hung it up to dry, and decided to call it a day.  I will go back tomorrow probably, and print one more copy.  The best one will be chosen for the print that will go to a customer willing to pay for it. Next up is seeing if I have enough watercolor to do this piece, and if I don't have the right colors, I may have to order some more.  However, it will take about a week for the ink to properly dry, so I don't have to worry about this right away.

The above image is a file photo of this block being printed the first time around, which was over 10 years ago, but this is pretty much what it looked like today.  I brought my small book of jazz and blues discs, so not as much to pick from, but I still found things to listen to that seemed appropriate to the piece.  I started with Django Reinhart, classified as jazz, active in the early 20th century.  He played a wild guitar, hot jazz style, often accompanied by a violin.  When that ended, I threw in Marc Ribot and the Cubanos Postizos, which I have written about before here back in July, 2020.  When the second disc ended, it was time to go home.  At first I had hoped to pull two proofs today, but I was just too tired.

In the evening I found I had an email from Nichole (also not in the office when I stopped by, though her car was in the lot), regarding the next round of classes.  Specifically she was looking for information on drawing II, and images of color works from the acrylic class.  I had sent her both months ago, but rather than wait for her to find them, it will be easier to just attach the same things to a new email and send it again. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Walkin Blues part 1

Time to start working on the next block.  For now that looks like the Robert Johnson project that Tom called me about a couple of months ago.  As he requested, I selected some song lyrics that I thought I could work with, then I did some sketches.  For now, I chose 4 songs, after listening to a bunch of his work on YouTube.  (my own CD's are still in storage)  Of the ideas, two sketches in my sketchbook are further along, and one of those is a vertical composition, which matches the wood I prepared yesterday.  (Next piece of wood I buy, I'll do some horizontal blocks, for the other idea that's further on.)  Since the open studio thing was today and I needed something to work on, this will be it.

As for the title, there is some disagreement as to exactly what it is.  The original Robert Johnson record I had listed the track as "Walkin Blues", while the 2 CD set of complete recordings calls it "Walking Blues".  Which is right?  Both are found all over the internet.  Since what he says in more like walkin, and the record came out a few decades before he disc set, I'll go with that here.

This is a case where I do wish I had my camera, but it's still in storage.  I have an alternative for showing Tom the results, but I hope to solve this dilemma before then.  It's not like I haven't looked, but it seems all the low price cameras are listed as unavailable, and I'd prefer not to go 4 figures for this thing.  So for now you get my descriptions, and someday I'll have photos to share.

The lyrics I chose for this case were, "she breaks in on a dollar 'most anywhere she goes."  What does this mean? Cant find any agreement on that either.  When it comes to blues, my belief is that if the metaphor is not easily understood, it's probably a sexual reference.  In this case, the one explanation I found the most on the web was that it refers to a woman who very easily makes friends with all the men in a room, almost as soon as she arrives.  I took this to mean an attractive woman who gets all the attention.  Sounds like Robert Johnson all right.  So my sketch is what appears to be a bar room, and a somewhat statuesque woman walking toward the viewer, not paying attention to anything going on.  Seated next to her at a table is a couple, the man with his head turned to check out the woman walking past him, while the woman at the table seems unhappy with the effect she has on him.  In the background are 4 figures, male and female, of similar states as the couple.  View is from slightly low and looking slightly upward as a result, so we see more ceiling than we would looking straight out.  

My first step was to look at this in the mirror, to decide which way I wanted the composition in the final piece. I had decided I liked the way it looked in the paper sketch, so I decided to draw it backwards on the block.  Used a mirror to start this process, working from my paper sketch for the overall composition, and for the striding woman.  I had done a sketch of the couple at the table, but for the block I wanted something different, so I looked at sketchbook drawings I had done of men and women at the little cafe tables we made at Belmar Arts.  Since I took all those photos, I don't feel bad about using them as a source.  And in three hours, that is as far as I got.  So right now I have three figures roughed in in the foreground, and four very rough figures in the background.  I left it up there to continue the drawing next time I'm in the Studio.

Unfortunately, I can't listen to Robert Johnson or his contemporaries in the Studio, and I left my book of jazz and blues CD's at home (so many things going on today, something had to be left at home), so I was just left with the few things I keep there.  So as I drew, I listened to acoustic Neil Young (described here back in September of 2021), Toshi Reagon's The Righteous Ones album (see August, 2021), and then a more electric Neil Young with Crazy Horse, details of which I don't have now, though I remember it was a Fillmore show.   

A Very Long Day


I'm not kidding- this was a very long day.  I was awake and up a little past 7 am, so I could get everything done that I needed to before leaving.  Left on time, drove to Ocean Grove, got there just before 9 am, and my day was just beginning.

Nichole arrived just moments after I did, so I let her open up and turn off the alarm.  I took two trips to get everything in, though some of that was for later.  I rearranged the furniture there in my classroom, then set up my still life.  Some of my favorite props are still in storage, but after looking at drawings of similar past projects, I was able to find enough other things to have a similar still life set up.  For the first time in weeks, I had 4 students, but still there was room for people to pick spots as they arrived.  Simple pencil line drawing, but as they discovered, what should be simple shapes are not always so easy to draw.  Just did the one drawing over two hours, and all were surprised that they did fine, but at the end the drawings were the proof.  Told them that next week was the last week of our first 6, and we would use charcoal, so they are prepared.

I cleaned up my classroom, opened the door for someone who was banging on the door at the top of the ramp, and talked to a few people already walking around.  Brought some things to my car, then headed downstairs for item #2 of the day, the open studio event.  There were a number of barriers around the basement, but nothing I couldn't push through, so I went to my space.  Found some sandpaper and sanded to backs of my newly cut wood blocks, then it was time to draw.  I will save details on the new block for a post of its own.  During the three hours or so that I was down there, I had maybe 10 people wander through, which was a good as I could have expected.  In general, people were very impressed with the building, both for the artists and the structure.  A lot of questions about classes, but I could only tell what I knew, which wasn't much.  As an example of a print and its block, I selected something I had there, the new version I did a few years ago of Moving Day.  As usual, people were impressed that I was doing woodcut, a process that seems difficult and challenging, but I know that its all about drawing, the division of positive and negative space, and that the technology hasn't really changed in 500 years.  They were also impressed that I did everything as a mirror image.  This was emphasized if they saw a supermarket block, and realized that all the lettering was backwards.

Around quarter after 3 I put away my materials, locked up and turned out the lights, and headed upstairs.  Time for item #3, closing reception for the tenants show, up since February. Not a lot of people there, other than the people who were also there for the open studios, which was also still going on for some.  Cheese, crackers, and thick sliced soppressata, and assorted beverages, was out for those who wanted it  Some people asked about my woodcut prints, and one guy even wanted to see the Studio and any prints I had there, so I considered it an extension of the open studio and did so.  Maybe he'll take a class in the future- he asked about those.  

There was also a cake, but Nichole wanted to wait until Joe, our open studio organizer, was present to cut it.  He had people up in his space for the open studios, and wasn't ready to come down.  But eventually he did, and thus we had item #4, the final toast and the taking down of the artwork.  So I had a toast (non-alcoholic, since that is all we are legally allowed to serve there in Ocean Grove), a piece of cake, and then it was time to start taking down the artwork.  I had brought all my packing material with me (plastic, bubble wrap, etc), but I couldn't remove my pieces from the wall from the ground, so I waited for help.  After we were done with the celebration, Nichole brought the staircase/ladder around, and Tony volunteered to go up and take the wires off the hooks.  He handed the works to me, and I carried them quickly to the art classroom I had used hours earlier.  Nichole had given me permission to keep things there overnight, but I wanted to take care of it on the spot.  Two pieces were wired to hang on the hooks, so I quickly removed those wires and gave them back to Nichole.  I put the color piece down in my studio. as once I get my paper, I'm going to try printing some new copies for the sale I have lined up.  

I carried the rest of my stuff to my car, and now I was finally ready to leave.  Was home by about 6:30, which these days is still daylight.  Brought into the house what I could carry, left the rest in the car for now.  Saw that my new paper had arrived, but I was too tired to open the package.  I can wait until tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Back to Ocean Grove


I went up to Ocean Grove for a while this afternoon to take care of some business, mostly to save me from having to do it tomorrow, which will likely be a very busy day.  

I walked through the first floor on the way to the elevator and noticed something immediately- a statue. This was expected, a bronze rendition of the famous Rosie the Riveter poster, courtesy of the Johnson Atelier, a loaner for Women's Empowerment month. Of course it wasn't expected until sometime next week, which was odd.  I went to school with a sculptor who had a job at the Johnson Atelier for a while after she finished grad school.  She had the bronze experience to do the work, but was happy to get a teaching job on the west coast, and I never heard from her again.  She said that all the bronze workers who were there actually disliked these Seward Johnson pieces, since they were not particularly original, but rather things made from famous paintings.  But these things paid the bills.

The first task was to leave the May rent check for Molly in the usual place.  This is one of those things that could have been done tomorrow, but now it's done so I don't have to worry about it tomorrow.  

Another task done in advance of tomorrow is preparing wood blocks for the next project, since I may be having an open studio tomorrow.  As I write this, I still haven't heard from Tom with any new details about this Robert Johnson thing he is putting together, so I will do what I said I would do- produce some drawings at 11"x14", as he originally asked for.  If nothing else, I can make woodcuts that size for myself, as I am interested in doing this for myself even if the big thing doesn't happen.  Today I used my new saw to cut two pieces of 1/2 inch birch plywood to an appropriate size for prints he originally stated.  I have sketches for 3 ideas, but I'll start with two, and have enough wood to do more should I want to.  I probably won't get past pencil drawing tomorrow, but I will bring india ink, brushes, and markers, in case I want to take things further.  After I get some drawings done, I can decide if I want to send those to Tom, or cut the blocks and print them, then send my print images, which he can use as is, or give me some directions on what he wants instead.  Since I still don't have a camera, it's all moot right now anyway.  The pieces of wood still need some sanding along the edges, but I can do that quickly tomorrow, before I start drawing, or even later, since it's on the back of the wood.  The block shown above is actually a supermarket block, but it's the same kind of wood, and you get the general idea.

Another thing I had to do was pick up a canvas tote bag.  I believe some time next week, all stores in the state will be forbidden from supplying customers with one use paper or plastic bags for purchases, a law that was signed into existence years ago and is scheduled to take effect quite soon, unless some kind of delay is put into place even sooner.  Of course, all stores also sell reusable tote bags for the same purpose, but I don't want to buy more bags, and I have huge supplies of the old plastic bags, which I have been reusing for years, as garbage bags, to hold art supplies, provide to students for use, or whatever.  I figure to use the disposable plastic bags as liners with the reusable bags, so I can throw them out when they are beyond help.  I knew I had one canvas tote in the car, holding all my print supplies, my printmaking go bag, so that one is in use.  I had one or two in my apartment, used for print classes and such, but I assume those are now in storage, so no idea when I'll see them again.  I used to have two in my Studio, but one disappeared during the break in a few years ago.  All I lost was that bag (probably used to haul some of the old power tools that Molly had stolen from her), and a roll of paper towels, which were probably the most valuable thing I had there at that point.  (at least for most people, as they ignored all the valuable wood and paper that Molly and I have, as well as my boom box and CD collection, things that Molly and I value, but most people don't, which is why no one sells them anymore) So now I had just one bag, full of tools and hardware, but otherwise clean, so I moved stuff out of that one and to a triple layer of plastic bags (have lots, and it will hold that stuff for now) and I'll have a canvas tote I can use for food shopping next week.  As a bonus, I found a few ear plugs in there (from the table building project) things I thought were lost or in storage, so next time I need some, I'll have them.

Stopped by the office, but Nichole was not there.  She had been in earlier, and would likely be back later, but for now she was off.  There are events scheduled for the next several days, some also unexpected for them, so she will be busy.  (the sculpture was indeed expected next week, but was delivered early, so for now we have an extra artwork in the gallery)  I'll be there a lot myself tomorrow, so I'll know more then.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Teaching Business


Decided to take care of some teaching related business yesterday.  We had been sent a form to fill out, but while my computer was able to open it, I couldn't get it filled out online, so I just printed it out and brought it with me to Ocean Grove.  

Up at the JSAC I found Nichole was somewhere in the building, but not in the office, and people there in the office told me she'd be busy for a while.  So I just decided to fill out the forms on the spot and leave them for her on her desk.  Besides, we had some conversations on this topic in recent weeks, and there would be more on all those surveys the students filled out.  It was mostly about teaching- what classes we had and when, do we need to make any changes, any recommendations for materials, etc.  Nichole has all the information related to the classes I have done recently, including the week by week breakdown for two levels of drawing, one of painting, and materials for each, and I can put together the print one quickly if she wants it, but last I heard, she was going to try for the drawing and color one first.  From what I saw of the surveys, the biggest issue for most students was the room itself, though compared to the basement, it's much better than that one.  Either way, I have nothing to do with that. 

I chatted with the two people there (I know them both), but I had nothing else to do there. I mentioned my plan to send Nichole an email about the teaching stuff as well, checked the status of my studio space (no new problems there), and headed home.  I'll be back there on Saturday for class and events of the day, so everything can wait until then.   I have no idea when the decisions will be made about the next round of classes, but Nichole had said that she wanted time to advertise the classes and for people to register, so I figured it was in my best interest to get my information up there. If she wants to know more, she knows how to get hold of me.