Monday, April 27, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 20

After a long day at school, I decided to swing by the Studio on the way home for a little cutting session. The next critique group is a week away and I really want to have the block done by then. Started with the left panel, cutting out the rest of the figure of the customer (arm, hair, torso). All that's left is that one area under her armpit that I'm still not sure about yet. Then over on the right panel I cut out the flash wall to the left of the tattoo artist and the customer's jeans. The top photo shows the current state of the whole block.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 19

My plan was to put in a few hours in the Studio this afternoon before heading to Belmar to check out a musical event the BAC was hosting today. However, today's weather was sunny, high 80's, which meant that thousands of people decided it would be a great idea to visit the Jersey shore. Thousands of people between home and my destination to work my way through. So by the time I arrived, I had only about an hour to work. The first thing I did was refine the sketch of the hand holding the needle. I had made a few adjustments to the fingers at home, but now I redrew the tattoo needle to make it more accurate. I think it's done. As for cutting, I went back over to the left panel and started working on the customer's shirt. What's left on this side shouldn't take too much longer to finish.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 18

I had a commitment to a shift of gallery sitting at the Belmar Arts Council this afternoon. My experience told me that at best I might get 4 visitors, and with a near perfect summer day in April this afternoon (sunny, low 80's, no humidity) I figured it might be less than that. Knowing that, I had brought along something to work on- the current block. During the week I had made some enlargements of a tracing of the original arm holding the tattoo needle. The top photo shows the three sizes. After considering all three over the past few days, today I settled on the middle one, 110% size, shortening the arm length a little by moving the hand back about 1/4 inch. I erased the old one and drew in the new one, as seen in the 3rd photo. I'll want to compare it to my photo of Rob again, check the details, but I think the new scale works. After my shift at the Boatworks (for the record, I had 3 visitors) I went up to the Studio where I was mostly dealing with class related work. But I wanted to get in a little cutting today, so I went into the left panel, cutting out the top surface of the table, and part of the customer's back.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 17

Up at the Studio in the afternoon, I went back to work on the tattoo block. I spent a little time on the table edge, mostly in the left panel. (top photo) At first I expected to just cut out the shape and use color to show the plane change, but I decided I could use a little more texture there, with so much above. Spent most of my time there cutting out the mandala shapes on the right panel. (middle photo) Looks good. Before leaving I took care of one other thing. Last time I was there I had done a tracing of the questioned arm, and a few days ago I made some photocopied enlargements (from 105% to 115%). Cut those out today and tried them out in place of the original, as seen in the last photo. I'll think about if for a few days, and decide if one of these enlargements will be the guide for making a change in my drawing.

Sign of the Times

Passed through Belmar on my way to the Studio (had some business at the Belmar Arts Council). Coming up Main Street I noticed a familiar business was gone. The location that had housed our local photo shop was dark, empty, missing its big sign, and available for rent. I don't know the exact circumstances that led to it closing, but I would assume it's the rapid disappearance of traditional photography over the last few years. I used to be a regular customer there. It's where I went when I needed black and white work done- they'd make me a contact sheet of each roll and do the enlargements in house. And it's where I bought and developed all my slide film, at least several rolls a year. Regular 35 mm print film, too. But times have changed. The B&W photos were often requested by newspapers for publicity, but now they do all digital formatting, and if they can't print color jpg, a touch of a button does the conversion. Kodak stopped making the slide film I used to use for shooting my prints and student work. I now shoot all the art digitally. I haven't even shot print film in a few years. And that's pretty much the same for everyone else. (Earlier this week one of my students was puzzled that some of the photos he had developed weren't printed. When I suggested that he check the negatives to see how those shots had turned out, he didn't know what film negatives were.) I still find it shocking how quickly the traditional photo industry disappeared, after being a part of everyone's life for better than a century. But seeing what's happened in the last several years, I can't be shocked that the store is gone.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 16

Back to the Studio today to continue work on the tattoo block. I started with the 3 figures in the little tattoo shop scene. After that the 4 tattoo designs along the top of the right side panel, then the fish/hand design in the lower right corner. I also quickly knocked out the 4 little grid (checkerboard) corner pieces along the perimeter of the right panel. The top photo shows the current state of the block; the other 3 show details of today's cutting.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 15

I continued work where I left off on Thursday, cutting the dragon. Today it was all those tiny dorsal scales, hundreds of them. The top photo shows a detail, about a 6 inch section of the block. The bottom photo shows the whole left panel at the end of the day's work. All together it took about 4 hours to cut all the interior of the dragon. Though I still have a few decisions to make, everything from here on out will be a lot easier to cut.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 14

Had a few hours to spare, so it was up to the Studio for a while this afternoon to continue work on the tattoo block. Still not ready to redraw that hand, so I took on the most complicated cutting of the whole piece, the dragon. First I did the head, then I cut the long ventral (belly) scales the whole length of the dragon. I also cut out the claws and some non-scaly areas on the legs. I would have loved to continue on and do the dorsal scales (the smaller ones along the back and sides), but I had other places to be and couldn't hang around. I'll go in a time or two over the weekend and finish the dragon, and maybe some other things, too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 13

This morning I took my 3rd ride up to Rahway in the past 5 weeks, to pick up my work from the Relief Printing: Contrasting Surfaces show. Got Molly's at the same time, since she was out of town today. The director expressed an interest in seeing more of my work (particularly more supermarket prints) so I told him I'd put stuff on a disc for him in the summer.
In the afternoon I went up to the Studio for a few hours. Had to drop off Molly's 5 pieces, but also it's been a week since I last worked on the block and I wanted to get back to the cutting. On the left side I cut out the spaces in the view through the store. On the right side I cut out the negative space around the flaming fingertip hand/fish and the rest of the mandala shapes. I cut these areas because this stuff is all resolved and will need to be cut at some point. The first 3 photos show the two areas I cut, as well as the progress of the whole block.
Less resolved are areas around the two main figures. The one consistent negative comment that came out of the critique night earlier this week (and the one before that) was in the drawing of the tattoo artist's hands. People seem to like what I did with his spare hand, but there are still opinions that the hand holding the needle is too small. The last photo shows the whole figure. I used a photo of Rob holding the needle as a reference and the hand is in proper proportion to the arm, but looking at it now, I think the problem may be the arm itself is too small. The angle of how it meets the hand looks a little off. I don't know if the needle is hiding the problem or causing it. It needs to be dealt with, but not today.

Monday, April 06, 2009

April Critique Group

The critique group met on the first Monday of the month as usual. What was unusual is that it met in a new location for the first time. Harriet, one of our regular members, wanted to host a session in her house, like our Studio also in the tiny town of Ocean Grove, and we agreed to do it as a one time thing. She provided some tasty chili and freshly baked bread, which we took down to her basement. We had 9 artists participate tonight, including 3 first time visitors, all of whom enjoyed it and expect to be back again, when it will be returning to our usual location. Above are photos of the work discussed tonight. Got more advice regarding my tattoo block, which I'll talk about next time I write about my progress on the print.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 12

I went up to the Studio for a few hours this afternoon and got a bit of work done. On the left side panel I spent a bit of time redrawing the little piece of hand seen under the armpit of the customer. I've probably redrawn this a dozen times overall. I'm still not completely satisfied, but this is the best version yet. I don't need to cut it right away, so I can go back to it later. I did cut out all the negative space around the table, however. Then I moved over to the right side panel for the first time, and cut out all the negative space around the 4 tattoo designs across the top, between the panel border and the mandala shapes. Tomorrow is the next meeting of our critique group, so I'll get a reaction to the changes to the block since the last time everyone saw it.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

5th Annual BAC Juried Show Reception

I'm in the middle of a 3 day reception for a juried show at the Boatworks in Belmar. Last night I attended a special preview reception for the coordinators/trustees and some special invited guests. Earlier today I was back for the official opening reception. Traditionally it's well attended and that held true today- we estimate that about 200 people came through. Above are images of my piece on display. More photos and details about the reception can be seen on the BAC blog. My piece (shown above, the only woodcut out of 89 pieces of course) got some nice complements and I answered questions about the process for a few people.
But it's not over yet. Tomorrow I'm back there again one more time, as we are the last stop of the day for the Belmar Art Walk. After people have been to the 17 other locations around the downtown area, they can come by to see the show and enjoy some music and refreshments.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Boardwalk Tattoo part 11

Put in a few hours in the Studio this afternoon, working on the current block. As I planned, I finished the 4th flower, the one underneath the others. Then I moved on to the other stuff immediately around the dragon. Most of it is the rounded shapes that could be bubbles or clouds, and some is flowing water, both common around dragons in traditional tattoos. Near the bottom of the dragon I had originally drawn a design with a row of rounded end bars, another common tattoo design, but it seemed out of place here, so I put more water and rounds in their place. All of it was cut today. The dragon shape really stand out now. Haven't decided yet if I will continue with this panel next time, or move on to the tattoo designs on the top and far side of the right panel.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Results Are In

I dropped by the Boatworks after work this afternoon to find out the results of the jurying for the upcoming 5th Annual Belmar Arts Council Juried Art Show. By rules I could only have one piece accepted, so by submitting two I knew that I'd have to pick up something. I was just hoping it would be one rejection and not two. When I arrived I found my name on the accepted list, and the one that was accepted was the piece above. The print is called Icon. It's not a new piece (it was made in 1997, and is itself a smaller reworking of a print from 1995, which was partly based on a painting I did in 1989), and I think (based on an old entry tag taped to the back) it may have been rejected from one of these BAC shows previously, that one piece accepted rule. But it's a quality print, it's never been shown there before, and I thought it would make a good alternative to the brightly colored piece that was my other entry. The juror seems to have liked it (and half the artists who submitted work didn't get anything into the show) so I guess including it was a good decision.