Monday, May 31, 2010

Taking Care Of Business

My time in the Studio over this past holiday weekend was mostly spent with my camera in my hands, taking over 100 photos of artwork old and new, then editing many of them, part of plans to upgrade my main website. I'll post details about that when it's done.

I did get to put in a little time on making art, this afternoon beginning the coloring on the 2nd okawara proof of the miniature golf print. Yellows and flesh tones in this first coloring session. I'll try to get it done by the end of the weekend. With all the colors decided and mixed, it should go quickly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another Round of Golf

Since the color seems to be resolved on the most recent golf proof, I decided to go ahead a print the second okawara proof, so (like the first four in the series) I can have one framed and a spare if needed. I also had received a warning from Molly more than a week ago that she was having a bunch of Brownie Girl Scouts in the Studio during the late afternoon today, so I knew I wanted to work quickly and clean up and leave before they all arrived. Mission accomplished- got it proofed (above) and hung it up (below) to dry for a few days, right next to the one I just colored. Then I got out of there in a hurry.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 38

Didn't get everything done today that I had hoped to, but my 3+ hours in the Studio allowed me to get this proof to this state, which may be finished. (if so I'll add the usual notation to the post title next time) Today's coloring included a number of significant changes from the first proof. The biggest is the individual greens. After looking at a few Hokusai prints I decided to take the light turquoise/teal color that I had used on the clown's pants, and used it to do all the golf greens, rather than the darker, duller green I had the first time. Makes everything a little brighter, and it eliminated the issue of having that particular color appear only on the clown and nowhere else. With that hue no longer available for the clown's pants (still used it on the hat, face, and collar), I went with some ultramarine.

The other changes are bits of clothing on many of the players. Going clockwise from the top left: the standing woman's blouse is now pink instead of light violet, the boy's shirt is a slightly different shade of light green, the girl's bikini top is a lighter shade of violet and her shorts now light blue instead of khaki, the shirt of the boy leaning against the pipe rail fence is now green (instead of orange) and his shorts light violet (instead of light green), the girl's bikini has gone from light green to pink, the woman pushing the stroller has her dress making the same change, and the shirt on the kid being helped by his father is a deeper green than the first time.

When I had the two proofs side by side, I definitely preferred this new version. I'll sleep on it, and go over the proof again tomorrow to make sure that I didn't miss anything, but unless I notice something unusual, this is likely what the final version will look like.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 37

Continued coloring today, this time with blues. Put washes of various of strengths of phthalo and indigo, and some full strength ultramarine. All in the same areas as my first color proof, though the sky proportion is different. (the blue strip at the top is narrower and the uncolored space under that a little wider) Next time around, the greens will start to make an appearance in the proof.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Outlaw on the Airwaves

Not much on tv in the early afternoon before my trip to the Studio, so I end up putting on a cable station showing a Star Wars marathon. I wasn't paying much attention during a commercial break, yet something caught my eye. I couldn't be sure, but I thought I saw one of my fellow Outlaw Printmakers- Sean Star Wars. (how appropriate during a showing of Episode IV) It wasn't so much the guy on screen talking, but I got a sense that the background was a bunch of woodcuts in Sean's trademark style. And the commercial was for Mountain Dew, a product that Sean's love for is well known. (see the example above, from one of the many exchange portfolios we've both been part of) I watched through one more commercial break, didn't see it, so went up to the Studio to get some work done.

I would not be able to watch tv all night waiting for the commercial, but this being the age of the internet, I figured that it should be somewhere out there on the web. Quickly found it on the main Mountain Dew website. As part of a promotion to pick a new flavor, people were encouraged to submit their own videos. I'm a little surprised that I picked up on this in the first place. His hair was much shorter than I've ever seen it (I wouldn't have recognized him if I hadn't known it was him), and he was only on screen long enough to say one line, about one second. But those were definitely Sean Star Wars woodcuts behind him. After that I stopped by Sean's website where I found a page with the full story.

Many of us in the Outlaws have gotten plenty of press coverage, and can find stuff about us all over the internet, but so far as I know, this is the first time one of us has been seen with their art on national (cable) television. I figure that's worth a blog post.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 36

Continued with the second proof of the miniature golf print today. With the first proof of a print I fill in the colors I'm relatively sure of first, then figure out the rest based on how things are going. The second time through I generally know what the colors will be and I color the print by color groups- lighter and warmer first, then cooler and darker. It's efficient, but I also like how it can demonstrate the balance and distribution of colors through the composition. Today was skin and hair, then a lot of reds. More or less following the pattern from the previous proof with some notable exceptions- by the giant bluefish I reversed the pattern of red and white in the checkerboard design and let the red border extend down into the fish's mouth, and I used a brighter red on the fence rather than the rustier color used on much of the rest of the course's architecture. In the latter case the idea is to make the fence pull forward a little bit from the many objects behind it. In any case, the current version of the proof demonstrates the compositional unity that comes with a palette of analogous colors.

Next time the blues and greens will start coming into the composition.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 35

Finally had some time of my own today, and for the first time in more than two weeks I was able to get into the Studio and do some real artwork. Today that meant working on the first okawara proof of the latest boardwalk print. Two significant changes so far between this one and the first. The yellow part of the sky has become a wider band, and the color a little deeper. Also, I made the polka dots on the clown yellow instead of turquoise. Both changes should be improvements, but we'll only know when all the other colors come in. Today's other colors follow what was done in the first proof.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Shopping Mystery

Despite having enough ideas to keep me busy for years, I'm always keeping my eyes open for inspiration for another print. My visit to the supermarket this past weekend may have given me material to add to that ongoing series.

I was doing my usual Sunday shopping, buying the regular groceries as well as ingredients for a big pot of sugo, which was delicious as always. Before walking away with my bagged and paid for groceries I always check the receipt, making sure they included coupons or didn't double scan anything. Neither of those problems happened, but there was something else I couldn't figure out. Halfway down the receipt was an item listed as "PRNA ONE TRKY/BARL". Purina One maybe? I know I didn't buy any dog food and I couldn't see it matching anything else I had purchased. When my cashier had a free moment I asked him, but he had no clue. A supervisor came over to investigate, confirmed my guess as to the item, and verified that I had no dog food in my bags. That was enough to get customer service to refund the $1.49 I had been charged for it, even as they could offer no explanation as to how I was charged for it in the first place. Which frees me to come with some bizarre ideas of my own and turn it into a print. As I said up top, I have plenty to keep me busy, so no need to rush into this, but if I develop a good concept, I can slide it into the agenda.

Back to Business

After several more hours of calculating student grades over the past few days, this afternoon I finally submitted the last of them to the school website. I'll probably get a few discontented e-mails, but otherwise I am now done with school until September. Tonight I celebrated with a return to figure drawing for the first time in almost 2 months. A little rusty at first, but my last drawing of the night, the 45 minute charcoal seen above, is better than I usually do with reclining poses. Those sideways head views are always a big challenge for me, but if I don't challenge myself I'll never get better at drawing them.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Things have been kind of quiet here on the blog the past two weeks, owing to me spending pretty much all my waking hours at one job or another. Had my last classes this past week, and still a little bit of grading left, but at last I can start easing back into the Studio. Not today though, because I had a reception to go to up at the Printmaking Council of New Jersey. This is the second hanging of our 35th Annual Members Show, called Where Have We Been?, after first being a municipal space in Somerville. My contribution is the print above, from my Boardwalk Series. There are more than 50 works in the show representing the wide variety of print and paper related art that we typically show. Many were new names and faces, but there were also plenty of familiar artists as well.

Two of the pieces were from printmakers who are also fellow faculty at my university. Above is a mixed media piece from Julie Harris, and below is a large multi block woodcut (the yellow and orange piece) from Jane Thompson George.

Jane actually started her print in my first ever woodcut workshop at PCNJ, something she acknowledged in her artist statement. It was one of two statements to promote my occasional workshops. I was also mentioned in the statement that accompanied the print below by Elise Dodeles (black and white, center) that she created during my fall 2009 workshop. With all this free publicity, maybe I should schedule another one.

The place was almost empty when I arrived around the start of the reception, but soon the crowds arrived, so I ended up discussing my piece (and the series it comes from) with a number of people. Everyone likes the concept, and the print.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Banned in Belmar

The 6th Annual Jersey Shore Juried Art Show finished its run around the end of April. Just before then word got around that they were looking to put selections from the show into a second exhibition at a nearby bank, which had hosted a couple of other BAC organized shows over the past year. I wasn't sure if I should volunteer my piece (see the above photo) for the second show, wondering if the bank would find my print a little too odd for a business location, but our local organizer saw no problem. A few days ago I was finally able to drop by to see the show in the bank, and my piece had a nice location, straight across the lobby from the main door.

Then yesterday, a small problem. Got an e-mail from the show organizers saying that the bank manager was concerned over the content of my print, and was requesting I remove it and replace it with something else. The specific problem was the nude figure in the upper left corner. A very insignificant part of a large print (as you can see above) and there have been many more prominent examples of uncovered bodies in public spaces throughout the history of art, including today. But hey, I don't want to ruin this venue for everyone else, so early this afternoon I grabbed a few framed pieces and drove up to the bank. I went inside and when the manager wasn't there, I was directed to the assistant on duty. He was very surprised when I told him why I was there ("But that's the best piece in the show!" he told me) but agreed to help pick the replacement. I brought in several medium-large pieces and he and a teller picked the portrait piece seen below, which happens to be the print I had in the previous year's Annual Juried Show. Assuming there are no further objections, the print will remain up through the end of July.

I didn't get overly excited by the whole thing because I've been through this a few times before. By the standards of contemporary art, my work is pretty tame, but from time to time it has been too radical for business related showcases. A good example from the past can be seen below. About a decade ago the Printmaking Council scheduled a juried exhibition to celebrate a recently enacted law that set aside half of the state's remaining undeveloped land as permanent open space. The art would have to reflect this theme. I had a few ideas, made two prints, including one about the ongoing trend of developers turning small local farms into expensive blocks of houses. A good sized plot of land down my street that had been a corn farm was suddenly cleared and replaced by 20 houses. (the prices on the sign were higher than average for those days, but impossibly low by today's standards)

The gallery director at the time loved it. The PCNJ had been offered a free ad space for the show by a central/west Jersey tourism magazine, and she asked me permission to use my piece as the illustration. Of course I agreed. But a short time later I got some bad news. The magazine's editor wouldn't run it. I guess they were expecting some nice scenic rural landscapes, and were scared that my print would offend real estate developers, their most important advertisers. So I was out. And that's pretty much what happened with the bank (I learned later), no actual complaint, just a manager who was afraid someone important would be offended and he'd be held responsible.

Monday, May 03, 2010

May Critique Night

We had a good crowd in the Studio tonight for the monthly critique night, half regular participants, half students there from classes that Molly and I teach. Seven artists showed work. The above photo features (clockwise, from top) Adam's modified cardboard box piece, my current boardwalk color proof, Mary's etching, Tim's abstract painting, and a painting from Jill. Another of Jill's paintings is shown below. (one of the students also put up some work to be discussed, after these photos were taken)

We also took a little time to walk down the hall to see a project Molly is working on. This is a collaboration with a choreographer (who joined us tonight for the discussion), a piece that will be part of the stage decoration and the performance. The fabric piece (seen below) is still in an early state, but people were excited by the possibilities.

In addition to showing the boardwalk proof, for which I got some interesting suggestions as far as color choices, I showed before and after color photocopies of the postcard I worked on last week. My solution got a positive response from the group.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 34

With my postcard done and on its way to the next location, I could get back to the miniature golf print. The most noticeable change is that I colored in all of the clown. I also colored the few remaining pieces of clothing on various figures. In addition, I tried new colors on top of some things that had been colored previously. The above photo shows where things stand today. It's not perfect, but I have enough information from this proof to go ahead and start coloring the first one from the edition.