Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 22

After printing the 3rd proof the other day, I took the first proof home with me, along with my watercolor box. I needed to make room on my tack board anyway, it would give me more time to look at it, and with my busy schedule, I figured I could continue coloring whenever I found a spare minute.

An idea that I came up with relates to my whole coloring process. Long time readers here know that when coloring later copies of complex prints, I start with the light and warm colors first. Recent examples can be found here and here. I've always like this early stage- the mix of yellows, reds, and earth tones is a nice combination by itself. On at least one occasion Molly saw one of these proofs in progress and suggested doing a print with just those colors. I didn't think that would work for this current series, but now I'm thinking a little differently. At night the overwhelming majority of lights on the boardwalk (signs, rides, etc) are warm colors. Maybe that would help this print come together better. So on the first proof I recolored some of the large blue sections (see above). Not the colors that I would start with, but enough to see that everything holds together a bit better. Even with this scheme I would include some cool colors, but only as accents, not as significant parts of the composition. I'll have the results posted here as it happens.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 21

Dropped by the Studio after work today and decided to do a little more printing. The built up ink layer on the block meant that this one inked up pretty quickly. The whole process- inking, printing, touch up, and clean up- took less than an hour. I left it hanging on the wall, next to the first okawara proof. This one won't be dry enough in time to color and submit to the After Sunset show (the first two proofs could work if I get either colored in a satisfactory way by Friday night), but it could be one that I color over the weekend to show at next week's critique group.

Monday, September 27, 2010

If You Happen To Be In The Neighborhood...

Over the weekend I got an update from Eileen regarding the For Love Not Money postcard project that I had worked on over the winter and spring. The project has been officially accepted as part of the 15th Tallinn Print Triennial in Tallin, Estonia. (right in the middle of the above map) In the end 170 postcards were finished, representing 18 international groups. Two of them include woodcuts from me. The whole set will be on display at the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn from January 20, 2011 through early May of that year. Efforts are being made to travel the project to another international location, but I'll save that story until I get some kind of confirmation.

Boardwalk Nights part 20

Stopped by the Studio after work. I had to drop off my old wooden desk chair, which has been making appearances as a drawing prop in most of my art classes over the past week. But as long as I was there, I decided to advance the coloring on the new proof a little. The biggest thing was putting some color on the boardwalk itself. Mostly it was a deep reddish color, edging toward a golden brown near brighter light sources. It turned out pretty much like I expected, but I don't know yet if it will work when everything else is filled in. I also added a few other bits of color all around the composition. Results are shown above.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CityArts Day 3

A lot cooler and grayer today, and I had enough to keep myself busy that I didn't bother to go check out any more stuff on this last day of CityArts. I did, however, go up to Asbury late in the afternoon so that I could pick up my artwork. (sidewalks in front of my location are due to be dug up starting tomorrow, so access in the next few days might be even more difficult than it was installing it Friday) And on a Sunday afternoon that felt a lot more like autumn than yesterday; parking was considerably better- I was able to get a spot right across the street. Packing up took no more than 5 minutes. The store owner told me that a few people commented positively on my art, but in general there weren't many people on the streets the past few days.

Don't know what the future holds for this event. I've heard a number of suggestions for why attendance was so low (other than at Second Life Bikes on Friday night) through the whole weekend. Maybe the weather, which was either too hot or too cool. The condition of the street may have turned off a lot of potential pedestrians. Asbury might have benefitted in the past from having the festival also promoted in Long Branch and Red Bank, while this year they were going it alone. I'm also thinking that moving it to late September hurt, when you don't have the additional summer people around, and it gets dark a lot earlier. I believe that they need to give this whole thing some serious thought before next year. I can't complain too much- all it cost me was a few hours of my time, I got a little more exposure in an arts neighborhood, and you never know what opportunities a show can lead to. I hope they can continue some version of CityArts in the future, but if things end up like they did this time, few people will be happy with it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 19

I started the coloring process today on the new print. In the upper right I was experimenting with the smoke clouds. The plan was always to use dark colors in those bands surrounding the exploding fireworks, as if the clouds are just barely revealed by the colored light. It does cause them to sit back considerably compared to the fireworks, which is what I wanted. I'm not sure if this color combination (a mix from red-orange to alizarin to indigo) is exactly what I want, so I left the one patch alone in case I want to try something different there. In the right panel I also put some hot colors on the distant ferris wheel, and some cooler colors on the restroom roof and the foreground street light. In the left panel I started working on some of the signs in the upper half. I'm not sure about any of this yet, and probably won't be until I get some more of color everywhere else. If nothing else, I'll learn what doesn't work, and come up with something better for the edition.

CityArts Day 2

Well, things were kind of quiet around the CityArts festival today, at least the part of the day that I was walking around. The street fair didn't have as many participants as last year (though, as you can see, we don't even have as much street as last year), and not too many visitors either. The heat may have had something to do with the latter- I imagine that most people coming to town were heading straight to the beach. Maybe some of the art up by the boardwalk had more of an audience, but I didn't feel like like hiking all the way up there in the heat, and wanted to get some work done in the Studio, so after checking out a few Cookman Ave exhibits that I didn't see last night, I walked back to Ocean Grove and got to work.

Friday, September 24, 2010

CityArts Opening Night

I was back in Asbury Park in the evening for the opening of the CityArts festival. Things kicked off at Second Life Bikes on Main Street. Second Life is an interesting operation, employing young teens to repair bikes in exchange for earning a used one of their own, in addition to selling second hand bikes to interested customers. The place was hosting a bike themed art show, co-hosted by the BAC, so I would have checked that out anyway even if I didn't have anything going on in the festival myself. They had a very good crowd.

Great refreshments as well. The Windmill (located across the street) brought over a portable grill (above) and cooked and handed out their legendary hot dogs to the crowd. No chili, but there's no way to eat one of their chili dogs with one hand standing up in a crowded gallery. Meanwhile, a bicycle powered blender (below) was used to make drinks.

I joined a walking tour that took in some of the gallery spaces in the festival.

My last minute show isn't on any of the official lists or tours, but our walk took us past it, so I was able to present it to our little group and take this photo of how it looks at night.

A Sudden Show

Things never seem to go as smoothly as one would hope with Asbury Park's art festival. The past two years it was one leg of the TriCity Arts Tour, but this year Asbury is going it alone. I made a number of contacts with the involved people, but as usual, time got close and I heard nothing. Finally last Sunday I was offered a space, and I stopped by on Monday after work to see what I'd have to work with. Not walls this time, but storefront display windows. Some pieces could lean against some shelves in one window, but I would have to provide something to prop up the framed prints in the other window. So with that in mind, this morning I stopped at the Studio and cranked out 4 table easels using some screws and wood from the scrap box.

The next problem was getting the easels and my art to the space. For unknown reasons, the town decided that the week of the CityArts festival would be the week to tear up the sidewalks and streets of Cookman Avenue, where the street fair and all the festival art sites are. The plan was to put everything back in order in time for the opening, but for today that eliminated all the parking on the street. I circled around a bit and eventually found a spot of Lake Avenue, which is only one block closer to Cookman than my Studio parking lot. Well, it saved some minutes on a very busy day. I carried everything to the store in two trips, and it took about 15 minutes to put everything in place. I put three boardwalk prints in one window, and four supermarket prints (see below) in the other.

The art is on display at etc, a home decor/accessories store at 653 Cookman Avenue (at Bond) tonight, Saturday, and Sunday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 18

After class today I decided to go into the Studio and pull another proof of the new block. I first got out the tools and made a few minor changes to the block. Mostly it was clearing out some things that were unintentionally picking up ink, and a few minor cuts to clarify some shapes. Printing the second one was quicker than yesterday's effort (having a coat of ink already on the block helps a lot), giving me now a copy on the okawara, intended to be part of the edition. I hung it up on the wall, cleaned up my ink, and went home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 17

After work today I drove directly to the Studio to finish the current block and print it. Got out my tools and in a few minutes took care of the cop's belt accessories and a few minor things I had noticed in the rubbing. Then I moved onto that unfinished part of the pizza place. I had come up with an idea, and tried different arrangements and styles of letters until I was satisfied. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the absolute worst patch of wood in the whole block. Instead of cutting, it was cracking. Tried making fixes with glue, but things kept getting worse, so in the end I cut it all away and ended up with a blank box. I'll use color/value to deal with it in the final piece.

Having wasted an hour on that last part, I considered putting off the first proof for another day, but I really wanted to see it and the sooner it's printed, the sooner it will be dry enough to color. So I got out the ink and piece of Rives Heavyweight, inked up the block and pulled a proof. The process took more than an hour, mostly because of all that night sky. First proofs always take longer to fully ink, and large areas of solid black are especially difficult. The result can be seen below.

In general I like how it's turned out so far. It reads well, and the shadow effect seems to be working. The contrast is very extreme right now, but that will even out a bit when I start coloring. I will probably make a few minor adjustments before the next printing (tomorrow or Thursday, which still keeps me on pace for the Belmar show in October) , but except for using okawara paper, it won't look much different from this.

A Moment of Appreciation

Is there a more beautiful red than the color of ripe Jersey tomatoes? If so, I've never seen it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 16

Today's task was to finish off all the figures on the boardwalk. What's tricky here is that this is a night scene, and most of the figures should be at least partly in shadow. Drawing shadows is easy if you have the subject right in front of you. It's not quite as easy if you are inventing the subjects, the setting, and the lighting. So I'm doing a lot of educated guessing. And while I could have just cut out everything completely and dealt with shadows in the coloring, I had made the decision that I'd like to get a lot of it with black ink. My Labor Day night time observations demonstrated how heavy the shadows can be on a dark boardwalk. I cut the girl to the right first (see above), then the police officer on the far left and those things around him (bike, couple/bench, woman with stroller). After that the distant figures by the restroom, and the cluster of larger figures in the middle. Two hours later I was done. I took a rubbing of the whole thing to see if I missed anything (just minor stuff) and to check the value balance. The whole block in its current state can be seen below.

There are still a few minor things to deal with- details revealed by the rubbing, some items on the cop's uniform, and I'll give myself until the next time in the Studio to decide what I'm going to do about the dark spot on the Don's Pizza overhang. But those things will take minutes to cut, and I should be ready to print right after that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 15

Getting close to finishing this block. Today I tackled what was the most difficult part remaining- various interiors of businesses in the row of buildings. After a quick lunch from across the street (a chili dog from the Windmill that was a delicious as it was messy) I started at the far right of the block, the balloon game. I cut the balloons (popped and unpopped) in the background, the prizes hanging above the player (last seen in the first print from this series), and the dart thrower. Then it was the pizza place- after taking the time to draw in all the lettering for the menu board on the wall, I cut that, the walls and floor, the girl behind the counter and the kid buying a soda, the counter facing (with new pattern drawn today), and the customer eating a slice. Next was the t-shirt shop- the rack of shirts, some signs, and the customer. And I cut a tiny bit of block that includes a business at the far end of the row. (In my mind it's an ice cream stand, but there's nothing visible to say that.)

Two things remain to be dealt with in the right panel, the little girl with the ice cream, and that part of the pizza place overhang. With the latter, it's mostly because I still haven't decided what to do with it yet. I like having a dark shape there, so that might impact what I do. What remains on the left side is mostly figures. I need to consider shadow patterns on all of them, but otherwise it should go quickly, so I should be finished after the next session.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taking a Break

I'm now in week 2 of the fall semester, which means we're actually learning and doing stuff now. And I still have my other part time job so it feels like I'm constantly running around. So even though I could have easily chosen to stay home this evening and nap, I decided to go draw with the figure group in Belmar. Not my best night, but not too bad. The 20 minute drawing above was my best of the night.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 14

I put in a few hours on the block today, starting by redrawing some of the boards in the boardwalk center section, then cut all the remaining visible parts of the boardwalk, as seen above. I was enjoying the particular album I had on the cd player, so I continued with a few more things on the right side panel. These would be bits of floor inside two businesses, and (having first redesigned it) part of the overhang- the "POP"- at the very far right. (see below)

The whole block in its current state can be seen below. What remains is some more building interiors and all the figures. At last night's crit I was asked about those figures, if I am going to completely cut them out for color (like all the other figures in this series to date) or leave some or all as dark silhouttes. I told them that the plan was to use the cutting to create a lot of shadows- using the black ink of the block, as opposed to just dark watercolors. This would be worked out based on where the figures are relative to the light sources in the image and to the viewer's position. If I can get all this done by the weekend then I'm still on target for my deadline.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September Critique Night

This month's critique group had been postponed a week to get away from Labor Day, so the meeting was tonight. We had nine participants tonight, eight of whom brought art to show. Above are paintings by Vince.

Two groups of small paintings, by Mary (top row) and Katie (second row)

Adam set up some of his manipulated cardboard boxes in a basement hallway.

Molly showed two landscape drawings done with india ink, while Jill had a recent painting that was based on a collage she had created.

Finally, Guido showed a still life painting and I put up my latest boardwalk block in progress.

As always, everyone had a good time and is looking forward to the next one in October.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 13

Today's session included cutting in different parts of the block. On the left side (above) I cut the restroom building and some items in the deep background, including the ferris wheel and parts of the amusement pier. For the wheel I decided to just go with dots along all the main lines, which should read as individual lights on a distant structure. (if I need to, I can always turn those into continuous lines later) I had to spend a lot of time redrawing some minor figures, and I tried many variations on board patterns for the boardwalk before I settled on what I did. (different from any of the patterns seen in earlier photos) That didn't leave me much time to cut out those boards, but I did complete a section from the right panel (see below) in front of the pizza place. Next time around I'll finish cutting the rest of the boards, and maybe move on to the building interiors. The figures will be dealt with last.

After cleaning up my stuff, I took a walk into Asbury Park to check out the Oyster Festival. Food, music, rides, arts and crafts, etc. As I walked along the row of arts, I saw some familiar graphics, which I recognized as the work of Michelle Bernard, friend of the Studio. She had a variety of hand made and mass manufactured items for sale. After a brief visit I continued up the line and saw a sign for Drive By Press, run by former midwesterner Greg Nanney, now happy to be based out of North Jersey. I don't know if he was down this way because I had passed his contact info on to some local arts people, or if he learned about it during one of his summer visits to the beach in Asbury, but it's always good to meet up with someone connected to the Outlaw Printmakers. He expects to make some return visits in the coming weeks, so maybe he'll have a chance to visit the Studio.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 12

I had an errand that I had to take care of late this morning, one that would take me to within a short ride from the Studio. Therefore it made sense to work some cutting time into my schedule for the day. That time ended up being just a little over an hour, but I'm trying to meet a deadline and every bit of time helps. I continued work on the building exteriors, finishing the counter and front of the balloon game in the lower right, and working my way down the row in the other direction, cutting the t-shirt shop, the tattoo studio, and some tiny unidentified buildings beyond those, carrying me into the left panel. I went as far as to cut out a distant amusement park ride before I had to quit and get to my next location.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 11

Had a few spare hours in my schedule today, so that meant a few hours to get into the Studio to continue on the block. Today's efforts were all on the right side, working on the exterior of the main building. I made a few decisions and acted on them; other decisions I'll put off until next time I'm there. The above photo shows the right panel in its current state.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 10

Today was the start of real cutting on the new block. But before that, I did spend about half an hour drawing- adding details, fixing issues, etc. When I did begin cutting, I started with the fireworks in the upper left. My design called for two simultaneous bursts, very easy to represent in woodcut. However, that would still leave a whole lot of black sky, very heavy in the composition. My solution (I hope) is to surround the fireworks with smoke. When you watch fireworks, the flashes of light usually reveal the drifting smoke resulting from all the combustion. In the image above, those clouds really stand out bright against the black, but the plan is to color them with some deep dark colors- not nearly as bright as the fireworks themselves, but just colorful enough to break up the huge expanse of sky. I'll know if it works in a few weeks.

I decided to continue cutting along the top part of the composition. I quickly finished off the large streetlight just to the left of the fireworks (see top photo) and then moved over to the right side panel and cut the two major rooftop signs, as seen above. Below is a photo of the whole block in its current state.

So far the wood is cutting nicely, but things will slow down a bit as I get into the more detailed areas of the composition.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 9

One of those days where I took care of lots of little tasks, but I found time for some art. I added some text to signs on the right side, and made a few minor adjustments. The most obvious change is that I began the cutting. Just the outer borders, but it gets that boring part out of the way. I'll still need to fix a few more things, but I'll take care of those next time, before I start cutting the interior.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 8

Been feeling the effects of a cold the last few days, so I brought the block home from the Studio yesterday, in case I wanted to stay home and work on it. So today I mostly relaxed on the couch, and did a little bit of drawing, adding the last major figure.

I had always planned to include a police officer or two in this particular image. There is usually one around somewhere during the day, but the numbers tend to increase at night. (if you don't know why, go watch MTV) The bigger boardwalks can support vehicular traffic, so sometimes you'll see an actual patrol car on the boards, but more common are officers on bicycles. Last night while I was waiting for the fireworks to begin, one such mounted cop came up near where the band was playing and I did some quick reference sketches as he stood watching the music, at least as much as I could do with both he and me in the dark. This afternoon I roughed in a figure (see above) in the lower left corner of the block- not exactly any of the poses I sketched, but I was able to put some of last night's observations to use. Below is a view of the whole block as it looks today.

As I said, this is likely the last major figure. I might be able squeeze in one or two more in the background, but the space is getting pretty full. And I still have to fill in some signs on the right side panel and refine a few things everywhere in the composition. Still, I think I'll be ready to start cutting in the next few days, with my goal still to be getting an acceptable proof done in time for an October show.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 7

I was able to spend several hours in the Studio this afternoon, and made a lot of changes to the block. Almost every figure that I had previously drawn was reworked to some extent, some of them entirely redrawn. And I added 10 more figures, large and small. The space is starting to fill in nicely. Certainly a few more figures will be added, and some of these may be further modified, but the end is in sight.

In the evening I took care of some other related business. Unlike the previous prints in this series, this image is set at night, which means that the light is going to be different throughout. I decided I could use more information and so this evening I took a little walk to the beach. My town does fireworks displays on or near the three major summer holidays, and tonight was the night for the Labor Day weekend fireworks. I wanted to see the effect of electric lights on a boardwalk, and I figured that this stretch seen above would be a decent approximation. I also wanted to know if the fireworks would add any changes to how things would look at night. As for the latter, while exploding fireworks made a big difference in the lighting for the crowds on the beach, for those on under the streetlights there was no significant difference. I'll keep all that in mind when I'm cutting and coloring this print.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Boardwalk Nights part 6

Quite a few changes and additions since last time. As expected, I changed the signs on the pizza building in the right panel, moving the text on the overhang to the wall itself, and replacing what I erased with new words. I think this is how it will end up. I also started filling in more of the signs on the buildings along that row. The other big change was to start putting in figures throughout the composition. I like it much better now that there are a few people around. Many more will be added (and some of these will be reworked), but it gives an idea where this is going.