Thursday, April 29, 2010

Son of For Love Not Money part 6- Finished

After receiving the e-mail from Nanci yesterday I decided I should get the card in my possession finished quickly, so she can see it and I can get it on its way. After considering the experiments I tried on a color photocopy of the card, I decided to try similar things on this card. A white pencil was used on the cat on the right and the garbage can behind them to obscure some of the original image, enough to help my additions stand out against the background. A dark gray was used on the left side cat, and a few other bits of color here and there. I can't think of any way to improve it beyond this state, so I'm going to declare it done and move on.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Return of For Love Not Money

Through the wonders of e-mail, my carousel postcard for the For Love Not Money project has returned to me after an interesting journey. Nanci Hersh sent me the image today, showing how she added to the image I put on the card. (for those who need a reminder, the original version of my card can be seen here.) Looks like she put the carousel back in its building, in addition to some other changes. The flags on the new kissing booth look a lot like ones that existed in an earlier version of my drawing.

By tomorrow I'll decide for sure if I'm going to add anything else to the card she sent me, and if so, do it, so I can photograph it and send her an image, as well as get the actual card to its next stop.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Son of For Love Not Money part 5

After work today I made the short trip to the Studio to print my new block. First step was to print a proof of the image on plain paper (a scrap of Okawara in this case), which can be seen above. Pretty much what I expected.

Next step was to practice printing it on the image. I took one of the photocopies I had made, used my paper cutter to trim it to the exact size of the original card, and printed the block on top of it. No fancy registration system- I just matched up an upper corner. The results looked good, so I moved on to the real card.

I was slightly nervous printing this last one, since I had only the one shot at getting it right, but it worked perfectly. The current state of the card can be seen above. I'm not sure if it's done or not. My addition is mostly line drawings, allowing the original image to be seen through, especially in the cat on the right and the garbage can. I could (after the ink dries) go back in and cover up some of those marks. Maybe with colored pencils, which wouldn't completely eliminate the underneath stuff, but obscure it enough to give the cats and can a more solid feeling. On the other hand, the earlier elements don't necessarily inhabit a logical space, so my additions don't have to either. And leaving all those elements in emphasizes the experimental and collaborative nature of the project. I can play around with one of my other photocopies, and if I like the results, do the same on the real card. If not, what I have done right now is a pretty nice piece of art.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Son of For Love Not Money part 4

I made the decision to keep both cats in the image. And since there are two, I figured I'd make them look a little more like Scooter and Romeo, my parents' cats. I had room for one more item and went with the garbage can (vintage foot pedal model) over a food dish.

Then up at the Studio I dealt with the rest of the process. It didn't take long to cut the block; it's only 5"x8". I took a couple of rubbings, one of which can be seen immediately above. I'll proof it tomorrow, and if that looks good, print it onto the postcard I received from Nanci. It should be dry enough to mail out by the end of the coming week.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Son of For Love Not Money part 3

Been an incredibly busy week at my various jobs, keeping me out of the Studio. I wasn't given a definite deadline for finishing this postcard, but I have to think Eileen needs it as soon as possible, so I gave it a bit of thought whenever I had a spare moment. I even brought some other opinions in on the process. I showed the original to a co-worker at my day job, someone who has an arts background. At first she had no idea what to make of the image. When I told her that one of my associations for the checkerboard pattern was a tile floor, something finally clicked. She suggested that the tea bags were on the floor, having missed landing in a nearby kitchen garbage can. Sharing the floor, a dog bowl, if not the dog itself, and maybe a bit of other furniture. I liked the idea of a pet as a reinforcement of the "for love not money" concept, not obvious from the tea bags themselves if you don't know the back story.

I thought it was a promising idea, though I changed the dog to a cat. Anyone who knows me knows I am more a dog person than a cat person, but these days I have more direct exposure to cats (my parents' cats make regular visits to my house) and I could see the mysterious objects at the center of the composition as something that would attract their curiosity. I made some photocopies of the card to sketch on. Above is one of the early versions- a cat/kitten above and to the left of the tea bags, a garbage can (foot pedal operated) to the right, and a pet food dish up top between them.

Today I brought this to the Studio. I prepared a small block of wood, and set it aside. Next I took one of the photocopies and traced the reversed image on the back. Over this I pencilled another version of the same combination of cat, food dish, and garbage can, shown immediately above.

I transfered the tea bag part of the design to the wood and sketched them in. Not quite sure which side I wanted the cat on, I put one on each side, as seen below. Having seen that, I am now considering leaving both cats in and maybe skipping the other stuff. I'll sleep on it, make a decision tomorrow, and get cutting.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Son of For Love Not Money part 2

Got home from work today and found this in my mailbox, a postcard from Nanci Hersh. A few days ago she had told me the story behind the image in an e-mail. As I did with my piece, she made use of on ongoing theme/project of hers when she came up with the idea for the postcard. For me it was the boardwalk, and for her it's the tea bags, the tea referring to commitment, ritual, history, and commerce. (the current political association came after she started her series)

Not sure yet what I will do with this. Tea bags are not one of my big subjects. Maybe something with the checker pattern. She identifies it as a chess board, though I can also see it as tile floor of the type I've used in some of my images from time to time. I'll give myself a few days to think about it, then try to get something done by the weekend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 33

Put in some more time on the current proof this afternoon. More skin and hair, some pieces of clothing. I can't say that I love all of today's additions. Sometimes the only way to find out what works is to see what doesn't. I'll consider the matter for a while before I do anything else. If I decide to change any of today's coloring, at least this heavier paper can stand up to it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Son of For Love Not Money

A few days ago was the extended deadline for sending the For Love Not Money postcards, our collaboration complete, to the local collection point. This I have not done because my assigned collaborator on Mauritius never sent one. In fact, it seems that the entire printmaking community of Mauritius has gone AWOL, leaving a dozen or so people with no idea if anything happened with the cards we sent there, or if any cards would ever arrive from there. So organizer Eileen Foti offered a backup plan to at least a few of us from her group who were looking forward to being part of this project- interstate collaborations. I have been teamed up with another PCNJ based printmaker, Nanci Hersh. Today we each mailed copies of our cards to each other, with the plan of quickly adding something to them and sending them on to Eileen, who will then send them to Estonia. Not quite as exciting as collaborating around the world, but at least we both get to be part of this big international project. Nanci e-mailed me a preview of her card to consider, but I'll wait to post an image here until after I receive the actual card itself.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

A pleasant surprise came in today's mail- the local weekly newspaper with a photo of me and my contribution to the current juried show at the Belmar Arts Council. Considering how many photos were taken that day, it's quite an honor that mine was one of two that were chosen for the paper. My print looks good in the photo, and they spelled my name right, but the caption refers to my piece as a "painting". Well, you blog readers all know the truth.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 32

Made some significant additions to the current proof today. In the sky I put in two layers of color, something seen commonly in the original ukiyo-e prints. It's something I've done a few times in the series so far, but in those cases the sky was just a tiny piece of image. In this one it's a third of the whole diptych. I put blue at the top, and a pale yellow along the bottom (through and above the rail fence), with a gap of plain paper in between. I may play around with the location of the transition line and the exact yellow hue, but I think the idea is good. I also added bits of other color, some pieces of clothing and some flesh tones. It's coming along.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 31

Swung by the Studio for a little while after work, long enough to add a little color to the proof in progress. Considered four greens from my collection of premixed colors and selected the one seen above. I think it works. And having the green in makes it easier to understand what's going on immediately behind the fence. I also added some more bits of blue and red. The last really big thing left is the sky, which will likely look to ukiyo-e prints for inspiration. After that I can color the clown and clothes in whatever way works best for the composition.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 30

Time to start the coloring on the new print. I decided to begin with some of the colors from the actual course, as seen in the old photo. My first step was to color the boards of the boardwalk. There's a lot of complex cutting in the area around the fence, so sometimes it was difficult to determine what was boardwalk and what was part of a golf hole. Next were the frames around the holes, which caused me to have to reassign some of those spots. But now I think it's all sorted out. I kept the original color scheme of red on the sides (inside and outside) of all the frames and white on the tops. The red along the top of the picket fence is also based on the photo. On the other hand, the red and white checkerboard pattern on the side of the platform in front of the fish is a slight change- the actual platform is just plain white, with the pattern based on something from another hole on the course. From there I went to the big bluefish, once again using the colors scheme from the photo. Used the same colors (for now) on the loop on the opposite panel, an obstacle I made up. The next major thing is all the golf greens, but I need to decide which shade of green will work best with the palette so far.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Juried Show Reception in Belmar

After my time time in the Studio this afternoon I drove to Belmar for the opening reception for the 6th Annual Jersey Shore Juried Art Show. As is typical for this show, we had a big crowd, somewhere between two and three hundred was the estimate, a constant flow all afternoon. No prize for me this time around, but my piece still got plenty of attention and compliments. More photos from the exhibition can be seen on the BAC blog. The show remains on display through April 30th for all those who want to check it out.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 29

The proof of the new block that I pulled this past Monday was on Rives Heavyweight, a paper that can stand up to repeated layers of coloring, sometimes necessary as I work out the color choices for the first time. There were a few minor flaws with that proof, as is common with first proofs, nothing that will keep me from using it as intended. Today I printed a second proof on Okawara, the paper I'm using for the finished prints. Before inking I made some very minor cuts, cleaning up a few things. I took more care with the inking itself this time around. The resulting print is a little nicer than the first. It will have plenty of time to dry while I start my coloring process over the next few days.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Next Generation

Tonight my 2D students printed their woodcut projects. The bad news is that only five of them came prepared to print tonight. The good news is that the resulting prints are pretty good (for first time woodcutters), as you can see above.

Monday, April 05, 2010

New and Old Faces in the Studio

Wasn't sure what to expect with tonight's meeting of the critique group. No one had replied to any of my e-mail reminders, and a number of the regulars had said they didn't expect to be there. On the other hand, I had promoted it to my students, and if any showed up I'd like to have a few artists there for them to look at. Just before 7 pm Molly called to see if I heard anything yet. Not then, but a few minutes into hand printing the new block a few came through the door. Then a few more and a few more. When we started about quarter past 7, we had 12 people in attendance, though only 5 presenting art. The photo above shows (from left to right) Adam's sculpture, paintings from Edy, ceramics from Dean, and mixed media artworks from Mary. Later I would put my new print up on the board in place of something discussed previously. Adam brought a couple of friends new to the critique, and two of my college students showed up with what I assume were their dates. With only 5 artists showing we could give everyone a little more discussion time. Reactions to my new print were generally positive. Next time everyone sees it there will be color on it.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 28

A busy day with this and that. Had an early dinner then drove up to the Studio. Before the April critique group I wanted to get a proof of the current block. First I did some last bits of cutting. Then the inking. The block still has a little bit of a warp in it, making rolling the ink a little tricky in spots, but it got done. I pulled one proof on Rives Heavyweight, seen above. The ink is a little uneven in spots (as is typical in first proofs), but it's good enough to see how it turned out. The critique group had just gotten started as I was finishing this one, so I didn't have time to pull an second. I'll do one or two of those on okawara later in the week.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 27

Back to the Studio today to continue on the current block. I cut all the skin/hair areas of the remaining figures (all on the right side). Then I started cutting some other things. I decided to cut out the vertical light poles, but for now I'm leaving the back fence black. I started doing clothing after that. Some articles of clothing have been left black for now. Some will remain that way, others will be cut to make way for color, but I want to consider the problem for a while first. Still, I'm on target to have a proof to show at next week's critique.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 26

My afternoon errands took a little longer than expected, resulting in less time than I had expected for today's Studio session. But every hour I work gets me closer to the finish. I worked on figures today, cutting out all the skin and hair areas on those that I did. For now I didn't cut out any of the clothes. When I get done with everything else I'll go back and decide what stays black and what gets cut for color. Next time I'll bring the rest of the figures to this level, and whatever else I have time for.

Scholarly Pursuits

Over the past week I've devoted a bit of time to helping someone with their homework. The reason is that my artwork is apparently a significant part of the homework. Someone currently studying at the Princeton Theological Seminary is working on a project involving artistic adaptations of wisdom books from the Bible, and his internet search turned up my Ecclesiastes series. Got an e-mail about a week ago requesting more information, images, etc. A few days ago I e-mailed him a statement that (I hope) answered a lot of his questions about my interest in the book, and how and why I produced my series. Today I put together a mailing that included a bunch of postcards and photos of some popular prints from the set, as well as some relevant paperwork relating to the series. Sent it on its way to Princeton this afternoon. I was invited to actually come speak to the class as well, but my schedule won't allow that. Above are two prints from the series- All is vanity and a chase after the wind (2000) and The sun rises and the sun goes down (2002).

Lost At Sea

April 1st has come and gone, and some may have noticed that there haven't been any updates on the For Love Not Money project. I got my starting half out in the mail on time, e-mailed a photo of it to my collaborator to allow him a head start thinking about it, and sat back to wait for the one he's starting to arrive in my home mailbox. About two weeks later I received an e-mail from my counterpart on Mauritius saying he received the e-mail, and was excited by the image I was sending, but he hadn't received the actual card yet. That wasn't a huge surprise- it may take a while for mail to reach the tiny island. He also said that he hadn't actually finished making one to send me. That bothered me a bit more, since I was supposed to be done adding to whatever he sends me by April 1st.

With no new news, I sent a couple of e-mails to Mauritius in early March, requesting an update on either card. Never heard back. Mid-March I sent an update to our organizer, letting her know what was going on and that I had doubts about the deadline. Turned out I wasn't the only one having this problem- a lot of the printmakers from Mauritius were not keeping their end up. She extended our deadline to mid-April and promised to contact their organizer to see if they could be prodded back to work. Whether it will bring results remains to be seen, but I'll post an update when I know something.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


The Belmar Arts Council is in the process of putting together the 6th Annual Statewide Juried Art show. It was the 2nd Annual that was introduction to the organization (I joined at the same time that I submitted work to it), and I've been in all subsequent editions, including winning Best In Show a few years ago. Artists can submit up to two works, but at most only one will be in the show, and with the large number of applicants each year there is no guarantee of that. Last weekend was the intake for the show and I submitted two prints- a Floating World print (Wheel Game) , and my large A History of Art print (seen above), neither of which has been shown there before.

I was a little concerned yesterday when I got an e-mail from the committee organizing this year's show, stating that I would not be included in this year's exhibition, and that I needed to come pick up my work. This show traditionally draws a wide variety of entries in terms of style, medium, and quality, and based on this I believed that the jurors would certainly choose to include one of mine. When I left the Studio today I stopped by the Boatworks on the way home to pick up my work. As it turned out, the e-mail was not quite properly worded- the rejection was just for one piece, but the other was in. When I got home later I found a new e-mail confirming this.

So the piece above, A History of Art, is the one that was chosen. The exhibition will open with a reception on April 10th from 3 to 5 pm, and will remain on display through April 30th. I'll post further details as I learned them.

Boardwalk Mini Golf part 25

I put in a few more hours on the golf block this afternoon. Today it was the picket fence, cutting out all the pieces of wood. That takes the cutting process almost to the end. After I got it to the state seemed above, I took a rubbing on newsprint. Results of that can be seen below.

Molly and Adam were both in the Studio as I was doing this and I showed it to them. They both liked it. Adam really liked the effect of the black figure shapes, seeing them as mysterious shadow figures. Molly agreed that it was interesting, particularly because the clown is the only light figure among the dark shapes, though she understands why I won't be leaving them in this state. I will be cutting out these figures to some extent, but how much remains to be decided. In the original photo the light is coming from behind the golf course, and I can choose to emphasize that through the choice of colors- generally darker skin/hair/clothes won't be as extreme as the all black shapes, but might still result in a similar effect. Something to consider when I'm coloring these in a few weeks.