Monday, October 12, 2015

The Critique Returns

September saw something that had never happened before- the decision to not hold a monthly meeting of the critique group.  Doing things on the first Monday of the month means we run into a lot of holidays, plus we had start of the semester stuff, and neither Molly or I could commit to a day, so we decided that rather than go deep into September, just skip a few weeks and go for early October.

Of course, Molly couldn't make the first Monday of October it turned out, but she was very excited that we had it scheduled this week and talked about all the people who were coming.  Still, I can't say that I'm surprised that she didn't make it.  I was there plenty early, taking advantage of my big work table to grade some drawings.  As the participants drifted in, I got updates she had texted them, all of which related to various disasters that would keep her away for the evening.  Like I said, no surprise and we had an plans made to cover the situation.

One of the plans for tonight was to discuss a collaborative project.  I vaguely remember this was brought up a few months ago, but I am fond of such things so I'm sure I would have supported doing it.  I mentioned it in my e-mail reminders, so some came prepared for that.  Above we were gathered around a large watercolor piece from Harriet, half finished with no plan, so something that could be up for grabs.  Below is an old mixed media piece from Christina, something she had abandoned years ago, though after we discussed it, she had some ideas.

Over the years I have done a lot of collaborative artworks, and brought before and after versions of one of the pieces from the international For Love Not Money show.  The idea that one artist could make copies of something to be exchanged and be contributed to by many intrigued some.  Old news to print makers.

Not everything was geared toward the collaborative project.  In the photo below, the two brightly colored pieces in the back are mixed media pieces from Edy, and the traditional looking watercolors are from Jane, who recently discovered she can do them and enjoys them.  Both were interested in group reactions so we gave them plenty to think about.

Other than the 5 year old postcard images, I had brought my color study for the recent Halloween show.  Not too exciting.  For those who made it, still a fun evening, and maybe we'll have more to report in November.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Dark Of Night Reception

Tonight was the opening reception for the Dark of Night show in Belmar, which includes a print of mine, seen in the lower right hand corner of the above photo.  I figure about 60 to 70 people came through- not a huge crowd but decent.  Not many people were talking about the art on the walls, so I was in more conversations about woodcut in general than my specific contribution.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Dark Exhibition

New Jersey is currently preparing for another hurricane season, especially with the news reporting non-stop on the latest one.  Joachin could still make landfall here in the state, or may hit south of us, or pass a few hundred miles off shore, so at minimum we'll get a bunch of rain around here.  Luckily I have nothing major on the schedule for the next few days, but I have still taken care of some needed business  before the big storms arrives.

Today I stopped by the Boatworks to check out the new Dark of Night exhibition.  There will be an official reception to open the show on October 10th (which means we end up bypassing the hurricane), but it has been open to the public for about a week now.  And there is my piece, part of the 40+ works in the show.

A member who was present today had some nice things to say about my contribution, finding the approach to horror more subtle than most works there, many of which have the feel of Halloween decorations.  As I said previously, there was no intention of horror in the original woodcut, and my changes for this version were minor.  Alan Moore wrote Saga of the Swamp Thing for several years in the 1980's, widely regarded as both one of the best written and scariest comics books of the era.  In an interview at the time he mentioned that his success was partly due to taking nothing for granted.  You couldn't just, say, put vampires or werewolves in a story and conclude that since those things are scary, the story would be.  No, it was up to him (with the assistance of his artist collaborators) to actually make the story scary.  Horror is not a focus of my work, but I have long considered him an influence because of that approach to creation, making sure everything works and contributes to the art, not just settling for the easiest solution and being done with it.  Plus, I feel that things you have to think about provide a more intense reaction than the obvious.