Sunday, March 31, 2019

TV catching up again

Once again the television was talking about art, but it wasn't new to me.  It was the Sunday morning show on CBS, which I have written about before.  Turned it on when I got home from shopping this morning and it was in progress, a story about how many scientists are looking to nature for ideas as to how to do things.  Certainly not a new concept or process, probably been going on as long as people have been on earth.  A classic modern example is velcro, which holds things together with tiny hooks and barbs that can be easily hooked onto any complex surface- borrowed from plant seeds that can hitch rides on clothes, animal fur, or anything that passes through where they are.

When I was first asked to teach 3D design, which is not something I ever studied in detail in my education, I decided to try to figure out what it was.  Began with art history textbooks, looking at the origins and development of sculpture, from the earliest cave art to the present.  As with 2D art, it all seems to start with what was around people in the world.  One of the assignments I developed had students select a skeleton (human or animal), reproduce it as a relief by cutting it out of foam core and then attaching it to a background, then make something else that shared shapes of positive and negative space but was definitely not the skeleton.  Below is a student example, white foam core attached to a black background, which emphasized the skeletal shape more than a white background would, so I allowed it.    In this case, the student found an image of a flying fish skeleton, and then came up with the shared relationship to an ear of corn.


Ears of corn are not natural things, but a development of agriculture to make it easier to harvest and transport the mature crop.  The kernels of corn attached tightly to the cob, the elaborate layers of husk around them, mean that modern hybridized corn isn't much of a volunteer crop, but requires individual planting by humans.  So while an ear of corn is a plant, it is also an artifact.  Neither me nor the student were suggesting that corn ears were designed to look like flying fish skeletons, just a coincidence in this case.  But the idea that animal skeletons are great design is real.  Skeletons provide protection to soft internal organs and provide a means to manipulate and move through the environment, and generally do it very well.  I consider the existence of living things over millions of years to be the ultimate proof of the success of their design, an idea the news show made reference to.   Flying fish developed over time from fish that didn't fly, but over many years they came up with long spread bones with skin draped over them (just as birds and bats did) which allowed them to move short distances though the air, allowing more travel, escape, hunting or whatever they do with this skill.  And they continue to live and do it, so it works and they found a niche on earth to do it.  Lessons from nature.

I am of the belief that our aesthetics are derived from all that is around us, our ideas of beauty come from what we experience.  Skeletons have functioning proportions, make use of positive and negative space, thus a starting point of art.

The same show later had story about the latest attempt to bring back the Twilight Zone, part of a streaming service I think.   It's been tried before, but has never caught on.  The original show was one of the greatest in the history of television.  Still in syndication, and an influence on the art I have made.  But I think much of that had to do with the person who created it almost 60 years ago, his background, the nature of television then, the world.  All stuff that has changed.  I wish them luck; the world needs some better quality television.  But I have doubts regarding their chance of success.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Circus part 17

It's been about a week since I last worked on the Circus print, so I've had a little time to think about the results.  Generally I am pleased with the image, but things could be better.  Which is pretty much how it goes with artworks.

I think it's on the right track.  If the colors aren't perfect, they are not bad, and that can be figured out as I go.

There was one thing that was bothering me a bit, the inside of the cardboard tray that holds the crab sandwich.  In cutting it I left a bit of shading, fine vertical lines that give it a noticeably darker tone on the left side than the back, which is brightly lit white.  In a purely black and white woodcut this would be a logical way to handle the value differences between light and shadow.  But this piece is intended as a color piece from the start, and while I can add color to a shaded area like on that left side of the tray, it would still be much too dark to fit logically with the rest of the image. The shading should be done with color, which means some of that ink has got to go.  So today I put in a little time fixing up the block.

I brought my set of student tools with me today.  First priority was fixing that shaded area, which in the block photo (above) is in the lower right corner.  Didn't want to take it all out, but I did cut out many of the black lines that had been in there.  I'll consider the results before the next proof is taken.  I also cleaned up some of the fried food, though mostly it was just recutting things that had been cut originally, but had taken some ink.  In the same way I went back into the clowns in the roof sign, cleaned them up, and then I removed some bits that had made stray marks in my first proof, in the architecture, the car reflection.  As I said above, I'll consider the results a little before I either cut any more or pull the next proof, but I definitely think it has been improved.  

While I was up there today I took a brief break to go up to the 1st floor with the tools and my block and proof and talk to Nichole.  More discussions on a possible woodcut class, and this way she could physically see some of what I was talking about, such as the tools that I typically provide to a class, which is why I brought the student tools today instead of my personal set.  We also talked about the way the class breaks down week by week, best hours, and she raised the possibility of the building buy some woodcut tools to provide the students in class, and to have me build them some sturdy tables  for the space where classes might be held.  (I assume these could be used for other classes as well) Lots to be considered there, but I guess it's a sign they are serious about holding some art classes there, which strikes me as a good idea.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019 Kean Faculty Exhibition on location

The East Meets West show has another month to go, but that's not the only show going.  I have another one happening soon and this past week I put in a lot of work toward it.

Back last fall during the reception for the Kean Faculty Exhibition I was approached by one of our few full time art faculty left and invited to be part of another related show.  It turned out that our department had received an invitation to exhibit at the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences.  A little surprising as Union is nowhere near Long Beach Island, but apparently this arts organization has been doing such shows with other New Jersey schools and now it's our turn.  One reason I was asked was because I am actually a Jersey Shore resident, so closer to the location than most of the faculty.  I expressed a willingness, and shortly after that e-mails went out to a bunch of people requesting information for such a show, which I provided.  I knew the show was tentatively scheduled for some time in April.

And then I heard nothing for a long time.  A few weeks ago I was talking to another professor who lives down here in Monmouth County, who will also be part of this show, and he asked me if I knew anything yet.  Wanted to start setting up his schedule for the spring and I don't blame him. So I sent an e-mail to my original contact, who assured me it was happening as planned, despite the lack of communication from the host.  Over the weekend we finally got the first official request from the gallery for exhibition information, so I guess it's going to happen.

Back last fall when I agreed to be part of it I had to consider what I would be sending.  Artists are always concerned with how we schedule things.  Because this is a faculty show, I figured I should treat it as such and select work with the same concerns as I would for pieces in our department gallery.  So basically, things of a certain level of quality that I haven't shown in a faculty show yet.  In our department gallery I would be at least a little concerned with work that would be beneficial for the students to see, but I don't know if any of our students will be making that trip to LBI.  The one group that I expect to see the show will be my fellow faculty (at least the ones in the show), so I want to show things that they will respect. And of course I had to make sure there was no conflict with any other show I have at the same time, like that East Meets West show.

In the end I selected two pieces, which is about the number they figure they need from everybody.  I wanted one black and white piece, as these are very typical of printmaking and tend to show off my skills with details and space.  I went with Death on the Highway, which I had shown recently in the tenants show in Ocean Grove.  It was well liked in that location, so I figured it would work further down the shore as well.  Plus, it was already in a frame, ready to go.

Over the past several years I have chosen a number of the Boardwalk prints for those faculty shows- they are well made, a subject recognizable to gallery visitors and appreciated by them, large and bold enough to really hold a wall, and a good size to transport and hang in a show.  Checked through the blog to see which ones I have shown in this exhibition before, and found one I hadn't, but still a good one to show, which turned out to be the arcade scene, based on my memories and impressions of Belmar Playland, a large beachfront arcade that was torn down around the time I moved to the area.

I could never find any photos of the arcade anywhere on the internet (this was the pre-digital age) and it had closed for good before I could go do a recent observation.   So I collected memories from other people, plus my own many visits as a child, and visits to other surviving boardwalk arcades as I was beginning this series.  I was surprised at how these places did not seem that fun.  There was still skee- ball lanes, which I always enjoyed, and some claw machines, which never interested me, but most of the games that might require some skills (shooting, air hockey, pinball, and even early video games) were now replaced with dance games or quarter drop games, where quarters are converted to tickets that can be turned in for prizes, but the good prizes would take a whole season's worth of tickets.  My guess is that home video games are now more sophisticated than what arcades would have (not the case in my youth), so kids are less likely to pump a lot of quarters into them.  My print has a lot of detail, implies space, includes the highlights (as I see them) of such places.  It's called The Floating World: Boardwalk Arcade.

And with my art choices made, I set it all aside for a while.  Had lots of other things to deal with the past few months.  Then over the weekend we finally heard form the LBI host, and now I had a reason to get more done.  We were asked to provide an artist statement and bio, so I typed those up.  Can knock those out in my sleep.  I don't know if these images meet whatever needs they think they have, but at least they'll know what to expect, and if they want something more, I have unframed copies to rephotograph.  We were forwarded a name and contact information, and an online loan form, which I will attempt to deal with in the next few days.

As of now, the show is scheduled to open on April 16, 2019, and run through May 19, 2019, when there will be a closing reception.  That way we don't have to go back down there again.  (for someone like me who lives in the shore area, it's still quite a journey; for those from North Jersey or NYC, it's a round trip that will take hours)  So I had to write all that stuff, revise it, and the boardwalk piece I chose is the one that wasn't framed, so I had to swap it for one that isn't going.  At least I didn't have to cut a new mat.  Delivery is still a few weeks away.  If I learn anything more, I'll pass it on.

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019 NCAA Tournament of Art part 2

Having reached the first break in the Tournament, this is the appropriate time to check the results.  So far, not so good.  I started with 3 official art schools, and now I am down to one- LSU has made it through to the Sweet 16.  I guess it could have been worse.  My general basketball predictions have not been so great either.  Percentage-wise, it's a little better- as 10 of my Sweet 16 picks were right, and of the games yet to be played, only a few have already been eliminated, though my brackets have a bit more red ink than I would like to see.  Most of what I have predicted can still come true, though other than seeing how I did, not particularly interesting games from where I stand.  I guess that frees up more time for other stuff.

Friday, March 22, 2019

East Meets West Reception

After what seems like years of effort, the East Meets West exhibition is up on the walls, and there was an opening reception for the show.  The host, the Jersey Shore Arts Center, had selected the time and date.  The show itself has been up for a few weeks and from what I hear is a success, with lots of positive reactions coming in from visitors.  However, this would be the first time we'd hear directly from some of those visitors, and the participants.

The schedule I had seen called for it to be held from 5 to 7 pm this evening, but in at least one place the hours were listed as 7 to 9, so it was decided to cover all the possibilities.  Through a combination of artist fees and donations, Mary had gotten us a variety of refreshments, and invited attending artists to bring a few things.  Because of our extra long reception Mary thought it would be good to have a couple of pans of lasagne heating in the kitchen, for those who would be coming directly from work (such as myself) and might not have time to eat a meal.  Of course, what is lasagne without some nice Italian bread to soak up the extra sauce, so in place of one of my soda bottles, I picked up a nice olive loaf to put out, either on the general table or with the lasagne later.  Got my late class finished quickly today and got to the Parkway before the main rush hour traffic, so I got down the shore well before things were planned to begin.

Not a huge crowd at any one time, but people coming and going throughout the event.  Some of the people I invited did show up,  so I was able to talk to them, answer questions, etc.  We weren't expecting the west coast participants to make it, but several of our NJ people were there and they seemed pleased with the show, as they should be.

The food table included lots of crackers, sliced cheeses and salami, sandwich wraps, cake, and later some of that lasagne came out as well.  Participants took some of the leftovers when they went home, and the rest was delivered to the theater in the building where a show was going on.  (when a show ends the actors are always ready to eat) 

As for the exhibition, it still has a few more weeks to go.  After that, we don't know.  It would be great if we could get a west coast showing, and the prints are pretty much ready to go- just needs to be shipped.  But we don't know if they have a place out there for it to go, and the Portland organizers don't seem particularly interested in getting one going.  Here in the east our organizer was very pleased with the results and is hoping for more events in the future, but will be happy to have a little time off before the next big show.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2019 NCAA Tournament of Art

As I wrote yesterday, the annual NCAA mens basketball tournament is practically a holiday in this country.  This week countless individuals will be filling out bracket predictions for the Tournament, which gets going tomorrow.  (need to work on mine tonight)  Some people will go beyond logic to throw their support behind schools that they attended, or the local schools they know.  Since none of my alma maters are in it this year, the biggest support at this Studio will go to my art schools, colleges that are part of the basketball tournament this year that are also schools where I have some kind of art connection, such as a past exhibition, or have my art in their collection.  Some years I have several.  This year just three, and a few of interest that I'll get to soon.

This year's schools are LSU (East region 3 seed), Villanova (South region 6 seed) and Syracuse (West region 8 seed).   Villanova (exhibition of 2 prints in 1997) has won the whole thing in the recent past, and having seen them play I know they are a dangerous and skilled team.  I don't know that they will win it, but I wouldn't count them out.  The national bias against teams from the northeast means no one is predicting them to go far.  And I don't really know much about the other two schools.  LSU (group folio exhibition in 2006) has a fairly high seed, which means at least some people expect them to win a few games.  Syracuse (exhibition of 3 prints in 2005) has a low seed for a power conference school, which tells me the committee doesn't expect them to get too far, but we'll see.

There were a number of schools that I have connection to that didn't quite make it.  Some were bubble teams that many expected to be in the hunt, but lost their tickets in recent weeks.   There's one school I have a deep connection to (attendance, exhibitions, collection) but I had no expectation that they would be part of it, so I was not surprised that they aren't.   The College of William and Mary has been a part of Division I in basketball since the division was founded, but is one of 4 schools with that long a history in the sport who has never been invited to the tournament.  A few times in recent years they have gotten far into their conference tournament, where a win would get them an automatic bid, but they never won that last game, and they would never be given an at large bid.

But they do relate to some teams of interest.  A few years ago VCU made a surprise run deep into the tournament and I wrote about them.  And they are in it again this year, an 8 seed in the East.  Not expected to go far, but then they weren't in the past either.  What made them a team of interest is that many Virginia based students used to ask me why I didn't go there, as it is the primary art school in the state, as opposed to the one I graduated from.  Simple answer- I didn't know of this reputation, and I had no plans to study art when I went to college anyway.   Later I did learn that VCU was once part of William and Mary.  It had been started as part of a Richmond school, and for about a decade was attached to the college in Williamsburg, before eventually being separated again and becoming an independent university.  But it's not now, or during my lifetime, and I have never even been to the campus or had any art there, so it's not one of my art schools.  More recently I learned that Old Dominion University (South region, 14 seed) was once part of the college of William and Mary, and in fact was founded that way.  It started life as the Norfolk division of the college (sort of a junior college in the state system), and stayed that way for a long time, gaining independence I think in the 1960's.  (this was never mentioned at W&M while I was there) Still, I'm not going to count that as one of my art schools.  As with VCU, I have never been to the ODU campus, nor has any of my art, and I don't count branches of schools in this tournament, only the main campus of the school which is where the basketball team is generally from.  So for now they just remain a school of interest, and not one of my art schools, so I only have 3 colleges in the tournament this year.

As in past years, I'll update the status of my art schools after each weekend has passed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

St Joseph's Day 2019

I mentioned a few weeks ago that one of the three holidays we celebrate here at Studio Arrabbiata is St Joseph's Day, with March 19th being the feast day for St Joseph, who is the patron saint of Italy, of people who work with wood, of dessert bakers, and I'm sure many other peoples.  For Italians one of the customs for celebrating this day is enjoying a nice filled zeppole, stuffed with cannoli cream or whipped cream, etc, and often I have done that, but I didn't find any in the places I went today.  So maybe no fancy dessert, but a nice Italian dish of pasta is always available in my kitchen, in this case fettuccine with a family recipe meat sauce that goes very well on this dish, plus lots of freshly grated imported pecorino romano cheese.  Followed up with some cookies.

Actually, thinking about it, there may be four holidays that we celebrate, when you throw in Selection Sunday, which occurred a few days ago, the day when this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket is announced.  May not be an official holiday on most calendars, but one surely celebrated in offices all around the country.  In the next day or two I'll have my annual NCAA tournament of art announced, schools that will be playing basketball in the big tournament that are also schools where I have some kind of art connection.  Maybe I'll get that done tomorrow.

The Circus part 16

Back to the Studio this afternoon to continue on my latest coloring project.  This time I opened my watercolor case to have access to all my paints and palettes.  Continued where I left off yesterday, with everything that wasn't fried.  Some was relatively easy, using my printed out photos as my color source for the architecture and sign.  Some colors are not in those photos, so in those cases I relied on memories, or my painting experience to figure out solutions. May make some changes to the food tray before the next printing- I'll consider what I'm seeing here over the next few days.

Used some of the drying breaks to move some print stuff from my car to the Studio, cleaning before the car goes in for maintenance.  I also tracked down Nichole, so we could finally have our meeting regarding teaching classes in the building.  When her injury last week caused her to miss our planned meeting I attached some documents and images to e-mails and sent that to her.  She seemed impressed by what I sent her, so I guess now it's just a matter of working out details with the building.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Circus part 15

Having finished my framing job, my second planned task at the Studio today was to check on my new print and maybe start coloring if it was dry enough.  I noticed that my Circus print was of similar size to the Ecclesiastes series and wondered if I could put those frames to the same use.  Turned out not exactly the same- same height, but slightly wider, so I couldn't use the window as I had it.  However, there was enough margin in the cut window mat that I could expand the window a little bit on each side and make it fit.  No immediate plan to exhibit this piece yet, but as long as I had all my mat cutting equipment out, and the final version of the print won't be changing dimensions, why not deal with this now?  So a little careful measuring, and placement of my bevel cutter, and I now had a slightly bigger window for when I am ready to show it.  No time soon as I still need to work out the colors and pull a better proof.

One of my plans for today was to start the coloring of the Circus proof I pulled the other day, and it was dry enough to do so.  Didn't get started as soon as I would have liked, but this time of year we have a bit more daylight, so I decided to start it before going home for the day.  And I decided to start with that soft-shell crab platter.  For now, used premixed colors I had, plus the photo I have of the actual food item itself.

About a half hour in and there is still a long way to go.  Not a surprise- I expected that capturing the richness of all this deep fried goodness will require a lot of layered watercolors.  Still, already it looks better, and what I have here will make even more sense when the colors of the sky and building are added to the print.

St Georgia Comes Back Again

Last month I was at my brother's house and he asked me when they would get their St Georgia print.  He hoped before her 2nd birthday.  I had done saint prints for each of his other two children, which I framed in some old Ecclesiastes frames, with new mats to fit both frame and print.  I completed a prototype for a St Georgia print (latest daughter) a long time ago, and finished making a copy for them last summer.  Just hadn't gotten around the framing it yet, as the school year gets very busy.  But with another birthday coming, maybe I should get to it.  A few weeks ago I picked up a frame at my parent's house, and located a suitable piece of mat board in my supples.  (it used to be easier to buy mat board years ago, but most of the places I typically got it have gone out of business or just stopped selling it)  So when my brother asked me about it again a few days ago, I was able to give him an answer- I believed I had materials and planned to deal with it after the weekend.  And that weekend has come and gone.

This afternoon I brought that older frame, my found piece of mat board, the St Georgia print that has been in my apartment for months, and got up to the Studio.  I store the mat cutting equipment and my home made machine there, and it has a suitable table.  I store the mat cutting machine behind my drying rack, so the first task was extricating it from that place, but after that it went smoothly.  First I cut a piece of mat board to fit the new frame, then a nice beveled window to fit the size of a saint print, not the same as the Ecclesiastes print that had been in there before.   It occurred to me that this frame might be about the right size for my new Circus print as well.  Deal with that after I finish the first one.

The rest of the process went as expected. Cut the window and set it aside.  Trimmed the print of the excess paper tape, signed it and mounted it, Then assembled the whole thing and framed it.  Job done.  Next time I go over to his house, he can have the 3rd saint print, which I believe is framed to match the first two.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Circus part 14

After examining yesterday's pencil rubbing of the new block, I found no obvious places I missed cutting, so today I moved onto to next task, pulling a proof.  Only way to find out what I got is to print it.  Decided to go with some Rives Heavyweight, since this piece will be colored, and that paper can hold up to multiple attempts at coloring, which may happen with a first color attempt.  So I grabbed a set of the chosen paper, and everything else I needed was already out in the car or in the Studio.

Everything went as I expected.  No big complications in the inking, and the balance I was working on  for the space between the rooftop sign and the food in the foreground shows up so far.  After a preliminary inking I pulled a quick proof on a piece of newspaper, then re-inked the block.  When it seemed properly inked, I started printing it on a piece of the Heavyweight I had brought with me today.

Above is my test proof.  This is just a practice copy, so I'm not worried about the stray marks here and there.   Everything that I cut seems to be what I intended it to be, and I expect will look even more like what I planned when the color comes in.  I left the proof in my drying rack for now.  It will be a few days before it will be dry enough to start the first attempt at coloring, but since much of the scene is based on photos I have, there is already a plan as to how I will proceed.  If I don't like the balance of color and value at that point, I'll make adjustments until I get something I am satisfied with.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Circus part 13

Brought my block back to the Studio for another cutting session today.  Since the last time, I had looked at photos taken of the building that I had stored on my computer and made adjustments to my block sketch.  With that information, time to resume cutting, which today meant that area in the middle, between the rooftop details and the food items.  Knowing what had to be done, it didn't take that long.  In fact, after a quick rubbing at home, which seems to indicate that I haven't missed anything, it looks like I am done with that phase.  My next session with the block may be to pull a proof and see where I am at.  If that looks good, then time to start playing with color.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

The Circus part 12

Looking around on the web today for news about last night's basketball game, I ran across a news story about a drive-in hamburger place that is being fixed up for business.  It had closed several years ago, leaving only two left in the chain (and one in NJ), but a guy who always wanted to have such a place has bought it, and plans to fix it up to look like it did in its prime, and sell all the classic foods.  Sounds very familiar, as the closest drive-in restaurant that sold hamburgers went through that same process a few years ago, except that after a year plus of being empty, it was completely torn down, so I doubt it will be re-opened.  And after the original owners retired, it had passed through a number of hands, and despite huge summer crowds, all eventually walked away.  The drive-in restaurant business may not be as simple or as profitable as it looks from outside.  I wish this new guy luck, as I believe the world could use all the good independent hamburger stands it can get, but I have little confidence in its future.

However it did remind me that I have a print going on right now about that former local drive-in, and I had some time to devote to it today.  Got up to the Studio in the afternoon and continued the cutting of the block.  With the sign done, and the car hop tray done, time to move on to the space in the middle.  So a little more architecture today, and a little bit of the clear vinyl panels that went up each year in the colder weather, and were up when I photographed it ahead of the demolition. Even caught a reflection of my vehicle (see above), which should make clearer that the food in the foreground is on a window tray and the function of the location.  However, I decided to stop after that, as I had sketched that part of the block a long time ago and I'm not sure about what everything in there is.  I have long believed in the philosophy of check twice and cut once (very important in woodcut) and I had more photos of the scene at home, so why not verify what is there before I commit to anything?

But I was enjoying doing some cutting, and I had all my sets of tools with me today, so I decided to deal with something that had to be done sooner or later.  I cut a nice wide border around the rectangular image of the scene, which will make a clean margin a bit easier when the time comes to print it, which may be in a week or two.  The results of the day's efforts can be seen above.  The pieces that are left are all just solid color and tone shapes, so should go quickly.  So far the overall balance looks good, but it's good to do these things gradually.  After all, I have no specific deadline, and it's best to check twice and cut the wood once, as I can't put anything back after it's cut.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Mardi Gras 2019

There are three holidays that are regularly celebrated here in Studio Arrabbiata.  There is Christmas, and if you look back through the whole blog you can see the cards I created for each Christmas.  Another is St Joseph's Day, coming in just two weeks.  On that day it is things Italian of course, and I show that year's filled zeppole (purchased) and maybe a pasta dish (made in my kitchen), when available. The third holiday is Mardi Gras, the last day before Lent begins.  Versions of the holiday exist all around the world, but I am most interested in the New Orleans approach, and in that case less for the excessive drinking, and more for the music and food, which in the latter case is traditionally spicy, which should not be surprising for a studio named Arrabbiata.  So last night I cooked up a batch of Jambalaya, which makes enough for three meals.  (couldn't find the written recipe I had developed years ago, so I did it from memory, which seems to have worked)  Had some last night, and then a nice meal of it tonight, as I enjoyed recordings of cajun and zydeco music (built up a collection in my radio DJ days).  The rest will be saved for Thursday, as there are a number of reasons I can't eat it on Ash Wednesday.  Alas, no crawfish in it, as I have never seen them for sale at any supermarket I shop in, but in doing research years ago I saw so many variations of the recipe and learned it isn't required.  (sometimes I will throw in some shrimp, but didn't have any this year)  The only rules seem to be a rice dish that contains pork (the name is based on the French word for ham) and I had those covered.

The Circus part 11

Had two purposes in getting up to the Studio today.  First was to bring in some information- since I am showing the 50 state piece again, I figure it would be best to have my list of 50 state stories again.  In fact, Nichole had mentioned that she had it, but right now she's not sure where it is, and figured it could take a while to find.  Seemed to me that the better option was to bring in a printed copy I had and let her photocopy it.  She was in the office when I arrived, so that only took a moment.  Said she had a plastic sheet protector already, so I didn't have to leave her one.  The print is interesting on its own, but viewers seem to really like learning the stories, so it can go up again.

With that taken care of, time to make more art.  Continued the cutting on my Circus Drive-In print, the rest of the tray of food. Today that was the deep fried soft-shell crab on a bun, and a wedge of lemon next to it, plus the cardboard containers.  At the moment it doesn't look like much, almost more like a mix of aliens and spiders, but that's what crabs look like anyway.  As I have said before, color in the final print will be a key to making it look as it should. Still, even in this form, I was getting hungry just thinking about it.