Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Everything Comes to an End

Word had come in that Tuesday would be the day to take down the East Meets West print show in Ocean Grove, starting at 10:00 am.  I got there just a few minutes late but work had already begun.  Nichole had taken down several of the foam core panels with prints on them, the short wall adjacent to the rest rooms.  I went downstairs to stash my jacket and bag, then came back up to help, but which time most of the East prints were down.

In her last e-mail to me Mary had mentioned that Katie wanted to photograph all the work, as part of a website display, but I figured the work being down would not be a problem.   Nichole asked me if I had any pliers, so we could pull the points out of the molding, points that had been installed to help keep the panels flush against the wall as they hung from wires.  But then she mentioned that I could take my large framed piece right then if I wanted.  Since the rain had not come yet, decide to go with that, and went out to my car to get my packing material.  Ran into Mary and Katie just arriving, gave them an update, and got my stuff from the car.  After carefully wrapping my piece and carrying it to my car I went back to the basement and came back with a pair of vice-grips and a wire cutter, hoping one would work for my purpose.

The vice-grip was too large to fit between the framer points in the molding and wall itself, so the wire cutters were put to work.  The points had only been driven a tiny bit into the molding at the base of each panel, just enough to hold the foam core panels flush against the walls, so not hard to yank out.

Went around the walls and got them all.  No one wanted to save them for re-use, so all were recycled.  The whole show was packed and loaded into cars in less than an hour.  The plan is that Katie will be doing some kind of web site that will document the show, so she will photograph all the pieces before we get them back at a Thank You party in the coming weeks.  (decided it was easier to send an image to them of my large piece rather than try to photograph it though the plexiglass) so I did that later.

Before we were done loading, Mary was already thinking about the next show.  Another print show, or one featuring members of the old critique group (something we had talked about in the past). Well the JSAS has some other things on the schedule, so it won't be right away.  I guess we'll discuss this as that party in a few weeks.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Studio Tasks

Originally on the schedule for today was the taking down of the East Meets West show at the Jersey Shore Arts Center.  Than last night I got an e-mail from East Coast Mary, telling me that the schedule had to change.  Nichole, our boss at the building, realized that she had another thing to deal with early Monday and asked us to move our plan to Tuesday morning.  I can accommodate that, so I sent an affirmative reply, and came up with a new plan, mowing the lawn.

The weather was clear today, so I started that process late morning, doing the front lawn and a little bit of the back before the fully charged and bit of leftover battery from last week had both run out of electricity.  Left one in the charger for next time.  Home for lunch and then it was time to go out again.

A short while ago my brother offered me a piece of wood he figured I might be able to use.  (from something he had to dismantle) It was 1/4" plywood, about 4 feet square.  A little too large to fit in my car, so I had to leave it there for another time.  But I was reminded of it when I was back there the other day for a child's birthday party, and yesterday I went back with a saw and dealt with it.  Just drew a line down the center (with the grain), plugged in my saber saw, and cut it into two pieces, which would fit in my car.  One will be cut into something smaller soon, a new project I plan to start this week.  If that works, I'll see what I can salvage for something larger.  I haven't bought 1/4" wood for woodcut for a while- don't like how they are making it- but this stuff is a bit vintage, so it may be fine.  It has a few knots in it, but if I can work around those, the price is right.

My exhibition plans were done for the day, but I still had to get up to the Studio for other stuff.   Got those pieces of wood out of my car and left them on my table.  Deal with that tomorrow.  And speaking of tables, the shifting of the plan to dismantle the show put off for a day the plan to give a table price to Nichole, but that could come soon.  I tried to price materials online the day before but didn't get very far.  I used a particular size and style of bolt when I first built them, but finding that on the website was a challenge.  Over 300 varieties of bolts, and not in any order that I could see.  It would be easier to go to the store myself and just see what was available, but first I wanted to make sure of what was needed.

The easiest way to get at one of bolts would be to just flip the table and unscrew one, but that would require clearing Molly's junk off one of the tables, an arduous task in itself.  Since each leg is held in place with three carriage bolts, temporarily removing one would not make the table less secure, but it meant crawling around on the floor a bit.  Used my ratcheting set to take off the nut, hammered it back though the hole, then used the hammer's claw to try to pry the bolt out.  But the threads on the end of the bolt were snagging the wood.  Inserted another heavy screw into the 1/4" hole left behind by the bolt, hammered that a bit, and finally forced the bolt most of the way out.  Now I could actually get a grip on it and slowly unscrew the bolt from the wood.

 After measuring it, I was able to re-insert the bolt, and put on the nut and tighten it.  Then on to the store to see what they actually had available.  I bought the wood and hardware for the original tables at the local Home Depot, which is right there in town.  Of course, Neptune Township is quite large, so it was still a bit of a journey by car.  As expected, I was able to locate the desire hardware in seconds just by looking at the shelves.  Didn't buy anything, just wrote down prices.  Did that for wood as well.  And with that, I could go home and relax.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Table Factory Preparations

Made a quick trip up to the Studio today.  Hoped to see Nichole and get information regarding the removal of the big East Meets West print show.  It's scheduled to end on Friday, and I had offered to help with taking the show down.  Not sure what day that will be.  I figure she's in charge of such things, and will probably know.  But she wasn't there when I was there in the afternoon.  Maybe I'll send an e-mail to East Coast Mary tomorrow.  Taking the show down should not be too difficult, and they might be able to get it done without my help, but if I'm available I will likely join them.  If for no other reason, to pick up all the prints I have in the show.

The other reason I went up there today was to check into what goes into making my work tables.  The building may want some to use for classes (including mine) so I need to come up with a cost, which will be based on a combination of labor and materials.  When Molly and I first took possession of the space, I spent a few months building lots of furniture, but I no longer have the plans I created for that purpose.  The simplest way to figure all that again is to look at the tables themselves, so that is what I did today.  Made a list of all the parts- the number and lengths of 2"x4" boards, the types of hardware,  the plywood tabletop.  I will price all those items (expect to get it off the internet), add in a reasonable amount for labor, and then pass that on to Nichole.  If the building wants them, she can arrange for the materials to be delivered and then I just need to build them.  Back when I made these things I had a pickup truck; my current vehicle can't transport the large wood.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Painting and Printmaking

I was off work today for the Good Friday holiday. Always a treat to get to sleep late and not drive up and down the parkway in rush hour traffic, and I'm sure my students weren't upset about it either.  But that didn't mean I didn't have to work.

For example, right now I am involved in organizing and scheduling woodcut classes at local places.  The building that has my Studio is looking to get into running art classes, and would like to make me teaching woodcut to be one of them.  They might even hire me to build them some suitable work tables for this purpose (and other classes).  The coordinator saw one of the tables from Molly's project a few years ago and was impressed with what I had done.  Then she stopped by my space and saw the tables I made for the Studio when we first moved in and was really impressed- simple, inexpensive to make, and very strong.  (I build things to last)  Whatever happens will be this summer.

Also this summer I am working on more classes for the BAC.  First step was getting a woodcut class on the schedule.  I knew from e-mails and the website that they had a lot going on in the spring, but nothing official yet for summer, so it made sense to grab some spots now.  So yesterday I went in and wrote things on the calendar and filled out the standard class agreement form.  Today I e-mailed a written description of the class to be posted on the website (the organization website was redone again this year and everything that had been on it was deleted) as well as some images that might be useful (old ones also deleted).  Luckily I have lots of stuff saved on my computer, so it was just a matter of finding it and sending it.  Dropped by later to make sure everything arrived.  The board has to approve everything so nothing is official yet, then people have to sign up, but I expect that to happen.  I've taught the class enough times that there is little special prep to be done.

But they also threw something else at me, at least the person running the office did.  This spring they have a Bob Ross inspired class that filled up quickly, and are thinking maybe they need more traditional art mediums.  I have no experience with that wet into wet technique and very little with landscape, but it sounds like they have that covered anyway.  But I certainly know still life and figure, and agreed to put together some ideas.  But can I teach painting?  Well, my first college degree and half my second degree were in painting, so I probably know more than any student I would likely have.   Although I have never taught a "painting" class,  have covered color theory in classes at all three colleges that I have taught at, including having them use paints in those projects.  I am familiar with techniques and materials in oils, acrylics, and watercolors.   Before I was asked to cover the 3D Design class at my university all my 3D experience was two foundations level classes in college, so I looked at at bunch of art, figured out what it was, and wrote up a syllabus.  Ended up teaching the class 7 times between two schools, with several of those students earning their degrees this past year, so I must have done something right.  When it came up yesterday I was asked about painting and drawing (have taught the latter a lot more already) but today I was told that painting may be the priority, maybe to cash in on this other class. But no idea yet if they want a one day thing, and ongoing class, or something in between. So I'll think about different possibilities, write up some options, attach some really good student color works, and send it in,  Maybe something will come of it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Kean University Faculty Show on LBI

Today is the official first day of the latest faculty show, so it seems an appropriate day to show the card.  Got several copies of it last time I had class. None of the images on the front are mine- full timers grabbed those. I am listed on the back, one of the 20 artists.  They spelled my name right, which I don't take for granted.  I've had solo shows where the galleries spelled my name wrong on the promotional stuff, which can make internet searches more of a challenge.

The list of artists may be the same one as our fall faculty show on campus, which is where I was first recruited for this one.  I can't compare it, as I don't have a list of that show's artists, and the school would never spring for a postcard for a faculty show on campus.  They won't even get us a plate of cheese and crackers for our reception.  The card back does include a website in small print, but when I checked it as recently as this afternoon, our show still isn't even listed on the site, so I don't see much point in sending you there.  If you want to see the show and need directions, you can get them there.

I will say that the exhibition is at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, in Loveladies, which is near Harvey Cedars.  If you've ever been to LBI, you know those places aren't near anything else, which is why I don't expect to stop by before the closing reception on May 19th.

More Fire

Today was a very nice day weather-wise, so after some business at the Studio building, I took a walk east to the boardwalk to check out the results of this weekend's fire.  Comfortable mild temperature, no rain, good day for a walk.  Of course, once I got up to the boardwalk there was a lot more wind, generally in my face.  (at the shore, no matter what direction you are going, the wind is always in your face) The fencing and caution tape may be left over from the day of fire fighting, or it may be new, but either way I took it as a sign that we weren't supposed to get any closer to the action than that.

Right in the center is the remains of the Casino building.  When I first started coming around here there were windows at each end filling most of the space, with space for pedestrians to pass underneath, but the windows are all gone now.  Not from the fire- they've been gone for a while.  Don't know if they finally fell down, or if they were removed before they could fall down.  To the left can be seen the roof of the Carousel House, which also survived the fire.  To the right is a big pile of what is left of the building that burned down.  What will replace it remains to be seen.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Fire Fire Everywhere

Big news over the weekend was another fire in Ocean Grove.  Actually probably not that newsworthy, certainly not unusual.  Ocean Grove has a lot of fires.  Most of the town was constructed almost 100 years ago, mostly wood, houses are only a few feet apart, near constant wind- any fire gets going and it likely takes out several buildings before they can bring in under control.  The hotel in the center of town where my brother had the reception for his first wedding went down in a big fire shortly after that.  A few years ago a former hotel caught fire one night and burned well into the next day. (I saw it on the news as I was getting ready for work)  Several adjacent houses also burned that day, as they pumped water from a nearby lake onto that neighborhood as part of the effort to extinguish it.  The news reports a few days ago mentioned the boardwalk, which is the opposite end of town than my Studio, so that was good news.  Actually what burned was a large building on the beach side of the boardwalk, occupied by various stores, etc.  No great historical significance, and weeks before the holiday season, no customers to be hurt.  I was a little concerned because the closest building to it is the old Asbury Park Casino/Carousel building, which is a bit decrepit, but a historical landmark, and I've seen parts of it on t-shirts, in movies, and even in a tattoo on the arm of a nude model I used to work with a lot.  It's a favorite of my college friend Jenny and her family, that and pizza is probably the main reason they ever visit.  The burned building is the closest building, but there is a little bit of space around it, and they were able to contain the fire to the first building.  In the end, no great loss, though it's an odd time of year for this kind of thing- boardwalk fires ofter come after the tourist season is over, not just before.

But today that fire was overshadowed by news of a bigger fire, this one in Paris, where the Cathedral of Notre Dame went down today.  Spread very quickly, and most of the building was gone in just a few hours.  The very recognizable tall spire in the center of the roof came down when the whole nave went up.  They rapidly worked to pull out and save as much loose artwork and religious relics as possible, but anything on the walls or part of the architecture was lost.  By the evening the fire was mostly contained, though not completely out. The two massive masonry bell towers that dominate the facade were still intact for the moment.  At the moment, I'm not too worried about this loss.  It was a very large and impressive building, and I would have enjoyed a chance to see it, but that opportunity has passed.

I'm a huge fan of Gothic cathedrals, and know more than a little about them.  Once in grad school I even took a class about the Gothic period (billed as a Renaissance class which is why I took it in the first place) and on multiple occasions I had to explain things to the teacher that she didn't understand or had gotten very wrong.  (always in private- no need to embarrass her)  I've covered the art and architecture in various studio classes I've taken, and I've taught art history a few times.  So I know that Notre Dame was a very good example of Gothic cathedral design and construction, but I don't think of it as that special.  It's not the first, not the largest, not the tallest, not the most innovative, not even the only Gothic cathedral in Paris- France has a lot of them.  Just the name that most people know of, especially if they don't really know about art.  Most cathedrals were built over hundreds of years, with designs often changing with each new generation who worked on it.  It is expected that this cathedral will be rebuilt, and I would expect those masonry bell towers to be incorporated into the new design.  A lot of donations will be needed, as I doubt that the Catholic Church has that kind of money to spend on construction these days.  A lot of stained glass was lost, but that can be made again, if they want to.  When large buildings that old burn down, they rarely get rebuilt exactly as they were- many see it as an opportunity to have a better building.  (the desire for these new Gothic style cathedrals with their soaring heights, and huge stained glass windows was preceded by a wave of Romanesque cathedrals all over Europe mysteriously burning down, requiring the new ones to be built) Over the past 300 years, the oldest building at my old college (the Wren Building) had burned down and been replaced often enough that no one is sure what it looked like originally.

One thing the fires in Ocean Grove and Paris had in common is that no one was injured, and that's a good thing.  And another common thing is that I expect both will be rebuilt in some way.  Eventually there will be a new Cathedral of Notre Dame, though unless some billionaires or corporations get involved, probably not in my lifetime. The large building on the nearby beach will probably happen sooner, as with the new Taylor Pavilion that replaced the old one destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Belmar- larger, more accessible, better balconies, other modern touches.  There are long term plans to rebuild the Casino building to something more like what it once was, which likely will have some kind of influence on what happens with this adjacent beach and boardwalk property.  Stay tuned for news.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The Circus part 20

Put in a few more hours on the coloring this afternoon.  Think I'm almost where I want it to be.

As with yesterday, I incorporated some of yesterday's color experiments on the first proof into this second version.  But to continue the color breakdown from yesterday....

The reflected car in the window was again a light gray, but I tinted it a little darker.  Used the same color on the left half of the roof support just to the right of the car.  A much lighter gray was used for the background of the rooftop sign, matching what can be seen in the photos I took before the building was demolished.  The deep red on the sign lettering, the architectural trim, and the right half of roof support to the right of the car reflection, is the one I used the first time- mostly alizarin crimson, though that  whole roof support on the right was given a wash of indigo to help it sit back in the shadows.  I also used a touch of indigo on the lower halves of the cloud banks, giving them a little more depth and especially helping the lower one separate from the white trim along the roof line, and the upper one sit back from the rooftop sign.  The architecture just behind that roof support was a deep wash of brown and then a wash of indigo.  A stronger wash of indigo was used to represent the headliner of the car, replacing the dark gray I had the first time, which was more of a match for my actual car, but felt kind of dull.  The colors used on the clowns on the rooftop sign are the same ones, but may be a bit clearer since I recut that area between proofs.

Comparing the two proofs, the value ranges seem to be about the same, but the colors are just a bit bolder in some cases, and I like the effect.  I'll come back to it in a few days, and if I come up with no further changes to be made, I'll declare it done and start thinking about the next piece.

Monday, April 08, 2019

The Circus part 19

Coloring the new proof today.  Started by looking at the earlier version, and got some ideas as to color changes I might make, so I tried some of them out on that first proof.  I won't write about all of them right now, but just mention them as they come up in this new proof.  The blue sky is the same phthalo as before, but maybe just a little more intense.  The fried food is pretty much the same as well.  One new thing is I added a little bit of a bright red to the tray, which appears at the far left and in the center.  And as planned, that far left piece of the cardboard tray that holds he crab sandwich, I had cut out some of the black ink, and now that shadow has some indigo wash on it.  So far, so good.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

The Circus part 18

A good day to get back to making artwork.  Last week I had made some minor changes to the Circus block, and today I pulled the second proof of this print.

Above is the first proof from back from March 12, while below is the one I made from the block today.

At first glance it looks like not much difference, and there really isn't. But the changes seem significant to me.  One of the clearest is the change to the shading on that far left inside of the cardboard tray holding the crab sandwich.  Significantly lighter now, a change that can easily be seen even in these small blog photos.  Anther obvious change is where I re-cut the clowns in the rooftop sign.  After that it's all subtle stuff- some stray marks removed, some small gaps touched up.  One advantage of the 2nd proof is that it is usually easier to ink than the first, which tends to absorb a certain amount of ink. Needing to roll less ink also means less filling in of delicate cuts, and the whole inking and printing process goes faster.

So not much difference between the two proofs, but enough for me to notice, and when it's time to color this new one, there will be difference there as well.  Not so much in the choices, but with shapes and colors.  I look forward to seeing how it all works out, but that will have to wait until next week.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Surprise Road Trip

Well, I guess a gradual surprise. This phase began when we finally got the official word about the special Kean faculty show down on Long Beach Island.  I learned of the show back in the fall, but it took until a few weeks ago to get all the details.  At that point we got the dates, including drop off dates and reception, and I decided to go ahead and finish preparing my pieces for the show.  We were sent an online registration form, but these things often have problems.  Did my best with it and maybe it worked, but just to make sure they got all the information they needed, I also sent it as an e-mail directly to the gallery coordinator.  (address included on the registration form) The form, with images, statements, etc was due around the end of the week, but I saw no point in waiting once I had it done.

What I did not expect was that the coordinator would reply quickly to the e-mail, this past weekend.  She received it, all was in order, and she mentioned that she would be there to accept works every day this week.  This was a little confusing, as the dates we were given said that drop off would be next week.  I could handle either one, but didn't want to cause any problems, so I sent an e-mail yesterday asking for illumination.  They were closed yesterday, so I didn't expect an answer right away.

But this morning I did hear from her, and she said I could drop off work either this week or next week, but preference was for it to be this week, before the current show there came down and was returned.  And since the forecasts on the tv weather station declared the today was likely the best day this week, I decided to go ahead and do it today.  After lunch I called her and let her know I was coming, carried my framed pieces to the car, filled my gas tank, and took off.

As far as I could remember, I've been to Long Beach Island once before in my life, but I had a vague idea of where it would be, and I estimated about an hour trip.  From the time I left my current home town, it indeed took about an hour to get there.  No traffic on the Parkway South in the early afternoon, nor on the local highway that I took over to the coast, then across to the island where my destination was found.

The website directions were accurate and I easily found the Long Beach Island Foundation for Arts & Sciences.  The parking lot and the building were both nearly empty, but eventually I found someone in the ceramics room who could direct me to the coordinator's office and location.  The main hall is a large room, white walls covered with lots of art, and a stage at one end, used in various performances I am told.  There were also a few classrooms, where activities (such as ceramics) could be held, plus space in some adjoining buildings around the parking lot.  I was told that the place tends to be a lot more crowded in the summer months (I was not unhappy to have no crowds to deal with today) and that summer population would be starting to arrive in time for the latter half of our show, so people should be seeing it.  I dropped off my pieces, was told that everything was in order, walked around to get a quick tour of the place, then started my journey back home.  Went back the way I came with no incidents.  The round trip covered about 100 miles.  Just after I left the property the rain began- not hard, just a sprinkly thing.  So much for the nicest day of the week, but at least I got my delivery in before that happened.

So I don't have to worry about anything involving this show for the rest of this week, or next week, or for about a month after that.  The reception is on the last day of the show, with the idea that we can pick up our pieces at the end of day and take them home.   It's far enough away that I don't expect to go back to see the show again until that day.  I'm told that postcards are in progress and they will be distributed through our organizer at the college, so I hope to get those in a few weeks.  When I see that, you will as well.

Monday, April 01, 2019

2019 NCAA Tournament of Art part 3

Two weeks down and my bracket is quite a mess. My art schools are now long gone. The whole center area, where all the games converge toward the championship, is nothing but red ink.  I had 3 of my picks make it to the Elite 8, but none of those made the Final Four, so basically I am done for this year's tournament.

So, how about that NIT?  Lot of teams that I know from conferences that I pay attention to, but only a few of my art schools made the field.  They are also at their Final Four right now.  Made no predictions, but I do have an art school there- Texas.  It is my policy to only include the main campus of the school in my art tournament, which is too bad because I have a lot more connections to the division found in Arlington- multiple exhibitions, and I spent a week there as a visiting artist.  However, I do have one credit to the main school, an exhibition there in 2001.  Since I don't have much else to report this time of year, perhaps next week I'll include the NIT in my update.