Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Woodcut Wraps Up

Tonight was the fourth and last meeting of the woodcut series in Ocean Grove.  Only one student made it through the four week class.  Would she depart with a finished print?

Of course she would.  As a rule, everyone who makes it through the class ends up finishing a print.  No exception this time.  Last week she pulled an in progress proof, but chose white ink on red paper, not an advisable combination.  This week she worked hard to get the block done, and decided it was ready to print about 7:30, with half an hour left in the class.  We could do that.

We decided to go with a water based ink, but black, and she didn't want color but some kind of white paper.  All I had that was white was a roll of, well I am not sure exactly what it is- other than a gift from a fellow printmaking grad student in Carbondale who had decided to leave art for a while.  A Japanese style thin paper with big white fibers running through it.  My student liked it, so I cut her a hunk.  I demonstrated how to ink the block, and then how to hand print the image. Above is the result.  The student was very pleased with how it turned out, surprised at the level of detail in the glasses, but as the one who carved it, she gets that credit.  As is the custom, I had her then ink and print the block so she could have the experience and know how to do it.

As I was finishing the first proof we had an expected guest arrive.  Before drawing class yesterday Bobby Duncan mentioned that someone had come by who was very interested in taking the woodcut class and had her information on a piece of paper.  Last night when I sent Nichole an update on the day's class, I forwarded her this information. This afternoon Nichole told me she had contacted her by phone and she was planning to  stop by tonight's class and see what we do.  I was beginning to wonder if she was still coming, but she got there in time to see the first proof being printed.  Asked me a bunch of questions of which I could answer most (still not sure where it will meet- we were back in air conditioned #3 tonight) and she introduced a friend who came along.  She seemed very interested and asked how one signs up, so I'll hope they do so.  My recent student said she was very satisfied with the class and the print she made, but was not likely to commit to the August class.  But maybe in a few months she'd be ready to come back.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

One More Drawing Class

Today was the final meeting of the first four week session of drawing at the JSAC.  This first session was the equivalent of the first month or so of my college basic drawing classes, so that means pencil line drawing, the basics of rendering a still life, one object and/or many.  In a college setting, where grading is part of the process, today would have been a graded project, a final line drawing that would have been collected and graded, where I would hope to see demonstration of ability to render individual objects, and being able to show a group of objects together, accounting for spacing and other relationships.  Accounting for multiple objects and these relationships can be challenging, as my students today discovered.  However, it is something they could do and by the end of class today, both had surprised themselves with what they had accomplished.  I would like to claim all the credit, but the reality is that I gave a basic assignment, pointed out things here and there that could be improved, offered occasional advice, and let them go to work.

Above we see the still life set up, an arrangement of objects from my extensive collection of such things, some of which were probably used in the college equivalent of this assignment.  Below is a better photo of a drawing of that still life, from the same point of view.

Today was yet another hot and humid day.  Yesterday Nichole had made the call to move the class up to room #3 again, same as last week.  The news this morning had said that the day would likely feel like 100 degrees, and it sure did.  In parts of the building that were not our air conditioned classroom the air felt very heavy and damp, and outside we had that plus brutal heat. That may have been to blame for low attendance- only two showed up today, one of whom was someone who had to miss last week, but she quickly caught up.

Besides today's drawing lesson, I was also trying to recruit people for the next round, which would start next week.   So I brought a nice assortment of student value drawings, since that is what comes next in the class.  Charcoal, ink wash, and conte crayon.  Charcoal is the most like pencil, so that is the logical choice to come next- one student already had some purchased.  But they admired the other media, and were particularly impressed with a chiaroscuro drawing not done in my class by left behind by a student who never reclaimed it.  I showed them my compromised variation, white paper with two varieties of conte crayon- one medium and one dark.  The effect is the same.  As I said, both seemed to like what they had done today and over the course of the class in general. There's only so much that can be taught in 10 hours, so it's a matter of showing them how to do something that they already can do but don't know yet.  But I can do that.  Will these two decide to see what they can accomplish with four more meetings?  I'll know by next week.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Short Studio Business

I had some time today and decided to go ahead and try to finish the narwhal piece.  I had come up with an idea on how to hang it.  Right now it's just a flat piece of wood, with no place to attach a wire and too thin to screw something to it.  What I came up with was to glue some pieces of wood to the back of the narwhal board, and then to run a wire through those.  Had a length of half inch pine strip in the Studio that could be used, and plenty of hanging wire.  I figured I'd cut two small pieces of wood, run wire through drilled holes, glue it all to the back of the piece, and it will be plenty strong enough to hold up the relatively light thin sheet of wood the image is carved into.  Just one problem- when I went to check on the narwhal block today I found that the black ink was still wet.  This is water based relief ink rolled onto the block- should be dry in hours, but so far it isn't days later.  Is this an effect of the humidity that has settled over this part of the country?

Under the circumstances, I don't want to attach anything right now.  Don't even know if the glue would dry.  But I knew I could make the parts, so when it's safe to put it all together, it will be ready.  As I said, I had wood and wire already, and I am known as a person with an outstanding collection of tools.  And I'd much rather do this kind of thing in my Studio than in my apartment, so I went up there before noon. My idea was to use a hand driven brace and bit style drill to make a larger hole in the broad side, and an electric drill with a small bit to drill a small hole through the narrow side, so that the two holes would be connected.  Then run the wire through the new extended hole, wrap it around before I glue it in place, and it should be a fairly permanent hanging wire, despite the lack of a frame.

Normally the hand cranked drill and its large bits make short work of any wood they need to drill, but this piece of pine was the toughest I've ever seen.  Luckily I had decided to drill first and saw the pieces off later.  The two little side holes were easier- I randomly selected a small diameter bit to fit the electric drill (an all metal body with a large rear handle that holds the trigger- looking like a weapon from a Flash Gordon serial, manufactured long before I was born and likely to last for decades to come, inherited from my grandfather who was in the hardware business most of his life) and it made the connecting hole in seconds.  A quick test showed that the wire would pass through the connected holes.  The sawing of the wood was handled with a modern keyhole type saw, very quick and efficient. I still think my idea will work, but I won't know for sure until I can glue it all together.  Meanwhile, all the pieces and tools came home with me.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Classes End Classes Begin

The initial series of art classes at the Jersey Shore Arts Center (the Green Room Classes) has the final meetings this coming week.  I guess we could call it a mixed success.  Getting a total of 9 students is pretty good, considering that the building has never had classes before. Attendance declining week by week is not so good, but I have no idea if that is due to lack of interest, or the freakish weather we have had the past few weeks.  Results of the classes has been good- people are learning, and people who learn skills are generally interested in continuing to study the processes.  How many of the current students will continue to sign up for August classes is unknown right now, but I will do my best to make it happen.

Normally when I teach drawing it has been at a college, where the standard is a 16 week semester.  Nothing happens the first and last week, and in that semester I would typically have a week of monotype printing, so really it's 13 weeks of drawing instruction.  Which is why I broke that class down into 4 week segments, 3 of them.  My first segment of drawing is the same as the first 4 weeks of the college class- drawing in line using pencil, concerns of contour lines, proportions, negative space, natural perspective.  Our last class on Tuesday brings it all together, a complex line still life with a variety of shapes they haven't seen in class before, but nothing I don't think they can handle. Ive taught drawing enough times that I know what students can and cannot do.  The next 4 week segment deals with value through charcoal drawings, and the third segment will introduce ink wash and conte crayon.

As the representative of the host organization, it is Nichole's job to promote classes and she has done so, putting out newspaper ads, e-mail newsletters, and some social media outlets.  It has worked at least some, as we had students in July, and have at least some inquiries about August classes.  But promoting classes to the current students, that is more my job and I am in the best position of anyone to do so.  Some of the drawing students already bought charcoal, so I assume they are interested.  But I figure the best thing I can do is show them what's possible. So I spent part of today putting together a good assortment of props for the last class, the objects I will include in the still life assignment.  In the college class we typically had a final line drawing, so this is something I am used to.  And since colleges have abandoned providing most assistance to faculty, I am used to providing my own drawing props.  In fact I have a large assortment of such things, for this pencil line drawing, and for the charcoal and value drawings to follow.  Besides the objects, I also have a large supply of student drawings covering all phases of the drawing class.   A lot of students never bother to reclaim their work at the end of the semester.  I would keep it on the shelf for the following semester, but if still not claimed, it had to go to make room for the next group of student portfolios.  I kept good examples to show students.

In my experience, the best way to get students interested in trying something, and to show them how it can be done, is to show good examples.   By their nature, art students like making things, so by showing them examples of how students can do a process or use a particular medium, you can get them excited to try it themselves.  And a picture being worth a thousand words, a completed drawing can teach them easier than I can with words.  So today I gathered props for the last class assignment, but I will also bring the charcoal and value drawings to class, so students can see them.  A very practical example of what we will be covering in August, and maybe something that will help convince a few to take the class and do it themselves.  Between inspiration and completion, a lot of art happens; my job is to get them to that place, then try to bring them over to the completion side.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Narwhal part 20

Got up to the JSAC around noon, and found Nichole in the office.  Busy for a few minutes, but I didn't mind, as I could stand there and enjoy the air conditioning.  Once she was ready, she confirmed receiving the images I had sent yesterday and expects to be able to use them in the social media promotion she will be doing in the coming days.  She agreed with my opinion that my woodcut student who believes we should have a class just for printing on fabric may be overestimating the interest in such things.  Maybe we can mention the possibility of printing on cloth in promoting woodcut classes (I have done it a few times and could again if desired), but I see it as more an option than anything else at this point.

I left her to deal with all the problems that she has to deal with (a few weeks ago I was present when she kept getting calls from someone trying to order pizza- she told him each time the number he had was wrong and he was calling an arts provider, but he kept trying to order a pizza) and headed downstairs to my Studio.  I had brought lunch, and when that was done, got back to work on the narwhal block.

The wood filler patches seemed to be fully dry, and the brown ink I had applied a few days ago seemed dry enough, so time to continue work.  Went back up to my car and got some sandpaper, 100 and 220 grits.  Used the rough one then the fine one, taking those patches down to flat with the board, as shown above.

After clearing away the excess sawdust, I put out some water based black relief ink, and started applying it with brayers, hard and soft.  It all went pretty much as I expected- the various colors safe in the recessed (cut) areas, and the black recovering the surfaces, surrounding and emphasizing the color.  Since we are expecting several warm and sunny days to come and the basement is still damp, I decided to go ahead and move it back to my car as I did last time.  I still need to come up with a mounting system (I have an idea) and at that point I may apply more black ink around the edges of the rectangle.  But it looks like the art part is going to work as planned.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Art Classes under Duress

Whatever electricity problems I was having at home were not an issue up on Ocean Grove.  But they did get all the heat and humidity.  Nichole found the basement to be so bad that she moved some Monday activities out of there and to some other locations. Not surprisingly, I got the same deal.  On Tuesday I was all ready for my drawing class, the topic of the day being perspective.  I'm not big on using perspective systems- the need to squeeze three dimensions onto 2 dimensions of paper can create some extreme distortions.  Mathematical and regular, but distortions still, which I why I don't use them.  I teach my students about them as part of being thorough, then tell them not to use them and show them how to draw what they see.   I could substitute cereal and cracker boxes for the slide carousel boxes I used to use at the community college, and I had paint cans for the ellipses, but first I had to find out if we had electricity there.  At the colleges, no power means no classes.  A phone call confirmed they were open. A lot of traffic lights on the way up were not functioning, but the intersections were all fixed to be open in my direction, so not a problem.

Nichole offered a chance to move to an air conditioned room on another floor and I chose the kitchen room on the 1st, officially room #3.  Has a large dining table in the middle and plenty or room around it.  I figured the big table could hold he still life and I could grab from the stack of folding tables to create work areas for my students.  Only three students showed up.   This could have been a result of the electricity problems in the region/state.  Or because in summer people sometime lose track of days.  One of my students who did show up was a little late because she almost forgot, and she's one who really likes the class.

Anyway, we started with all boxes, and after a short break I added some cans we could have some fun  with ellipses.  No eye levels, no vanishing points- just draw what you see, measure with what is up there, take advantage of negative spaces.  Pay attention to the lessons of perspective drawing, but don't let it tell you what to do.  As can be seen above, it seems to work.  Next time is the last meeting of the initial class, a complex line still life.  The group did prefer this other room, mostly because the big windows let in more light.  Don't know if we can get it next week.  Nichole really wants to develop the basement as a work space, though this week she had to admit it can be dreadful down there in the summer.

Naturally I got there early today.  First of all, Nichole had mentioned she might be able to get me my check for the July classes and that would be useful.   Second, we had plenty of information to exchange.  Nothing is confirmed yet for August classes, but several people have indicated online interest in both classes, and that's a good sign.  And we talked a little about ideas for October and forward. Third, I wanted to reserve that same room for today.  Humidity outside was not as bad as some days, but inside it was still damp, and I got the good room set.  Now I just had several hours to kill, but my Studio is there so I always have something to do.

For example, today more repairs to the narwhal block.  I mixed up a brown ink and applied to to the mud on the ground and the creature's eye.  And I mixed up more wood filler and applied a larger amount.  If it shrinks as it dries this time (and I expect it will) I'll sand it smooth with the block surface and then do the final inking.

Eventually I got ready for woodcut class.  The room didn't need any special set up, and all the materials were either in my car or in my Studio, so it was just a matter of carrying them to the first floor.  We never heard from the student who missed the 2nd class, and now the 3rd, but he paid for the class.  Meanwhile, my other student, who really likes the class and process, was there to continue work on her block. Nichole had asked me for images of student works, so yesterday I photographed a few pencil drawings (such as the one above) and today we pulled a proof of the block in progress.  She chose the ink color and paper, and the white ink on red paper did not work great, though she did really like the ghost/blotter print, and she's still excited by her piece.

Next week she'll have it finished, and maybe pick a better ink and paper combination.

Electricity is Back

The lack of news in recent days has nothing to do with a lack of activities, but instead a lack of electricity.   No one has a really good explanation of why.  Where I live we had just a few minutes of rain, no flooding, no winds, no thunder and lightning, but the power shut down early Monday evening and didn't come on in my complex until just before noon today.  Driving up to the Studio (which had power) I'd pass a few traffic lights that were working, then one that was off, with barriers blocking the way across the intersections.  Luckily, I was going north or south and those ways were open.  Some towns had power, and others nearby didn't.  And some still may not.  This is one wacky electric grid we got.

In the end it worked to 65 hours without power, not the longest such stretch in my life.  We had 8 days without during Hurricane Sandy, but that didn't seem as bad.  Perhaps because that occurred as the seasons were changing toward cold, and this one happened very near a heat wave, with lingering humidity.  As a Boy Scout I experienced a few weeks without electricity, but also without this heat and humidity.  More important, it was a different world then.  I was well prepared for Sandy, my building was solid, we had gas heat which brought hot water and a working stove.  It was easier to bring in my preferred radio station then, while this week I battled 3 religious stations that may have been exceeding their allotted range.  But the biggest change from youth to the power deprivations of the last few years was the changes to the world.   What I missed most last time was a problem that didn't exist in my scout days- lack of internet access and inability to recharge my cell phone.  The latter was especially an issue and the hurricane had taken out so many cell towers that the system was taxed and causing batteries to run down quickly.  There seemed to be no physical damage around here and I never needed to charge my phone.  This time the heat was the killer, and with air conditioning my apartment is always over 80 degrees, so without it the contents of my unpowered refrigerator and freezer never had a chance.  Had to throw out a lot of stuff this morning, but little that I will miss.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Big Paintings in Belmar

Tonight was the opening reception for the new Big Painting exhibition in Belmar.  As advertised, these are big paintings. had to be a minimum of 36" square, but may go well beyond that.   Would people show up?  On summer weekends in Belmar, crowds are common and available parking can be scarce.  This weekend we are experiencing the hottest days of the year, coupled with some extreme humidity, with both conditions expected to continue for a while- no relief at night.  And yet we got a good crowd, and parking was adequate- at least when I arrived and through the beginning of he reception.

Had a bunch of people asking me about print related things.  Two different people were very curious about the mini-saints in the display case, had a lot of questions- technical stuff, how I did the text, etc.  Also wondered if I was teaching any classes. Told them I had one scheduled earlier in the summer,  but it was cancelled when no one signed up.  (Where were these people last month?)  Said that I am always interested in doing it, and when the trustees approved it, it would be back.  I was also asked about doing another t-shirt.  I had produced a t-shirt design years ago, as part of a promotion we were doing along with a youth sailing club, selling it at their regatta.  I am the one member of the BAC who is a legitimate graphic artist (I don't consider computers to be real graphic arts), so I came up with a design, had it approved, cut it as a woodcut block, and turned in the print to the BAC.  It was scanned and used to create a screen printed shirt, which all eventually sold out.  I was told that the organization wanted the next one to be one designed by a kid, but I guess that never happened.  What I said tonight was that when someone was ready to talk t-shirt designs, I was willing to listen.  A job is a job.

With all the heat and humidity, I decided to go with a Carbondale theme, since (as I have mentioned recently) it was often hot and humid there. One of my fond memories of those years was in 1994 the United States hosted the World Cup, which gave us automatic placement in the opening round and games played during hours we were awake.  Unfortunately, most of these games were telecast on cable, and we art students generally lacked that.  But Carbondale has bars. lots of them, and most have televisions.  The soccer crowd that I was a part of developed a routine.  For the mid-day game, if it was one we wanted to see, we went to the On The Island Pub, which was a Chinese restaurant upstairs and a bar downstairs (one of the bars favored by the art crowd), where we might enjoy the day's special (which was rarely special) and a beer.  Late day games were usually watched at The Cellar, a dive bar with many televisions, a few pool tables, and no Chinese food.  Popular there was something called "Italian Beef", which everyone in Chicago loved, but has never been found in New Jersey, a state with more Italians than any other ethnicity.  All the Chicago people were astonished I had never tried it, and after seeing what was sold in Carbondale, I still haven't tried it.  But beer and Chinese food, I can do that, and since my favorite takeout Chinese place is in Belmar, picked up some  tonight to enjoy with a cold beer. Unfortunately, no soccer right now.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Yet More Studio Business

Had two days of teaching this week, and yesterday took care of some automotive tasks, so today I was back to the Studio, briefly. All the weather forecasts are calling for very unpleasant weather the next few days.  Today in the 90's, and humid.  Tomorrow and Sunday, over 100 degrees and extra humid, so heat indexes will be 110 or higher.  Or as one meteorologist put it today, New Jersey will be getting about the same that Death Valley has.   One thing I learned in my Carbondale days is that when it gets very hot and humid (which could happen in Carbondale, not far from the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, plus many rivers you never heard of) about the only practical time to get things done is in the morning.   As my MFA show got near, I got in the habit of getting up by 6:00 am and finishing printing and coloring by around 8:00 am.  At that time of day, the Glove Factory was only about 80 degrees, and a few electric fans could make things tolerable.  After that, the heat would build, and it's hard to work with paper when you can't stop sweating.

I think I'm getting near the point where I'll be ready to start the next print, which will be a supermarket print, but I needed to get some wood first.  The one decent sized piece I had I distributed to my woodcut students last week.  I wasn't up before the sun, but I got on the road in the morning and got a new piece of half inch birch plywood.  Drove that back to the JSAS.

Saw Nichole's tag up on its hook, figured I'd deal with that first.  She had read the e-mail I had sent on
Wednesday after woodcut class, with attached photos from the class.  Gave her an update on how things had gone.  No word yet on any sign ups for August classes, but we are still ahead of where we were before the July classes, and those worked out.  No word from the students who missed week 2, but maybe I'll see them this week and learn more.  One thing I was curious about was all the Victorian crafts classes scheduled in August.  Last I had heard they had no students, but I had learned that there is some kind of big Victorian event in town in about a week, and wondered if we had a connection that would allow us to promote those classes.  Turns out yes, and we even have several students already, a number that is bound to grow as we get closer.  The way I see it, people in those classes will learn about my classes, and that can lead to more students for me.  We also briefly discussed the idea of doing a one night still life class.  A lot of arts organizations do them, often with alcohol as a lure.  I don't mind handling the art part, but someone else will have to be responsible for the refreshments.   One new thing today was she asked me if I could get any photos of student work from my current classes.  For a group that claimed no experience, some of the drawing students are not without skills, but I know from experience that pencil on paper doesn't show up very well.  And I don't know how far my woodcut student will get by the end of class next week. Well, all I can do is document the progress that is made.  If the student examples inspire more people to take the class, that's a good thing.

Sadly I had to leave the office (with its air conditioning) and head downstairs.   I positioned my new piece of plywood on top of my table, where it wouldn't be in the way of any room activity.   I'll cut myself a new block on a less oppressive day.  I also checked on the state of my narwhal block.  The wood filler patches were completely dry, but maybe had shrunk a little in drying, so I may mix up some more and add another layer next week.  I can always sand it down to match the surface of the wood.

That was enough art work for today.  Picked up a few things at the supermarket, then home to relax, have some lunch, and cool off.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Woodcut Class Week 2

I had the room all ready to go, just had to get some students there.  And when you have only two students in the class, you notice when they are not there.  Made sure all the doors were open and unlocked.  Then a few minutes after 6 I had a student arrive.  But that was it.  I delayed anything new for a few minutes in case the other one showed up, but I decided it wasn't fair to my student who was present to hold things up much longer and started the process.

She had used the week since the first meeting to come up with a idea, and had drawn it on the wood block.  The letters all looked properly backwards.  So we began the lessons.  Showed how one properly holds and uses the various gouges.  Brought out some bench hooks, so she could see one in action and she decided to use it.  Demonstrated how to cut various things on the block.   All standard stuff.  Woodcut takes a few minutes to demonstrate, a lifetime to master.

She decided to outline her block image first.  I tend to do the same thing, but I didn't tell her to do that.  When that was finished, she went on to the face of the subject.  A lot of delicate cutting will be coming, but she made a lot of progress, producing a large supply of wood shavings, which we cleaned up.  Even showed her how to take a pencil rubbing on paper to check her progress.  

The project has a long way to go, but she was pleased with the progress, which was much more than she had expected in one night.  I told her we'd pick up where she left off when the class continues next week.

The Narwhal part 20

I got up to Ocean Grove around 4:30, about 90 minutes before class was due to start.  The room was pretty much how I left it last night.  The dehumidifier was off and showing the same code I had seen last night.  Had it been run again or is this just what I saw last night?  No idea, and there's no instruction book to consult, so I left it alone.  Plugged in all the fans and aimed them toward the cluster of tables.   The sign in the basement hallway still had information about yesterday's drawing class, so I took care of that.

Teaching at contemporary colleges does mean you learn how to use whiteboards and how to clear them without an eraser, and can even give you the habit of keeping a dry erase marker on yourself at all times because you can't count on the schools to provide them.

I had other ways to kill the time.  The wood I was given to make this narwhal piece had been used in some kind of furniture, the back of something.  As a result, my block has some small holes, where it appears some screws once were used.  No problem yet, but these should be dealt with before I turn it in.  The simple solution seemed to be to use some wood filler, then cover it with ink.  I used to use it routinely to surface all the luaun blocks, but then the company that made it changed the formula and made it worse.  (Not just my opinion- I found dozens of comments on store sites from customers complaining that the new version was much worse than the earlier product.) Around the same time whoever was manufacturing lauan plywood started making that much worse, so I switched to birch and no longer needed wood filler.  Still had a container in my car and from experience I know how to resuscitate it when it's dried out, so I mixed up a small amount and filled the holes. Left it in the Studio to dry.

Still left me with a good half hour to kill, but had all the fans on me, some cold water to drink, and a book to read, so about the same as if I was sitting at home.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Drawing Class Week 2

As promised, the heat and humidity returned today and worse than ever.  But class goes on.  I arrived a little over an hour before class was due to start, and found the fans on, and the new dehumidifier plugged in and running.  In this second week not as much stuff to bring in, one trip from the car carried everything from home, and a few trips brought everything I had stored in the Studio that I would want for today.  Nichole stopped by to check on a few things.  Mostly I sat at the wooden table, in the path of the fans, and waited for the students to arrive.

Most had arrived in the 10 minutes before class was due to start, and a few just a few minutes later.  Six of the seven from last week came (one sorry to have to leave the beach, but art class was worth it she said), and maybe I'll find out about the missing one next week.  Today's main topic is negative space, a very important tool in visual art, in still life it is a factor in how all things are spaced.  Standard drawing lesson I do with all students- start by drawing all the empty spaces in my wooden desk chair, which I happen to store in my Studio.  It's a tricky concept for beginners, but the thinking is good for them and the lesson is valuable.  And learned. We took a brief break, then I set up the second exercise- a still life of assorted bottles.  This time they drew the positive shapes, the actual bottles, but I suggested they consult the negative spaces to figure out the relative positions of the bottles, or to better understand the shapes.  For a simple symmetrical object, bottles can be surprisingly tricky.

I also moved the tables they were using to all around the wooden table.   Much easier than moving the heavy wooden table (I tried earlier) and besides those large columns were getting in the way of them seeing the bottles.  Both exercises proved successful, as I expected (I've taught this many times before) and it was clear they all got the concept.  Next week the focus is on perspective and ellipses, but negative space is part of that, so I hope they will remember it well.  (at least one student admitted doing more shoe drawings at home on her own time, and though I gave them no homework, I did suggest a few ways they could practice the concept if they wanted to) The dehumidifier had shut off on its own (maybe full?) so after I brought stuff back to the Studio, I shut off the fans and lights, and carried stuff back to my car.  Down in the basement it was getting humid and I wasn't sure if the device was doing much good, until I went up to the parking lot and realized it was much worse outside.  I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's weather.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks part 2

Can't really start on the block drawing yet because I don't have the wood. What wood I did have went to my woodcut students the other day.  I can get more.  Meanwhile, today I could work out ideas on paper, as I have been doing.  Put on a disc I had burned of favorite songs from the Shazam's first four albums.  (at least I think they are- they are the first four my friend Doug sent me) Melodic power-pop out of Nashville (who'd have thought) including a cover of the least coverable Beatles song in their catalog- Revolution 9.  And they made it work.  They are that good.

Not much new here, but a better organized version of the sketches I have done to this point.  The two figures are still a bit crude, but better realized than earlier sketches.   Perspective is still way off as well, but I'll worry about that when I have some wood.  I think the ideas are good, and a mix of value will help it a lot.

More Studio Business

Always lots to do when I get to Ocean Grove.  The weather was actually nice today- warm, but not oppressively hot, humidity down- but the news tells us the hot and humid should come back tomorrow.  Stopped by the office first. but was told that Nichole was in a meeting. Got some news from Matt, that a dehumidifier, or maybe two, were on order.  Not sure when we'd be getting them, but they were on the way.  Sounds like just in time.  Continued down to the basement and looked at the Cafeteria/Green Room. And there was a dehumidifier there.  Still in a cardboard box, siting in a shopping cart in the middle of the room, not plugged in or hooked up to anything, but it was there and that's half the battle.

On to the Studio.  Tomorrow is the next meeting of the drawing class. The planned topic for week 2 is  negative space, and I'll use my wooden chairs and some bottles as props for the planned exercises. When I teach this at colleges I don't bring slides for this topic, but examples do help explain it. I will have some art history examples,  but I may show some art as well   I realized a long time ago that the black and white of a woodcut print is essentially the same thing a positive and negative space, so I took a few minutes to see what blocks I had around the room, and found a supermarket block and a print that came from it, so I'll put those to use tomorrow.

My art plans for today were to work on the new supermarket print, about the fireworks for sale, but I'll save that for another post.  After 2 hours down there, I decided it was time to head out.  The black ink parts of the narwhal block seemed dry, then I had an idea.  The ink I've been coloring the block with is water based, and such things typically dry by evaporation.  It can be a slow process, and not helped by that humid basement.  Perhaps sticking the block in the back of my hot dry car might speed up the process.  Don't think it would hurt it. So I took it outside and left it in my car, and we'll see the results tomorrow.  

Back inside I found Nichole in the office, in yet another meeting.  (the nature of her job) We did talk briefly.  She mentioned that nothing had happened yet with that teacher thing, but I'm not worried about that right now.  She mentioned that a dehumidifier had been purchased and might be in the building but didn't know where, so I told her where she could find it.  I had some payroll questions but didn't have an opportunity to ask about that.  She had mentioned the other day that she had posted the August classes online, but I couldn't find any links, so I asked her about that today.  She said she thought it was done, but would look into it.  I went to the website tonight and found the home page had been reorganized, and now the links to my classes led to August registration forms.  I can let my students know as soon as tomorrow that they can sign up for more.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bird Tales are Over

Got a reminder this week that the Bird Tales exhibition at the Boatworks was coming to an end this week, with the pick up day to be Sunday.  An odd schedule, but I had time to get there.  So today I got up early, showered and shaved, got dressed and walked over to get my Sunday morning donuts, back home for a quick breakfast, then got my car and drove to Belmar.  The day was already too hot and would get worse.

Got to the Boatworks a little past 11:00 am.  The show was already taken down, as the next show was also arriving at the same time.   My bird piece, St Georgia, was handed to me, and I signed it out. The place was air conditioned, so I was in no hurry to get out.  I knew that the opening had been well attended (I was there), so I asked how the rest of the show had gone.  I was told that attendance was variable, but the beach season was causing at least several people per day to come by.

The next show is one with a theme of large size paintings.  As I was there, several people came by to drop off their works for the new show, all mentioning how excited they were to be part of a show that welcomed larger works, as most juried shows have size restrictions that keep large scale painting from being part of them.  I'm told that over 70 works were submitted, out of which about 25 were selected.  (the large size does limit the number of pieces that can be shown) I haven't painted in decades, and when I did I didn't work that large, so I won't be part of this next show.  But I do plan to go to the opening (if parking can be found, to easy on weekends in Belmar during the summer) to cover it for the Belmar blog.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Studio Business

Spent yesterday recovering from the class teaching (it's a performance really) and catching up on the lawn mowing, but still had some art related things to take care of.  For example, back when we were doing the official scheduling of the Ocean Grove classes, I was also asked to firm up an event for October, which we decided would involve linocut printing, but that's all I remembered now.  Good thing I had the time and date down on my calendar.  But on Wednesday Nichole had mentioned that whoever was organizing this wanted her to send more details and so I promised her information to come on Thursday.  Still didn't know much.  I just had a date in October and a time and a memory that it would involve linocut printing.  One thing I could do was check my supplies.  I have in stock 11 small linoleum plates, a good size for a one day event.  Have 6 linoleum tool handles, and a large assortment of assorted blades that fit those handles.  Have an assortment of relief ink (used in the narwhal project recently).  Paper can be picked up locally once I know what I need.  So yesterday afternoon I inventoried all that stuff and sent an e-mail to Nichole, but with questions since I didn't know if this was a demonstration thing or a participation thing.  In case it's the latter, I attached photos of the linocut prints done last year by students at Brick Library, who were able to accomplish some nice prints with the same materials and in the same time we will have.

On my way into the Studio today, I stopped in her office to learn more.  I showed her the catalog I get stuff from, talked about likely costs, she looked at the e-mail I had sent.  She mentioned that the organizing body had something to do with teaching, and this is probably a participation thing for teachers to learn a process that they can take back to their students.  She planned to send information from my mail to her contact later today. We have about 3 months until this will take place, so plenty of time to work out the details. Also exchanged some information on the current and August classes, and then downstairs to my Studio.

I can always exchange information with Nichole by phone or e-mail, but my real reason for going in today was to check on my class tools.  With my woodcut class, I hand out wood blocks and show them the tools the first week, but we don't start cutting lessons until week 2.  But that's coming this week.  Neither of my students had the materials fee this past week, and I don't need that the first week  (I have plenty of stuff to get them started), but it's good to know what I have and the conditions so I'll be ready when the budget arrives.  I have a good assortment of basic woodcut tools- student grade,  a variety of sizes and shapes.  I have 3 or 4 each of the most common ones that everyone will need and at least one of all the others.  Two of the 3.0 mm round gouges did not cut as smoothly when I tested the in a scrap of birch, so I used my water stone (the green thing above) to get them up to speed.  I do seem to have just one 1.5 mm gouge, so I may look to get another, but not until they give me some money.  Everything else seems good.

Perhaps it was because the task was to inventory and sharpen my imported Japanese tools, my musical choice was a disc I had burned collecting favorite songs from the early 1980's albums of Shonen Knife.  Three female office co-workers who got instruments, learned to play them just well enough to form a band, created matching costumes, and started doing shows and making records.  Power-pop with a hint of punk, and sensibilities and subjects very influenced by their culture. Mostly sung in Japanese, but some English here and there.  American musicians liked them enough to get their songs released on small labels in this country (that's how I have them), but that's the recording industry.  The first year of Beatles records in America were all released on tiny labels when the big ones declined, and got no radio airplay...until the band suddenly became huge and those tiny labels were able to sell massive numbers of records of "new" Beatles songs that had the only rights to in this country.  Shone Knife never became the Beatles,  but did produce a lot of happy songs about choco-bars, ice cream, public baths, and a variety of commercial products unknown in this land.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Woodcut Class Week 1

Another night, another class.  This time it was woodcut.  Of course the woodcut class was the first one I had scheduled, but I only got the people to register at the last minute, just barely beating the deadline. So I only learned it would happen a few days ago.  Don't need much preparation, so no problem.  Got there tonight, and the room was all set up, just like I left it last night.  I tend to bring a lot more stuff to a woodcut class, so it took a lot more trips to load my car, and a lot more to carry all of it down to the cafeteria where the class would take place.  Brought several group exchange folios, a variety of my own print examples, books, blocks, tools- Lots of examples since I figured they wouldn't come in knowing much on the topic.  I had two students on the roster and they both showed up on time.  No experience, but we'll change that.  Did the usual for a first week woodcut class- went through the folios, showing them the possibilities of prints.  Then the examples of my work- more possibilities and specifically woodcut.  Examples of blocks and the prints that came from them, so they could see the relationship and know more about what they will need to do.  And of course, each was given a piece of birch and advice on drawing.  There is no specific assignment- just bring an idea next week, either drawn on the wood, or at least a paper sketch and they can add it to the wood in class.  I showed them the carving tools, but we won't get a cutting demonstration or lesson until week 2.  So far they seem enthusiastic about the possibilities, so I look forward to seeing what they come up with for ideas.  My past first time students have always responded well to their first project, so I expect the same this time.

Finished on time, and then the effort to reorganize all of the stuff and get it back to the car.  Had the wood in my Studio, so the extra pieces went back there.  Everything else came from my car or home, so that all had to go back out.  Very tiring, but it all got done.  Was home about an hour after class ended.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Drawing Class Week 1

Today is the first day of drawing class in Ocean Grove.  It is also the first day of Green Room classes at the JSAC, so we especially needed it to go well.  However, before I could go there, I had to stop first at the Boatworks and find out what was going on with the woodcut class I was scheduled to teach  tonight.  Timing was set that I could do both.  As of Friday I had no one signed up in Belmar, so I wasn't particularly surprised to be told there were still not any students in the class.  I would have liked to have a bunch of woodcut students (and make the money that would go with that), but not having that class does make my life a little easier this month.  I told them to officially cancel the class and take it off the schedule, to avoid any confusion.  After that, drove straight up to Ocean Grove.

Nichole had asked me to come in extra early in case we had stuff to do, and just to make sure everything was set.  Class was scheduled to begin at 2 pm, but I was there by 11 am.  Stopped by the office.  Nichole was there, but in a meeting, so she asked if we could meet in the basement around noon.  I could keep myself busy until then.  I checked out the space.  There were 3 folding tables set up, large enough and strong enough for the 7 students to draw on.  Also dozens of stacked chairs, more than enough for the class. Two fans were set up, but not yet on. Went over to my space, photographed the block I had colored yesterday, and spent time going through art history textbooks I had brought with me.  Normally with a college drawing class I would open with a brief slide show of art featuring lines, demonstrating some of the ideas we would cover.  I have a slide projector and slides that would have done the job, but no idea if there would be a place to set it up or if a screen was available, so I figured showing a few examples from the books would be best.  Or at least do the job.  Heard Nichole wandering around in the hallway and met her in the Cafeteria.  Told her I would be able to make it all work.

Late in the 12:00 hour (well after the lunch rush) I went across the street and got a slice of pizza.  Had brought a chilled soda to drink with it.  Brought it back and ate it in the Studio, then time to get ready.  Moved my portable tack board into the room, since I don't have a chalk board to demo on.  Nichole turned on the fans.  Every class that includes drawing I have begun with an exercise in drawing shoes- GEC, 2D Foundations, Intro to Art, Basic Drawing (two schools).  Shoes are designed to fit on a body part and have anatomical connections, plus they sit still and work for free, unlike live models. So of course I went up to my car and grabbed my bag of old shoes.  For such a simple and common object, they are surprisingly effective in teaching basic drawing concepts.

The first student showed up today about 10 minutes before the class was due to start, and gradually the rest arrived.  All 7 came in, the names they gave matched the list I had.  Once all were seated, I had everyone introduce themselves, talk about why they were there.  All claimed no drawing ability or not having done any in years or decades.  All said they learned of it through the newspaper ads.   I introduced myself, gave a brief overview of what I do and have done, and then we began.

Followed my usual plan- had everyone pick a shoe, then demonstrated a quick exterior contour line exercise, then had them get going.  The usual order- exterior contour. cross contour, blind contour, then one last best drawing.  Nichole had rolled a cooler full of ice water down to us, so on a break I invited them to have some.  I certainly wanted some.  As usual the 2.5 hours just flew by.  And for a bunch of people who claimed they couldn't draw, they did just fine.  Shoes tend to bring that out in people.   Would not be surprised if some of them draw more shoes over the next week.  All seemed pleased with the class and said they expect to continue, some looking forward to value stuff, but that will be part of the second series, next month I guess.  Meanwhile, next week we move on to negative space.  We finished on time, I restacked most of the chairs, turned off the fans and lights.  Couldn't find anyone who worked in the building at that point, so put my stuff in either the car or my space, and headed home. I believe it was a success.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Classes in Ocean Grove

For years it has been possible to take classes at the Jersey Shore Arts Center, offered by residents of the various studios in the building.   However this summer is the first time that the whole building is organizing some, and I was one of those picked to be part of the initial offering.  Probably doesn't hurt that I have taught a lot of classes and workshops in a lot of places and know how to do it.  Starts this week, in fact, tomorrow.  Tuesdays is a drawing class, which will be basically the drawing class I have taught at colleges for years, but now broken down into 4 week sessions, instead of a 15 week semester.  That starts at 2:00 pm.  There will also be woodcut, on Wednesday nights, starting at 6:00 pm.  Four weeks again, pretty much like the one I taught in Belmar many times.  Both have enough students that they will run, and I've taught both enough times that I need no special preparations to get ready.    Most of my work has been in preparing the building for having classes.  Worth it though, as if these classes are successful, more will follow and it will be another income.

I also have a third art class on the schedule for this week, a woodcut series in Belmar, but the status of that is unknown.  That would be on Tuesday nights, 6:30 pm, but as of last week there were still no students.  So tomorrow morning I stop by and see what is going on.  Our secretary is in on Tuesdays, so I can make the call that day.   I'll stop by around the time it opens and see where we're at.  If there are still no students, I will officially cancel it.  If people signed up over the weekend, I'll have more things to deal with tomorrow.

The Narwhal part 19

Time to get back to work on the narwhal.  Got to the Studio building in the late morning and had one other bit of business to investigate.  Have some art classes scheduled to start this week, status yet to be determined.  Saw that Nichole was in the office, so I stopped there before going downstairs.  At that point, no change in the drawing class, but I already knew that was going to happen.  She promised that tables would go in by tomorrow.  However, there was a change in the woodcut class- we had a sign up.  Wasn't sure where the person came from (newspaper, website, social media, parade promotion), but we had one.  And to borrow a line from The Planet of the Apes, (a favorite movie) where there's one there's another and another and another.   With another day to go, it might just happen.  Went downstairs to my space.

For music went with something I keep in my Studio library, a disc I made with a live show by blues musician Robert Cray, originally taped on October 27, 1990, and a I typed that now I realize how long ago that show took place.  It was the annual birthday show for WNEW-FM 102.7 (see the connection) once the great rock station in New York, but now gone after multiple other formats all failed.  The concert lives on in my library.

Had a lot of things I needed to deal with today, including making sure I had a smaller brush for coloring the details of the narwhal block.  And I took care of that, but forgot the camera again.  I'll be back there tomorrow and get the image then, and I'll add it to this post.  Meanwhile, here's the story of what happened.  Had two things left to color on the block. The upper part of the iceberg, and all the water.  Once again I used the printed and colored proofs as my guide.  For the iceberg, mostly white with just a hint of blue, phthalo in this case because that is what I have.  And a little of that color mix for the narwhal horn.  For all the ocean water, the same two colors, but far more of the blue and less of the white.  It took a while, using a more narrow brush than what I had last time, but everything got filled in.  A little of this color ended up on top of the black areas, but eventually more black ink will be rolled on top, but not until all this color ink is dry.  I did a blotter proof at the end of the session, but that could still take a while.

Cleaned up, packed up, and carried bags to my car. My cellphone rang while I was in the parking lot, not really a great place to answer a call.  Wasn't sure if I knew the number- might be Nichole, figured I should see if something new happened.  Back into the building and sure enough it was Nichole with some news- we had a second sign up for the woodcut class, which was the minimum.  So that one will run now as well.  (as I said, where there's one there's another and another) Deadline was not until tonight, so maybe there are even more now, but that's at least 9 students between the two classes, and we haven't even posted the August classes yet.   The only supplies I need for the first week of woodcut is wood, but I have enough of that that I don't need to get any before our first meeting.  I'll eventually want to get more ink, wood, paper, and tools, but I should collect some materials money first.  I'll save more details for another post.

Friday, July 05, 2019

The Narwhal part 18

Back to work on the narwhal today.  The prints are all done, so that means time to work on the block itself.  As with the mermaid sculpture, I will be using water based relief ink to color the block itself.   I know that once it dries on the block, it will be a relatively permanent color, as effective as anything I could find to use for that task, and I happen to have it in my possession already.   As for choosing colors for the piece, I will be using the paper proofs as a guideline.   When it comes to mixing colors, I can rely on my years of being a painter for knowledge.   I have black, white, and the primary colors, and that's all I need to mix pretty much any color I might want.

Before doing anything, I chose the music of the day, a disc I burned many years ago collecting my favorite 20 songs from the initial phase of the Wipers.  A Portland, OR based band that was Greg Sage and his friends, active from the punk era to the beginnings of the alternative rock era.  (1978 to 1988)  Hard to define exactly what kind of music it was- it was punk, it was rock, it was atmospheric.  This was a band that was a big influence on another northwestern band that would follow a few years later, Nirvana, which in turn is seen as the first major success of the alternative rock movement, and the average person has never heard of Greg Sage.

In terms of the process, this block is not quite as full relief as the mermaid, so my procedure will be a little different.  Started with some lighter colors, mixing up a light cool gray for the whale body that was much like the one I made in watercolor. Changed it slightly for the underside of the iceberg, and warmed the color a little for the mud on the ocean floor.  Put it on pretty thick to start, working it into all the gouge lines and space between black shapes.

Doing so (and using a fairly large brush) meant covering some of the black surface of the block, but that would not be permanent.  Once that was done, I used newsprint to make two blotter proofs, thus removing some of the excess gray ink.  And when I am done adding all the colors, and that color ink is fully dry, I will reapply black ink over the top of the block with a hard brayer, which will bring back my original relief design.

That's as far as I got today.  I decided I want to bring a finer brush to color the ocean and all the details that the color will involve.  Besides, this week we got a massive heat and humidity wave, which has resulted in the arrival of summer dampness in the basement.  (don't know how it will affect the ink drying on the block, but it can't be good)

Leaving the basement, I noticed that Nichole had arrived, so I stashed my stuff in the car and went back in to see her.  I mentioned that I had received the latest newsletter with an attached link to a video about woodcut, which related to a theory we had discussed that getting people to sign up for the class might require teaching them what woodcut is.  She said that even more publicity will be coming out in the next few days.   A  dehumidifier is on order and should arrive at some point next week.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks

With the narwhal project winding down, it's a good time to start thinking about the next woodcut.  Have a few possibilities, but I believe the next project will be a new supermarket print.  I wrote recently about running across a "fireworks" display in my local supermarket, which qualifies as an unusual thing, which is one of the reasons for selecting a scene for this series.  (Today also seems like an appropriate day to talk about such an image.)  One thing that makes it unusual is that most fireworks, fire crackers, or any recreational explosives have always been illegal in this state.  In fact, I've seen ads promoting pop-up fireworks stores just over the state line, usually around this time of year.  Some research I did at the time showed that our previous governor had legalized certain items as one of his last acts in office, though not really "fireworks", or what people expect of such things.  Anyone who buys fireworks from their local supermarket deserves what they get, and from what I read, what they will get is some oversized sparklers.  Of course a lot of products don't live up to the hype that comes with them, but that's not part of this series.

Also interesting to me was the prominent "no smoking" signs near the display, which was in the middle of a seasonal aisle, not regular items found year round, but things that have limited time appeal.  Lot of beach stuff, as one might find in beach towns- pails and shovels, folding chairs, coolers, etc.  Some stores will carry packages of ping pong balls, but no rackets or nets, since only the  balls are needed for a popular drinking game that almost every beach rental will have.  I don't believe any supermarket allows smoking anywhere inside, so the signs are mostly to promote the "explosive" nature of the products.

So I have started the process of sketching ideas on paper. Above are two such examples from earlier this week.  These go with a standard cardboard display containing the devices.  I had copied down a lot of names on the items, but I won't be using them directly. That's more to see what kind of names are used and to create names with similar appeal for the products of my supermarket.  (you'll see those when we get to that stage of the block drawing)  Background shelves will have the other seasonal items.  One thing that I've been playing with so far is the presence of smokers who look guilty for having accidentally set off some fireworks, and I anticipate that something will be launching from my depicted display.  Another idea is to have a bakery section nearby, with a display that includes a cake decorated with lit sparklers.  Not that I have seen any of these items in a supermarket, but "what if" ideas are allowed and have been part of many prints.  Actually I have seen sparklers on a cake, which we did once at an on location critique group, part of a plan to honor a member who had recently gotten married. This was not a good idea, and I don't recommend it.

Looked spectacular, but the house rapidly filled with smoke and we feared setting off an alarm and bringing the fire department. (got the windows open and cleared the smoke rapidly so it didn't happen)  And quickly the top of the cake was covered with ash, so we had to clean all that off the icing before we ate it.  But after that it tasted fine.  If my inclusion of such a scene convinces people not to try it themselves, then it was worth it.

Been busy with a lot of projects the past week, but woodcut classes start next week, so it seems a good time to prepare a new block and start sketching out the idea.  As all that develops, you'll see it here.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The Narwhal part 17

Nothing new today, except that I had a few minutes to stop by the Studio and take some photos.  So here is the latest (and final version) of the narwhal print.

This is one of those pieces where I have no idea how I'll use it or where it will be seen.  The print itself is usually my goal, but this one is just a side effect, as the thing I am making is the block.  However, once the block is finished, it will be too late to ever make a print from it, so I make prints and color them now, and if someday this print seems like it would be appropriate for an exhibition, it will be ready to go. Except of course for having a frame, but frames cost money and occupy storage space, so I am not going to worry about such a thing until I need it.  It used to be easier when stores that sold inexpensive frames were everywhere, but now they are much harder to find.

Monday, July 01, 2019

The Narwhal part 16

Every day of the year I have a long list of things to get done.  It's a miracle that most of them get done somehow.  This morning I had to stop at the office of our apartment and pay the monthly rent, so I had my check ready.  Also let the landlord know that I had an air conditioner problem.  The wall unit in my apartment has a dial control that goes from off through various settings, and can be turned back to off again.  Or at least that had been the case these past few years, but over the weekend (during a heat wave of course), the dial started spinning freely, not doing anything. With a lot of fiddling, I eventually got it to a High AC setting,  and have been using the plug to turn it on and off.  That is not a good system, so I was working on getting the unit repaired or replaced.  Looks like that will happen on Tuesday.  With that done I headed up to my Studio, my backpack containing my sketchbook, pencils, etc.  My wristwatch was in my pants pocket because this morning the strap fell apart.  My belt was a really old one because the one I had been using broke in the supermarket yesterday morning, but it kept my pants up.

Drove up to Ocean Grove. Saw Nichole's car in the lot and her tag on the hook, but her door was closed so I figured she was busy and I'd find her later, and got down to my space to work.  My first plan was to finish coloring of the 3rd narwhal proof.  Put on Giant Songs, a compilation disc collecting the best of the band Giant Sand, an 80's/90's southwestern band with Howe Gelb and whoever else he found when he as ready to do another album.  A mix of rock, folk, country, medicine show- we'll just call it alt-country.  What I had left was mostly all that ocean water.  Had to mix a new batch of the color I've been using, a combination of indigo, ultramarine, and white, this one even more intense than the one I used for the 2nd proof.  Glad I had brought a bottle of ice water, as things were starting to get a little oppressive in the basement.  Unfortunately the one thing I didn't have today was my camera.  Thought I had packed it in my backpack, but after a thorough search I realized it just wasn't there.  Have to get a shot of it the next time I am there.

Another task for today was working on the paper sketch for the next block, a supermarket print.  Did two of them, neither a final version but collecting some of the ideas that will go into the final version. Also worked on product names for things that will be in the image.  Even if I had my camera I wouldn't have taken photos of this for the blog- that will go up when it's ready to start, maybe in a few days.  Went upstairs and spoke to Nichole.   Some good news- the drawing class enrollment has increased a little, and that was already going to run.  Still no one signed up for woodcut, which has us mystified. But not giving up yet- the first meeting is still more than a week away, and there are multiple promotions planned over the next few days.  We are confident that some people will decide to give it a try.

Before I even left there, I got a call from my brother, who was going to pick up some more mulch and wanted my help to unload it at my parents' house.  But first I stopped at the supermarket on the way home and picked up a few perishables, and had to drive them home.  Picked up a load of laundry to do while down in Manasquan, helped haul mulch to the back yard, etc.  When the laundry was done I left and went back shopping (the wrist watch and belt issues from before).  Finally got home around 5 pm.  More work followed, but that need not be part of this blog.  Tomorrow's list is already filling up, but we'll save that until tomorrow.