Monday, September 30, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks part 13

Last night I had sent Nellie a long detailed e-mail on the topic of tool sharpening and some of the options (her request) and let her know I planned to be in the Studio today if she wanted to come by (she's local) and learn more.  As of this morning I hadn't heard back from her, but I had things to do at the Studio, so I was going in anyway.

First stop was the office to talk to Nichole.  Had hoped to talk to her on the weekend and drove up there, only to find the building packed.  Both front and back lots full. But my timing must have been good, a lot of people were coming and going, and I was able to grab a recently vacated space in the front.   A lot of clueless people wandering around (a music event), but no one from the building, so I got out of there quickly.  (good thing Nellie had managed to print her own) What I wanted to know about was the classes, specifically were there any before my first one in late October? (I have connections to a lot of art organizations, so everyone is always asking me about things)  No, they begin with mine.  I'll pass it on.  Ran into Bobby Duncan while I was there, asked about his recent opening there in our building.  Said it was a big success- huge crowds, a few concrete sales and many interests, but of course, wasn't able to eat. At their own receptions artists never get to partake in the food  they provide.

My main purpose in going in was to do more cutting on the new block.

I decided to start on the central piece in this print, the fireworks display box. also one of the more complex parts of the composition, so I never got past the front of the box. Hope to get back to it later this week.  Nellie never did come by, but I had plenty to keep me busy.  

It Never Ends

On Friday I ended up working with a bunch of students, and only some of it took place in a classroom. A lot of former students made their presence known.

The day began with Intro classes at my university, drawing with charcoal.  Most had little or no experience, but some found it quite interesting.  (I'm a charcoal fan myself, so I am not surprised.)  But before that first class started, I had a visit from Tino.  A student I first had for 3D, but I saw him struggling with a woodcut for his print class and gave him some advice.  This led him to ask me to teach him woodcut as an independent study, and he made woodcut a big part of his senior BFA show. That was over a year ago, but he often still hangs around, to enjoy access to the faculty and our knowledge (he respects us) and to use the workspace in the classrooms.  On this day he wasn't showing me any new work, but said he was on campus to do some research.  As an artist I know this can be an important part of making art, so after the rest of our discussion had concluded, I let him go and got on to the business of my current classes.  Those went as expected, and eventually I packed up and left.  But the teaching had just begun.

The day before I had been in an e-mail exchange with another former student, Sue, from one of my Belmar classes.  She's at point where she needs paper and was unsatisfied with anything at the store where she usually shops. Remembered liking the paper I had for the class and wanted to know what it was and where it could be found.  Gave her the name, some possible sources, and the material/size/weight in case she couldn't find the exact one but wanted to look for something similar.  Armed with this, she called the store and told them what she was seeking, and was told the a large shipment had just come in and was on sale, so she offered to pick me up some.  I sent her a reply agreeing to this, then got to bed to get ready for my long day of classes.  The mail I got from her on Friday had a different outcome.  She had taken the long ride up to North Jersey, but her phone contact was not there, there was none of the promised paper, no one present knew anything about a shipment, or anything about paper for that matter. I felt more disappointed for her than for me, but let her know she may have just gotten a valuable lesson-  art supply stores are getting worse and most of the store staff will know less than she does.

But I wasn't done yet.  Also got a series of e-mails from Nellie on Friday night.  She had been in my August woodcut class and completed some blocks and printed them on our last day.  (everyone always does) She had come to my Belmar opening and shown me the drawing for a new piece in progress, so I later sent her an e-mail with some thoughts on that.  Early on Friday she mentioned having acquired materials, but was hoping I could have her come to the Studio on Saturday to supervise her printing.  I sent her a reply that I couldn't commit to a time.  Late that night I got another e-mail from her telling me she did it herself- no reason she couldn't; we covered all this as part of the class.  Attached a photo of her new print, and it looked like she learned the lesson well.

Got another e-mail from her last night, questions about tool sharpening.  Like I said, it never ends.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

More Drawing Classes

Printmaking is the process I have officially studied and am known for, but probably most of the money I have earned for teaching is related to drawing.  It is a part of most Foundation classes, which is what I am generally assigned to teach at colleges.  Drawing has been part of the Intro class I currently have at my university.  At multiple colleges I have taught classes in drawing, figure drawing, 2D design.  This past summer I taught a bunch of local classes in drawing, and I have been asked to start doing so at another location this fall.  Last week I was leading an evening drawing group in Ocean Grove, and they want more.  Luckily I have also had multiple woodcut classes this summer, have one scheduled for next month, have some commissioned woodcut pieces, and received an e-mail with a printmaking question from a former student this week.  So I guess I am justified in thinking of myself as a print teacher, a more specialized skill with less competition.

But drawing was up front today as I met with Nichole up in Ocean Grove to discuss plans for future Wednesday evening drawing activities.  The first one (last week) was just a general situation and not promoted, an we just got one participant.  We are hoping for better from now on.  This series will start in late October, so there is time to promote these.  And each week will have a different theme, with plans for color choices, musical influences, etc.  Actually those ideas are related to things I have done teaching painting, but that can be a whole other topic.  Details can wait until we get a little closer, as it's still being worked out.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks part 12

With the new show now up, and no immediate deadlines, I can get back to making some art.  So I went up to the Studio this morning, though I had some other goals as well.

For the past several days I have been toting around some things that I normally keep in the Studio.  On Wednesday, prior to the still life walk-in session, I decided to produce a stack of viewfinders, pieces of cereal box cardboard with windows cut in them, a useful tool for a still life.  Never got back down to the basement to return the ruler and scissors.  Also that day I had picked up my wooden desk chair, something I have had since I inherited it in Carbondale.  Been using it for an exercise in negative space drawing ever since, and since we were covering that in my Friday class, it's been in my car ever since.  So today was an opportunity to put all this stuff back.

I had seen Nichole's car in the parking lot, but her tag was not on the hook and the office door locked. Guess she was out.  Catch her later.

Once I had put things away I could settle down to work.  On my way there I had heard an early Beatles song on the radio, which put me in a mood to hear more, so I selected the earliest Beatle music I had in my collection there.  A home burned disc with two early albums- Beatles For Sale (1964) and Help (1965).  I think the last two albums they recorded that included cover songs; after that the songs they wrote were superior to anything already out there, as much as they loved American music.

No tools today, just drawing,  But I had noticed last time that the firework display box was crooked and that's a problem for a pencil.  Used my newly returned ruler to measure things, and sure enough the bottom of the box was a quarter inch narrower than the top.  May not sound like much, but try building something and being off by a quarter inch and you will notice.  Now I know why it had been more difficult to find room for the firework names lower down on the display box.  By the way, if you are not as adept at reading backwards block printing as my decades of woodcut have made me. the firework names are "Patriot Blast", "Super Color", G Force", "Atomic Glory", "Rocket Attack", and "Dynamax"- all names completely made up but also completely plausible.  Refined other parts of the display signs as well.

On the way out I stopped by the office but Nichole still wasn't there.  It can wait for another day.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Scenes From New Jersey Opens

Tonight was the opening reception for my new show in Belmar.  As of yesterday nothing had been posted to the website yet, but a check this afternoon showed that something had.  Unfortunately, it wasn't correct.  Not yet knowing what they would want for the show, last week I sent 9 jpegs, expressing a preference for the black and white pieces, and on Monday (3 days later) I was finally told just hang anything you want.  On Tuesday I did just that, going with 4 black and white pieces, then e-mailing a list of works and a quick artist statement to one of the chairs.  The page that finally showed up on the website today included three images, only one of which is in the show.  Not knowing what was going on, I put the other two framed pieces in my car, just in case.

Got there and asked what was going on.  Was told that the two color pieces were thought to look better on the web page so they went with that, all approved by the bosses.  The two boardwalk prints are good pieces and I don't object to having them by my name, so if those in charge don't have a problem with the site advertising works that aren't on display, I'm not going to complain.  Left it alone and got on with the evening.

My show received much praise, partly for the quality of the work (these are all good prints) and partly for how they looked on the wall.  The pieces were chosen because I felt they would contrast nicely with the deep red color of the wall, so not a surprise.  The food was put in that room, which probably guaranteed a continuous flow of visitors.

Many people recognized the bottling plant, even if they wren't sure exactly where it was.  Multiple people seemed particularly impressed with Moving Day for a piece that is a few decades old.  If there was smaller version they would buy it right now.  Of course, a lot of people talk, but few offer the money.  On the other hand, the design part is already done, and on occasion I have made smaller versions of larger pieces.  But nothing happens until I finish the current piece I have in progress. Also talk tonight about another Belmar t-shirt.  I guess I can start thinking about ideas.

Most who came into the room were there for cookies, but some were curious about the art.  David Levy, there in the building as a juror of the photo show came into the room for a second extended look.  He was very impressed with my use of positive and negative space.  Well, that's what woodcut is about in my opinion.  I'm told that he is high up at the artist guild in Shrewsbury, so maybe this will lead somewhere someday.  Some former local students came by.  I had seen Linda in the building last week and mentioned the upcoming show, so not really a surprise. We had even talked about deer that day, so I knew she'd appreciate the piece that featured them.  What struck her tonight was the scale- she had seen smaller reproductions of some things I had done, and as a student she tended to work small, but in these cases I always point out that the same process is used in both sizes, so get a larger piece of wood and an ambition to work bigger, and large prints will follow.  Large woodcuts can be overwhelming- there'e real power in this medium.  Nellie, from my class last month in Ocean Grove, also came by, showing me a piece she's working on and I gave her some advice.  I reminded both students that this work would be on the wall for another month, should they want to come back again or tell their friends.

Of course I talked up my next woodcut class, and some talked about taking it, but I know from experience that getting people from talking to signing up is a real battle.  So we'll see.

Another Kind of Class

At the Jersey Shore Arts Center they are trying to find out what people want.  As a long time artist, I know that can be a struggle.  For every student who signs up for something and pays for it, there are probably 15 who declare an actual interest, but decline to ever commit to the activity.  But we keep trying.

I taught two 4 week classes at the JSAC in July, and two more in August.  Drawing and woodcut.  Neither was full, but enough people signed up to run them.  Students who made it to the end seemed to enjoy them, learning good stuff.  No room in the building for them right now, but maybe there will be a slot in winter, and definitely next summer, maybe starting promotion a little earlier.  Meanwhile, they are looking at some drop-ins- no scheduled series of classes, just one night, pay at the door, make some art. We are talking about some theme nights and some specific projects, but for the first one they want with simple still life.  Used the 3rd floor cafe space, set up two larger complex still life groupings (a mix of things Nichole had found and stuff from my collection of props), mounted clamp lights to create interesting lights and shadows.

These were the two big still life subjects, plus we had a table of small items for people who wanted to make their own.  The problem was a lack of customers.  Nichole admitted that she hadn't done much promotion- no advertisements, no signs, just word of mouth.  We had one artist show up, who made her own, using some of the objects I had provided.  She seemed satisfied, but one artist doesn't pay very much. I guess we'll keep trying.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Next Show

Without a computer, life still goes on.  Last week I had been contacted by the BAC and asked to have a small show.  Essentially, they had a space and nothing else to ,put in it, while I always have work to be shown, often already in frames.  They declared this a good opportunity to promote my next woodcut class in Belmar, scheduled for mid-October.  Well it might be that, and I can always put together a show on short notice, so I agreed.  I sent a proposal with images of potential pieces to the contact and waited for a reply.  A few days later I lost the use of my computer, but I still hadn't heard anything.  Borrowing my mother's computer, I finally got a reply, which was do anything you want.  As my friend Dave mentioned in a recent e-mail exchange, one advantage of having been raised and educated in an era when there was no internet. is that we can sometimes do things without it.

I had looked over the space last week, saw the deep red wall, verified that the wood strips nailed to the wall were to be used for hanging, and was told that I was responsible to repair any damage done to the walls as part of my show.  With all that, I decided to go with a small group of larger pieces (instead of a lot of smaller ones), and black and white prints were less likely to clash with the red walls.  I went through my collection of framed works not currently promised to any other shows, selected five, and packed them for transport.  I'd figure out a title and theme later.  I was told that the space would be open to work in on Tuesday, so that became my installation day.

The walls, which held some youth art last week, were now empty.  I laid out work by leaning framed prints up against the wall, and decided that the four black and white prints would be enough.  (The fifth would have been a hand colored boardwalk print, compatible in size and theme, but clearly the odd man out when I only needed four.)  I had brought a hammer, there was a ladder in the storage closet, and once the supply of hanging hardware was located, the rest was easy. I hung plenty of shows over the years, mostly in the era before the internet existed, so nothing I couldn't handle.  The presence of the wood strips meant that I didn't even need to measure for height.  Even with having to move furniture around the room, the whole process only took an hour.

Since part of the point of this show is to promote next month's class, I chose pieces that tend to get a strong reaction from students.  I believe that all have been shown there once before, but not recently.  I decided that, other than all being woodcuts, the one common element is that all were done in New Jersey, with residents or scenes or events from the area, thus I had my theme.  The show is called "Scenes From NJ".   I suppose some of it could have been done in other states, but it wasn't, and some could only have happened here.

I suppose the two figure pieces could have happened elsewhere, 21st Century Employee is about society, and I think that businesses around the country have banned smoking, not just this state, but it was here that the event occurred that inspired this piece.  The double portrait What Did Your Face Look Like Before Your Parents Were Born? is of a former coworker, and it might have been the same if I knew her from another place, but I worked with her in New Jersey.  The other two pieces definitely have state origins.  Moving Day was created for a show dedicated to a new state policy intended to preserve some remaining open spaces in NJ.  Deer in the foreground run toward the viewer, and away from looming construction cranes in the background.  Never actually saw this, but it seemed plausible back in the 90's, when I did this piece and farms and forests were rapidly being converted to housing developments.  Death On the Highway shows a scene that was quintessentially New Jersey, where the Garden State Parkway passes directly through a cemetery as a bottling plant that had a giant bottle shaped tank (painted to look like a Pabst bottle in my youth) sat adjacent.  To which I added elements from Albert Pinkham Ryder's spooky masterpiece The Race Track.  The bottling plant is gone now, but I believe the headstones are still there.

My show (in what had been the side gallery and classroom, but has been converted by the photographers in to a lounge) as far as I know runs the duration of the new annual photography show, which goes through October 18, 2019.   The gallery is open Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I'm Back

Been a rough few days, as the keyboard on my laptop was no longer fully functional.  Several common letters simultaneously stopped working, which made logging into my accounts impossible.  I found various ways to work around it, sometimes on borrowed devices, and other times just put things off a little while.  Like blogging.  But as of tonight I have a working keyboard again, and if it continues to work, I'll eventually catch up.  My big concern was school stuff, and classes are back tomorrow, so I have seemed to beat that deadline.  And a few hours ago I finally heard back from my computer consultant, and she confirmed that all the things I had done were the correct steps, so either I know more than I realize or I'm just incredibly lucky.

Unfortunately, school means getting up very early tomorrow, and getting to bed soon, so a lot of this will have to wait until tomorrow.  I expect I'll be very busy tomorrow night.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A New Show

A few day ago I got an e-mail from the BAC, inviting me to do a show.  Officially it is to help advertise my upcoming woodcut class next month.  Unofficially I think it's because they had no idea what to put in this space they have and there needs to be a show for next week. It could help to promote the next class (which as of today still has no students) and it would get a bunch of framed work out of my apartment for a month or so.  Wanted more information, but I said I might be interested.  The initial proposal mentioned possibly also including work from my students (part of class promotion) and I'd have no problem hanging next to them, but I know from experience that getting students to put things in a show, even a free show, is a struggle, and on short notice almost impossible.  Would have stopped by the Boatworks on Wednesday, but they are closed that day. It would have to be Thursday.   Meanwhile, more e-mails from the BAC, and where it seemed to end up was that they could offer me the back wall of the annex gallery, or what is now known as the Lounge.

So today I dropped by the place to see what's going on.  In the rear gallery I saw Linda, one of my former woodcut students, which led to a long discussion of deer and other things.  Eventually I made my way to the Lounge. Once upon a time this room used to be white, but in its Lounge identity, it's now got a deep red back wall.  As had been the case in the past, it still functions as a third gallery or an overflow space for other shows.  The current show in the space relates to the Ocean theme show in the two main galleries, a bunch of youth art with an ocean theme.

One thing I had forgotten (or maybe never noticed) was that two long strips of wood are attached to the wall, and in this case the youth art was attached to those.  Painted the same color as the wall, so I assume they are part of the wall.  I think I can do this.

Later back home I sent an e-mail to my contact, attaching images of 9 possible prints (4 or 5 sounds right to fit the space), and some descriptions of things.  No time to do more than that today, so I didn't even bother to check for a response. If everyone approves of what I sent today, I'll take care of the rest of this over the weekend. The show would open on Wednesday.  Since all the work I would have in it is already framed and ready to go, my part will be fairly easy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks part 11

Got up to the Studio around 11 am.  My main work goal for the day was to inventory and sharpen my class tools if they needed it.  Woodcut class is over, but we may have some things coming up in the fall, so it would be good to see what I have and what I may need to order.  When I got there I found the hallway light was on, so that is back working again, and Molly was back in there, too, finishing up her race related work.  Trophies were out in the hallway, on her glass topped table, and t-shirts were hanging in the Studio, where she had just added the third color/screen. 

Otherwise the room was fairly clear of other stuff.  While she worked on her things, I got out my package of class tools and tested as I took inventory.  Had the same 21 I had for both summer classes, and all seemed fine.  So I decided to start a little work on my new supermarket print. 

I still want to go back and fix parts of the drawing.  The large cardboard fireworks display box in noticeably crooked, deeper at the top than at the bottom.  In real life it would probably tip over on its own, but I could easily fix the drawing with a pencil and ruler, but I didn't feel like digging out my ruler today.   Saw some other things I'd like to fix as well.  However one thing I could deal with was the outer edge, which I normally do first anyway.  Plus it gave me an opportunity to test my class tools.  Turned out that in cutting the borders, a few of the 3.0 rounds were not as sharp as I'd like, so I got out my shaped water stone and redid all those. Now much better.  Today's minor cutting can be seen below.

After Molly had left I switched the radio from the NPR station she had on to a disc of music. Today it was one of my home burned discs, from a recording on cassette from the radio, of a live show by the Smithereens broadcast over WNEW-FM on December 5, 1989.  The Smithereens were a NJ rock band, very basic guitar and drum line up, and their studio recordings sounded like they could have been done live in a studio (as bands did decades ago), so this functions pretty much like a greatest hits collection from early in their career.

Stopped by Nichole's office on the way out.  She mentioned that she sent me an e-mail today (which I hadn't seen yet) and gave me a quick summary of what was said.  I gave her a quick update on Molly's project, and seeing she had a lot of work to do, got out of there and headed home.

Coming and going today I swung by the Boatworks to see if I could get more information about this possible show next week, but as expected, no one was there.  It can wait until tomorrow.

September 11th

September 9, 2001 was really a beautiful day.  Sunny and warm. I had a solo show opening at the Gallery of South Orange, a municipal space that always got coverage in the local media.  Actually it was one of 3 simultaneous solo shows, but we each had a room to ourselves.  The biggest name among us was Miriam Beerman, who I had as a painting professor at Montclair State a decade earlier.  She had a lot of fans among the students, but I found the class to be a waste of time.  The only figure painting class in the department, but we weren't allowed to paint the models we were paying for.  Went back to a regular painting class the following semester, then left painting for woodcut the  semester after that. The third artist was Janet Taylor Pickett, who I knew nothing about, except that I had seen her name here and there.  There was a big crowd, probably there to see the other two artists. The line up was chosen by Lennie Pierro, Gallery founder and director, in what was his last show, as he was suffering with a terminal disease.  He did stop by the opening, the last show he saw there.  The gallery was later renamed after him.

The only fly in the ointment (to borrow a line from Ecclesiastes, which would become a print series of mine several years later) was that two days later there was an unscheduled demolition of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  Lost no friends or family there.  Back then I was live in help in a group home used to provide short vacations to residents of a human services agency in North Jersey, and Tuesday was usually the day when new groups arrived. The day started out normal enough, then I went out to take care of some errands before the day's group arrived.  Then all hell broke loose.

Listening to the car radio I learned that both of the twin towers had been hit with jet airplanes.  One could be an accident (the Empire State Building has survived a few over the years), but both the same morning meant something was up, but we didn't know what yet.  Still, it occurred to me that it would not be a bad idea to have some cash on hand for the coming days, so I got a few hundred from my bank.  A radio playing there told me that one of the towers had collapsed, while the other was still burning.  Eventually got home, had some lunch, put on the tv.  Before I had gone out, the stations all had the usual cable reruns, but now all stations had switched over to news coverage from whatever station in their network had a news division.  Entertainment programming would be absent for at least a week.  The second tower collapsed.   News showed scenes all day of the devastation- dust, debris, emergency workers, and people leaping to their deaths from the upper floors of the towers.  Like many people I took a ride up to the regional blood bank, to see if they needed any of the O negative I carry in my veins, but you couldn't get near the place- hundreds of potential donors and no need.  People who had gotten out early were largely uninjured, and those who hadn't were dead.  Got word that the group scheduled for the house that day would not be coming.  Nothing to do but watch some very horrifying television.

So of course I decided to make some art. It's what I do.  I prefer to make art about concrete things that  I know, perhaps that Ecclesiastes influence.  What I came up with was a panel by panel breakdown of my day on September 11, 2001.  I lost no family or friends, didn't see it in person, so all my experience was through media coverage, like most people experienced it.  A simplified clock in the corner each panel shows the breakdown of events by the half hour, from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening.  Started sketching ideas on paper that night, probably got it all done within a few weeks.  A mix of scenes shown repeatedly on the news coverage, and things I experienced, such as meals, cleaning, and seeing two bunnies on the lawn who had no idea what the rest of the world had just seen.  It's called The Events of September 11, 2001 in Wall, NJ.  The print is seen below.

I had no idea if the gallery had been open for much of September. South Orange is closer to NYC than I am, and so much in the region had been shut down.  A song I heard on radio that fall mentioned "cell phones ringing in the pockets of the dead", a common phenomenon that day, as many people (about 3000 in the final count) never made it home from the towers, yet people kept trying to call them.  A local variation of this was people counting the cars at the NJ train stations, but at least some of those people eventually reclaimed them, once the trains were running again.  However, I did verify that a scheduled artist talk was going to be held.  So it became my goal to get the piece done in time for that.

Don't remember exactly what day that was, but I think it was in mid October, before the show's official end on October 21st.  Mostly talked about my work on the walls, a mix of saints and supermarkets, and at the end I had an unframed proof of my 9/11 piece for anyone who wanted to see it.  Never did find out if the gallery had shut down any days, or if anyone was coming to see any art.  I did get invited back to be part of the 10th anniversary exhibition at the gallery in 2004.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Life in New Jersey

Had the television on today in the background and I heard something disturbing, at least enough to get me to walk into the room where the tv is- a train crash and release of toxic material in southern Illinois.  I graduated from Southern Illinois University.  My apartment was only a block and a half from the tracks, the Illinois Central and Gulf line (as it was called back then), close enough that people I was on the phone with in New Jersey could sometimes hear the train whistles.  And my studio literally overlooked those same train tracks, as the school had acquired a former glove factory that had been built next to those tracks.  As it turned out, the train overturned in a town called Dupo, which I had never heard of, but a quick map check shows it was a few counties away, between Carbondale and St Louis.  Probably the same train line (how many major freight lines can there be in southern Illinois?).  Good news- no one was hurt or injured, but a lot of clean up will be required.

Then later in the day I was checking e-mails and found a request from the BAC to show work in one of the galleries.  (the BAC sits across the street from a train tracks, but that is only passenger trains these days) The organization sits in a building they have been squatting in (with town approval) for about a dozen years, and over the years much work has been done to improve and maintain it.  Several years ago, it was decided to add onto the building, and we did- a professional foundation was poured, volunteers designed and built it, and professionals were brought in to do the roof make sure it joined up.  One part became a storage area, but the biggest part was turned into a new room. Originally envisioned as a classroom space, for a while our receptionist was there (along with class space), and classes had always been there, plus the walls could be an extra gallery space- either for small shows or overflow for big shows that needed more room than the other galleries offered.  It still does that, but last year the photographers decided to no longer use it for classes, but turn it into their lounge space.  The e-mail I had been sent yesterday mentioned that it had been thought if I could do a show there (myself, maybe some of my former students), it could promote my upcoming woodcut class.  It might at that, so I replied that I was open to all possibilities.

Got two more e-mails tonight. The first said that there was another interest in the space for that time, so they were still considering what to do.  The second mail said that they wanted me to do a show on the large back wall (another show also in the room), as long as I was willing to repair and repaint it when the show ends.  I'd stop by tomorrow and see what is going on, but these days they are not open on Wednesdays.  Perhaps I can try the day after that.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks part 10

Got back to my new supermarket block today.  The last step in the drawing was to add the dark floor tiles.   Random geometric patterns are common enough in supermarkets, and so such things have been common in many of my supermarket prints.  Besides being part of the atmosphere, in my prints they serve another purpose- balancing the black and white in the composition.  Over the weekend I looked at many older prints in the series and found that the only common thing in the choice of pattern was that they provided the balance.  So that would be my approach.

Got to the building just before noon.  No tag on the hook and the basement door cracked, so I would not have to dig out a key, but did hear noise coming from the basement.  Got down there and found it was what I expected- Molly was spraying out some screens.  Hallway was dark, but the switch was in the on position, so the hallway light that had spontaneously become fixed last week was not working once more.  No lights on in the Studio either, but that was Molly- she usually makes her screens with a photo process, and electric lights can ruin the exposure before the emulsion is fully set.  Some light was coming in the window, so I used that to work by for a while.

Looked at the block drawing, roughed in some shapes to balance the compositions, and turned them into tile patterns.  Played with perspective to give some appearance that they were down on the floor. Added some shading to make it clearer to me where they were and how they were functioning.

Above is the right side of the block image, the foreground, where I added a large black shape.  Below, also added black tiles in the deep background, near the bakery.

During a break (Molly is working on things related to the big 5K race the building is holding this weekend), Molly came over to look at the block. She was impressed with how much had been added since the last time she saw it.  One thing she noted was that the two standing figures looked like criminals.  Of course, that is the idea- these characters are guilty of accidentally setting off some fireworks and are trying to pretend they are innocent.  Her plan is a big printing marathon tomorrow, which means it will be a good day not to be there.  Prints for the trophies, printing the t-shirts.  She left, but I hung around a little to do a little more sketching and take photos.  Before leaving the basement I checked the circuit breakers, to see it that was why we had no light in the hallway, but they were all in the ON position.

Nichole's tag was not up when I had arrived, but it was at that point, so I stopped by the office to talk to her.  Shared my plans for discussing things with my potential linocut student, nothing we hadn't talked about on Saturday.  Mostly I was curious about the drop-in still life event she has me teaching next week.  Had no real idea what I was expected to do.  Now I know a little more. The number of participants is still an unknown (and will remain that way, as people are welcome to drop in), but we now have a plan for how many still life set ups we will have and where they will be.   Other than that, we are leaving things wide open.  This whole even is a new thing for the building, so we really can't do too much planning.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

More Ocean Grove Printmaking

Several days ago Nichole passed on to me something she had received- a request for some printmaking instruction.  The problem was that the woodcut class had just ended, and there was no plan to run it again anytime soon.  She had a name and contact information and that's it. At least that's a starting point.  The person wanted to know about woodcut and possibly to print on wooden handles to promote a business. I couldn't plan anything without knowing more, so I sent the guy an e-mail with a request for additional information. A day later I got a response- the business is beer production, and the idea was to produce wooden handles that could be used to promote it, but I didn't know if that meant handles that could be printed or just having printing on them.  Requested more information, and learned that the guy wanted to print onto the wooden handles and distribute them to promote the business.   And he was thinking about linoleum, which would make a lot more sense for printing something onto a hard irregular shape like a wooden tap handle.  Can it be done?  I think so, so I sent him that and told him I'd look into it.

Probably wouldn't work as a 4 day woodcut class, but probably could be taught as a one day workshop.  As it is, we had plans to host a one day linocut workshop in October, but the group that had requested it had backed out.  But I'm thinking that maybe somehow could be adapted.  Having multiple participants could mean less experience per participant and more money for me. The next step would be to bring the idea to Nichole and see what she thought. Was in class at the college all day yesterday, but I could try today.

Got up to Ocean Grove around 1 pm, but she wasn't in the office.  However, Bobby Duncan was and said she was at a big craft fair on the central green in town, running a booth to promote our building. I've been to these things before and they can be quite popular.  And it was a beautiful day- comfortable temperature, low humidity- a good day for a walk.  Probably not practical to try to discuss classes if I found her, but my leg could benefit from the walk, and I had nothing else going on today, so why not?

It was indeed a pleasant day for a walk and I wasn't the only person who thought so- the town was packed.  Sidewalks crowded, streets crowded, no parking on the streets.  But I kept walking.  I've been to a few of these things before- hundreds of booths set up, arts, crafts. food vendors. Lots of people getting in the way of walking around.  Checked it out from end to end and found no one I actually knew, which is unusual in an event like this.  So I walked back.  Found Nichole in the parking lot, unloading her car, so I helped her with that, and gave her an update on my idea.

Maybe late October.  We'll see.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Supermarket Fireworks part 9

Holiday over, grass not ready to cut today, so time to get back to work.

Brought music from home, and Molly wasn't in so nothing to stop me from listening to it.  Three things completed in different times and different parts of the world, but with something in common- all are considered to be varieties of "garage rock", a general term for music made by people with little training or experience, but with some appeal to the masses.  Started with a disc that included two albums that I had been sent by my friend Doug on cassette, but now burned onto disc.  The oldest was Casebook, by Dr. Feelgood, a band that was part of the "pub rock" movement, a variety of British R&B, that I guess was thought suitable for bands who play in bars. I get the impression this is a greatest hits kind of album, with many of the songs dating to the early part of their existence.  Good basic rock and roll.  Also on this disc is a more obscure record, Hit It or Quit It, which seems to have been the debut album from Girl Trouble, a band from the Pacific/Northwest, the band and the album pre-dating Nirvana by a few years.  No grunge here, just rootsy rock and roll, very much in the garage tradition. When that disc ended, I put on a home burned collection of songs from the Cynics, a band I was first exposed to at Montclair State.  Out of Pittsburgh, making music that sounded like it was out of the 60's.  Eventually, the two main guys started their own label that recorded and distributed similar music, with those two band members having their own phone extension, as I discovered calling to place an order once.  Also good music to work to.

I had been drawing on my latest supermarket block at home the past several days, rouging in the store shelves in the background.  Today I added some shopping carts, and refined a few things that were already there.  It looks a lot different than it did the last time I had a photo to show.

The shelves to the right (coolers, chairs, pails) combine memories and a few things sketched on location or from other sources.  The cakes in the bakery section (left side) are influenced by Wayne Thiebaud, except the sparkler cake which we actually had at a critique group.  The shopping carts are based on ones from other prints in the series.  The last major thing to add will be the floor tiles, and I will look to old ones in the series for ideas as to patterns of black and white.  As with the shopping carts, similar tile patterns become a way to link all the prints in the series; the inspiring stories happened in dozens of stores over several decades, in three different states, but I like to think of them as all happening at once in one crazy supermarket.

Late in the day I got an e-mail from Nicole telling me of someone who wanted to learn woodcut so he could make things to promote his beer business.  No class on the current schedule, so I just sent him an e-mail about the class in general and invited him to send more information, so I can figure out exactly what kind of class he's looking for.  Maybe we can make it happen.