Sunday, July 13, 2014

Linos at the Ladies....

Twenty-four hours until departure for Maine... and The Mother of All To-do Lists* is hanging tough. Actually, I've just about reached the limit of what can be done before I go... the rest will have to wait until I return.. in August!

Meanwhile, a dozen linocuts are now gracing the walls of the excellent Laughing Ladies Restaurant here in Salida. Fantastic food AND nice art? How can you go wrong? Show hangs through September 3rd. Tell Jeff and Margy I sent you. ;-)

And last night I received an email that said "bring more art," since linos are winging their way to new homes from the Project Puffin Visitor Center show! Yikes. My suitcase is already packed to overflowing!

Added to that quandary... one of the pieces that needs to be replaced is a tiny (4 x 6 inches) black-and-white image... the complete edition of which I didn't have time to pull before the work was due in Rockland in May. Oops. So guess what I did today?

Yep. I pulled some prints. Three cheers for cobalt drier! It's nasty stuff, and I try to avoid it, but sometimes you just have to resort to chemistry to get the job done. Should be ready to trim up and add to the suitcase in the morning. And, hey! That item wasn't even on The Mother List.

I'm traveling with the full gamut of technology this trip, so will hopefully be able to do a post or two from the coast. That is if I can drag myself away from the water long enough!

(*The Mother of All To-do Lists: Life got so complicated this summer that my exhibition-and-workshop-related to-do list became a spreadsheet. Seventy-five actions on the list since June 1... and that's only the prep items. Actually teaching the workshops and attending the exhibitions is a whole 'nuther list entirely. Wrong, I say. Just. Wrong.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Wind-Wave-Wing" at the Project Puffin Visitor Center

I returned home this afternoon from a couple of (great) workshops (with fantastic participants, thank you all!) at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival... And I'm out the door and headed east again in a few short days. It's July, so it must be Maine!

First up... I'll be presenting a short program about reduction linocuts at the reception for my exhibition "Wind-Wave-Wing" at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine. Next Wednesday, July 16, 5:00-7:00pm. If you're in the neighborhood I'd love to see you!

Saturday, July 19, I'll be offering a half-day introductory linocut workshop in conjunction with both the PPVC and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. As of today there were only two spots left... registration information is here.

And of course the annual Educator's Week at Hog Island Audubon Camp begins Sunday, July 20. Whew! Gonna be a great and busy time.

"Gaining Ground," reduction linocut, 9" x 6"
Currently on exhibit at the Project Puffin Visitor Center

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fieldwork Friday on Sunday, or, How I Spent my July 4th (Yes, there's a sketch in here.)

Tomorrow I am off to lead workshops at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, and three days after I return I head to Maine for two weeks. (Three days after I get back from Maine I leave again, but that's August, so we're ignoring it for now.)

Prep for all these workshops and travel is at a fever pitch, so when a friend suggested we "go do something" for the holiday I was a bit reluctant. But once we decided the "something" would be a visit to the Orient Mine to witness the nightly egress of 250,000 free-tailed bats... well... What prep? Do I have prep to do?

View to the southwest from the trail to the Orient Mine
The mine is in the San Luis Valley, the trailhead just over an hour from Salida. We were in and out of rain showers during our ascent to "the bat cave," but the cool temps made the steepish climb a lot easier!

The air smelled of sage and the scrub oaks were thick with towhees. Why the heck did I even hesitate about getting out here?

Almost there!
Just at dusk the sun made a crazy-intense appearance below the cloud layer. A long streak of golden glow sliced across the valley. Spectacular.

Can you say "future linocut"?
But then the bats!

We'd been sitting outside the mine for probably 45 minutes, watching naught but swallows and swifts and then suddenly the sky was full of bats. From time to time the flow over our heads and down the hillside was so intense and fast that it was like a summer rainshower... but of bats instead of raindrops.

I didn't get much for photos... nothing that would suggest the feeling of the spectacle, but...

This one's emiggenable so you can see the bats a wee bit better. Not much.
Best shot of the bunch.
I did, of course, say this was a Fieldwork Friday post... and yes, I did make a little sketch of the "Glory Hole," the main route the bats take out of the collapsed mine.

It was full dark by the time we made it back to the truck... but the adventure wasn't over even then! On the drive out via rocky backroad we flushed a couple of common nighthawks and probably six or seven common poorwills... the red reflections of their eyes in our headlights alerting us to their presence long before we saw the birds themselves.

No fireworks, parades, or loud parties for us... but I think we had the best July 4th ever.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Salida ArtWalk, and other mysteries

It's that time again.... Out of the studio and on to the street. Or in to the woods. Or out on the ocean. Or some combination of all of the above.

It's ArtWalk weekend here in Salida... My linos and I will be hanging out Saturday night at cultureclash gallery, so come on out and say hello.

And the Month of Crazy looms:

July 8-10: I'll be offering field sketching and illustrated journal classes at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. The western slope has had lots of water this year, so the flower show should be spectacular!

July 11: Linocuts grace the walls at the awesome Laughing Ladies Restaurant here in Salida. Through August.

July 16: Opening reception (and probably a little gallery talk) at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine... where all those seabird linos are featured for the summer.

July 19: Introduction to linocut workshop, "Seabirds in Relief," at the PPVC and Farnsworth Museum, Rockland.

July 20-25: I'll be on staff for "Sharing Nature: An Educator's Week" at Hog Island Audubon Camp, Bremen, Maine.

August 1-3: Crested Butte Arts Festival.

Ooph. I'm tired already, but it's gonna be fun! Hope to catch up with some of you along the way....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Linocut in Progress: The subtle finish

The last phase of the sunset linocut was trickier than I expected. I wanted one final transparent color to add a little more contrast to the sky and a subtle suggestion of additional shapes in the mountains.

My first attempt was WAY too dark... It overpowered the entire image. (Even with wet ink glare in the middle, sorry.) Thankfully the test was made on a print that had torn and already been rejected. (You can see the big ol' hole halfway up on the right side.)

Oops. That color is TOO DARK.

So. Plan B. I scrubbed off the block, the roller, and the inking slab and added a ton more transparent base to the blue I started with. The good news about that bad color was that it showed me I didn't really like the shapes I had left in the sky, either... So I went back and did a lot more carving of small, energetic strokes in the clouds.
Sunset linocut, Step... 7? I think.
I'm happy with the sky now, but that same color applied in the mountains didn't really show at all, except as a shiny patch. So one more attempt to mix a transparent purple-blue that will be subtle in the lower half of the image.
Sunset linocut, Step 8, final
The last color looks a little more contrasty in this image than it does in real life, but I suspect that's a limitation of the camera phone. (It seems to struggle with blues.) When everything's dry enough that I can take the piece outside in good light I'll get a proper shot and share it.

At any rate, glad that's finished and able to dry for a couple of days now. I'm headed to the Front Range yet again tomorrow... to deliver sold work to the Governor's Show, and to a collector, and to teach a little workshop for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory's "On the Wing" youth camp. Back on Wednesday and ready to tackle the next set of tasks for this busy summer.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Catching up, moving on

The problem with going out of town to participate in an art festival (for me) is the amount of time it takes to get re-organized when I get home!

I am pleased to say that last weekend's ASLD Summer Art Market event in Denver went really well... and would have likely been even better had the skies not opened up and poured rain and hail starting mid-day Sunday. There were even tornado warnings! Ugh.

But lots of linos found new homes, and I got to see friends I hadn't seen in ages. Ten or twelve years, in some cases! The response to my work was fantastic, which always feels good. Many visitors recognized "Coot du Jour" from its tenure as Best in Show at the League's Pressing Issues/Mo'Print exhibition this past spring, and I had a chance to enlighten lots of folks about the process of reduction printing.  In all a worthwhile endeavor.

Today will be the first time I get back into the studio to finish the sunset linocut. To get myself back in the proper headspace I went straight to work in pajamas this morning... drawing carving notes on the block. It's ready for tools, now... and my plan (!) is to accomplish all the carving today and finish printing tomorrow.

The rest of a busy summer looms on the horizon. I'll be on the road for almost all of July, so studio time will be practically non-existent. (sigh)  But hey... there will be plenty of workshop and exhibition reports to share... and hopefully some fieldwork done along the way.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Linocut in Progress: The mountain

So  here it is... proof that I was not kidding when I said that crazy purple was going to be snow.

Sunset linocut: Step 6, the mountain emerges. I left this image file
embiggenable with a click if you'd like a better look.

Fun, eh?

I think one more dark is in order... in the lower parts of the mountains and maybe just a wee bit in the clouds. I like the tone of the clouds as it is now, but I'm afraid that another dark in the foreground will kill the drama.

With the snow fields defined, Salida-area locals ought to be able to identify the peaks.  At least I hope they can.

Unfortunately the big finish will have to wait until next week, since I'm off to Denver for the weekend. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Linocut in progress: Dark snow

I am madly packing for this weekend's Summer Art Market in Denver. The challenge will be fitting art and show gear in my (17-year-old) car, which is not the least bit practical for this sort of thing. I conceded my difficulties and paid to have a tent and display panels installed by the event (more expense, ugh) rather than rent a truck to haul the ones I have... but this means trying to cram everything else into a little 4-door Geo. It's like clowns in a toy car, except in reverse and not nearly as amusing.

Sunset linocut: Step 5, dark snow
But, hey... the sunset lino is going well. I had hoped to have it finished before departing on Thursday, but that's not looking too likely now.

Step 5 is a rich purple-y blue, which right now seems a bit overdone.... but remember we thought that about the orange, too. Believe it or not, this is the color of SNOW in this image. Trust me. It's gonna work. (She says. Boldly. With only a minor twitch to indicate that she's all swagger and no substance to back up her claim.)

I'm definitely having fun with this one.... if it turns out the way I hope it will, I can imagine a little series of sunset prints. Mayyybeeeee.......