Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day off

The weather forecast called for clear and sunny, and the studio forecast called for more contract work instead of the new lino, so the DM and I blew it all off and went to Crestone for the day.

'Tis a funky little town... perhaps the Wikipedia introduction can sum it up quickly:

"Crestone is a Statutory Town in Saguache County in Southwestern Colorado, United States. The population was 73 at the 2000 census. It is a small village at the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Range, in the northern part of the San Luis Valley. Crestone was a small mining town, but little paying ore was discovered. In the 1970s a large land development, the Baca Grande, was established to the south and west and several hundred homes have been built.

The Crestone area, which includes the Baca Grande and Moffat, Colorado, is a spiritual and new age center with several world religions represented; including a Hindu temple, a Zen center, a coed Carmelite monastery, several Tibetan centers, and miscellaneous new age happenings."

It was pretty quiet today, given that it's the middle of winter, but we had a nice lunch at The Harvest, wandered through the Crestone Artisan Gallery, the natural foods store (nice!), the thrift store, an import shop, and a couple of coffee establishments. It was good to get out of the house/studio/hometown for a bit. Back to the grindstone tomorrow.

(A chorten or stupa outside Crestone. Wikimedia image by Fred Bauder through Creative Commons.)

Art Marketing Workshop Opportunity


Could be it's a serious case of preaching to the choir, telling you all about an opportunity to learn more about online marketing. But maybe not! Especially if you're in Colorado or plan to be this way in May...

Alyson B. Stanfield of ArtBizCoach.com will lead a two-day workshop in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado--the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Learn how to effectively promote your art online using email, blogs, and websites!

May 2-3, 2009
Just $165 until March 6
($195 after that)

You’ll learn:
* How to decide which online formats are best for you
* Five email secrets that produce results
* How to use an email newsletter to cultivate collectors
* How to expand your mailing list
* The Dos and Don’ts of artist Web sites
* Where to splurge and where to save
* Why you need a blog right now
* How to start your blog
* What to write on your blog
* How to increase traffic to your blog (and website)
* What to put in your website media room
* Why you can’t afford to ignore social networking sites

Alyson said she's expecting a sellout crowd of 70 artists from around the country, so don't dilly dally!

Save $30 by registering before March 6. See http://artbizcoach.com/estes

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More fame and glory

There's Etsy, and there are printmakers, and there are printmakers on Etsy. There are bloggers who are printers and Etsians who are bloggers and bloggers who are ....

Thank goodness there's Printsy.

And, sorry about the redundancy, be it seems to be my week for a little bit of public "atta girl." Amie Roman (Burnishings) was kind enough to interview me for today's installment of the Printsy pages, and the post in all its glory came out today. Thanks, Amie... it was fun to do, and the post looks GREAT!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Payback time

Snowing.

Eleven degrees Fahrenheit and falling.

Bye bye, balmy.

Fame and Glory and Good Information

Well! What a nice little "atta girl" for me this morning! Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield featured one of my linocuts in this week's Art Marketing Action Newsletter. If you don't subscribe, you might want to start. It's an every Monday kick-in-your-complacency, just in case you need one.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Slow as molasses in January...

...which would be a good simile except that it's been 60 F here for more than a week and everything's flowing smoothly.

Except my lino, of course.

It's all taking longer than expected, in part because I (GASP!) decided to actually THINK about the image before I dove in this time. I feel a little more virtuous about this method, of course, but it's definitely a new way to work.

I started with a series of photos, some of which I posted a little while back. Complex little monsters, they were. So I pasted copies into the "idea book" and started looking for simpler compositions within them. I found some nice ones, but harumph! What I really want is for this piece to complement "High Tide Detritus," as I ultimately envision a little set of 3 or more prints of the "stuff" under the feet of wanderers like me. In the end I decided that I need to stick with the most complex reference image I have. The scale relates to "Detritus", the intricacy relates... yup. Gotta be the most ornate one.

So I've started drawing the image on the block, but it's taking something akin to forever. It's about half done here....

I'm trying to work on a pre-mounted Speedball block this time. I've had fair success with these for intricate carving before... more so than my typically favorite battleship gray material.

Tomorrow things get a little out of control in the client realm, so I'm not sure how quickly this will progress the rest of the week. I'd say I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a rapid completion of this step, but it's REALLY difficult to keep working when my fingers are in such a position.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What silence hath wrought

In twos and threes:

A) The decision that, despite my desire to pare down the "stuff" of my world, I need to have three sketchbooks/journals going simultaneously. 1) An "idea" book in which messiness and lack of focus prevail. An "anything goes" book. 2) A sketchbook for focusing on, well, sketches and drawings and 3) A journal for mostly just writing. I've been trying to do all three in the same book, or maybe in 2 books, and it just isn't working. My mindset is different for each activity, and I find all it distracting to have a jumble of "attitudes" in the same book. We'll see if this works.


B) Three critical components: ink, paper, and a new lino block arrived. Goal is something on the new image tomorrow. (Compositions evolving in Idea Book, see A1 above.)

C) Two small client projects completed. Two more big ones added to the list.

D) Two juried show entries made and two workshop descriptions submitted.

E) Two full sets of prompt cards finished and ready for workshoppers.


F) We acquired two things I've always wanted: 1) A rocking chair (Local furniture store going out of business, imminent retirees anxious to unload everything. Hand them cash, and it's yours, cheap.) 2) An old typesetter's drawer, also cheap.

G) And we got two things we didn't want: 1) Stomach bug for the DM 2) Eye infection for me.

How's your week?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trying not to feel smug


But it ain't working. According to the WeatherBug station at our local middle school, it was 62 F here today. Whilst our friends in the north and east are making videos about the way hot water behaves when sprayed into ambient temps of -15 F, we are walking around the lake sans jackets. By the time we got back home from a walk this afternoon, both the DM and I were sporting short sleeved shirts.

At the lake goldeneye and wigeon were making "hey, baby" noises at each other. A dipper under Spiral Drive bridge was vocalizing so exuberantly that we were compelled to scramble down through Russian olive shrub to the river edge to confirm it was a single bird. Little flocks of chickadees seemed to have their knickers in a right bundle over who-knows-what. Dabblers were dabbling, divers were diving... even the nap-inclined seemed to be doing so with a certain luxuriant enthusiasm.

The problem with a surfeit of fabulous weather and tantalizing bird behavior is that we're all going to be mighty unhappy when the obligatory frigid February weather moves in. With all this raucous revelry going on it's difficult to avoid thoughts of spring and green, even when the only non-coniferous green to be found is in hardy watercress crops in protected ditches.

It seemed only right to temper all this giddiness with a little dried-plant reality check. Which I did. And now I'm going to go check on my inventory of green ink and green paint. Just so I'm ready. You know. Eventually. In April. Maybe May. They're just around the corner. Aren't they?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Grins

Friend, neighbor, and colleague Susan Tweit and her economist-turned-sculptor husband Richard Cabe stopped by yesterday to give me this lovely little creature. Yup, it's the 2009 Spring/Summer catalog for the University of Texas Press.

You'll note there's a cute little blue sticky note sticking out of one side.

That's because pages 22 and 23 have the ultra-lovely announcement of Susan's March-releasing new book, "Walking Nature Home."

What was really surprising, though, was that they put a great big image of one of my chapter heading illustrations on the spread. Wow! Yikes! Cool.

Grinning now.

The big list of what's goin' on...

Suddenly things feel slightly out of control again. How does this always happen so quickly?

By tomorrow I'll be shipping two interpretive sign projects off to the fabricator: the long-suffering Garden of the Gods panel and the relatively painless Ramah State Wildlife Area panel. Hoorah!

Just in time, of course, because I've got NINE panels to do for the Collegiate Peaks Byway and TWO panels to do for Skaguay State Wildlife Area. (I've got proposals out on another 8 panels, if they all show up at the same time, I'm toast.) Also today 2 "rush" design and illustration projects arrived... YIKES.

In between all that, I'm having to put together prospectii for summer workshops. So, of course, I spent a big chunk of time doing something sort of related instead. I made these nifty "prompt" cards. In part it was because I wanted something for myself during those periods when my journal habit gets bogged down, but THEN! I started having fun, and imagining using these with classes this summer, and I just went sort of nuts. I think I've made 28 or 30 cards, two-sided, so 60 or so prompts. It's not unlike Oblique Strategies for journaling.


And, of course, I've started working a little on sketches for the next linocut (sorry, you can't see yet). Finally. AND I'm trying to work on the sketchbook project for Art House, but it's not going well or quickly.

Can't be in the studio ALL the time, though, so last night I went with the DM to his new weekly gig at Mother's Bistro in Buena Vista. Allow me to introduce Your Surrogate Cousins: Dave and Eric on Stick, guitar, and harmonica... with a little singin' thrown in for good measure.


PS: Pretty marvy stove they're snugged up against, eh? It wasn't on last night, thankfully.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Something to do while we're waiting

Some time ago, for better or worse, I joined the listserv for the Mid-America Print Council. From time to time I receive interesting exhibition notices (2 of the juried shows I entered and was accepted to last year came through MAPC notices) and opportunities to fantasize over posted job notices. And, as one might expect, from time to time I get to roll my eyes at self-important statements made by academicians. (Don't get me started about the run-in I had with someone whose thesis premise was that the only real printmaking was done in atelier settings. No one working alone outside of academia could POSSIBLY have anything socially valid to contribute. Grrrrrrr!)

ANYWAY.

This morning.... oooh, whee! The listserv sent us something fun to look at. John Hitchcock at Hybrid Press attached this lovely photo of the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, Belgium to his post, so of course I had to find out more. John's got more pictures on his blog, and I'm definitely going to spend a little more time at the museum website.


But that's not all! Who'dathunk printmakers would have their own social network? Who needs Facebook? Printmakers have Inkteraction! Blogs, personal pages, artwork galleries, video galleries, exhibition notices... it's going to take a while to sort through this one!

Closer to home... I think I'm narrowing down the idea stream for the next lino. Just in time for the client projects to get fired back up and start demanding my attention, of course. But I did order more ink and paper yesterday- first step towards actual accomplishment.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hunting & gathering

Finally got out for a goodly walk this afternoon, despite some wind and cold. I'm still hunting for a new linocut image idea that will hold my attention long enough to get the print done! I've plenty of ideas, but I'm in one of those moods where I'm dismissing most concepts as too complex, too abstract, or too boring... no happy middle ground. (sigh) Basically I'm being completely uncooperative with myself. It's not pretty.

One of the things I'm looking for is an image to "go with" High Tide Detritus. I like how that image turned out, and I like the idea of doing more with the natural "litter" under my feet. I'm intrigued by the idea of pine cones and needles... or stones... and snow... or ice... and leaves... and bones... and sticks... and....

See my problem?

I'm sure I'll get it sorted out here before TOO much longer, but in the meantime... here are some groovy ideas I collected whilst stalking the river edge with my camera. Will they make good linos? Hard to say. At the moment they all look like a bit of a carving nightmare, don't you agree?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Still flailing about

It appears that I am still on mental holiday. Sorry 'bout that.

In the meantime, you might be amused, chagrined, reassured, or astounded to know that even if economies the world over are struggling, there are still people willing to pay more than $12,000 for a book about British minerals.

Abe Books (Don't go there if you have a book compulsion) just released their list of most expensive books sold through their service in 2008. There's hope for printmakers here, too, as a book of Hayden etchings tops the list. Harry Potter only came in third. Whew.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lest you think I'm a complete grump


Look what I discovered in my online rooting around: an excerpt and pre-order form for friend and colleague Susan Tweit's new book, due out in March of this year from University of Texas Press. Yay, Susan!

Okay, okay... there's a minor brag behind this. (Be sure to note the illustrator.) More props to Susan, who also took the gorgeous photo on the cover.

Stuck

(sigh)

Maybe you know this one:

I am twitchy to be working, but I am at a complete loss for a solid image. Vague ideas, only. Picking up and putting down sketchbooks, art books, writing books, picture books.... scanning websites.... looking through all my photos.... no no no. That's not it. Roaming about the house rearranging plants, pillows, dishes. Tried to go out for a walk today for a little change of scenery and inspiration. Too cold, too windy, too... icky. Tried to respond to questions for an online interview. Words are flat, too. The irony? One of the questions is about dealing with creative slumps.

(double sigh)

All we can do is try again tomorrow, eh?

Yeah, I bet you know this one.

Signs of stuckness: Books and sketches and photos and notes... and somehow still no ideas.