Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No mistake this time!

It's definitely spring! 74 F, breezy.... an hour off to walk to the river and make a sketch.

F Street bridge from behind the Steamplant, Salida.
Dust, dippers, dogs, dirt bikes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's not looking good for our hero

As promised, I kept going on this little experimental piece this weekend, despite feeling distracted and out of sorts. Yup, I've made quite the mess.

There's not a whole lot to recommend what I've done here, but I AM learning things. Three colors have been added since the last post, bringing the total to ten. Too many for a 3 x 3 inch piece! The mid-tone blue has turned out to be jarring and distracting.... not sure if I can remedy that with an 11th color or not. We'll see.

On the up side, we have been without snow for what? 4 or 5 days, now? And it looks like we're going to get a few more vitamin-D-infusers in the week ahead. Yippee! I'm twitchy to clean things out in the yard and get on with the growing season, but it will be at least another month before I can do that with any sort of confidence. Late April blizzards are par for the course around here.

But now, right now, it's a clear Sunday evening and the moon is nearly full. Moonglow sifts through my studio window, filtered by the juniper tree out back. (Hmmm.... potential lino?) The Darling Man has spent the weekend hard at work on tunes for a new CD and in between print and drawing expeditions I've exercised my Domestic Goddess muscles. We're finally ready for some R'n'R. That is, of course, why Monday is less than 3 hours away.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Linocut experiments of dubious success

When I was in high school a friend's family took me skiing. I don't remember much from that day beyond a spectacular crash-and-burn. I know it was spectacular because the ski patrol guy who brought me my displaced skis greeted me with barely concealed glee: "Wow! You EXPLODED off that hill!" *

Yeah. I meant to do that. (Grimace.)

The other thing I remember from that day was much more useful, and that was my friend's insistence that "If you're not falling down you're not trying hard enough." Yes, that can be read a couple of ways, but his intention was to encourage me to take risks and learn something. Granted, that's how I ended up half-buried in snow and the subject of ski patrol chortles for the rest of the day, but it's still an attitude worth cultivating.

So... with that in mind, here's a little update on linocut work.

Some time last week the current tiny print had 3 shades of yellow on it, applied in a sort of inside-out order of dark-light-medium. And then... I started adding blue.


Light blue. Not so bad. A tiny bit of green cast to it as it went down over the yellow, but since only tiny bits of this would carry through to the next pass, I didn't worry about it.


See? Pale blue only in small strips, now surrounded by a medium blue. It all looks okay.

And then? EXPLODING OFF THE HILL blue!

Oops. I meant to do that.

Actually... this darkest blue is correct, it's the middle blue that was too light, but I didn't notice. I kept my fingers crossed and pulled a light stone color in the next pass, hoping it would even things out. Ehhh.... not so much. It's better, but there's still more contrast between the middle and dark blues than I wanted. (Sorry for the shiny photo, fresh wet ink.)

So how to fix it? This is a reduction print, after all... no going back!

I think I'm going to just plunge on ahead and get the rest of the colors down and then evaluate what's happening. I've an idea that I might use a second block to put a transparent layer over all the blues to bring them together, but I've not tried that before. Or maybe I'll cut a stencil on a raw block. Don't know. Definite experiment. Potential for crash and burn? High. But that's a good thing. Just ask ski patrol.



(*To his credit, he DID wait to see if I could move before he started laughing.)

PS: In retrospect, this ski trip might not have been the best example to use, since I only skied maybe a half dozen times total, and never again since I was in college. But the Mitchell family still had the right idea. Thanks, D and R!

Still restless after all these days

Sunny but windy yesterday. I went for a long walk anyway (35 bird species) and then hunkered down in my car to make a little sketch in my new moleskine. Car-sketching not my most favorite thing, I have to say. I'm forever dropping pencils and brushes between the seats and under my feet. But I couldn't stay in the house another minute yesterday... it's supposed to snow tonight.

I think it's time for a new scanner. Mine just WON'T pick up blues anymore. Or maybe it's restless, too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Springing into (distr)action

It's springtime in the Rockies, alright. Yesterday the temp reached 75 F, so far today the high has been 68 F, and tomorrow's forecast calls for 4-8 inches of snow.

Uh huh. That's spring.

I feel as unsettled as the weather... my attention pulled in multiple directions. There's contract work to do and a little lino to work on... ideas to generate and administrative things to take care of. And of course what I REALLY want to do is go outside and play.

In honor of all this mental disorder, I give you some random, assorted STUFF.

Firstly... The Colorado Art Ranch 33 Ideas show has a video fan! Someone going through the Denver International Airport this week saw the exhibition and got so excited about it that he made a little YouTube video. Fun, eh?




Secondly... I've manged to get back to work on a tiny linocut that I started a couple of weeks ago. All that has been on paper is a small yellow square, which after it dried was WAY too dark. Thank goodness for oil based inks, which have a certain amount of sympathy towards poorly executed beginnings. Yesterday and today I put two lighter colors over the top of the first and I think I'm back on track now. Although my next intended colors are in the blue range, so we'll see how green everything starts looking!


Yesterday (I think it was yesterday. Maybe it was Tuesday.) David and I got ourselves sorted out for this year's Salida ArtWalk. Once again we'll be hanging out at the Book Haven, and this year I'll be all about linocuts! I'll do a demo on Saturday, June 26. Expect to hear more about this as it gets closer. And summer will be here before you know it because....

It's time to wish everyone a happy vernal equinox this weekend! Yippee!

I think I'll go wander restlessly around the studio some more now. Oh, wait... is that a bluebird? Maybe I should wash some dishes. I could carve some more. No, wait... laundry would be good. Maybe I should work on my newsletter... no, need to draw beavers for that project... no.....

(sigh)

Definitely spring.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I know, I know. I've posted this before. But I never get tired of it. Oh boy.... Ohhhhh boy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We now return you to the program in progress

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge in afternoon light


Wow! Last week was quite the adventure! Between the DIA installation, deadlines for two other exhibitions, and preparations for this past weekend's workshop I sort of lost track of which end was up. I think everything ended up where it was supposed to be.... at least by this morning there was only one thing left to ship and it matched the label on the shipping crate.

The Monte Vista Crane Festival was fun, as always. (It's hard to go wrong with 15-20,000 sandhill cranes in one area!) But this year I scheduled a Field Sketching Basics class at the festival for the first time and I definitely had the pre-class jitters that come with working in an unfamiliar situation.

Saturday morning dawned pretty chilly, but warmed up quickly with the energy and enthusiasm of my participants. Nervousness immediately turned to delight as the personality of the group emerged.

Let's just say I haven't laughed so much in quite a while.

As always, the allotted time passed WAY too quickly. Thanks Diana, Tamara, Susan, Jackie, Mary Susan, Jan, Nancy, Tiffany, Steve, and birthday girl Brenda for a great morning!

Hard at work! Thanks to Diana for remembering to take photos.

So now it's back to the studio, where design work and uncarved lino blocks have been patiently waiting for my attention. The next challenge to my focus?

SPRING!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

If it's Thursday I must be...

Near as I can tell, it's Thursday morning, although the way my fingers are stumbling across the keyboard I'd be more inclined to think it Monday... or perhaps Friday night after a too-long Happy Hour. But the Darling Man is taking our household detritus to the curb, so yes, it must be Thursday.

Yesterday I installed my portion of the upcoming Colorado Art Ranch 33 Ideas show at Denver International Airport. Pretty darned exciting, I'd have to say. Unfortunately the entire exhibit won't be finished for a few more days, so what I have to show you are the "mostly done" bits of my case, and nothing more. It's going to be a fun and eclectic collection, though. You really must see it if you're coming to or through DIA any time between now and mid-June.

Filling "my" cabinet from the back. ("Hmmm.... should this go here, or here... or maybe not at all.")

You can see here that the exhibit will line both sides of the pedestrian bridge from the main terminal to Concourse A. The area is NOT inside security, so anyone can check it out, even if you aren't bound for that particular concourse. "Witness" is second or third case in from the terminal on the right hand (east, or Concourse-bound) side.


"I think the right corner still needs to come down. Again. More.
No, too much. Back. Nope. Too much again, more...."

Like all major projects, this one required a peanut gallery multiple supervisors. DIA Art Program Assistant Jaquelyn helps direct traffic, patient and capable Bruce makes it all work, and the DM? He was there for moral support, of course.


Now that wasn't so bad, eh? Journals and paintbox, plant bits and papers. It was quite fun to see that folks were stopping even before the case was entirely together.

Yet to come are a band across the top of the case with the name of the show, and I think the name of the Art Ranch town we are part of, and across the bottom of the case "one word" to describe our idea. (In my case, "Witness.") Of course our names and contact info will be on the case somewhere, too... it's all good!

The list of other artists displaying work is long and wonderful, and includes several Salidans. I'll try to get a final list to post when all is said and done, but in the meantime, here are a few folks I know are part of the exhibit and links to their work to fire up your enthusiasm for "33 Ideas."

Richard Cabe (Sculptor)
Susan Tweit (Writer)
Michael Mowry (Photographer extraordnaire)
Roberta Smith (Mixed media maven)
Cathi Schwalbe-Bouzide (She does everything. Period.)
Rosemerry Trommer (Poet)
David Tipton (Musician)

The nice thing about having the installation finished is that I can now turn my attention to other piles in the studio. Tomorrow I head down to the Monte Vista Crane Festival to get ready for my Saturday morning workshop, so this morning I'll be sorting through that particular mound and loading it in to the car. Whew! Tomorrow morning two boxes of exhibition-bound work go to the post office... by Monday I ought to be able to see my drawing table again! Yippee!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sneak Preview: 1/33rd of 33 Ideas

If I didn't know better, I'd think I was getting ready to shift house or something. There are piles of stuff all over the studio: supplies for this weekend's workshop at the Monte Vista Crane Festival, a box of matted small prints for a jury in Creede, another box for a piece that's bound for an exhibition in Indiana, paintings and sketches for an interpretive panel project, concept sketches for a game board for a kids' newsletter, those same printed yellow squares that have been stacked for a week....

... and boxes holding the contents of my display for the Colorado Art Ranch 33 Ideas show at Denver International Airport, which I will install on Wednesday. (The show isn't listed on the DIA art program site yet, but since it opens March 15 I hope it will show up there eventually.)

For a while there I wasn't sure it would ever come together, but it looks as if I'll manage it despite myself and other obstructions. I think it's going to be a great show, and I'm really excited to see the magic that happens once everyone's work is in place. Tonight I did a little "dry run" of the materials I intend to put in my display case. And just for Brush and Baren readers, a sneak preview of sorts.....

Late last year Colorado Art Ranch invited the artists, writers, scientists, and thinkers who have been involved in Art Ranch programs to submit proposals for exhibits that reflected the vision and mission of the organization. The result is 33 Ideas, thirty-three unique responses to the belief that creative interdisciplinary thinking can (and should) be cultivated, valued, and used to solve land and social issues. My idea among the thirty-three? Illustrated journals as witness and testament. I'll take some photos when the whole thing is together and write more about my idea later, but for now here's a little look at what's in this particular studio pile.


My drawing table is just a few inches short of the width of my assigned display case, so out came journals and paintboxes and other materials to be arranged in a little vignette. Hanging above and behind this idyllic scene will be a large panel (36 x 42 inches!) that looks remarkably like this:


Nifty, eh? I hope it looks in "real life" the way I imagine it in my mind! (Or maybe even better, wouldn't that be lovely?) The panel is being fabricated as I type, I have to pick it up in Denver on my way to the installation. I've been assured that it looks good.... (more nail biting)... let's hope so!

What's also exciting is that David's CD, Residue, will be playing in the exhibition area throughout the three month run of the show!

So.... if you're at DIA between March 15 and June 15, take a little time to wander over the bridge from the main terminal to Concourse A. I might even offer to pick someone up at the airport, even if it IS 3 hours from here, just to be sure I don't miss anything.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Which way to the employee break room?


I feel like the Paperwork Queen of the Western World. Even if it's virtual paperwork!

I spent untold hours the last few days getting together a new issue of "Fit to Print," my new email newsletter! I am quite excited about it, but finding a nice balance of tone and content turned out to be a little more challenging than I expected. I held my breath when I hit the "send" button, but so far the responses have all been positive. Thanks, everyone!

Of course getting the newsletter together precipitated another falling domino series of tasks. It all started with "update my website," which lead to "build a new basic reduction linocut process page because I write about one in the newsletter" (oops), then to "discover my gallery PayPal links are all busted" and "spend vast amounts of frustrating time trying to find the rogue line of code." And finally, "call for reinforcements." Yeah. That was fun.

In the last couple of days I also spent longer than expected on an application for a workshop, prepped materials for next week's workshop in Monte Vista, delivered work to my framer, had a phone conference with a client, sent files to my fabricator for display panels for an exhibit that installs next Wednesday, started a new lino (all I have so far are 15 sheets of yellow squares, but it's SOMETHING), and cleared my inbox. Twice.

And, no. I haven't even started the tax thing yet. (sigh)

Don't let them tell you an artist's life isn't glamorous and romantic.

The REAL kicker is that it's been gorgeous and spring-like here the last few days. It's a lousy time to be doing virtual paperwork, but the Darling Man and I have at least managed to get out and walk a couple of miles each day.

All admin and no art makes for dull blog posts, I'm sorry to say. But if I get cranky enough it's quite probable that the DM will unplug my computer, hand me a pencil, and lock me out of the house for a few hours. Talk about employee benefits! I am SO lucky.