Friday, May 30, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Sunset deepens

Only managed to get one more color pass done on this linocut in the past few days, but I'm pleased with where the image is going. A second transparent blue... this one "blueier" than the last to pull the dark bits of cloud into the cooler range. The next two steps will work the foreground mountains. Depending on how that goes, there will probably be just one more color overall... Which makes what? Only seven passes? Surprising!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Finally

At long last I have a new linocut in progress. With my focus strongly on seabirds for the past twelve months it seemed strange to be contemplating something other... and it took a surprising amount of time for me to settle on a new subject.

Of course once I decided, the universe conspired to keep me from working. I didn't have enough paper on hand to start a large piece, so I gave myself "a few more days" of break and ordered paper.

Correction. I backordered paper. Supplier out of stock.

After a few days delay I received notice that a portion of my order was enroute. It would be enough to manage an edition, so I drew up my block and organized my tools....

And the paper arrived damaged.


Luckily I had placed a second order from a different supplier when the first order went AWOL, so the new delay was only another two days... but GEEZ.

Step 1: Yippee! Mysterious new lino finally underway.
The first step was a nice blended roll, blue to peach-ish with an interesting third color where they came together. This block is 12 x 18 and my widest roller is only 8 inches, but I didn't require peach all the way to the bottom of the image so I let the rollout fade away along the edge.

Step 2. That's rather obnoxious, isn't it?
Second step was... well, you can see what it was. Orange and obnoxious. Rather frightening, actually. There isn't a huge amount of this color that will show after the next step, but it's enough to make me nervous about the intensity. I want intense, but will this be too much?

The third step involved a solid but very transparent blue rolled over the entire block.

Step 3. Dare I say it? A sigh of relief after the next color was pulled.
Oh, WHEW! I think that's going to work just fine.

And yes, you are correct. This is a landscape! Not. One. Bird. In fact, it is mostly sky. I don't believe I have ever done a piece with this much sky... and I'm certain I've never tried a sunset before. I'm excited about what's happening on the left side of the image in particular... I hope I can hold it together until the finish.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fieldwork Friday: Of pigs and endangered species

A trip to Colorado Springs was in order yesterday, and while there I popped in at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to spend a little quality time with my sketchbook. Hadn't anticipated also spending quality time with 400 middle school students participating in Endangered Species Day.

Near as I could tell, this meant a sort of "science-fair-meets-field-trip" scenario in which students and their science-fair posters of information were stationed in front of animal exhibits throughout the zoo.

A nice idea... kids teaching kids... with their classmates receiving a stamp or sticker or some such indication that they had visited the various stations. But during what was probably the last (or second-to-last) week of school? Yeah. Mayhem. So I hid in what semi-quiet corners I could find until they all magically vanished back to school after lunch. Phew!

I don't find mayhem particularly conducive to drawing, but at least I did alright when I could commune with Aloiscious, "Call me Al," the King of Calm Within the Storm. You probably think you know what species he is, but I assure you that he was most emphatically identified by an adult woman as a Vietnamese Portabello Pig. Al certainly exhibits the enthusiasm of a mushroom, although I have it on good authority that he despises wet earth.

Some time later I got to dust off my tried-and-true cake-baking retort. This time the culprit was a somewhat senior-aged man who stood behind me and watched me drag pencil across paper for a while before asking, "What are you doing? Sketching?"

To which I naturally replied, "No. I am baking a cake."

To which he responded, "Oh," and then, "What?" while his wife chuckled quietly next to him. 

I relented. (sigh)

"Yes, I am sketching."

"What, THAT?" queried Mr. Confused and Incredulous, as he pointed at the one and only collared lizard perched directly in front of me, striking the very pose Mr. C had just watched me put down on paper.

(Again sigh.) I refrained from saying, "No, I am drawing the elephant near the zoo entrance. I just thought I would sit in front of a lizard while I did so," but oooohhh... it was tempting.

Endangered Species Day? One can only hope.

Monday, May 12, 2014

In other news.... SNOW.

Yep, that's what I said. Snow. Here. Now.

The good news is that we didn't get hit nearly as hard as folks east and north of us, but still. Northern hemisphere...hello!?!? Going OUT of winter, not back in to it.

Carry on.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birds in Art 2014!

Okay, now I really DO need a break... to recover from a surfeit of good news!

This morning's bleary-eyed stagger to the keyboard snapped me wide awake when it revealed The Big Email from the Woodson Art Museum, confirming the selection of "Shower With a Friend" for this year's Birds in Art exhibition.

"Shower With a Friend," reduction linocut, 15" x 15"

Most of the time I more-or-less manage to maintain a more-or-less philosophical air about juried exhibitions, but Birds in Art is special and this year doubly so. Each year the museum names a Master wildlife artist, and this year that artist is friend and colleague Barry Van Dusen. The exhibition's opening weekend in September is a highlight of any year, but it will be particularly wonderful to be there to celebrate Barry's accomplishments.

Competition for this exhibition is always fierce–910 entries for 92 places this year–and it's always humbling to consider the many excellent pieces that are not included. Let's face it. I was tres nervous about this one.

The summer ahead is a busy one, but the weekend of September 6 now shines as the reward for hard work ahead and behind.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What do I do with myself NOW?

"My" wall at the Governor's Show. Happy little red dots (and sticky notes, but
they are another story).

The last few days have been a blur. The Governor's Invitational weekend event was really lovely... with the added cheer of selling well! Many thanks to my new collectors, who will be honoring my work by bringing it home with them.

While I was still on the Front Range I got the good news that Coot du Jour was selected for the Society of Animal Artists' 54th "Art and the Animal" exhibition. Particularly exciting is that the show will premier at The Wildlife Experience museum in Parker... just a scant 3 hours from me.. so I'll be able to attend the festivities this year. If you're in the Denver area, mark August 23 on your calendars!

AND... last but absolutely not least... yesterday afternoon I delivered all the work for the seabird exhibition to my shipper! Eighteen new seabird pieces are winging their way east to Maine. Whew.

You should have seen the look on the face of my shipper's assistant when
I walked in with this pile and announced I had a project for them.

For reasons that are probably obvious I'm feeling particularly wiped out today. I have a long list of things I need/want to accomplish now that there's naught more I can do for Maine, but so far my energy level hasn't gotten past making an inventory of matted and framed work I have "in stock" for the upcoming summer season. I seem to be in slightly better shape than I thought, but there's still a lot to get ready before June!

I don't expect I'll get a new block on the table before the weekend, but never fear! Can't let moss grow on the cutting tools. Or whatever. Gotta keep working!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Colorado Governor's Invitational

With my nose-to-the-print-bench focus on seabirds for the past few months it seems a little strange to finally lift my head and realize that this weekend is the opening of the Colorado Governor's Invitational Show. Time to throw some big girl clothes into the suitcase and head north to the Loveland Museum for the festivities!

As always, I'm looking forward to connecting with far-flung friends and colleagues and meeting some new ones.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...