Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back to Work!

Whew! I think I'm FINALLY back. Well, mostly. I have to leave again for a few days next week to deliver work to buyers (!!!), but other than that I think that the flat-out pace of the last four months is finally coming to an end.

Which is not to say that I'm going to stop going a mile a minute. I'm just going to be doing it over a much smaller geographic area.

Proof that work is happening:

Hey... this looks like lino!
It's a small section of a BIG block. 18" x 18". Here's hoping that I haven't forgotten how to do this...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meditations on Fall at Oh Be Joyful Gallery

Oh Be Joyful Gallery's autumn show, Meditations on Fall, is on now through October 11 in beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado. Meditations on Fall  showcases paintings by David Grossman, Meredith Nelson, Cheryl St. John, and linocuts by... me!

Artists' Reception this Thursday, September 24, 5:00-9:00 pm, in conjunction with Crested Butte's evening Art Walk. I hope to see some local folks there!

OBJ Gallery - 409 Third Street - Crested Butte, Colorado - (970) 349-5936

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Birds in Art, duckies, and what comes after

Once again the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum outdid itself with the opening of their annual Birds in Art exhibition.

More than 600 international artists in a wide variety of media submit more than 1,000 hopeful pieces to the jury each year, and only a lucky 120 or so are included in the show. The caliber of art and artists is absolutely top notch, and the museum staff go out of their way to make the exhibition experience a great one for artists and art-lovers.

It's always a special honor to be included in the show, but it was extra-fun to be a part of this year's 40th anniversary festivities.

The opening weekend is a busy one, with multiple receptions, an artists' luncheon, a patron dinner, and "Artists in Action" demonstrations. And of course someone you know had to take the opportunity to talk to people about reduction linocuts.

Sharing the reduction linocut process during "Artists in Action."
And hey! That's Calvin Nicholls and his wife Ann looking on.
Calvin's papersculptures were recently featured on Colossal. (LYWAM photo)

A great variety of media were represented by demonstrations: including oil and acrylic by Robert Bateman and charcoal by Karen Bondarchuk. Wendy Brockman and Derek Robertson shared watercolor techniques, scratchboard got its day in the sun with Cathy Sheeter, and owlman Clarence Cameron demonstrated stone carving magic... but the real show-stealer was sculptor Paul Rhymer, who poured bronze right there in the museum garden. (And sorry, I don't remember who else was giving demos because I never got out from behind my table!)

Paul Rhymer pours bronze. Show off. (LYWAM photos)
Also during the Saturday morning opening, previously-honored Master Artists shared their Birds in Art memories in a presentation called "7 x 7 x 7." The seven artists each had seven minutes to share seven slides... and if they went over time museum Director Kathy Foley was there with a gong to shoo them off the stage. Great fun.

 LYWAM Director Kathy Foley keeps speakers on track. (LYWAM photo)

One of the best aspects of the show is the opportunity for the participating artists to just spend time together, talking shop (and sometimes talking smack) and catching up with what everyone's up to. The bulk of this happens "up north" at a barbeque at the Woodson family property. The icing on the cake? How about a cake decorated with details of the work of all the exhibition artists!

Can you find my pelican? Lower right.
Yep. I think I've mentioned that the Woodson staff go all out for this event.

This year each of us also received a new little buddy: a Birds in Art ducky! Our duckies are charged with going forth into the world and sending back photos of their exploits, so of course mine is already getting around. If you want to follow them, then #birdsinartducky is your hashtag. Me, I don't use Twitter, but the museum does, so you can follow along with the fun. Or you can check out the Woodson Museum's Facebook page, which has gone quite humorously yellow already.

You might think it's impossible for the museum follow a weekend like that with any more excitement, but you would be mistaken. Yesterday morning I received an email from Curator Jane Weinke... letting me know that the Woodson Art Museum will be acquiring my piece, "Cruisin'," for its permanent collection. Holy duckies, Batman! Err... Birdman. It's a darn good thing the next exhibition is a year away. I'm going to need that much time to get down off this cloud.

In the meantime, I'll be facilitating an Illustrated Journal workshop at Buffalo Peaks Ranch this weekend and opening the autumn exhibition at Oh Be Joyful Gallery in Crested Butte next week. Of course I'll also be getting back to work in the studio with a full dose of inspiration and motivation. And a yellow ducky.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gone Birds-in-Arting

I'm off to Wausau, Wisconsin for opening weekend at the Woodson Art Museum's 40th Annual Birds in Art exhibition. You're probably tired of hearing (reading?) me gush about this show, so here's some info from the press release instead:

Varied and accomplished depictions of avian life, from regal poses, lively gatherings, and calm repose to sculptural statements and whimsical trompe l’oeil works highlight why throughout four decades Birds in Art has earned international esteem.

The 2015 exhibition includes the work of 102 artists, selected by three jurors, and 21 who have been named Master Artists during previous Birds in Art exhibitions. Artwork from 607 artists was submitted for the 2015 jury’s consideration.

Opening day, Saturday, September 12, provides varied opportunities to interact with more than 60 Birds in Art artists visiting from throughout the world for the 40th-anniversary festivities.
  • The Museum opens at 9 am; meet and mingle with the artists, 9 am-Noon, and get catalogues and posters signed. (Sherrie says, "Hey, one of those posters is by me!")
  • Birds in Art Master Artists share insights, 9:30-10:30 am, during brief, image-based presentations under a sculpture garden tent.
  • Artists in Action demonstrate various mediums and explain techniques, 10:45 am-12:15 pm. (Sherrie says, "Hey! This is also me!")
 Birds in Art is on view at the Woodson, September 12 through November 29. Museum admission is always free, so if you're in the neighborhood you should really stop on in and check it out.

See you all next week!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Where the demo stands

I've been back in Colorado about a week and a half, and suddenly I'm pulling out the suitcase to leave again! Next weekend the festivities for the opening of Birds in Art at the Woodson Art Museum will be underway, and I'm off to Wisconsin to join the goings-on. It's the 40th Anniversary of this prestigious international juried show, and if the strange images that are showing up in my Facebook feed are any indication, there's going to be a lot of goofiness to add to the celebration.

But before I could start packing again I had to get my demonstration piece into good enough shape to have it be meaningful in the 90 minutes I have to complete it on site.

As I show you Step 4, keep in mind that this was going to only be a two-color image.

Demo reduction linocut, Step 4.
 Yep, one more blue pass. Just because. And then a lot of carving to get to Step 5:

Hey! There are birds in this lino! Step 5.
Back when this was going to be a two-color print, this was going to be Step 2, but of course all that went out the window immediately. I seems a little cheezy to end with just a flat dark after all the fussiness with the blues, so this is not the final step. I'm going to carve some details in to the birds and maybe in to a bit of the branches and THEN I'm going to print black. There won't be a lot of contrast, but one doesn't see a lot of contrast when looking within silhouetted shapes, anyway.

I'm not sure that it's going to be a completely successful image, but for something cranked out in two days it will be good enough for the demonstration. I pulled out a print at each stage, so my audience will be able to (hopefully) wrap their brains around the reduction process.

Success or failure, I'll show you the final result when I return from Wisconsin. Until then... check out this great article in Scientific American about the benefits of drawing for art AND science. It made me want to grab my sketchbook and run outside. Maybe I will...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is that INK I see?

Indeed it is, and a completely chaotic work surface, too. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm scheduled to give a demonstration during the opening weekend festivities for the Woodson Art Museum's Birds in Art exhibition on September 12. That's not a lot of time to put together a new linocut, especially since I've been out of the studio for three months. And double-especially because I have to produce this one "old skool," with a baren and a little portable registration jig.

You should have seen me this morning... On a quest for the jig (on shelf under work surface), paper (precut last spring, in a drawer), and most alarmingly, my baren, which remained elusive for a good 20 minutes while I tried to discover where I had stashed it. All my inks and carving tools had been stashed away, too...

I had this ridiculous notion that I would make a "really simple" demonstration piece: One blended roll for the first step, and then a solid black silhouette over the top. Piece of cake.

Bzzzzzt! Wrong! I made a horrific mess mixing all the wrong colors, creating ugly blends, and wasting several sheets of paper before I decided I'd better just start with a solid blue rectangle.

Remembering how to print: Step 1

Okay, then.

Obviously my two-step plan is out the window at Step 1. At least I am reassured that SOME things don't change during a long absence, chief among them my inability to keep things simple.

I decided that since I was already on Plan B I might as well experiment with the background. Here you can start to see some efforts at funky texture, printed with a subtle blended blue.

A little less wobbly: Step 2

Step 3 was to be another blended roll, but the first tests didn't look all that great, so I went back to a solid transparent blue (again) and more carved texture.

My two-step print reaches Step 3

Aaaaaannd... here we are already at Step 3.

Aaaaaannnnd..... now I think there will be at least 5, possibly 6 passes before it's finished.
Go ahead. Say it.

It felt great to be working, even with all the frustrations caused by plain ol' rustiness. Unfortunately hand-printing wreaks havoc with the tendinitis that I thought would get a rest this summer but which has in fact gotten worse. (sigh) Thankfully I had the presence of mind to schedule a massage before I left home in May.... it's tomorrow. I also scheduled a haircut, which is today. You may applaud my foresight now.

The focus of the next few days is clear, and happily so. I had a fantastic summer away, but these last few weeks I've been twitchy to get back to linos. Unlike the insect bites I acquired in Maine, this is one itch I am happy to scratch.

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...