Sunday, November 25, 2012

I was asked in an interview recently about what was in my artistic future. My reply was that I really didn't know, but that what ever the case, I was going to "create and express myself in my artwork."

A pretty milk-toast answer; I think I was imagining at the time I would move into something like silver smithing or sculpture or something 3D. So I was a bit taken aback when I sat down today with some paper and oil pastels (of all things) and whipped out a quick drawing of my old buddy Herb's old Brittany Ginger furiously running through the late season grouse woods.

OK, so this isn't COMPLETELY new territory for me; I'd done a portrait  or two in school, um, 20-some years ago. So I sort of know the concept of pastels. Sort of. I totally botched the first attempt - I am a seriously bad draftsman. This is my second attempt, and I must say, there are more things that please me about the drawing than things that don't, so I consider it a success, I guess. I really like the way the dog's movement comes through - I think that was my first goal. I'm also impressed with how the oil pastel's work together as colors.

So, I think I've found my "next thing", so to speak. I'm certainly not laying down my wood blocks (as a matter of fact, I'm about half way done with the latest that I started not too long ago) but definitely on to something fresh.

Friday, August 24, 2012

For the Birds...

Deb and I have three (maybe four) more shows lined up for the rest of this year, and have been hard at work the last couple of weeks getting some new hand-colored linoleum block prints ready, for Art on the Kinni, Spring Valley Dam Days Teachers Art Fair, and the Spirit of the St. Croix Art Festival.

We're continuing our bird-themed prints, as we had a terrific time with last years Orchard Calendar project, and thought it would be fun to concentrate on song/garden birds as a theme. When we started Trout Lily Studios years ago, it was with the intent that it would be a vehicle for both of us to pursue our art with; these are Deb's images, from blocks that she carved. I proofed the blocks for her, and printed them, then handed them back for her to hand color.

Goldfinch (blue)
Red Winged Blackbird
Goldfinch (yellow)

Eventually I'd like to carve some color blocks for some of these and see what that will do to the over all image. But for now it's enough to concentrate on rolling out the base prints.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

3rd Meadow Final

I finished my latest print today, a Moku Hanga print entitled "3rd Meadow." The view looks up through the 3rd meadow on Slough Creek (hence the title...) Slough Creek is a tributary of the Lamar River in Yellowstone:

For a print that started out with a whole lot of Easter Egg colors, it turned out exceedingly well. I'm very happy with it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Morning on the Paint - a long time coming

I finished this one up today.

I was fishing with Joe, Grizz and Todd on the Paint a few years ago. It was the first time in recent memory for me fishing in the UP, and we were fishing to especially fussy brookies during an early morning trico hatch. I think I might have caught one or two (where I should have caught dozens), and so it was an especially frustrating morning. I had hung it up for awhile, maybe even sat down on a rock midstream to watch my friends downstream do their own fishing, when someone nodded to me in that way that made me turn and look upstream. There was a whitetail doe, cautiously picking her way along the bank, not far away.

I started a print of the scene immediately that fall, but as I worked my way through the blocks, something was lost, and I eventually put them away. From time to time over the next couple of years I'd pick them back up and try something new: a new paper, a different color, etc, always putting them aside and working on something else.

I picked them up again a couple weeks ago, and the answer was obvious: what the blocks needed was just a little bit more carving and just one or two additional color layers.

Here's a proof of one of the last runs I did:

You can see where I drew in a line of birch trees to cut out and a line of grass to add. I also printed it on brighter paper and adjusted the colors a bit.

Here's the finished print again:

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's been awhile - New Print!

I haven't taken time to post anything since August. That doesn't mean that I've not been working, though; it's just been extremely hectic late summer/fall/winter.

I've been working on a couple different prints this winter, with the goal of combining what I've been doing with my reduction woodcuts with what I've learned about the moku hanga technique. The result(s) are prints that are as visually full of depth as before, but with the added versatility and aesthetic appeal of the traditional Japanese woodcut. At least, that's my own thoughts on the matter...

So here's the latest:

This is a 9 block moku hanga type woodblock print. I carved a new and different block for each color, starting from the lightest grey and ending with the black.

The technique is pretty straight forward - I used a master image to trace each color area onto an exactly sized piece of maple. I then carved each one out by hand with various shaped/sized gouges:

I apply the colors in the traditional manner, using a boar and deer hair brush. The ink I use is made by a company called Akua Kolor. My friends at Wet Paint have been my local source since stocking them last year.

There are a couple darker colors that were printed that I didn't record, but you get the point. These are artists proofs, printed on a relatively cheap paper. My task now is to decide on which, if any color layers I want to get rid of, and make final prints on good quality paper (which will change the appearance somewhat, usually to the better....)