Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Bird Drawings on Pinch Pots

I have not been working in my sketchbook at all lately. But I have been drawing! Mostly on pinch pot ceramic pieces I make. Ceramics is a newer medium for me that I've been at for just over 3 years. Most of what I create is variations on pinch pots that I let get leather hard and then draw into. (It's not sgraffito because I don't cover the piece with slip first. I just draw into the bare surface and fill the lines with glaze after it's been bisque fired.) The drawings are done spontaneously; I decide what to draw on a pot after I've already formed it) and the lines drawn are the lines that stay. I don't smooth over "mistakes" or try to "fix" anything I don't like.

I thought to include this activity in a Sunday Sketchbook post because this process is mainly about the relationship between hand-shaping a piece of clay and intuitive free drawing. Also, most of the subjects I've drawn are animals I have been sketching over the past several months.

These are images of 2 pieces: a pinch pot creamer and mug with bird drawings.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Highlights From Baren Exchange #72 ("Wings" Theme)

These are two prints from the Baren Forum Exchange #72. Paper size was 5" x 11" and the theme was "Wings".

On the left is Bird Count by Theresa Martin and on the right is Heron Nest by Clive Lewis. These two prints were the favorites of my mother so I'm giving them to her to display side by side since they coincidentally offer a nice dialogue. Both images take place outdoors and offer two tones of the same color with a key-block printed in black. I particularly enjoy the contrast of the movement of the birds in flight with the empty stillness of the empty nest. Both seem to be very much about the quiet patience necessary to observe and gain an understanding of wild animals.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sketchbook Sunday: Watercolors of Children

These are three little watercolor paintings I did from pencil sketches of children in my daughter's dance class. The sketches were created for and used in my book project Dancing in the Garden. Something about these three drawings compelled me to also make them into these stand alone paintings. Each painting is 5" x 5" on 90 lb. white Stonehenge paper.

The original drawings

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Self Portrait With Sasquatch" Revisited

My last day at Soaring Gardens I had a little time to play around with drawing and watercolor paintings, and one thing I did was revisit Self Portrait With Sasquatch, a woodcut I carved in 2011. The original print was a 4 layer reduction that I made in a single day. It was in fact the big finish of my 30 Prints in 30 Days project. It turned out better than expected, but because the print had to be completed in a single day, I only had time to make 2, and being a reduction, I could not make any more.

The last layer was rather interesting in-of-itself, and I recently thought to print some in black, oil-based ink and then add some hand-coloring. I'm rather pleased with these two finished works.

Nautilus and Ammonite: Fossil Field

This is the artwork for the final double-page spread for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. It is paired with the final two lines of the poem:

Where heart meets heart, and no more they part
Who meet in that other land. 

The original poem uses the phrase "better land" but as a secular humanist, I simply cannot use a word so biased against this life here on earth. I opted for something more neutral, leaving readers to their own interpretations. To me, the other land is simply that of posterity, thus the word "Remember". 

Wow - after over two years this book project finally complete. As with any project that reaches an end, my feelings are a mix of joy and sadness, pride and disappointment. And then there is the shifting in mindset from creation to how to publish and get it out to an audience. For the moment, I'm just going to take some time to feel my heart swell with emotion. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nautilus and Ammonite: Distant Strands

The next finished artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. In this image the Nautilus has aged and still holds on to hope of somehow being reunited with her friend. The faded memory of the ammonite melts into dotted strands of DNA. It is a reference to the humanistic notion that scientific study will uncover significant aspects of past narratives, and somehow complete a yearning for that which seems missing from the story of life on earth. It is unclear whether this is merely a hopeful mirage or the eve of a genuine reunion of sorts.

It is meant to be paired with this partial stanza:

Yet the hope, how sweet, again to meet,
As we look to a distant strand,

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nautilus and Ammonite: Ghosts

The next finished artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite book project. Here the Nautilus has given up her search and is haunted by ghosts of other, more recently extinct species. They are all species that went extinct during the age of humans and due at least partially  to human activity. This image is meant to be paired with this stanza that compares the Nautilus's loss and grief to our own:

And alike do we, on life's stormy sea,
As we roam from shore to shore,
Thus tempest-tossed, seek the loved, the lost,
And find them on earth no more.