A short note

I hope the holidays have been good for everyone. Minus the 15+ inches of snow we have gotten since December 26, we have had a wonderful time with family.  Way too much weather for me, although we can finally get out.  The lake and woods are beautiful, frozen and snow-covered.  It is lovely to look out at from the warmth of the house and the fireplace.

The wildlife has hidden itself away.  I have only seen a few deer tracks – not the deer themselves.  Even the birds have been quiet.  I threw out some old bread for them to find, but I may have to see if I can get some bird seed.  I don’t normally put any out because I don’t want to draw in the squirrels.  After our truck going up in flames on the driveway a few years ago because of squirrel squirrelliness, I tend not to put out  much that will attract them. These may be exceptional times, at least in the short-term until the snow melts.  And it may take a while for that with the temperatures in the teens and twenties for a while.

My blogging/camera download computer has been in the shop since Christmas Eve, hence the lack of pictures.  I hope to get it back in the next couple of days and resume posting pictures and artwork.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all that celebrate the season. I have enjoyed sharing the past year with all of you and I look forward to more of the same for 2013! Thanks you all for sharing your time with me.

Back to Nashville

After the brief foray into the linocuts and watercolors, I decided to return to the architecturals but on a smaller scale. The large ones I did for the print company were rather tiring and I needed the break. The next few pictures will be in the 8×10 range instead of 12×16.  I think I do work better on a smaller scale somehow.  I know I prefer it so maybe that is the difference.

Nashville corner

Nashville corner

I drew up and painted this one Monday and Tuesday.  On the actual building they had bricked in the arched triple set windows on the second and third floors, so I put them back in.  I can’t imagine why that was done because the sets I copied from the left side remained, but I have rectified the error, adding back all of the character of this older building.  I debated watercolor versus pastels and decided that for the time being I may just alternate between the two.  The vote on the large ones was evenly split and I rather enjoy using both styles.

I like the darker brick color here.  I am not overly happy with the awnings but at least it is not horrible.  I probably should have just tried the more splotchy effect of the brick.  Oh well, maybe next time.  I didn’t want to just do another striped awning.

Dragonfly linocut

Dragonfly print

Dragonfly print

I let the block sit for a day and then made my final decisions on further cutting. I knew that I wanted to put in the veining on the wings to add texture, but the real choice was whether or not to add more on the reeds and the body.  In the end I didn’t want to lose the definition of the wings with too much overlapping texture in the background so I left them alone except for  bit on the body segments.

I did have fun with the addition of the watercolors.  I made two prints to color, knowing I was going to use my new turquoise paint on one of them.  I wanted to evoke a sense of water in the background rather than more vegetation.  I thought this blue would do the trick and not be overly dark.

Blue Dragonfly

Blue Dragonfly

I actually had to paint it twice because the first time was a bit too pale.  I have a tendency not to use blue a great deal and I misjudged the depth of color I wanted.  I did one in the mossy green, too, and if you want to see it, head over to my shop to the prints section.

Dragonflies in black and white

dragonfly_4680I was away for about 5 days last week so there wasn’t much work done in the studio. While I was gone, I had the idea to do a dragonfly linocut.  I spent yesterday afternoon laying it out and then transferring it to the block.  I let it sit a few hours to decide what I wanted to do in the background and then did the basic cut out.  I am in the midst of deciding on the details, especially in the wings.

I think one of the reasons the linocuts are appealing to me now is the positive/negative space that it deals with.  Same as with the pen and ink, I have to balance to two.  I can’t do it in fine lines like I do with the ink, so I have to do it with texture.  Even if I add a bit of watercolor I still have to like the play of the ink and paper.

On the surprising side, the watercolor eraser I bought from Cheap Joe’s worked on the daisy painting.  I was able to lift enough of the yellow “mistake” to put it up for sale.  I am sure it took a little bit of the paper surface off, but I was very careful and it looks fine.

I will move back to the architecturals after I finish this linocut.  I have picked out a Nashville photo and will work on a little smaller scale for the next few.

Wheat painting

wheat_4678A few weeks ago I bought a little tea rose plant at the grocery store. It was very inexpensive and I liked the thought of a little floral color in these dull days before winter actually sets in.  It is much more delicate to care for than I thought it would be.  I have to keep careful tabs on how moist the soil is or I will come in and it will be drooping over.  I lost quite a few of the buds this way and if I buy another one, I will get one that has many already opened.  Those are a little bit less sensitive.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I also bought it because it had two wheat shafts stuck into the dirt and I wanted those.  I thought they might make an interesting quick study piece.  I drew it out one day and inked it the next.  I let it sit another day because I felt the composition still needed something.  Sure enough, the next day I decided to add a few more leaves and I like it better.   I first (mistakenly) drew it with my rapidograph and then I used the nib pen to create more line variations and texture.  I layered on the yellows, greens and a little bit of brown.

Bamboo and birds – the newest linocuts

bird_c_4663I worked rather diligently on the new linoleum blocks once I had them. In addition to the bamboo linoleum block I showed last time, I also wanted to make a companion print to the first shore bird. I decided to hold off the printing until I had both done so I could add the watercolors at the same time.When both were done, I pulled several prints of each.  I left one black and have colored the second one with the same mossy green I used before.

I wish I had looked at the first bird more closely before I cut out the second though.  I forgot that I left a small border around it and to really make a matched set, I should have put it on the second one.  Oh well, it’s not a huge deal.  I just wish I had taken a little time to look instead of diving right in.  The problem is I don’t like to look a previous work too much when doing something new.  It tends to stifle me.  I can get bound up in trying to reproduce an effect instead of letting a piece develop its own uniqueness.

bamboo_bw_4660I rather like the way the bamboo print turned out.  I was a little afraid of it since I based it on two sketches I made last week and I could feel myself focusing on them rather than the block cut at hand.  When I got to the color, I debated on how much to add.  I started in the lower middle, intending to work my way up and out as the spirit moved me.  Then I  just decided to put it over the whole area.  I though it would better evoke a forest of bamboo.  I have another print already made so if I decide to try a partial color I can easily do it.  However, looking at it a day later, the total green has grown on me.

bamboo_c_4670And wouldn’t you know it, when I went to get out my printing paper – there was the missing block. I had put it “safely” with the paper, out of the way in my flat file.  As I said, it was only safe from me.