Sunday, November 30, 2014

Merry Christmas

I decided to try and squeeze in the time for a new Christmas card. Here are two foxes cuddling in a  holly wreath. This was a fun little print to do and hopefully you will see a lot more card images in 2015!

Here are a few process photos-

The carved linoleum block.

Printing the image.

Here is the black and white image before I painted it. On this print I added some snowflake stamps with white and silver and then painted over them quite a bit for the final picture. I didn't originally think I would like the added snowflakes, I thought it looked too busy. So first I painted one that was plain, but the colors I chose didn't look good on that first round. So for my second painting attempt, I used this one with extra snow. It does look busier, but I like it. It has more texture. 

I'm having cards printed by my great local printer, Element Print. The will be for sale at Lyon Drug as soon as I can get them in the store. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mama Sings

Here is my most recent version of a spread from Rosie Sings. I actually made some artwork that isn't a linocut! This is from the end of the book when baby Rosie and her dog are all worn out from singing through the day. There are also two short lines of text that go in the upper right.

I took a few photos as I went along- this is a new process that I'm figuring out, so taking photos helps me remember what I did for next time.

I first made a collage of music sheets and scanned it. Then I scanned the line drawing and laid it over the top of the collage. I lightened the music behind the figures and the handwriting. Then I printed it out on Rives BFK paper.

Next I did some stamps. They are pretty subtle in the finished painting, but I still like what they added to the piece.

Here is the first layer of background painting.

And here it is finished again!

Since today is Thanksgiving, I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful day! I am thankful for my family, friends, and that I get to make artwork most days. I am especially excited today, because my little girl has been very slow to learn to walk and today we took our first family walk together! She still has to hold our hands, but she actually walked two blocks. That makes it a very special day for us. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reading, Writing and Drawing in the Library

The print that I gave to the library during World Art Drop Day has been framed and hung! It's in one of my favorite spots- right above the new children's picture books. Our Bud Werner Memorial Library is so beautiful and such a fun place, I'm really happy to be a part of it!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rosie Sings

I haven't posted much lately because I've been mostly working on my Rosie sings dummy. And it's really boring to read about in a blog post! I'm pretty slow at this stage. I like to take a lot of time with the drawings because it's not something I'm confident about. And from experience I can tell you that it's better to do final art based on good drawings than on bad ones!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bird Song Finished

Here's a close-up of the words on my Bird Song print. I usually outline each letter the way you see here. Then I go back and carve away all of the extra linoleum. And yes, all words have to be carved backwards! When printed they will be facing forward on the paper.

I made the music collage and painted it green a while ago. Then to make this edition I scanned the collage and printed a series of them digitally on Rives BFK, my favorite printmaking paper. I tried printing the linocut on top of the original collage, but the paper was too thick and stiff. Paper for printmaking has to have a little flexibility. So the digitally printed backgrounds were a compromise that worked well for this edition.

Then I printed the block with black Gambling relief ink. To make the words Bird Song on the bottom, I used the letter stamps in the photo above. It was challenging to place the stamps well and not smudge them.

After some watercolor, here's how it turned out. I'm pretty happy with it!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Artist's Life

Many folks think of artists working alone in their drafty studios all hours of the day or night. It's a romantic life. And while it may be hard to make ends meet, the sacrifice is worth it for the art.

Here is one of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo painting a portrait of her father. Frida lived an amazing life that can't be distilled down to one image, but this photo is an example of the stereotype of an artist at work. Her space is peaceful. She is concentrating on creating a meaningful image and she is paying loving attention to the details.

Here is a more modern photo of another of my favorite artists, Sophie Blackall. She is painting a long image of characters riding the subway that was featured in the New York subway cars a couple of years ago. I love this painting, and I love how focused she is. The light coming in through the window, her sweet outfit and hair tied in a bun, and the tiny bit of watercolor mess make this a classic studio shot. Don't you wish you could step right into this photo and sit down to paint a picture?

All of us artists wish we could lead the perfect life full of peaceful time creating, lots of paying customers, and just the right amount of recognition to keep it all rolling. Of course the evenings could be dedicated to family or social life. And if you added a little bit of reality to this fantasy, there might also be some time handling email and business, and maybe some rushing to meet an important deadline.

Ha! Here's me at work! Very few artists are able to support themselves doing only artwork. Most of us piece together all sorts of different jobs- art related or not. And our lives are just as hectic as anyone else's. We juggle family, chores, errands, work, business, and just try to squeeze in some time for our personal art projects. People have always commented about how much artwork I produce, implying that it's a lot. I feel like I barely ever get anything done! But really it's probably somewhere in between those two extremes.

This morning my husband walked by the table, laughed, and said, "give me your phone I have to take your picture." I said, "No, my hair!" And sort of straightened my hair (hard to believe, eh?) then handed over my phone for this photo. When he handed it back he said "the artist's life." I do have a sense of humor so I could immediately see how funny this was. But it led me to thinking about how we artists lead our lives.

It's easy to get sucked into wishing for the idealized artist's life with a perfect studio and time to create. But don't waste you time wishing! And don't let anyone else dictate how you should work as an artist. You can create anywhere that works for you. You can spend hours at a time getting absorbed by a project, or only work in tiny bursts when you have a few minutes to spare. We create because it is what satisfies our soul. We create our lives with our families, our pets, and our friends. We create our artwork to share with the world, or just to bring us peace. Our lives are complicated, beautiful, and full of art. Now go and create- wherever you are and whenever you can!