Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Homage to ?

I don't think that I've ever posted a digital drawing on my blog. I do very few of them, but this one was borne of necessity. This image was in my head and I couldn't stop obsessing over how to render it: Should the circles be larger and the whole piece huge? Should I paint them, cut them out of colored paper, color them with crayons?

What exactly is this thing? It's a 13 x 19 print, an infographic of sorts. Any guesses before you click to enlarge and read the fine print?  If you were a baby boomer, and even better, an artsy baby boomer, this shouldn't be too hard. Or if you've read this blog from the beginning, especially posts like this one, or this one, you should have it by now. Go ahead and click.

And yes, these are even in pretty much the positions they were in when you first split open the perforation, and saw them all in their waxy glory. (I have a small collection of old Crayola boxes full of crayons, and several have never been split open. (I have opened them via the top of the box to keep their packing order in place as best I can.)

Inhale...yes, that's an original box of 64 Crayola crayons, sharpener in the box.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This is me and my pet butterfly

"Anise Swallowtail Butterfly"
Linocut with watercolor

I usually seek out the subjects of my drawings and prints, but this one found me. A couple of months ago, I was visiting Alcatraz Island with my daughter and her fiancé. It's my favorite tourist-y thing to do in San Francisco: Along with a tour that, after all these years, I still find fascinating, you get a great ferry ride out, gorgeous plants and birds, and perfect views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the middle of the Bay.

While we were waiting for a return ferry (you can stay out there as long as you like until the last ferry) a group of kids behind us started getting all excited and were trying to get my attention: "There's a butterfly on your shoulder! It's right on your shoulder!" Sure enough, there was—a beautiful swallowtail. One of the kids could hardly take a breath: "Take a picture! Take a picture! And post it on social media and say, 'This is me and my pet butterfly!'" This one's for you, precocious kid behind me in line.

I couldn't let that beautiful image go, so I decided to do a linocut. But I didn't plan very well, and learned some lessons. I should've (and still could, I guess) printed the body color under it first. With these b/w prints, I can hand-color with colored pencil or, if I use non-waterbased ink, I can add water color (see above). I've tried both, sampling my new jar of black Akua soy-based ink, and some new Japanese paper. I also should have done this on un-mounted linoleum, so I could've cut away all if the blank area around the butterfly. I had to make a mask, or frisket, to keep those areas from showing traces on the print.

It's such a beautiful creature, colored or not!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A persistent package

Why? Because sometimes an idea for a drawing just nags at you until you let it have its way. Last Christmas, I was taken in by the look of the gift-wrapped packages, The highlights and shadows in the creases in the paper, the shapes created by the knotted ribbon, etc. So I wrapped a box in a classic Christmas red and....never got around to it. Until now. Merry Christmas, 202 days early.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunflower Seeds in Snazzy Striped Shells...And Ai WeiWei

14" x 14", Prismacolor colored pencil on Strathmore Vellum Bristol

I was preparing to plant some Mammoth sunflower seeds, but became distracted admiring their snazzy striped shells. Next thing I knew, I was drawing, not planting. 

While researching sunflower seeds for some fun facts to include here–lest anyone think me odd for drawing a few sunflower seeds–I ran across the phenomenal installation at the Tate in London by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in 2010. He and his artisans made and hand-painted millions of ceramic sunflower seeds. I can't even begin to explain it well; you must check it out here. (Suddenly, I felt a bit less odd for drawing nine of them.). 

Let's hope that the squirrels and birds allow these seeds to grow into big, cheerful sunflower faces in my summer garden!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cookbook Classics

I was rearranging my cookbook shelves a couple of weeks ago, and these three classics happened to be sitting together. I loved how they looked—the way the red tied them together—and decided to do a little ink and watercolor piece. (Well, I'd initially thought of doing a detailed colored pencil drawing like this one of my favorite childhood books, but just wasn't feeling patient enough.*)

An Etsy customer recently purchased this print for a "storybook" baby shower and is giving it along with all of the books in the drawing. Isn't that a clever idea? Sadly, the bottom book is out of print and very difficult to find, but I hope she is able to locate one. (Read more about this piece here.)

*The "faster" medium of ink and watercolor gives me an option on the days when my Parkinson's is affecting my ability to concentrate, one of the non-motor cognitive symptoms of PD—which can be a real smorgasbord of fun. The cognitive effects aren't as well-known by most people; if you know someone with Parkinson's, you might want to check out this article and surprise him or her with your newfound knowledge of the many facets of the disease!

Back to the drawing board:  I found a cool sea biscuit—no relation to Seabiscuit—in my closet, and it is just calling to be drawn!