Sunday, September 25, 2016

A change in the air


                                  Can't explain, there's something strange about the early fall

                                  It's comfort leaving me without a care
                                  I remain but everything around me hears the call
                                  And tonight I feel a change in the air.
             —"A Change in the Air", lyrics by Clint Black

You can have your New Year's resolutions, your springtimes with their new beginnings and house-cleanings. For me, it's autumn that always feels like change. One could hypothesize that it was the start of many a school year that played a big part in my feelings about fall. But I'm quite sure that the changing colors of the fall foliage, and that fall scent in the air are responsible. 

Change is in the air. 

A family wedding will be taking place soon. A new president will be elected.

I've been so busy lately (that aforementioned family wedding) that this little sunflower sketch is about all that's been on my drawing board. It looks a little like it's saying goodbye to summer. I feel as if I'm at a crossroads myself—a good one, I hope. 

Blogs don't generate the following that they once did—at least mine doesn't—and I just doesn't have the energy or interest to maintain the multi-platform online presence that seems to be the norm these days. 

I'm going to use the month of October to draw. print, create, think, and who knows see where that will lead. I'll report back. 

Change is in the air. 

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!