September 1st already?!

Here it is, September 1st.  I had the very ambitious goal of completing two prints between August 4th and, well, today.  Sadly, I didn't meet my goal, but I got half way there; I managed to finish up the first one today.  Just a few hours ago as a matter of fact.  In spite of my planning, I took a couple of wrong turns while working on this print and needed some time to ponder and panic and gnash my teeth.  Eventually I found a way out of the mess I'd made and I think in the long run it all worked out for the best.  Here are a few photos of the progression, starting where my last post left off. The final version of the print will show up on my website soon.
After laying down the sky I added a skin tone and blocked out the dress shape.
A few more additions including that garish yellow. To tone down the yellow I added a strong neutral to the suitcases. This is when things started to get away from me.
Here is where the print sat for over a week while I pondered how to make some sense out of the bottom half of this image.  Everything seemed all too flat and not very interesting.
While this is not the final print, it is close.  I am happy with the addition of the cityscape and have added a few more details here and there.
Here are all the stencils I used, (most, more than once!) to complete this print.
I'm glad to have this one done.  I'm also glad that I walked away from it for a few days to let a some ideas bubble up.  It didn't turn out as I had envisioned it, but it did turn out better than I thought it would.
How did I spend my time while taking a break from the above print?  Why, doodling and sketching of course!  Lots of little drawings like this:

Next up, a woodblock print using the Japanese water-based technique moku hanga.  I'd like to have the blocks carved by this time next week.  Ready, set, go!


Ready, Set, Go!

Last weekend, while the rest of Seattle was enjoying the sunshine, the hydroplane races and performances by the Blue Angels I was leading a two day mokuhanga workshop.  It was a small but mighty group of eager students.  It was a happy coincidence that I had interacted with each of them at some point in the past which made for a fun and friendly learning atmosphere and I was so very impressed with how quickly they grasped the concepts and how accurately they cut their kentos, especially since this was their first go at mokuhanga.  Take a look...

Nancy mixing paint and nori on her block.

Mara proofing colors for her final print.

Janine printing her block.

 Nancy's final print.  Nancy is an art teacher and insisted on giving me an imperfect print
so others can learn from her mistake.  Sheesh.

Mara's final print.  Such intricate registration for her first go at mokuhanga!

Janine's final print.  I believe Janine is a natural.

After leading a workshop I was eager to get into my studio and start some work of my own. This week I made sketches and prepped blocks for two new prints, (one reduction, one mokuhanga) with a goal to complete them both by Labor Day.  Ready, set, go!

Yesterday I carved and today I ran the first color.


Saturday Sketch

I managed to plan out the first six and half months of this year quite thoroughly; practically down to the minute.  Now with all my traveling behind me, some specific studio goals met, and my home projects largely completed I am sort of slogging about.  Time to set some new goals and create a new to-do list!  First on that list, resume posting a Saturday sketch. 
 Swimmers ear

Without a lengthy to-d list I feel as though a part of me is missing


Summer in my studio

Since my last post I've traveled across the globe to China and have taken a second trip to Michigan.  I'll be making a third trip to my home state soon.  In between all my jet setting I've been working and in that work, looking for a path leading me to what's next.  My way forward is still murky, (I do tend to be somewhat of a 'plodder') but I'm pleased with the work that I've managed to pull off during this busy and ambiguous time.

My work table.  I manage to fill every inch available to me when I work.
Two blocks ready for Secret Messages
Hanging on to my stencils just in case I need them again.
On the drying rack.
A stencil for Uptown Girl 1
More stencils for Uptown Girl 1
Another edition on the drying rack.
Finally a mokuhanga print that won't end up in the rubbish bin.


Ladies about town

I recently returned from a visit to Michigan.  There I hung out with my mum while my dad was off on an annual golf outing.  Mom and I were ladies about town.  Some highlights of our gallivanting include, going out for lunch, (more than once!) perusing local antique shops, and visiting the art museum.  Each time I visit we spend an afternoon at the Flint Institute of Arts.  I know I've said this before, but it really is a very nice museum.  They offer up interesting exhibits and have a fine permanent collection with some sparkling highlights, (such as their WALLS of glass paperweights! Love!).  Prior to my visit there had been quite a bit of chatter on my Facebook feed about the gender gap in art galleries and museums, sparked, in part by this article.  So I decided to take do a little impromptu tally of the FIA.  I'm not a numbers gal, but I would guess that the ratio of men to women artists exhibited was 10 to 1, (maybe less).  How unfortunate.  There are a number of big names in their collection...Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Deborah well as other lesser known women artists, a few of whom to which I'd like to give a shout-out.

 Letta Crapo Smith 
The First Birthday, aka, Premiere Fete, 1904

Letta Crapo Smith was a Michigan native, granddaughter of the state's first governor, and with this painting she became the first Michigan woman to exhibit at the Paris Salon. With this work she was also awarded a Bronze Medal at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.  Go Letta!

 Elisabetta Siriani
Cleopatra, 1638
As a woman, Elisabetta Siriani was prohibited from attending the Royal Academy.  Instead she apprenticed under her father, Giovanni Andrea Siriani, assisted to the noted Baroque painter Guido Reni, and became a professional artist at the age of 17. She was one of a small number of women to attain status during the Baroque period and created over 200 paintings before her premature death at the age of 27.  Elisabetta, you rock.

Clara Deike
Westside Cleveland, 1943
Clara Dieke demonstrated the commitment and tenacity demonstrated by so many artists, women and men alike.  She earned a degree in education and then went on to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  For over 40 years she successfully performed the day job/studio dance, teaching art in the Cleveland public schools and exhibiting her work annually. Hey Clara, you go girl!

One thing I noticed in my unscientific tally of the FIA, is that there was only one living woman artist exhibited in their collection; Deborah Butterfield.  Come on FIA, on so many levels, you can do better than that! 

Also while in Michigan I visited Pewabic Pottery.  Holy smokes, I can't believe I had never heard of this place until is a treasure!  Pewabic Pottery, the Midwest's only historic pottery, was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry and her business partner, Horace Caulkins.   Under Ms. Chase Perry's direction the pottery produced nationally renowned vessels, tiles, and architectural ornamentation for both private and public installations.  Work from Pewabic can be found throughout the United States.  The pottery is renowned for its iridescent (and mind blowing) glazes. 

Mary Chase Perry (later Mary Chase Perry Stratton) was a dynamic and ambitious woman.  Her story is worth reading.  And, if you, dear reader, ever find yourself in Detroit, I highly recommend a visit to this place.  More than just a National Historic Landmark, Pewabic Pottery is an active and growing institution, offering education, lectures, residency programs; producing heirloom quality tiles and vessels; and showcasing the work of established and emerging artists.  I said it before and I'll say it again, this place is a TREASURE!  It makes me want to throw some pots!   Yay for you and your enduring legacy, Mary Chase Perry! 

And holla! to all you female artists out there continuing to make awesome work in spite of the obvious inequalities and biases present in today's art world.    Each and everyone of you are beautiful and badass.


Moku Hanga follow up

Last weekend I taught my first ever moku hanga workshop.  There was a lot of information to pack into the weekend and at times I worried that the heads of my poor charges would surely explode.  I wish the workshop could have been three days instead of two, but, even so, I  think my students got a good handle on this technique. One of my students wrote a wonderful blog post about her experience and the process, (if I'm ever sick she could easily take over teaching the workshop for me!).  You can read her post here. It's got pictures and everything!  I've included a few pictures below too.



For many years now I have played with this idea/image, and finally, at long last, my thoughts and doodles have made it to paper.  Faith, Hope and Charity is accompli!  It will now be stashed away, out of sight, and I'll not look at it for a few weeks.  We need a little time apart.

In addition to finishing up the above print, I've been preparing to teach a moku hanga first time teaching this technique.  There is just SO much to pack in to a two day workshop and I fear my poor little 'guinea pigs' will be overwhelmed.  More later.