Thursday, August 25, 2016

Drawing August still going strong

I suddenly had a model presented to me by nature this morning, a dead cicada on my front path.  So he instantly became a model for today's ink drawing.  Pilot pen on cold press drawing paper. Wings spread, then underside then on right wings furled.

And here's the model

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Many art commitments, many simultaneous approaches

In the usual course of events in the studio, more like a four wheel skid, really, I was simultaneously thinking this morning about 

the paper weaving workshop I will be leading in September at the local Festival of the Arts, largely for kids, 

the current thinking about printing out my artwork on transparent silk, 

the other workshop I will be doing also in September for adults, on nature drawing.

And once again, it pays to have several trains of thought on the tracks at one time. I broke up that para so you could disentangle each train from the others. A literary signal box, you might way.

In the course of looking for the paper shredder and some interesting paper, for the paper weaving, and testing the shredder

 I found a stack of 3 x 5 cards, which I will use for the drawing workshop (like 5 x 8 cards, it's a golden rectangle, perfect drawing proportions). No pic of them, you know what they look like. 

And I found a painting of fish in acrylic on rough dark green canvas from a totebag, and realized this was a great candidate for a silk version.  

Also in the course of searching for paper, I disinterred several covers I'd made for artist books, which will do well to show friends in Creative Collective, and one or more of which will work at the end of the month when I assemble the month's plein air output into book form.   These are painted and printed and stamped and mounted onto either foamcore or cardboard.

So all these solutions came to me in the course of one search. 

You could say that chance favors the prepared mind, too, if you want to.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Plein Air august 22

Perfect day for out of doors, temp in 70s, low humidity, made to order.  Catherine and I had the park to ourselves, and had a wonderful morning's art and chat.

I learned a lot from talking with her about many subjects, very interesting convo, and I learned a few things in my own art.  One thing I did by accident was take a pic as my tablet was slipping out of my grasp, and got an image I plan to print on silk.  Very happy accident there. And it reminded me that I can print out other watercolors on silk, following on that experiment.

 Full disclosure: this is the accidental exposure, which I like a lot.

 Here's an ink drawing of the path down to the canal towpath, with caran d'ache watercolor crayons over it, damped slightly and blurred around

 Drawing finished in watercolor with brush

 Straight watercolor, no ink.

As you see, there's a lot to learn in even a simple plein air session making small artworks in good company.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Plein Air August 15 Turning Basin Park

Surprisingly, since the weather has been impossible to be outside, today was not bad at all.  I started early and stayed in the shade, and had a very good time. So did a couple of mosquitoes, but I had my handy anti itch dabber at the ready.

Here's the haul from today, all small works, and building toward an artist's book, probably.

As you note, I'm under the pavilion roof in the shade, and looking out, pilot pen fine on mulberry paper, smooth side

Picnic grill same pen and paper as above, interesting shadows caused by trees above, but not visible until the pic was made


 Looking at trees with sun coming through them

 Trees with sun slanting through them. These are both watercolors using cad yellow, cad red and ultramarine blue.  I meant to spatter the second one, and still have to do that.

I was just thinking it would be good to find something very small to draw as a change of pace in distance, when this little maple leaf fell onto my paper.  It was a sign!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

At the gallery, artists gallery sit

This afternoon, a squad of artists with work in the Gourgaud Gallery show in Cranbury came in to open the gallery and to gallery sit for the afternoon to allow the public in on the weekend. During the week the gallery is open all the hours of the building, which is the Town Hall. Weekends we have to take on the sitting responsibility. Since the heat index was over 110F today, we were not surprised to find that visitors were sparse, to put it mildly.

But we had a lovely artist convo afternoon, sharing and critiquing and discussing and talking up future possibilities for all of us.  Very good group, and I took the chance to make a couple of small ink drawings

here's one of two colleagues deep in conversation, ink on watercolor paper

 and one deep in creating a value study for an upcoming class, ink on mulberry paper.

There were artworks galore

ink on mulberry paper and we all took a new walk around to admire and discuss methods, materials and the kinds of things that interest us.   I shared a few pages of the mulberry paper so other people can take a shot at working with it, too.

Next Sunday the gallery will be open again and with any luck, the heatwave will have moved on and visitors will dare come out.  The gallery is cool and comfortable, and complete with snacks, in case you were thinking of showing up next Sunday, 1-4 p.m.  Just sayin'!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Plein Air and other adventures with nature

Today, two Lizzes, Colleen and Anthony worked together on plein air at the park.  Perfect day, little cloudy, mild, and the park was buzzing with activity as well as ours.

Here we're setting up and working at various paintings and drawings in the upper part of the park near the pavilion.  

I made four small watercolors which will probably become cards or something to send or give, great fun to work in small, unambitious proportions.

Then a couple of us went down to the towpath, and in between encountering small fisherfolk 

and larger kayakers, accomplished some good work. 

I did a few ten second drawings of people in action, seemed like a good opportunity, not lasting artworks, just getting eye in and skill up. 

On the way home, I made a stop at the bank, and found this wonderful animal, which belongs in an art blog. 

If my researches are correct, she's an Imperial moth, about five-inch wingspan.  She had obligingly settled to rest on a bank window, so I was able to get pix of the underside from inside the lobby, as well as the top.  You can see where her wings are overlapping, as well as the underside spotted pattern. She stayed for ages, long enough for several people to admire, take pix, and generally argue about what she was.

Then home to find the squirrel had set up this handy feeding station for himself.  I wonder if this was a hint to me to replace the pine cone, which they love and scatter all over my patio for me to sweep, with a nice ear of fresh corn.  Dream on.

But do be sure, if you're local and interested, to come join us Monday mornings at 10 at Turning Basin Park.  Great start to your week.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Creative Collective Opening at the Gourgaud Gallery

Today was the opening of the annual Creative Collective exhibit at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury, and it was a standing room only crowd.  Great fun, party-like atmosphere, good food, and really a strong art exhibit, too.  As usual, the Homefront Artists joined forces with Creative Collective, with some wonderful artworks.

One sale happened almost immediately!  we're thrilled for the artist. The people coming were seriously interested in art and discussing what they were seeing and why, and I had a great convo with a couple of artists who, having seen two of my Planet Suite pieces, with all the wire and collage, printmaking and weaving and so on, were eager to rush off and try some of this for themselves. That's always a thrill when your art makes someone else want to plunge in!

I did seize the chance to recruit more participants for tomorrow's weekly Plein Air at Turning Basin Park in Princeton.  Just show up at 10 a.m. with your materials for drawing, painting, whatever you're up for.  There are no floods in the forecast this week as far as I know..

Meanwhile, this afternoon was great, thanks largely to the organizing abilities of Lynn Varga who led the event, and was able to get willing helpers at all stages.  I will be gallery sitting the next couple of Sunday afternoons, so stop by between 1 and 4 p.m. if you missed the show up to now.  During the week the Gallery is open when the Town Hall is open, since it's inside that building.

And here we all are! art, artists, families, friends.  A lot of happy kids took part, always good to see.

 You can see it was a good time!

Drawing August, sedum by the fence

This morning, not in any mood for drawing big allergy year, eyes swollen and blurry and waiting for new glasses, whine, whine, I still thought I could do a little drawing for the #drawingaugust event on Twitter.  So here's the sedum by the fence, small, pilot pen fine on mulberry paper, continuing the theme of the possible artist's book that might come out of this.

Tomorrow is Creative Collective Plein Air at Turning Basin Park on Alexander Road in Princeton, right opposite the canoe rental place.  Any local reader is invited to come.  You just show up with materials ready to do a bit of art in congenial company.  No membership needed, since you're a member just by coming along. 

We spread out around the place after we meet, since everyone has different notions of what's good to paint and draw.  But we all agree there's no hierarchy, and it's a judgment-free zone!  Just show up at 10 a.m. and look for us near the pavilion.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Drawing August and Dyeing on the Side...

There are very few pleasures greater than peacefully drawing out of doors in good weather, and the Twitter event, #drawingaugust, is an added attraction.   Most recently I just sat and drew what happened to be there, no need to spend energy deciding, just whatever's there is a good subject. 

This was a pot of what I think may be wildflowers, never planted them, anyway, which suddenly put in an appearance, maybe a holdover from early planting of wildflower mats last year.

The drawing is about four or five inches on a side, mulberry paper, fine tip Pilot pen.  A while back I was in another art activity with an online group, Everyday Matters, and at the end of about a month, I bound the month's output into an artist's book, with a selfie on the back cover, ink and wash, and an ink drawing on the front cover, of my hand.  The book was called The Artist's Hand. 

I'm thinking of a similar destination for this month's drawings, unless they end up as small gifts, which could also happen.

I'm teaching a drawing workshop on this kind of subject to the local Herb Society of America chapter, in September, and want to interest them, once they get the hang of drawing their herbs, to consider a naturalist journal or something of that nature, if they don't already do that.  They are probably beginners at drawing, so it's mainly about the experience of learning your subject by observation as much as about producing an accurate image.

Speaking of wildflowers, those wild possibly phlox that I pictured a while back, whose seeds I planned to gather (they are from last year's seeds) well, the seeds may not be available.  

I notice that wild birds are noshing happily on them, and I figure this is great food for birds, better than commercial seed, probably, so okay, what's a few seeds between friends.  The hummer has now become a regular visitor, not for seeds, but for the neighboring lantana, and has even taken to perching in my cherry tree and nibbling on something there.  I've seen her feeding in the evergreen tree, too, no idea what's good in there.  Birds are great companions in the outdoor studio, as good as cats indoors.

But back to other artforms, aside from drawing, I have several tshirts, old, and I'm so tired of their solid colors.  So I bleached a couple recently, and here's another.  I just painted diagonal stripes in bleach on the shirt, without protecting the inside, so the bleach penetrated the back, too, and the design appeared there. Then rinsed to stop the bleach action, and dried and here's the shirt.  I like to cut off the hems of shirts I've dyed, and let them roll up a bit.

I really like the irregular way this came out, like an OKeefe sort of sky with varying clouds. Wearing it even as I type, in fact. Yes I know, could hardly be more different from the slow ink drawing above, but it's good to have art moods!

Monday, August 1, 2016

White Rabbits and Plein Air

Today, finally, the waters receded upon the earth, and I was able to get out to the park where I'm leading the plein air sessions for our artists' collective.  Small group today, largely because people were not sure if the floods really had gone, and there are still major detours because of serious flooded underpasses, downed trees and so on.

The only difference was that the little road which runs past the park was mobbed, probably because of detours, but it was cool and cloudy, pleasant and amazingly free of biting bugs, a huge bonus.

So I met a new friend in art, and I made a few small pen drawings om mulberry paper.  Gave my new friend a couple of pages of mulberry to try out, too.

I started with a little drawing of tree roots, which started to look amazingly like an old hand, mine, to be exact.

And there were mallows, pink and in full bloom, near the dock on the canal.

The bridge, with traffic edited out

A volunteer springing from the root of an old tree

And the house across the canal, seen from the dock next to the mallows.

These drawings are done with a fine point Pilot pen, on mulberry paper, smooth side up, and are about five inches square.  I don't usually like to work in a square, unyielding shape, but it's what I had to hand.

It's so good to have revived our plein air meetings.  Such pleasure in working out of doors, and in making new friends at the same time.