Friday, January 30, 2009

IF: Flawed/ Pastel: Fire in Pharsalia

"The wiring in Jake's house was mysteriously flawed."

Starting a series of illustrations with (Rembrandt) pastels....

The setting: Pharsalia, NY
a village in Chenango County NY.

The town received its first settler in 1797. Pharsalia was founded from part of the Town of Norwich in 1806, but was then called the "Town of Stonington." In 1808, the town was renamed "Pharsalia."

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 542 people, 200 households, and 154 families residing in the town. There are 15 firefighters in the Pharsalia Fire Department.

Inspiration in Nature

I find a lot of inspiration in nature. This tree with visiting crows may figure into a future drawing or print. And some bird tracks....they seem like big feet to me...maybe a mourning dove? definitely not a junco or chickadee. I heard there is a big Noreaster brewing up for next Tuesday...Road trip to Ithaca tomorrow for my birthday. Working on a pastel illustration to post sometime soon.... Loved reading this interview on DesignSponge with Maria Vettese who does letterpress and started The Card Society ( I gave a subscription as a Christmas present to a good friend...) Have a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brush and Inkwash: Lenten Rose...Spring Please

Icy, slushy, snowy day. Brush and inkwash tonal study of a Lenten Rose (Cornell Plantations, Ithaca, NY) from last spring... yes, I am still thinking spring....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Interiors, Prints and Rugs

Very beautiful sunny day...two linocut prints back from the framer. Hooked rug by Evelyn Lawrence. This link is a different one and tells alot more about hooked rugs at Wooly Fox. Evelyn has researched the rugs of Magdalena Briner. I love her work. Look at this one.
There is also this book...Woolley Fox American Folk Art Rug Hooking (Paperback)
by Barbara Carroll

Monday, January 26, 2009

Brush and Ink: Cat

Very inspired by interviews I read at Illustration Friday with Ward Schumaker and Vivienne Fleischer, a husband and wife dynamic duo. You can see their work here. They share a website:) Decided to try out the drawn cat for a brush and ink one a la Schumaker. Love brush and ink...will definitely be doing more on this.......snow on the way. I am already thinking of spring...
This is a cool lamp from Germany that does not look like a lamp. Creative Quarterly Call for Entries here.

Effects in Illustrator

A bloated and cutout Bard....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Progress: The Bard Revisited

The Bard revisited. Perhaps a more haughty, less humble Bard? Pen and ink sketch ....more to come.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Bard Experiments

More trial and error. I've always wanted to do a portrait of "The Bard". This is a watercolor with pen and ink manipulated digitally. Which one do you like?

IF: Climbing

At the beach, Ana says, "Ideas are like waves,... they come and go", as she climbs up onto my lap and puts her arms gently around my neck.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Experimenting in Painter

Experimenting in Painter. Original done in acrylic. Today I understood what Zina Saunders was talking about when she said she discovered digital painting....and threw away her brushes. Not quite ready for that yet....but it is fun thinking of the possibilities.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Malcah Zeldis and her Peaceable Kingdom

I thought a lot about Malcah Zeldis yesterday during all the Inaugural festivities. Maybe because Malcah is an artist who loves Honest Abe Lincoln and has painted over 100 portraits of him in her own outsider, folk art way. And, because maybe of all the comparative discussion around Obama and Lincoln, I had to call her to find out how she was and what she was thinking during the inauguration. I met Malcah in the late 90's while she was an Artist-in-residence at the museum where I worked and I still visit her sometimes in NYC where she lives. Malcah is known for her many Peaceable Kingdom paintings. Remember Edward Hicks' Peaceable Kingdoms? In them, she paints people she admires--Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Liberace, Anne Frank, Ghandi, Harpo Marx, Ann Sullivan and Helen Keller, and the list even extends to the Clintons and other political figures from all different countries who have tried to work for peace. She has illustrated many books, some written by her daughter Yona Zeldis McDonough, about Nelson Mandela, Marilyn Monroe, Hank Greenberg, and Joe DiMaggio to name a few. I love the Peaceable Kingdom paintings, the bright, straight- from- the -tube colors, the lines and shapes, but really, I love the meaning of it...It seemed an appropriate image for the Obama day of all days...for The Moment. I will be visiting Malcah in February, so I'll try to get some photos to share.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inspirations and Encounters

I am a huge fan of David Lance Goines and have been for many years. His posters for Alice Waters restaurant, and his illustrations for the Chez Panisse cookbooks (which I have been using lately) are perfect and unique. I recently tried emailing Hieronymus Press to find out about his latest poster, "Grow What You Eat". To my surprise, David Lance Goines emailed me back himself saying they were available signed from St. Hieronymus Press for $175, and unsigned $35 from Chez Panisse,
although this 2008 poster is not yet on their site. You can see all the posters and more here. Here is another link to see the posters including the Ravenswood Wines one. I didn't really know a lot about him, but found this in Wikipedia to share...

David Lance Goines (born May 29, 1945) is an American artist, calligrapher, typographer, printing entrepreneur, and author. He was born in Grants Pass, Oregon, the oldest of eight children. His father was a civil engineer and his mother a calligrapher and artist.

Durng the 1960s, Goines enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley as a Classics major. While a student in classical literature at the University of California, Berkeley he participated in the Free Speech Movement of late 1964, which led to his expulsion. Though soon re-admitted, he again left the University in 1965, this time to apprentice as a printer in Berkeley. In 1968 he founded Saint Hieronymus Press there. The major output of the press consists of Goines' limited edition poster and calendar art. [1]

In 1982, Goines published the calligraphic classic A Constructed Roman Alphabet, which won him the 1983 American Book Award. Several books collecting his poster art have been published as well.

In addition to his artistc and calligraphic work, Goines is also a non-fiction author who has written about political activism. His book The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s, was published in 1993.

Goines has enjoyed a friendship with the restaurateur Alice Waters since they were both teenagers. Every year Goines creates a Chez Panisse anniversary poster and has illustrated many Chez Panisse cookbooks. He also designed the logotype and lettering for a number of Berkeley-based businesses, past and present, including Velo-Sport (a bicycle company) and the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Company. The logo he created for Ravenswood wines is known throughout America.

A strong advocate of the voluntary blood donor system, Goines claims to have donated a cumulative total of 17 gallons of blood so far during his life. (Wikipedia)

On a sad note, I just became aware that Andrew Wyeth ( 91) died in his sleep Jan 16. Here is the New York Times' obit. I went to the Brandywine Museum once while in school in Philadelphia. My friend and I were in the gift shop later and he walked in. I only remember that he was tall and had really long fingers. A reproduction of his work hung at the top of the stairs in our house while growing up. It was one of his hauntingly beautiful interiors that held a great story, which I imagined myself.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Linocut Print: Japanese Goldfish

I thought I'd try doing a linocut of the goldfish drawing/watercolor from earlier post here. I used the MasterCarve blocks and a #1 cutter. This image from applying watercolor directly to the block and printing on watercolor hot pressed paper. Since I have been reading so much on Design, I could not help envisioning this as a logo. So this is a fictitious cafe...but I would love to go there:) Not done with this yet. May still want to add the characteristic spots by subtracting more of the block...more to come:)

Friday, January 16, 2009

IF: Pale

x alba 'Alba Semiplena'
Literally "white roses", derived from R. arvensis and the closely allied R. alba. These are some of the oldest garden roses, probably brought to Great Britain by the Romans. The shrubs flower once yearly in the spring with blossoms of white or pale pink. The shrubs frequently feature gray-green foliage and a climbing habit of growth . (Wikipedia)
This was done during a botanical painting class at Cornell Plantations at Cornell University with Camille Doucet. You can see Cami's work here.

Medium: Watercolor with colored pencil, 2008
Type: Bruques Script

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tad's package

Tad Carpenter's package arrived today. I only ordered one screenprint ($12) and he put in all these other items like cards and stickers and some Christmas screenprints. Thanks Tad! You can see his work here.

Also, for serious lover's of textiles (me:) some great things at Selvedge,--too bad it is in the UK. are some of the wonderful things.

It is very, very cold (8 degrees this morning), but the sun was shining so I didn't mind....

Watercolor: Japanese (Wakin) Goldfish

From the sketchbook, a watercolor study of a Wakin or "Japanese Goldfish." I wanted to experiment with some liquid frisket. I painted the frisket mask over the entire fish, then painted the background and added the spotting. I then removed the frisket and painted the fish. I used white acrylic ink for the characteristic Wakin fish spots.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

IF: Contained

This is a repost of this illustration...time is short. Straight watercolor in the first one and in the second one I added white acrylic ink.
"Pastured Poultry is raising chickens in a natural grass environment. Chickens are either contained in moveable houses, or are allowed to range freely out of open, mobile coops. These arrangements protect the birds from predators while allowing them to eat grass and bugs. These types of coops are frequently moved to supply a fresh source of forage." (from KD Poultry farm)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reading up on design

The sun came out for a rare appearance and lit up a gathering basket...
I've been reading and thinking a lot about design lately. Stephan Sagmeister's new book, Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far and his website, and Marian Bantjes' blog. Her work is amazing. Her sugar drawings reminded me of my experience with Buddhist monks from Namgyal Monestary in Ithaca and making sand mandalas. (That's another post coming up:)

Watercolor: Forster's Tern

Okay, I have to do a repost of the tern study. Orignally I had posted about the collaborative project between the GNSI Finger Lakes chapter and The Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology which will culminate in an exhibit of Common Birds in Decline. I contacted the photographer who took the photo I used as a reference for a study of the Common Tern for permission. She gave me permission and then thought maybe she should check around with some of her birding expert friends. Turns out, the photo she took listed on the site as a Common Tern, is really a Forster's Tern. There are slight differences, but differences to be sure and science illustration is about accuracy. Tail length, plummage, beak length,...and more...are critical in distinguishing a species. (There are 20 or so species of terns) According to Bill Thompson, author of Identify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges, terns are among the 50. Ken Kaufman, who wrote the foreward, writes,

" There will always be challenges in identifying birds and that's the way I like it. If the birds all wore name tags, if it never took more than a glance to identify them, a little bit of the plaeasure would be gone."

I knew I was going to learn a lot when I started this project. So, I have a nice study of a Forster's Tern:) When we return to the Lab of O to draw again I will ask the curators for a Common Tern and a Forster's Tern to see the differences up close and personal. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bundle Up

This week will be getting very very cold and some more snow on the way. About 17 degrees here now. Here is another mini-illustration (1.5 in) done in watercolor on a business card size bristol board just for fun.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sea of Snow

This morning after the snow had finally stopped, the fish garden sculpture by Julie Dermansky in my garden made a very graphic, leaping statement...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Silly Cat

Ok, today I was not feeling in a serious mood about drawing. I needed some balance. So today I was really inspired by a prolific outrageous artist/illustrator that came my way via grain edit, a site I have mentioned before as one of my favorite RSS feeds. Tad Carpenter's work put me in the silliest frame of mind and out came a silly (scary?)cat and compositions. I just love his work! For the same reason I love Calef Brown and Nate Williams....
I used the MasterCarve carving blocks. Have a fun weekend:)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Experimenting in Illustrator

Experimenting in Illustrator with the sketch of Bella. Still working on it. Maybe will do a stamp or linocut also with the MasterCarve carving block. I like Bella's name in Petras font (hard to see unless you click on the image) I got from Veer. Speaking of type and fonts, last night there was a great documentary on Helvetica (PBS/WSKG here) and how ubiquitous it is. There were also great comments from Massimo Vignelli and David Carson (typeface designers). I pictured many people watching it and just scratching their heads wondering why? The answer is that
Helvetica is like air....

Monday, January 5, 2009

IF: Resolve

I resolve to draw everyday in 2009, so I'm always looking for willing models. Late at night, Jack and Bella somehow resolve to plant themselves nearby where I am working, (usually on top of my desk). Sometimes cats just cry out to be drawn. Sketch of Bella done with micron pen (005) and a chubby Bic marker.

I like the work of Brian Rea. His pen sketch and lettering for the cover of a book of Tennessee Williams poems is perfect...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Life imitating Art

Just Jack being elegant again (or not)..hooked rug by Evelyn Lawrence. You can see more of her work here. Ana Ventura has new silkscreened prints in her shop-- You Make My Heart this! Also Dreams are my Reality

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

Some photos from our New Year's celebration with friends at their Cooperstown, NY home. The Gingerbread House ( not real but very impressive and can be lit from the inside) is from here.