Friday, July 6, 2012

Last month was June? And now it's July!

Well, time does fly nowadays!  Last month was June and we had our Watercolor & Graphic Arts Members' Exhibition at the Mobile Arts Council. this show hung until June 30th. I had entered two paintings - a simple little watercolor of one of the wagons full of produce at the Cathedral Square Saturday Market Day; and a small watercolor monoprint I did integrating one of my figure drawings.  Here is a photo of my monoprint.  This is called "The Bamboo Garden". 

I've been enjoying doing the watercolor monoprints and experimenting with this medium.  I've now ordered some lithographic supplies and hope to experiment with this other traditional printmaking medium in the next few weeks.

. . . And on the 30th of June we took down the WGAS show and took in artwork for the "Dog Days of Summer" exhibit, also at the Mobile Arts Council.  This show will hang for the month of July. The show is curated by my friend Kathy Friedline, and the artists will also make up notecards of their dog artwork to sell as a fundraiser for the Alexander's Place rescue organization for Great Danes and other large dogs.  The opening reception will be during the LoDa artwalk on July 13th.  Here is my dog painting:  "Morgan's Sad Hound-Dog Eyes", acrylic on paper, approximately 10 in. x 10 in.  This is a portrait of my college room-mate Kathy's "grand-dog" - her son Aaron's dog Morgan.  While visiting with her a couple of years ago I promised her I'd do a portrait of Morgan, and have been feeling sheepish that I'd never yet gotten around to completing the portrait.  I was delighted that this show came up, because it gave me the spur I needed to go ahead and paint Morgan's portrait.  Hopefully I have been able to capture those sad, hound-dog eyes.

Hope you can make it to the exhibit to see all the wonderful dog artwork - there are 31 artists participating and lots of diversity in the artwork.  And please consider making a contribution to help out the dog rescue organizations!

And here is a wonderful article about the Dog Days of Summer exhibit by Thomas Harrison of the Mobile Press-Register.  We will really miss Thomas and all he has been doing in support of the local arts scene - he will be leaving us later this summer as the local newspapers go digital and consolidate resources throughout the State. We wish him well in his future pursuits and wonder how our arts community is going to survive this loss.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Turning over a new stone?

I just realized I haven't updated my blog for a while. Here's a follow-up on the Spanish Moss Miniature Art Show. We had artists from 13 different States, and one artist from Iran. We also had 6 local artists in the show this year. Here is a link to the AMAS site with the information on entries and awards; and a photo of some of the representative work from the show.
We took the Spanish Moss show down at the end of March. I had good news from the show - both of my mini paintings won an award. "Let's Play Ball" won one of the local artist's awards - one of the best possible awards since it was a gift certificate from Alabama Art Supply! And my "Longhorn Calves" painting won a purchase prize from the Nall Foundation. Nall was the judge for our show, and I was very honored to have a fine artist, and our judge, choose my painting for one of his purchases. His other purchase was a very fine painting by a miniature artist from California. Frances Ashcraft and I delivered the two purchase award paintings to Nall in Fairhope yesterday. Here is a photo of Nall with the mini cows.
And today was the quarterly Sketchcrawl - which was held at the Mobile Botanical Gardens this time. Satomi and I hurried over to the gardens after our morning Figure Group session and only had an hour or so there to sketch - but the weather was cool and the gardens were beautiful, so it was a wonderful day for some outdoor sketching. Here is the watercolor sketch I completed of the herb garden fountain area. And a link to the FB website posting of all of the other sketchcrawl sketches. This is a great way to join with a community of other artists for some fun sketching, and a good way to hone your sketching skills. Sketchers all over the world go out sketching the same day and post their results on the web so you definitely get the sense of a global community of artists who all enjoy the act of sketching.
And I could not resist posting a couple of photos of my newly acquired Lithographic Stone!! Two of my artist friends who are fine printmakers took me with them to check out some antique litho stones offered by a fellow whose father had long ago owned a commercial printing shop here in Mobile. Fred and Conroy helped me pick out a small stone (a size that I can handle myself), and Fred took it home and grained it for me. I brought it home today and it is now in my studio looking beautiful and ready to go. I've ordered some litho crayons and tusche, and a couple of handbooks, and hope to get started soon in the new (for me) media of lithography. I'm inspired and excited about the new challenge, and hoping to get some mentoring from my printmaker buddies. This is an 8 1/2" x 11" stone, so I'll probably be able to make prints around 6" x 9" in size.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Miniature Art - 2012

Our annual Spanish Moss Miniature Art show is coming up - we take in art tomorrow (Sunday). This year our show will be at the Cathedral Square Gallery, hanging for the month of March. There will be fine miniature art from all over the United States, and possibly from other countries overseas as well. We have also been trying to stimulate interest from more of our local artists, so it will be interesting to see how much local participation we get this year. I think you would be amazed at the quality and diversity of the artwork, so why don't you check out the exhibit during the LoDa artwalk on March 9th - or any other time during the month. Here are the 2 pieces I painted for the show. (They actually look better in person - I was having trouble getting a decent photograph due to the glare off the varnish - next time I'll photo before I varnish!

"Let's Pay Ball!", acrylic on matboard, 2.5 in. x 3.5 in. (2012)

"Longhorn Calves, Jackson County, MS", acrylic on matboard, 2.5 in. x 3.5 in. (2012)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Yupo Critters

I'm trying to complete a few paintings in preparation for next month, when I will be one of several featured artists at Cathedral Square Gallery. The theme will be Animal Art: All Creatures Great and Small. I've been doing some watercolor sketches on Yupo paper during my Saturday morning figure group, and have liked the loose effect as the polypropylene paper repels the wet medium and the resulting "puddles" of color. I decided to attempt a couple of critter portraits for display at the gallery. Here are two I have just completed. Come see them in person during the LoDa Artwalk on Friday, February 10th.

P.E.I. Cow No. 4 - "Cleo", Watercolor on Yupo Paper, 7 in. x 7 in. (approx.), 2012

Audubon Petting Zoo Goat No. 3 - Young Billygoat, Watercolor on Yupo Paper, 7 in. x 7 in., 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hot Art for A Cold January!

The Watercolor & Graphic Arts Society of Mobile sponsored a Hot Art for A Cold January Exhibit for this month at the Mobile Public Library West Regional Branch. Opening Reception was on January 5th, but the show will hang until January 31st - so check it out if you haven't already seen it! This was a non-juried/non-judged show. We have 21 artists represented in the exhibit, which gives the community an idea of the quality artists we have in the Mobile area.

I've recently been posting a little bit of the progress or methodology used for several of my recent art creations. I've been experimenting with some low-tech printmaking, and completed my 2nd watercolor monotype for the Hot Art show. The image is painted with watercolor on an acrylic/plexiglass plate which has been "primed" with gum arabic to make it easier to lift during the printing process. After the image painting was completed, I soaked sheet of Arches hot press paper (for the smooth surface) for an hour or two. After letting the paper drip and then blotting it to get rid of excess moisture, I placed the damp paper over the painted plate, laid a paper towel over that and then a piece of newsprint - then began the rubbing process to transfer the image from the plate to the paper. I use a smooth marble doorknob (purchased from a local antigue shop) to rub the print. After thoroughly rubbing the entire image area, I pull the print paper from the plate. And Ooollahlah! - a monotype print!

I really like the effect, but have to warn that this still takes some practice to get an acceptable image. I had success with my first attempt at a handrubbed monotype (see my blog entry for September 24, 2011); but my initial 2nd attempt was totally unsuccessful. I learned that it is important to thoroughly soak the paper to rid it of sizing and to make sure it is uniformly dampened; and that textured watercolor paper gave a very crude image due to the amount of detail I was trying to capture - thus this time I used smooth hot press paper. Also, the watercolor paint must be layered on relatively thickly on the plate if you want brilliant rather than "washed out" colors; and you cannot rush the rubbing process. But if you are successful, the colors are wonderful and luminous in the printed image and I believe they have more impact than if directly painted on the paper. I intend to continue to experiment with low tech and non-toxic printmaking techniques. Here is a link to a low-tech "Kitchen Lithography" video - using common materials found in the kitchen. I'll try this sometime soon and hopefully be able to post a successful print using this method as well.

Here is my set up for making the monotype print. The image is painted on the acrylic plate - paint brush; water bowl; and the marble doorknob stand ready. I placed a sheet of white paper under the acrylic plate so I could more easily see what I was painting.

The completed image on the plate. It is important to remember that the image will be reversed during the printing process. That did not matter to me with this image, but if it is important to the completed image, then the plate must be painted using a reversed image.

The completed Monotype Print: Water Lilies at Audubon Pond, Dauphin Island, AL (2011), Watercolor Monotype, 8 in. x 10 in. (approx.).