Thursday, July 24, 2014

Annual Print Show in Newburyport

Eleven years ago I formed a printmakers' group and every year since, there has been an annual print show, "Making an Impression".  The exhibit showcases many different talents of and techniques used by local printmakers while promoting the art of prints to the general art viewing public.

And so another show gets under way next week at the Newburyport Art Association on Water Street coordinated by this year's Chairperson, Kate Higley, a New Hampshire printmaker.

Please join us as we celebrate our creative endeavors with a reception and public viewing.

Here are two new linoleum prints I have created for the show: "Up and Over" and "Keep a Look Out".

Recently, I viewed the beautiful J M W Turner and the Sea exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.  The inventive renderings of the raging emotional personalities of the sea by so many accomplished painters gave me pause to reflect on how I went about rendering the agitated sea  in these two prints.

Here's my Turner favorite.
Just before exiting, in the last room,  John Singer Sargent depicts the raging Atlantic Ocean in this painting:
If you could only inquire of my painting friends if any of these images accurately reflects one ominous ferry ride to Monhegan Island. With our feet high up on the metal  railings watching with trepidation the whale like blow hole waters explosively entering through the boat's scuppers while we tried to weld our butts to anything that didn't slide, we pitched to and fro among the ocean's crests and troughs. We were quite relieved to have this ferry ride end and safely deposited on the wharf of Monhegan Island..  The sea can be so exhilarating!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Building Bridges with Art

This past week I taught printmaking to a group of Lowell  kids, ages 9-14 in a summer program called, "Art with Artists".  This children's art program was funded by a Parker Foundation grant written by my good painter friend, Meredith Fife Day, the program's coordinator.

For a creative theme, I presented lessons which looked critically at bridge design and construction. The students enjoyed creating bridges using a variety of printmaking techniques: roller printing, white line relief prints, & monoprints.

The kids looked at and talked about artwork created by the likes of Andy Warhol and his silk screened print, Brooklyn Bridge, Katsushika Hokusai's View of Mount Fuji Under a Bridge, The Pont du Gard Roman Aquaduct Over the Gard River, Avignon, France and Landscape with Bridge by Paul Schamberg.  I presented my plein air oil paintings of bridges as well.  

While sorting my own painting to prepare for class, I was surprised just how many bridge paintings were in my inventory.  I have always been attracted to the water's edge and boats of all kinds and so there should be no surprise to see a bridge crossing over streams, rivers and marshy areas where I have set up my easel.

Stone, wood or steel, each bridge is an engineering amazement: some are linear in design, others solid shape construction.  I must confess, I have never been attracted to Jersey Barrier bridges. Ugly! What a bane to the aesthetics of bridge design.  

The photos to the left are "Art with Artists" participants enjoying their 'printmaking' days.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mt. Adoptmore

On this year's fourth of July, Hurricane Arthur did not dampen the start of Chelmsford's 47th Annual Independence Day Parade. Good news for the Lowell Humane Society's (LHS) float participants.

A while back a call for artist volunteers came through  my Western Avenue Studios Yahoo mail from Crystal Arnott, Director and children volunteer coordinator at LHS.  The kids were looking for artists who were willing to volunteer their time to construct large heads of a cat, dog, bird and rabbit for this year's float entry in a local parade.

Their float theme of "Mt. Adoptmore" was indeed clever and a creative choice. The cat, dog, rabbit and birds represented the animals offered for adoption at the shelter. These animals would replace the presidential heads of Mt. Rushmore.  Clever!

Of course I was interested but I was up to my eyeballs in work and commitments like so many of us.  So I waited two weeks and inquired of Crystal how things were going and hoped she had enough volunteers.  Sadly no one came forward. My heart tightened. I reasoned with myself... her call was two months in advance of the parade... no rush. They didn't want the heads yesterday (like most calls for volunteer work), so I gladly answered their request. I had a blast making these heads.

I used cardboard boxes from a local package store as well as an empty studio rag box. I formed the heads by using a few origami techniques such as scoring, folding, reversing folds with the additions of smaller sized boxes, foamcore and duck tape.  These materials would serve as a strong foundation when I cover the surfaces with multiple layers of gooey paper mache.

The heads took a couple of on and off work weeks. They look terrific for not having any set plans to form the heads from cardboard boxes.  I put a final coat of Kilz paint to seal the paper mache just in case of rain which could turn the masterpieces into a heap of floury mush.

I delivered the heads to the shelter and the kids were delighted with the results.  They quickly began work, dipping brushes into donated acrylic paints and turning the plain heads into colorful strokes and patterns. 

I couldn't stay long to watch the gals finish painting and sadly I couldn't watch the parade either but I'm sure everyone had a good time.

Here's my studio version of Mt. Adoptmore placed on the bed of my press before handing them over to Lowell Humane Society.    

Take a look at these faces and find a place in your heart for a sheltered animal.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Out in the Open

Sophie and Julie, Newburyport High School art students, painting at Maudsley State Park
 "Out in the Open", held on Thursday, May 29, 2014, was a wonderful opportunity for the Newburyport Ten (N-10) plein air painters to share their painters' skills and love of painting outdoors with the art students of Newburyport High School.

The program began with a 40 minute power point presentation at the Newburyport Art Association. I gave the historical overview of the art of plein painting and Susan Spellman explained the steps to painting a landscape out of doors. Then everyone hopped on a school bus to Maudsley State Park and were teamed up with members of the N-10 for a day of painting.  Participating N-10 members were: Cynthia Cooper, Dan Shaw, Margery Jennings, Janet Macleod, Joan Rademacher, Marjet Lesk, Susan Luca, Susan Spellman and myself. A beautiful day of painting Nature surrounded by Nature was enjoyed by all in attendance.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Print Club of New York

I was invited to give a talk at the 20th Annual Artists Showcase of the Print Club of New York held at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan. My reduction linoleum was seen by the selection committee at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking's Annual CCP Members' Exhibition: 'Branching Out' exhibition in Norwalk, CT.

A Passage through the Fluttering Fires of Autumn

I was contacted to submit a power point presentation. Five printmakers, MICHAEL EADE,
KIRSTEN FLAHERTYCARY HULBERT. SUSAN JAWORSKI-STRANC, BRUCE WALDMAN were selected and invited to talk and show their portfolios to the members.

This event was heaven sent... I was surrounded by people who were knowledgeable and loved prints... they were print collectors! Now my linoleum prints are in a select number of members' collections. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Painting on the North Shore with N10 friends

So starts another painting season with my long time painting friends of Newburyport Ten.  We are off to a warm April day start at Milestone Farm in Newbury.  Acres of hay fields are beginning to green along the edges of water-logged swathes. I particularly liked the zig-zag pattern cutting through this scene as well as the reflective patterns of distant trees.

Another day we painted at the end of Plum Island. There are hills of grassy sand dunes, an old coast guard station and lighthouse, and the Merrimack River emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.  There are plenty of goofy, friendly dogs running about kicking up sand for everyone's enjoyment too. Their care free romps will end soon due to summer beach regulations.

And then the following week, three of us painted Rowley's Jewel Mill complete with a dammed spillway and pond, rushing streams and the antique mill.

Dan Shaw under wraps, paints along side the rushing stream

Margery Jennings finds a warm sunny spot to set up her easel.