Home Studio: Friday, December 30, 2011

When Evening Falls So Hard

Arrived at the studio around 11:00 a.m. and started on a second charcoal drawing, only this time using charcoal pencils instead of the big charcoal pastel sticks. The charcoal pencil gives me more control over the texture and detail.

The above “When Even Falls So Hard” is where my first charcoal drawing is of to date, there is more work to be done to convey the feeling of evening falling. It is not a “serene” piece like much of my work. I believe this piece represents the dissatisfaction and frustration I feel with our country’s political dis-function and how it has managed to threaten the education of our nation’s youth. How can this be represented by a drawing of a tree? You’ll have to come and see it in person, take a closer look and tell me if you see a “quiet desperation” or “despair” in this piece.

Before going into the studio today I will stop and pick up more charcoal pencils, kneaded erasers and large format watercolor paper.


Home Studio: December 29, 2011

Now that the semester is over I have the time to continue working in my artwork. I should be able to spend more time in the studio during the winter 2012 semester because I will not have the responsibility of creating a coursework for a new class – which is very time consuming.

At the time of this posting I am getting prepared for a “Drawing Exhibit” at The Ninth Wave Studio. The opening for the exhibit will be on Friday, January 6, 2012 from 5:30 to 8:00. The following artists are expected to participate along with myself: Michele Shelton, Michael Dunn, Mary Hatch, Mindi Bagnall, Beth Purdy, Don VanAuken, Chafe Hensley, Chad LaForce, Chad Sutton, Cynthia Garcia, Karen Frenchhall, Jeff Evergreen and Angela Olson.

I’m currently working on some charcoal studies of trees that will be exhibited in the show. The charcoal work goes much faster that the graphite work and I’m pleased overall with the detail and texture that I can still get.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

At this posting I am recovering from the flu. I was not able to go to school on Friday, on Saturday I arranged for someone to take my place at Mass and today (Sunday) I’m starting to feel a little better, where I think I’ll try to get some school work accomplished. At least my mind is clear enough that I can think about school work to some degree.

In reflection, I think this “forced” time away from other responsibilities has been good for my mind if not my physical self. Maybe, all in all, the contracting the flu was my body’s way of saying that it needed some “alone time”. I had forgotten what it was like not to have a weekend that I did not work all the time.

I can not pretend to understand the “mind, spirit, body” connection and how it all works but I can’t help but wonder if some news I received earlier this week has anything to do with my body’s physical aliment. I wonder if this illness was a reaction to a great disappointment. I do not want to go into specifics, but it was not a personal disappointment, but one that influences the faculty and students of the Center for New Media. A disappointment that seems to have a “political” motivation. Of course, this is all speculation on my part, and I’m quite certain that whenever there is a hierarchy of administration there will always be political motives involved.

I have not yet been able to get back into the studio to do any work – I am hoping that I can began again next weekend. I have several pieces in-progress and a drawing exhibit on the calendar for The Ninth Wave Studio in January.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

It is nearly November and I have been remiss about keeping this blog updated. My last entry was in September, and as I stated during that time, my intention was to spend more time in my studio. That went well for several weeks until I realize that my ANM 104 Design Theory & Practice class was taking more of my time than I expected.

This is the first time teaching this particular class and one of my purposes in teaching the class was to do some revisions to the teaching methods to align to the methods of “Understanding By Design”. This is taking up most of my Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays each week. The good news is that next semester I will not need to spend so much time because the revisions will be done.

I have found a little time for studio work, though. I have been experimenting with some new techniques, some of which are now being exhibited in a solo exhibition at “The Transformations Center” in Kalamazoo, Michigan, along with some older work.

The Pine Cone's Story

The Watcher

After I finished “The Watcher” above I came across this quote from the illustrator Alan Lee. His words express my feelings and views exactly:

 “To draw a tree, to pay such close attention to every aspect of a tree, is an act of reverence not only toward the tree, and toward the earth itself, but also our human connection to it. This is one of the magical things about drawing — it gives us almost visionary moments of connectedness.” ALAN LEE

My mixed media piece “Dividing Sea and Sky” currently being exhibited at The Transformations Center has sold.

Dividing Sea and Sky

I am currently looking forward to my annual journey to The Netherlands in February to work with my artists friends there on the island of Ameland.


Home Studio: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Touch Drawing

The fall semester will beginning on September 6th and our “seminar days” start next week so the majority of my time has been school related: preparing class material, meeting with faculty and students, and hiring some last minute part time faculty. Yesterday we hired a past student, Angela Olson. Angela received her degree from us in Graphic Communications in 2001 or 2002 then went on to Western Michigan University. There she earned her BFA and her MFA in painting –her painting and drawing work is incredible. She accompanied me in 2001 to Ireland. She will be teaching our Colored Pencil class for us this fall.

All of this school related work has kept me away from the studio, but one day after work I stopped at the studio on my way home and took about an hour and a half to start experimenting with “touch drawing”. I inked up my glass plates and started with newsprint but soon found out that I had too much ink on the plate and the newsprint was really too thick of a paper. I switched to tissue paper and through trial and error found the right consistency of ink that let me get the effects I wanted. I look forward to spending more time experimenting with this technique.

Photos to come.


Currently In Progress: Friday, August 19, 2011

I have been experimenting with traditional media to explore ways in which to achieve the textured look I have been able to produce in some of my digital artwork.

Dividing of Sea and Sky

Tree In The Garden

These pieces were created with oil pastels on paper with a dusting of chalk pastels. The paper is a rag watercolor paper, with watercolor applied with a sponge using only a cool color palette. After the watercolor dries I start adding the oil pastel over it to achieve a “broken color” look. Below is further progress on the “Tree In The Garden” piece now with digital media.

The script is my own writing using a calligraphic pen with ink on paper. I scanned both the traditional media composition of the “Tree In The Garden” and the script and then combined them in photoshop with a background texture created from the leafy area of the tree.

Tree In The Garden (Digital)

I have been also working on several drawings that I plan to eventually scan and experiment with in Photoshop. You can see two of them below still in the drawing process. Just click on the image to enlarge them.

Not yet titled

Detail of Above

No yet titled

When looking at my drawings, people often comment about how detailed they are and find it mind-boggling that I would be willing to spend that much of my time on a drawing. During this last week as I worked on these two pieces these comments were running through my mind, I thought that “maybe this is my way of making some kind of a statement about the immediate gratification mentality of the current commercial culture I see my students trapped within”. Whatever the reason –I throughly enjoy it and find that I fall into a state of meditation while drawing. I’m not any more detailed that Albrecht Dürer or Gustave Doré, by the way –and I have the advantage of the electric light.


Home Studio: August 13, 2011

Backstory: Moving to downtown studio

Moving to a Larger Studio Space

My studio space I had at my house had been serving as a home office for school and a studio space to create and store artwork. During the fall 2010 semester I had to do most of my school prep and research using the dinning room table because of the crowded conditions in the studio. I hope to be able to utilize this studio space for three consecutive days a week during the fall and winter semesters and four consecutive days a week during the summers.

When I returned from Ameland to Michigan on March 1, 2011 I spent the week getting caught up with school work and putting the finishing touches of organization to my studio in downtown Kalamazoo. My husband had been very kind and thoughtful and had assembled all of the IKEA shelving for the studio so my only job was moving the shelving and putting away the books and magazines.

After the studio was “put together” I had to get to get busy to in order to finish the work I started on Ameland for the April 1st Center for Media Faculty Exhibit.