Archive for the ‘art-ing’ Category

I capitalized on a final bout of nesting adrenaline and spent Sunday in the print studio, wrapping up a couple things for the baby’s room.  I had initially flagged a few cute prints of birds and trains and fruit as inspiration for the nursery art wall, but ultimately decided I wanted something a little more personal.  So I gathered some photos of our most memorable trips and put together a series of prints based on our favorite places:

One incredibly bumpy car ride landed us at Polihale Beach in Kauai – Shane swam in the ocean while I laid in the warm sand.  I remember thinking that this was the closest we’d ever come to paradise.

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We caught one absolutely perfect sunset in Bruges three years ago.  It was pouring when our train pulled into town that morning, but by mid-day the clouds had parted and the sun had come out.  We stood on a little bridge that evening and watched the sky change colors with the town’s charming skyline in the foreground.  Oh, and the mussels and beer we had for dinner that night…Belgium was good to us.

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And Banff…I’ll never forget the sunny afternoon we spent paddling around Lake Moraine’s crystal blue waters in a little canoe, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  That trip was also the scene of my first and only bear sighting!

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Here’s to hoping that little Schnell shares our affinity for travel and adventure – there’s a big, beautiful world out there!

I have missed being in the print studio since my class ended in the spring, but the impending arrival of baby Schnell was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back in there and make some art.  I spent several hours in the studio on Saturday and walked out with a couple of things for the nursery walls and a few additions to the baby’s wardrobe.

This screenprint was taken from a photo of Rue St Martin in Paris (shot from the balcony of the Pompidou), with a couple of hot air balloons thrown in for, you know, whimsy’s sake.

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Good-looking gender-neutral baby clothing is hard to come by, so I left all the duck-covered onesies at the store and made my own.  This giraffe is my fave.

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I have a couple of prints that are still in progress – assuming all goes according to plan, I’ll head back to the studio at the end of the month to finish them up (so hang tight, kiddo!).

My screenprinting class ended a couple of weeks ago, but I’m looking forward to plenty of future Saturdays spent hanging out in the studio.  I love, love, love it there – the messy jars of paint, the rows of squeegees hung on the wall, the anticipation of that first pulled print, not knowing just how much detail will come through a freshly made screen.  It’s good stuff.

This was my final class project, playing with color in a photo that I took last time we were in Central Oregon, then overlaying it with different geometric patterns.20130408 screenprinting7 sm(detail view):

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My screenprinting class continues to be all kinds of awesome – my head is spinning with ideas and colors and so much exciting potential.  I took Friday off and spent the whole day in the studio, burning screens and inking prints.  It was exhausting but so creatively fulfilling.  I fell onto the couch that evening with paint on my sweatshirt and a big ol’ smile on my face.  The latest…

Still playing around with my foggy trees, layering on text and color:

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Grande Arche:

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I am two classes into my screenprinting workshop at Pratt, and hot dang, it feels good to be in the studio!  I am already hooked on the feel of pulling that ink-filled squeegee across my silkscreens.  And my eyes are open again – I’m looking for inspiration everywhere, picking up dead leaves, combing through old photos to see if anything deserves a second go-around, poring over art books I haven’t cracked open in years.  It’s exciting and fun to watch my fuzzy ideas translate into actual colors on paper, to see my myriad of interests and talents come together into something new.  I’m not a master painter, or a rockstar photographer, or an accomplished graphic designer, but printmaking doesn’t demand perfection – a creative spark and a little bit of elbow grease is all it takes to pull a beautiful print.

I collected a few decomposing leaves when we were playing at the park with Morgan and Elise last weekend, knowing there was a seed of something good in there.

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A photo I took of a foggy walk in the woods at the Oregon Coast a couple of years ago has new perspective.

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And finally, after a looooong artistic dry spell, I am back in the game.  Feels good to have ink under my fingernails again!

I took my art off the walls of the cafe last weekend – a few of the pieces sold, which was exciting (though surprisingly difficult – I’ve found that I become way too attached to my work!), and the remaining prints will find a place somewhere in our house.  But before I tuck anything away, I wanted to share a few of my favorites.  All of the pieces are a mix of collage and print-making, with a little hand drawing thrown in here and there.  The collage comes from photos I’ve taken – I like the idea of abstracting images of skies or grasses or sandy beaches to form shapes and create gradients of color (for example, the mountains in ‘ice land‘ were made up of a photo of a cloudy sky that I snipped up and rearranged).  The printmaking was all done with inked stencils run through the presses (with a few handy tricks used for the spotty skies or the thin white lines of relief).  The final days of pulling this together were a bit touch-and-go (with only 5 days till show-time, I had yet to feel like anything was finished), but somehow everything came together in the end to form a pretty sharp collection.  And…voila:

desert city:


ice land:

glacial view:

minnesota cabin:


horizon line:

one way:

sky way:

I’ve taken a break from any art-making for the past month, devoting my spare time instead to Harry Potter and old episodes of Friday Night Lights, but in the past couple of days, I’ve started to feel the creative itch again.  I’m browsing Pratt’s latest course offerings, picking up my neglected sketchbook, starting to formulate some new ideas about printmaking and drawing and collage.  I’m looking forward to spending some time in the studio just ‘playing’.  I want to pretend for awhile that I’m not actually a fine-lined perfectionist and instead focus on freedom and chance.  Could be good, could be completely terrible – either way, expect to see dried paint under my fingernails in the next few weeks (the mark of a quality day at the presses).

Wowzers…it’s been an intense week, but the finishing touches have been put on the very last piece and it’s all up on the walls – this collection is d-o-n-e!  I had my doubts about how it would all come together, and I may have had a late-night freak-out or two (thank God for Sex and the City reruns and that freezer stash of mint chocolate ice cream sandwiches), but seeing it all in front of me tonight, I gave myself a mental high-five – it actually looks pretty good.  I don’t want to toot my own horn, but…toot toot!  Come hang out with me on Saturday morning for the opening – we’ll be at Q Cafe from 10:30 to noon, and I’d love for people to come have a latte and see what I’ve been up to.  Hasta!

As my next art show draws nearer, I’m beginning to feel the pressure to really get things done, so I purposefully set aside this weekend to 1) get creative and 2) get organized.  I was up early Saturday morning, and after whipping up a quick batch of blueberry muffins, I threw the mixing bowl and muffin tin into the sink and cleared the counters for a different kind of mess.  Our living room and kitchen became a temporary studio, as I littered the island with trace paper and photographs, taped sketches on the wall, and queued up a string of Friends reruns on the TV.

I hardly left the house all weekend, getting out only for a coffee date with a girlfriend, a short stroll around the neighborhood to take in a breath of fresh air, and a very rushed 15-minutes-before-closing run to the art supply store for more paper.  Thank God for the row cherry blossoms around the corner from us – a walk beneath their boughs was just what I needed when I started to feel cramped and cooped up.

It is both daunting and exciting to see things starting to come together – there are moments when I feel overwhelmed with the amount of work left to do and wonder, ‘What did I get myself into?’, and there are moments when I find such fulfillment in seeing a piece take shape that I wouldn’t trade my art-making for the world.  It felt good to be focused and productive, to be completely caught up in the act of bringing weeks of doodles and sketches into something that will eventually hang on the wall as a collection.  It might have been the first time ever that having a messy kitchen didn’t bother me in the least.

I realize that I never gave an update on the products of the printmaking workshop I took a couple of weeks ago.  In truth, I actually left the class feeling a little overwhelmed/frustrated/wanting for more.  I didn’t end the weekend with anything that I felt qualified as a ‘finished piece’, which was disappointing – the beauty of printmaking is that patterns/images/fields of color can be applied relatively quickly, and so I figured I’d be cranking display-worthy art out of the presses after just a couple hours of instruction.  What I failed to take into account was the importance of walking into the studio with a prepared plan.  Sometimes experimentation and studio play-time can lead to really stunning works, but I have found that I need to come to the presses with a concept and supporting materials in order to walk away with something I’m happy with.  All of that said, once I quit beating myself up for not truly finishing anything, I was excited by the fact that I learned a couple of new techniques and made a couple of new discoveries that can definitely be incorporated into the work I’ve been doing recently.  And I can’t wait to get back into the studio – I’m full of all kinds of new ideas that are just waiting to be run through the presses.  I’m playing a lot with thread as a mask, and stitching onto the paper as a way to create really ‘taut’ linework.  I’m also really, really stoked by the discovery of Pronto Plates – images can be copied onto these sheets of thin polyester, then inked and run through the presses.  Waaaay faster and less finicky than paper lithography, and a very cool way to incorporate some of my photos into my prints.  I see some good art-ing on the horizon…

I have been asked to do another art show at Q cafe in June, and so I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what my next ‘collection’ will look like. The latest sketches I’ve developed are leading me in a direction that is a bit cleaner/simpler/more hard-edged than the encaustics, utilizing much more perspectival hand drawing and architectural subject matter. I’m liking the few things I’ve rough-drafted so far, but with each piece, I’m left scratching my head, feeling like something is missing. I’m missing the depth and the richness that painting or printmaking lends itself to. In a stroke of sheer artistic fortuitous-ness, I checked Pratt’s Spring course offerings a few days ago and saw that they were offering a weekend workshop on ‘Layering in Your Prints’. I cleared my schedule, pulled my ratty, paint-spattered sweatshirt out from the back of the closet, and signed right up. I’m leaving for the studio in just a few minutes and am really excited to get back in there, after several months of being away from the printing presses and the cans of paint and the drying racks full of so much other inspring work. The class has no supply list – the only instructions I’ve been given are ‘dress for mess’. I really like the sound of that.