I Am Back With More Randomness and Clarifications

But first! I was just notified that one of my entries to the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize was accepted. This is very exciting because there were four jurors involved in making selections. I have not had work accepted since 2011 in this extraordinary exhibition and the theme of integrating natural sciences with art fits so much of the work I do using pigments of Australia for commentary.

But otherwise, back to the original blog that I had a hold on until I talked with my web adviser.

The girls are back doing the weeding, putting down mulch, placing pine straw, resetting loose stepping stones, etc. I dug out my snake who sunk rather low this winter and put him in a new spot. Just looking at the yard work makes me tired so it is wonderful to have some enthusiastic help.

Now if I could just find someone to do the inside things like replace faucet washers, patch water damaged ceilings, tighten things down, etc, that would be really nice. It is the maintenance that is beyond us here, but “here” is what we know and it seems that here is where we will be.

I took this picture and the next one just sitting and watching the morning sun come through the window and fall on my New Zealand flax baskets. Each year when I went to Australia I would weave one of these. This last trip I did not. No NZ flax and even less time. So this wall full of them is likely to be all there will be.

 

Barbara Rowe, an Australian basket maker, inspired me to make these baskets. Hers were simple perfection in structure, technique and shapes. She would place them in her house, then apartment where the light created shadows and the slightest air movement shifted their positions and made them seem alive. I saw her this last visit and she has not changed one bit. Over eighty years of age, still weaving and still an inspiration.

Speaking of perfection, I visited Kerr Grabowski’s class this week at the Folk School. She and her students came over to see my studio. A very talented bunch doing what I think they call “de-constructed silk screen”. I could not resist buying this very long and beautifully patterned scarf from Kerr.

I liked this end detail of her cat supposedly dreaming of a fish.

Kerr’s work is so distinct and if you ever get a chance to take her workshop or buy her work, just do it. The next time she is in town we are hoping to work together here in my studio if at all possible. I like sharing space with others that are so passionately involved in their work. It creates a good atmosphere in the room where we both can just get on with it in our own spaces and then break for sustenance later in the day.

I was going to tell you about changes in the website.

Soon you will see a “https” in front of the sandywebster.com. That means that the website is safe. Without having this done, and paying the extra cost, there could be warnings saying something to the effect of “website not safe”. This would be a total off-putting message to see. So to understand more about that little change go to:

https://security.googleblog.com/2018/02/a-secure-web-is-here-to-stay.html

And next, very soon, due to new regulations and warnings, there will be a notification at the bottom of my website that there will be “cookies”. These are not as invasive as we used to think. Everyone who has a website will have to have this information posted in the next two to three months. To learn more about just what that means please go to this sight and read.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-cookies

These are new compliances that are necessary if you have a website followed internationally. For me personally, I do not mind the “cookies”. They help me get to what I am looking for much quicker when using the internet.

I can not think if there is anything else to post this week. So just in case, I will put this post on hold for a day or so.

And while I was on hold, I started new work using even more of those watercolors from Australian soils. These small pages will be made into individual folios and then sorted by colors to be stitched together one after the other to shape into the contours of Australia.

So here is only 24 of the near to 300 watercolors to date.

Just Some Randomness aka Spring Fever

Day before yesterday – Snow!

Today this:

And this:

Flowers even under foot:

Last week I trimmed all the Japanese maples. I was told they look best when their “bones” show. Bones being their trunks and curved branches. But you have to stop short of having it look like Dr. Seuss designed them.

Art Group met here last Sunday. For about twenty minutes I got to relive the recent trip to Australia. I showed them the lovely gifts I received and purchased. I went through the pages of the latest and thirteenth book on alcohol labels….especially those collected down under. Here is a page of the latest 19th Crime wine label….so far only available there and not here yet.

A couple more pages.

They were good wines in very good company. They know I peel the labels and save them in books where I write about the wine and them, so they help by finding good ones and after the bottle empties, they help me get the labels off and onto a napkin to pack into my sketch book or whatever is handy to bring home.

I put away all the treasures that I brought home. I stacked up the prints I made while there and tucked them away…never sure what to do with them next. Some I will take back next year to sell at the tutors vending tables…maybe.

I mailed off a large painting that came back from a recently closed gallery. It went to a buyer out in Seattle who was baby sitting another one I mailed out to a friend. Here is the one that she baby sat:

And the one I sent out to go into the babysitter’s apartment:

I really loved working this large. But they are hard to sell when there is so much to chose from, when there are so few commercial galleries that do not already have there “stable” of artists, when you do not have visitors to your studio, when you do not sell work online.

But I did buy some very large pieces of paper. And I can stitch as well as draw, paint, etc on the surface if I am careful not to get too heavy handed. Then I could roll them up. I could roll them all up together like a guy in our art group…..just one bundle of very large amazing images all sharing a relatively small space. Then if someone wanted to see them, I could toss them out onto the floor like the owners of the galleries showing Australian Aboriginal artworks. The viewer could walk around them and ponder chin cupped in hand, eyes squinting…looking for something that probably is not there but something they think they see.

I may have just talked myself into giving this a go. If I took them to a gallery, they would simply get pinned to the wall or clipped on the ends of those carefully measured lengths of fish line. Then if any one of them sold, the buyer would have to deal with the framing.

Speaking of framing, I just finished framing three prints…the large crow and two large white line prints…crow and heron. They hang where the large nest above was hanging since it came home. Not sure what I will do with the pieces that return from the two exhibits out there now. I am trying not to make work….but it is not working.

The one good thing is that I am on the tenth and last of the Karin Fossum crime mysteries. I am glad of it. Not sure how much more murder and mayhem I can take right now. I say that but I also ordered another recommended series of three Norwegian crime stories by another author.

I am quite sure they are escapism from the real world and the need to strangle members of Congress and their leader…..and the idiots that thought it was a good idea to put them in office.

Next week I will address new things that will be visible on my website. Things that are becoming necessary in today’s world of internet. More on that later.

For now I will just go back to the cleaned studio and look for something small to get involved with. Something that can make me smile. Something I can tuck away out of sight. Something that can easily fit into the waste bin.

Spring Fever will be over next week. Promise.

Time in the Studio and Being Evaluated

This is a small white line print that I started from a carving in Australia. I was spending a few extra days with friends after the Grampians conference and inspired by the white line works of Andie, a student who took my class last year. She did a whole series of the Grampians during our time together last year and after. This year she gave a small accordion book of all those prints reduced to fit the format.

While teaching white line printmaking down in Hobart, Tasmania I carved a block with two types of Eucalyptus leaves and pods. The block is only about six inches square so I put the images side by side. And during my time at Baldessin Press shortly thereafter, I experimented with carborundum plates. Here is the start of both.

Using carborundum is tough. It is like pouring sand on lines made with glue, shaking off whatever does not stick. Then you wait until it is totally dry to ink, wipe off and put in an etching press. There is little control and even less opportunity for details on a smallish plate. This one is only about three by four inches. If the paper is too wet then the rough carborundum takes some of it off when you remove the plate. It is hard to wipe the plate as the roughness tears at whatever you are wiping it with. I am not giving up on this technique but I do need to do some serious research on how to use it to good effects.

I did have time this week to work on the small carved block to try various papers that would work best for white line printing. The softer papers worked best….Rives BFK or Somerset Velvet. I also think it is best with these to print the images separately rather than together.

My good old crispy feeling Stonehenge worked well for dry point etchings on vinyl plates. I wanted to capture the shedding of the Eucalyptus trees like in this picture.

I started the drawing and etching while spending those extra days at Halls Gap in the Grampians.

It took several passes with paper that was too wet and realizing that the drawing needed to be improved upon before I got five that were okay. Here is a detail of one where you can see that the lines are a bit furrier than I would have liked.

I also realized during the process of putting ink on the plate that the small plastic credit card was making hair line scratches. Wherever they appeared I had to draw a new branch or leaves to camouflage them. So now I use only the cutoffs of davey or book board.

And while talking about printing. I took some white line prints into the craft shop at the John C Campbell School and donated another one to their auction. Actually this one….well sort of this one….minus the lotus in the foreground.

New frames arrived today to put two of the last of these crows into.

Just need to order glass. Also new frames for larger white line prints.

And speaking of the folk school, the evaluations of my class from students arrived today. There were eight students. One of them only mentioned that the chairs needed wheels, five said very positive things about the class and the instructor, and two were different from what I have seen before. One of the two thought I was just a bit impatient and the other claimed that she and I failed to bond on a personal level, “due to no one’s fault”. And both of them wanted handouts. There were handouts of syllabus and how to marble papers using earth pigments. Recipes for making corn flour paste and gelatin plates were written on the board for them to copy as well as internet sites relative to the class.

It was a hard class to teach contact printing with plants as there were so few out week before last. Most of them bought my book on Earth Pigments, so there was printed information there on what we were doing for part of the week.

But the evaluations are wonderful to receive. You never really know what the students are truly thinking and this gives them a chance to tell you.

The next time I am scheduled is not until November. A friend may arrive to help me keep any eye on the situation here at home, I won’t be just arriving back from Australia by less than a week, I won’t be looking for leaves in a class about stitching in and on books, and I might be a bit more patient and ready to bond on personal levels.

Til next week.