Newsletter 08/28/2017

Thank you for taking a minute to give this a read. I’m trying something a little differently this time around. Here’s a little context.

If you’ve visited my booth at any number of shows or events, you’ve probably seen my sketchbook out on the table. I put my books out because it’s a chance for anyone who is curious and engaged to take a more in depth look at what goes on behind a finished piece.

Perhaps in some small way, it’ll foster more conversation, encourage someone to pull their own sketchbook out or simply build upon someones enjoyment of what they are looking at. Whatever the end outcome, I put it out there for anyone who enjoys more out their art experience.

From my point of view, learning more about an artist and their methods provides a deeper connection to their work. A great example of this is that every time I visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the first things I see is the the Thomas Cole drawings on display. The DIA has over 2,500 of his drawings and I’m fascinated by his style. Being a paper work, they ever show a small handful at one time, so there’s always something new to see. His drawings are an abbreviated shorthand form of note taking that allowed him to work with his belief that a scene should be aged before being painted. He liked to allow time to de-clutter a scene and allow the important access to come through. Here’s an example of one of his drawings.

Now onto some of what I’ve been up to…

In the last month I’ve moved to a larger apartment so that I have a little more space to work. Been cycling a fair bit. Built an aquatint box. I’ve also redone my website and finished updating all my current work. It should be a little more streamline, work on all devices and be a lot quicker to update. It took me the better part of ten days to complete, but I think the time investment was worth it.

What I’m working on… New landscape pieces

I’ve had a series of sketches and paintings in my sketchbook for some time now. Marine landscapes reflecting on water in a hazy misty atmosphere. Before I could proceed with creating them in intaglio, I needed an aquatint box (briefly speaking, aquatint is a way to create tones and large areas of ink). Depending on how it’s used, it can offer a watercolor style effect. Now that I’ve built an aquatint box, it’s onto sorting out how to recreate the effects I achieved in the sketchbook.

So far, I’ve printed a number of test plates and have begun to sort out how to layer three colored inks with two plates. I’m struggling to control the consistency of the colored layers to my liking, but that will come with time. This week I hope to start the horizon landscape. When all is done, each print will have been printed with three plates.

What I’m reading… ‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’ by John Steinbeck

A travelogue written in the early 1960’s, it captures Steinbeck’s cross country trip with his dog, Charley. Save for a few outdated phrases, the content reads as a rather timeless piece of work. Even with the disputes over how much of it Steinbeck may have fictionalized, his take on the fabric of America is a good read and still very relevant today. I’m about half way through but I’d recommend it. It’s a quick easy read that I think will at the very least will inspire a different view on your next road trip.

What I’m listening to… ‘Rockingham’ – BJ Barham

This is a great American singer/songwriter album that chases topics revolving around the American dream. The leading track of ‘American Tobacco Company’ frames the tone of the rest of the album beautifully. It is a poignant narrative of a returning WWII vet and the contrast between the life he leads and the one he fought for. I really love the turn of phrase he uses as well as the frankness from which he writes. So far it’s been a nice easy read that I’m glad I picked up.

What I’m watching… La Vuelta a España

If you’re not up on  your Spanish or your cycling, this is the Tour of Spain. It’s Spain’s version of the Tour de France. It’s a three week bike race through Spain in much the same style as Le Tour. Watching the big European cycling events is a great way to catch small tidbits of history. The commentators need to talk about something during a 4-5 hour bike race.

Now that other stuff… Upcoming events

September 2-3Art in the Park (Port Austin, MI)
September 8-10Art and Apples (Rochester, MI)
September 16-17Common Grounds (Birmingham, MI)

We are nearing the end…

I’d like to thank everyone for taking a moment to interact and engage with me and my work. If anything, I can only hope that it fosters more engagement in the arts. Next time you visit a show, I encourage everyone to take a minute and look a little deeper than the surface. Ask questions and be curious.

And now that we’ve reached the end and all has been said, I’ll leave you with the words of the great Porky Pig. “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

Thank you

J.A. Richard