Greetings to all, it has been an enjoyable and snowy winter (by Ann Arbor standards). Of course I suppose that’s all based on you’re perspective. The snow has provided a nice backdrop for all the reading and studying I’ve been putting in. And since I only have a mile and a half commute to work, I’ve largely avoided having to drive in it.
This year I’ve so far knocked off eight books and figured I’d start with talking about those since it’s sure to have an impact on my work in the future. Before I begin that, I have a small disclaimer that needs to be said. It’s at the bottom so it doesn’t clutter up things to much.
Up next is a little about my work. A few things that I’ve recently completed and a few long term projects that I have in the back of my mind. And finally a small glimpse into 2018 as it’s still early and I don’t have my calendar situated as of yet.
Grapes of Wrath
My short take: There’s a reason it was awarded a Pulitzer and Steinbeck a Nobel.
I was never required to read this back in school which is probably to my advantage as I can now appreciated it much better. I’ve always enjoyed the way Steinbeck creates an emotional aesthetic for each character and even the places in the stories. It ties you into the story and lets you experience just enough of the needed emotions to feel integrated. With the larger themes being as timeless as they are, I feel that ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is perhaps regaining a level of relevance (not that it lost much) with the polarization and division that has become as prevalent as it has today.
The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures
My short take: If you enjoy Antique Road Show, you’ll probably enjoy this.
Philp Mould is a leading art dealer focusing on British portrait works and is a regular figure on the Antique Road Show in Britain. In this book he’s shared some of the stories that have lead to the rediscovering of missing or forgotten works. He also provides a nice basic foundation on the topics restoration and conservation. It’s easy to read and enjoyable in the same vain as Antique Road Show. I enjoyed his ability to build a little tension into each story. My only hang up was the angle of art dealing. No matter how experienced and knowledgeable he may be, in my mind there is a little hanging out there; would he be doing this if there was no money in it? But that can be said for so much of the art world.
A few others:
|Landscape into Art|
1972 (second edition, I believe)
|My short take: A reasonable general art history knowledge is needed to keep up. Read near a computer so you can look up the referenced works. The included illustrations are abysmal.|
|My short take: As the sequel to ‘The Last Picture Show’, it was written 20 years later. Perhaps it’s just an 80’s thing, but I don’t feel it aged as well as it’s predecessor. It was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the third book to complete the trilogy but it didn’t quite live up to the ‘The Last Picture Show’.|
If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of my most recent work. I’ve completed two new prints recently, both of figures in similar but different styles.I recently finished them but haven’t put them on the site yet. I expect to have them photographed and up here on the site in the next two weeks.
The first is titled “The Jolly Vagabond” and is loosely based on some of the ideas found in Adriaen van Ostade’s (1610-1685) work and style. His print work trended away from a focus on texture and toward form and light to create the mood of the scenes and people. This piece I’ve created is etching complimented with drypoint. It’s one of the few pieces that I’ve done that came straight from a drawing that I prepared first.
The second has yet to be named but is a pure drypoint. Drypoint for those who are not familiar is a process where you mechanically create the line in the copper by scratching. As opposed to etching where you chemically remove copper with acid. When you drag a drypoint needle through copper it creates a burr which stands above the surface of the plate and holds extra ink. This burr and extra ink create a line that is warmer and more organic. It also allows each mark to be unique in weight and strength as compared to etching where all lines etched at the same interval will have the same density. I’ve included a side by side example in which you can see where the etched lines are all of the same density and don’t have variation. The drypoint next to it holds ink and creates a hazy glow and the lines vary not only from one another but also throughout a single line.
Besides those two pieces, I have a number of ideas of pieces that I’d like to set down in the the near future as well as a few exciting larger projects. Without giving away too much, I have one larger print that I have all the elements worked out for and the story complete. I just don’t have the aesthetic qualities of those elements figured out just yet. I was going to dive into it a few weeks ago, but after having coffee with a good friend, realized that I should just sit on it till I’m ready. Another project would be a complete series of prints though it’s subject matter is yet to be determined. This would be something that I would try to get into galleries or exhibitions.
Outside of prints, I’ve been doing a lot of studies of works ranging from the Dutch Golden age to the Barbizon pre-Impressionist painters. I’ve been posting a number of those on Instagram and have been trying to include info about the works and artist that I’ve been studying.
It’s still really early in the year so I don’t have any idea what my calendar looks like. That’s one of the down sides to doing fairs and shows. You spend the beginning of the year applying and waiting to hear back with the jury results. I have a show this coming weekend (Feb. 16-17) in South Bend, IN called ‘For the Love of Art’. I also know for certain that I’ll be doing the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. The Guild of Artists & Artisans who puts on the show offered me an exhibiting member status which means as long as I abide by the standards, I’m guaranteed a spot. So I’ll be out in front of Shalimar on Main St. again this year.
Extra Bonus Time
Okay, let’s be honest, that was a lot of rambling. I try to write things that are hopefully more interesting than just begging for money. You know the typical email you get in your inbox; here’s my new stuff, here’s where you can buy new stuff from me, here’s a few links if you want to buy new stuff online.
And since you’ve made it this far, lets have some fun. Send me your address and I’ll send you a print. Feel free to email me at email@example.com. I have something I’ve wanted to put down with a softground etching but just haven’t committed. It’s not in my typical motif or theme but still enjoyable none the less. I should have it done and mailed out near the end of Feb.
*Disclaimer: Originally I wanted to use links from WorldCat.org or OpenLibrary.org since they are non-profit groups that focus on access and fair use. Unfortunately that proved to be a pain with my site template. I then looked at Goodreads.com since it’s focus is at least largely about reading, but again it didn’t integrate easily. Finally I settled on Amazon links because they provide previews so you can read a little to see what you think and they also let you turn off ‘buy’ features to make it feel a little less gross. I recommend any local used book store. Not only do you buy local, you keep an old book giving.