Archive for drawing

In Progress Work by Amanda

Posted in Art, Design, Drawing, Personal History, Red Fox, Soul Food, wild creatures, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2016 by WanderArtist

Drawings submitted for consideration in the Yellowstone: Color It Wild book published by Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Association. The bison and animal tracks images were used in the book.

Select drawings & sketches from the past few months…

Find Your Park Through Art !!

Posted in Art, Artist Residency, Drawing, flora and fauna, historic sites, Ideas, National Parks, Personal History, Wanderings, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2015 by WanderArtist

Find your park through art poster

Recent Prints

Posted in Art, Artist Residency, National Parks, Personal History, Soul Food, Southwestern US, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , on August 13, 2015 by WanderArtist

There have been clouds of wood shavings flying from the woodblocks in my studio these days – I’ve also been focused on drawing and making prints. I believe I’ve generated more prints in the last four or five months than the many previous years combined. Some might say I have been visited by my muse. I appreciate the concept of the muse in art – a spirit or source inspiring art creation… However, ideas and creations are not solely the responsibility of a potentially fleeting spirit outside the artist…

Another definition of muse is to have deep thoughts, or to meditate. This is a large part of how I see my artistic muse these days. It is not merely a presence visiting and inspiring – it is hard work, observation and time spent in the outdoors – and being driven as well by the desire to push my ideas to the next level ~ along with many hours of drawing and carving fine lines in wood.

I hope you enjoy my musings from the last few months…

Find Your Park Through Art

Posted in Art, Artist Residency, Drawing, historic sites, Ideas, National Parks, Personal History, Soul Food, Wanderings, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2015 by WanderArtist

I am a printmaker, environmental sculptor, exhibit designer, writer, photographer, graphic designer and museum professional. I just completed an eight year tenure as Director/Curator of an exceptional museum in northern New York founded by Alice T. Miner in 1924. These days I travel – drawing, photographing, running, biking and hiking in some of the most inspiring places in the country, and I am currently creating a series of woodblock prints celebrating our national parks as part of my Find Your Park Through Art campaign.

For many years I have made a living as a graphic designer and freelance illustrator. Although I once owned my own gallery and studio, and may again in the future, for now I have chosen to prioritize working with people through teaching, creating art, and studying/re-creating my current surroundings in favor of pursuing my art in the more traditional sense of creating pieces for sale in the “art world”. I believe this direction will bring me closer to the essence of the creative process. Mine has become a literal and figurative journey, exciting and fulfilling through it’s components of travel and direct connection to the things in this world that inspire me, and with the by-product of confirming that gallery shows and exhibits needn’t necessarily be the primary means to define an artist’s work. For the near future, as our national parks commemorate their 100 year anniversary, my theme has become Find Your Park Through Art. To help draw attention to the Find Your Park initiative I will be creating artwork in numerous national parks. Through Artist-in-Residence programs, I hope to partner with other artists to help emphasize this theme by holding public events at which we will draw, paint, photograph and create artwork in the parks themselves.

drawing Tapestry Arch at Arches National Park

drawing Tapestry Arch at Arches National Park

Throughout my life I have cherished our national parks. From long trips as a child traveling with my family in a VW bus to my current open-ended journey, I have wandered the parks – committing them to memory and re-creating them on paper. When I am able to take the time to more fully comprehend each place and the significance of its past-present-and future, I then begin to interpret many of its gems in my artwork. Indeed much of this new awareness occurs through the very creative process itself. As an artist I hope to “translate” park resources into images that enhance others’ enjoyment and deepen their understanding of public lands, and in the process perhaps even stimulate more interactive and protective practices among the millions of visitors to our fantastic natural and historical wonders.

mule skull with moqui marbles

“It’s just flashes that we own, little snapshots made of breath and of bone… And out on the darkling plain alone, they light up the sky”…

During residencies in the national parks I make sketches in preparation for creating woodblock prints, interacting with visitors as I work. My public presentations include demonstrating the printing of a woodblock, or visually explaining the process of creating woodblock prints through lectures/multimedia presentations. I also hope to have others join me for a day of Find Your Park Through Art – during these events we will draw, photograph, create environmental sculpture and/or paint in the park together. A large component of this time will be offering tips and tricks, helping younger artists, and sharing different facets of our love of the park, and of art in general. Later we will gather again to share and discuss what we have created and explore how public lands can inform and inspire our art. I make my living as an artist while maintaining a more humanistic approach to my public. Teaching art and inspiring others has long been a goal and a passion for me. My primary inspiration is to live within the art itself, and to help others do the same.

The opportunity to pass time with my sole occupation as artist-in-residence has been an invaluable experience and inspiration for my art – it allows me long stretches of time within the parks to work on creating drawings, environmental sculptures and prints. Deadlines also push me to focus more fully on my surroundings and on drawing and printmaking. I hope to learn the flora and fauna of many of our national parks, and by slowing my pace and observing the daily and weekly changes from the broad scope of the landscape to the tiny details of things, I will find what most inspires me and create drawings from those ‘snapshots’ in my mind and in my camera.

preparing the ink palette

preparing the ink palette

rolling ink onto the block with the resulting edition of prints

For many years I have worked to interpret a museum collection for visitors of all ages and backgrounds – always managing to find common ground from which to foster enthusiasm and closer examination/interest in what they are seeing and learning. My experience and love of interpretation lend themselves well to being an artist-in-residence – I am able to connect and converse with whomever I meet as I draw or create prints in the parks.

Art can open people’s eyes to new and exciting perspectives on the places they visit. It is my hope that artwork, created during residencies, will act as a two-dimensional ambassador for the parks and waterways I interpret. There is power in the connection artwork can help to create between visitors and nature – and this further connection will be a boon to any park or open space. Through art I believe we can reach whole segments of the population of visitors who may not connect as intrinsically to their surroundings and who may find their own niche through combining art and time out-of-doors. Take the teenaged boy who has his nose buried in a video game… I guarantee he will look up to see what I am working on – he will look around – he will take it to heart. There is something magical to young people when they see someone working on art in a public setting… It spurs their imagination! That experience in turn allows them to observe their surroundings on a deeper level to discern what might be so special… And it makes them wonder if this could be part of their future.

wake robin

columbine

My Find Your Park Through Art campaign will be repeated at other national parks and I will spread the word through my public presentations and posts to my blog wanderartist.com. I have already helped to inspire others to take up this campaign and will be presenting a weekend with two other artists at Bighorn Canyon in the autumn with the title ‘Find Your Park Through Art’. We will work in the park together for two days with other artists from the public who choose to join us. It is my hope that this idea will catch on and will help others to embrace the Find Your Park campaign and to visit their national parks. Upon completion of each park residency I will donate one print to each park – offering them each a unique artist’s view of the park and it’s resources.

image donated to Homestead National Monument

My residencies have included:

Homestead National Monument of America (spring 2015)

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (autumn 2015)

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (spring 2016)

Art @ Homestead

Posted in Art, Artist Residency, Drawing, historic sites, Museum, National Parks, Personal History, Wanderings, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2015 by WanderArtist

For a few weeks earlier this year I was awarded the opportunity to be Artist-in-Residence at Homestead National Monument of America. This wonderful National Park commemorates the Homestead Act of 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. It is located in southeastern Nebraska (about an hour south of Lincoln) on the site of the first homestead awarded under the act. That 160 acres was homesteaded by Daniel Freeman and his family.

commuting to the Heritage Center through the tall grass prairie

Homestead boasts the oldest restored tall grass prairie in the US – restoration began in 1939 and takes up 60 acres of the park. The scenery, even in early spring, is stunning. One of the things I enjoyed most was walking along the path and listening to the wind move through the tall grass. I also had the pleasure of spooking some white tailed deer one morning, I could just see their ears over the grass.

The bird life was in full spring mating mode – glorious, rambunctious and plentiful! We saw wood ducks, red-winged black birds, larks (the Nebraska State bird), red-bellied woodpeckers, blue birds and various raptors. Another great pleasure was the sound of coyotes after dark.

My time was spent drawing and creating a woodblock print of the log cabin on the grounds. The Palmer-Epard cabin is visually and historically inspiring. (By the way, I could find no connection in my family to the Palmer family who built this cabin.) I worked quickly on my drawing in order to have enough time to, in turn, cut the woodblock and then run a small edition of prints in order to have them on hand at my lecture, which was to be held at the end of my two week residency.

some scenes from Homestead National Monument

Click any image for a larger view & caption… then click on the ‘x’ (upper left) to return to blog, if there is no ‘x’ then click the ‘back’ button on your browser

the wonderful plowed-shaped Heritage Center with tall grass prairie in the foreground

 

 

Creating a drawing was about a ten hour process. Once I had the image where I wanted it I traced it, flipped the tracing over, and traced the back of it onto the block using carbon paper between. The image has to be flipped in order to print in the proper orientation. This step is not as necessary if it’s an abstract image, or something loose – but for a building or words, one generally does not want to print them backwards ~

IMG_20150319_155342769

IMG_20150319_162411189 the tracing, flipped horizontally, and affixed to the woodblock with carbon paper between (top photo)

Once the image was transferred to the wood block the process of cutting out what I want to remain white on the final print began – this process took approximately eight hours for the Homestead block. The next step was to make a print or two in order to decide if I wanted to cut more away… I usually do this step before I feel the cutting is final in order to see how the various components of the image are working together as a print, and to get a better visual on my cutting progress. I often want to cut more away, and that was indeed the case with the Homestead block. The rule of thumb however, is to always cut less than I think I want since I cannot go back!

cutting on the Palmer-Epard cabin block

cutting on the Palmer-Epard cabin block in the park’s Heritage Center

I prefer to use oil-based ink even though it requires mineral spirits for cleaning up. The quality of print is much better in my opinion – yeilding finer lines without the ink ‘blocking up’ in the board cuts – and the wood grain tends to show through in a subtle but alluring way that I have not seen with water based inks.

 thanks to Photopia for the photographs

After a few printing sessions – with more block cutting between – I started to get prints that more closely matched my vision for a final print of the Palmer-Epard cabin. Another session or two netted me a small edition of woodblock prints. One of the final prints was donated to Homestead National Monument of America, and several went to buyers. One of my goals with these residencies is to eventually create a large series of woodblock images of some of my favorite National Parks. This summer I will be working on a quartet of different prints of Zion National Park scenes. I recently received the good news that I have been awarded another residency for this autumn in Bighorn Canyon National Park in Montana. Stay tuned for more imagery!

APalmer-HomesteadNM

The Beatrice Daily Sun published a nice article that helped to net a good audience for my public presentation at Homestead. Thanks to everyone who visited with me at Homestead, and to all the staff and volunteers who helped to make my stay a very pleasant one!

What a Relief!

Posted in Art, Drawing, Inspiring People, Personal History, Woodblock Printing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2014 by WanderArtist

Since I can remember, I have loved to draw. Although I could sit for hours with a pencil as a kid, it’s even more fun now that I have been practicing for years and have the skills to put on paper what dwells in my imagination, or what is right in front of me. Drawing what you see is much more challenging than from the imagination. The more you draw, the more your skills improve. But, I’ll get back to drawing in a moment.

FeatherV1e

feather on mahogany

In my last year of high school we lived in Tokyo, Japan – which was an awesome experience on many, many levels. One of the coolest aspects of life in Tokyo was learning about Japanese culture, arts, traditions, foods. Another wonderful experience for me was a particular art teach at The American School in Japan, Ki Nimori. From Mr. Nimori I learned a great deal about making pottery. Although a short school year had me barely scratching the surface on all I had to learn in ceramics, I loved it.

rabbit ruin

Not to get too ‘artsy’ on my dear readers, but I really enjoy the process of creating art. I have often gravitated toward art media that require a lot of steps before the final product… Working in clay requires many steps – and I loved them all. One of the early steps is kneading the clay to remove air bubbles – which is a lot like kneading bread dough. I enjoyed getting my hands dirty and working to create something from seemingly nothing. A great teacher inspires, that is what Ki Nimori was for me.

raven pair

When I returned to San Francisco to go to college I chose an Art major. At first I thought I would concentrate on ceramics after such a wonderful experience learning from Mr. Nimori. I cannot explain how my bubble was burst by the ceramics department (at that time) at San Francisco State University. Unfortunately, it was somewhat overrun with macho teachers who did little to inspire me. And so I gravitated back to an early and lasting love, drawing. Throughout my education at SFSU I continually explored new and untried realms, eventually settling into a groove with printmaking. This media offered lots of process – from untold number of steps required in lithography to create a final print – to the comparatively simple process of making a woodblock or linoleum block print.

IshtarV1e

ishtar

With printmaking I could combine my love of drawing with the incredible process needed to make prints. And with the added benefit of the ability to make multiple final images of one exact design. When I graduated college I was deeply into etching, and learning to create photo-etchings. This was wonderful because it meant I could also incorporate another love – photography. The only difficulty I found to hours spent creating etchings and lithographs was the need for a printing press and especially the exposure to caustic and nasty chemicals.

Since my college days I have simplified my process by doing mainly woodblock printing… Partly because I did not wish to bring the intense chemicals required to create etchings into my home… And because I really enjoy the organic nature of cutting into wood to produce a drawing – and the combination of wood grain with drawing in the final print is the icing on the cake. Visits to Japan fed my love of block (or relief) printing through exposure to Japanese woodblock printing, which is incredible and detailed well beyond the prints I create. I may need to write more about Japanese prints later… Until then, I hope you enjoy some of my creations!

Carving

cutting the ‘key’ block for raven pair

Visuals to Inspire

Posted in Art, Design, Drawing, Ideas, Museum, National Gallery of Art Images, Wanderings with tags , , , , on March 7, 2014 by WanderArtist

Artists are always looking at other imagery to find inspiration. In fact, a few of my art teachers steered me towards other artists work – from photographs to drawings and paintings, to learn to draw what I saw. The internet is a wonderful source for inspiration since I can find multiple images of whatever strikes my fancy in order to draw creatures, scenes, people… I love to look through ancient illustrations and modern photographs for my ideas. One of my sources is now The National Gallery of Art since they have made more than 35,000 images available as high quality downloadable images. After all, they belong to us!

Right now I am perusing images to that remind me spring is coming… the winter is wearing on me!

Harry G. Aberdeen American, active c. 1935 Bicycle, c. 1936 watercolor and graphite on paper

Harry G. Aberdeen
American, active c. 1935
Bicycle, c. 1936
watercolor and graphite on paper

Claude Monet French, 1840 - 1926 Argenteuil, c. 1872 oil on canvas

Claude Monet
French, 1840 – 1926
Argenteuil, c. 1872
oil on canvas

Odilon Redon French, 1840 - 1916 Breton Village, c. 1890 oil on canvas

Odilon Redon
French, 1840 – 1916
Breton Village, c. 1890
oil on canvas

Jacopo Tintoretto Italian, 1518 - 1594 Summer, c. 1555 oil on canvas

Jacopo Tintoretto
Italian, 1518 – 1594
Summer, c. 1555
oil on canvas

John Cutting American, active c. 1935 Bicycle, 1935/1942 watercolor, graphite, pen and ink, and gouache on paper

John Cutting
American, active c. 1935
Bicycle, 1935/1942
watercolor, graphite, pen and ink, and gouache on paper

 

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