Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Musings

This has been one of those mundane weeks with nothing exciting to talk about. I've been working on my drypoint prints in the studio. I pulled an edition of 10 prints of the farm buildings and was pretty happy with how well they came out. I was able to keep the line softness and also the richness of the blacks in all the prints. This is unusual for me - normally they lose both those characteristics very quickly, but this time I researched some better techniques and they worked well. So well that I went back to the gargoyle plate, used the same techniques there, and immediately pulled a beautiful print. So then I pulled a complete edition of 10 prints of the gargoyles as well. Now I'm pressing them flat and tomorrow they should be done.

I've really enjoyed making these prints. Making the plates has been more of a meditative experience for me than painting is, maybe because they're so small and require a focus and attention to tiny detail. Not that these prints are "detailed" like a photograph. Far from it - but the plates are small, the drawing is necessarily smaller, and I have to take off my glasses and get close in order to see what's happening. The drawings are not about capturing everything; rather, they're about finding interesting shapes, patterns, and textures, and using those characteristics to evoke a mood or feeling. With two editions completed, I need to come up with another three or four good images and get them printed within the next month.

The artists of the Cotton Mill Studios building, along with those in the Curve Studios just down the road, are going to have an Open House next weekend (the 24th to 26th, Friday through Sunday). It'll be a mini-Studio Stroll, with painters, potters, ceramic artists, fiber artists, a flute maker, and steel artists opening their doors to the public. I'll be there on Saturday and Sunday (not Friday) and will be pulling more drypoint prints those two days. If you're in Asheville and at all interested in the process, come on down and have a look. We're at 122 Riverside Drive, in the River Arts District.

Marty and Eileen, the owners of the Cotton Mill Studios, are having a mural painted on the side of the building. Actually, Marty asked if I'd do it, but I had to turn the offer down. The site is on a century-old brick wall that has been painted, burned, and weathered over many years. It also faces southwest, meaning it gets a heavy dose of sunlight, which will fade most paints in nothing flat. I just didn't have the skills to do a proper job. The guy who is doing it, though, knows his stuff. Ian Wilkinson and his brother Robbie submitted a knockout design and got the commission. Today, they were putting the first coat of stucco on the wall. They're going to be using special mural paint. I didn't know there was such stuff, nor did I know anything about putting a proper coat of stucco on a building. Ian and Robbie do, though, and should have the mural done well before the Open House. I think it's going to be quite an attraction for the River Arts District.

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I've been planning an Introduction to Oil Painting class in my studio. It'll run on four Saturdays, starting October 9th and ending October 30th, from 10 am to 1 pm. We'll cover a lot of ground: painting surfaces, paint, brushes, mediums, different techniques, color theory, and color mixing, to name just a few. Cost will be $100 for the course with students providing their own materials. If you're interested, let me know soon, as there is very limited space.

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