Thursday, July 30, 2015
All the carvings beyond Jesse are of the little German ceramic doctor's diagnostic doll that I found in New Hampshire. I was trying to pare down to the something essential in the figure that makes it compelling to me. I let myself recarve lines that seemed wrong; I experimented with varying the thickness of lines; I used basic measuring and estimating and comparing of one part to the others-- dropping plumb lines, shooting lasers across, I let mistakes stand. By the fourth carving I felt like I was drawing.
Then I switched to wood, which I enjoy using much more than rubber. I carved the print on the right in a small (3 x 3") scrap of wood very quickly and enjoyed the feel of wood under my tool much more than the slightly bouncy feel of rubber. And when I printed the woodcut, I saw right away the connection between these figures and a ceramic bead that I've had for a long time (5293). The bead is an interpretation of the c 25,000 B.C.E. Venus of Willendorf from what is now Austria, a 4 1/8" statue that is considered to be a votive figure representing fertility. Well, the doctor doll could almost be considered an anti-Venus of W. figure, since she lacks breasts and a big belly and more attention is paid to her face than to her body, which lacks all reference to fertility but looks more like a slightly pudgy child's body. Woman as powerful creator and nourisher of life vs woman who can't nurture and whose face is valued more than her body. Reading too much into it, probably, but the repeated carving and scratching, the dialogue with the block while searching for the essential in the doctor doll woman opened the way to this comparison.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The three drawings on the right are memory drawings made from astonishing things that P and I saw on the Jones Mountain Rhododendron Ridge Trail late this morning: a lovely little pink thistle, a hornets' nest being constructed around a ripe apple that is still attached to the apple tree by its stem; and this year's first Indian pipe! P wins the prize for spotting the Indian pipe, which was growing in the shade of a fallen tree in a nest of dry leaves and very hard to see. Personally, I think the apple cum hornet's nest is a more valuable find in terms of rareness and unlikeliness; but when I googled it I found that hornet's love apples and other sweet fruit and will sometimes actually burrow inside an apple and gorge on the flesh, and too bad for the poor person who bites into that apple! And, although not often, hornets do sometimes build their nests around an apple or pear that is still hanging on the tree.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
(On the right is a leftover sketch that I made in the taxi that we took to the airport last week. The cabby was a good driver but didn't stop complaining- about the traffic, the weather, the way cabs are run in NJ, the traffic again, the airport, etc-- for the whole ride. We secretly referred to him as Mr. Cab-Half-Empty.)
Sunday, July 26, 2015
My old French grandmother could always be counted on to whip out a flower wreath for me on the numerous occasions when wreathes were required in the 1950s Catholic church. Above is a shot of my first communion class, with the girls on the left, each wearing a white wreath. (If you have exceptionally good microscopic vision you can see my wreath all the way on the right in the first row of girls who are kneeling at the communion rail. I was the shortest girls in the class and therefore the first in line. This is all making good sense, right?) Memere would send some child across the street to cut white oleander flowers from the big bush that grew outside the racetrack fence. Oleanders made beautiful wreaths, and it was only years later that I found out the blossoms are poisonous. No one ever got sick from wearing the wreaths as far as I know, and Memere obviously didn't chew on the flowers while she twisted the stems around floral wire.
I have never made a wreath other than the occasional informal clover ring; but Maya needs a flower girl wreath for her Dad's upcoming wedding, and she asked me to make it for her. Following Maya's example, I spent a lot of time looking at YouTubes about flower girl wreath making, and I think I have gleaned the best ideas for this wreath. Above you can see the ingredients spread out for my practice wreath: two floral-tape wrapped pieces of floral wire; a long piece of satin ribbon; a stem of lizard's tail; a couple of stems of oregano blooms; and the roll of floral tape (which I learned must be stretched out and tugged at in order to activate the adhesive).
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Back to Maplewood after a great week. Nate was waiting for us and ready for another assault on Manhattan.
This time we kept it simple, just the Museum of Natural History. One of N's favorite exhibits was this house made of mammoth bones. We also saw a 3D film about undersea life. On the train on the way home I drew the contents of Nate's man bag: the wooden stick from some space candy that Maya bought for him; two straws from Auntie Annie's in Penn Station that he used in his bottles of water; four brochures from the museum; a NJT timetable; his notebook, and a crayon.
And to finish up, airport people at EWR.
Friday, July 24, 2015
The next morning is a karate lesson for Nate. Picture twenty or so 4 and 5 years olds practicing karate. Lots of wandering off to check out a corner of the room, of being pulled back into the group by the very patient teacher, of little kids doing something in their heads. "Don't use your karate skills, these special tools, to hit other kids, or your brothers and sisters..." admonishes the teacher. "Or your mother" adds the woman sitting on the floor next to me, sotto voce.
Maya watches for Penn Station.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
I printed 21 copies of the edition of 40, 12 for a portfolio exchange, and the rest to have, to trade, to give away, to sell, to keep in an overstuffed flat file-- Anyway, my intention was to post this from my phone, impossible. Tomorrow we leave for two weeks in the New York area and in New Hampshire. I'll be drawing but probably not posting, unless I can figure out a way to do this blog from my phone. So far no luck. But look for a giant catch-up post in a couple of weeks!
Monday, July 6, 2015
When I got home, instead of drawing what I remembered with a pen, I grabbed a veiner and carved away the lights as I remembered them. I carved two little blocks and then tried printing them superimposed, slightly off register, overlapping--- Below is the second of the blocks, after some modification, printed alone.
I am trying to teach myself how to carve without sketching guide lines or transferring an image to reproduce. Direct carving takes different kinds of observation than drawing because drawing with a knife pulls out lights instead of putting down darks. As if it weren't mind-bending enough to work backwards!