Sunday, January 20, 2008

Image a Day -- Day 12 -- Orange Cat in Red Flowers

Today's image is another one inspired by James Christensen and his characters. Personally, I don't even have a cat any more (three dogs, my last cat ran away, 1 block, and never came back), and it's not so much that I don't like cats--it is that I like other people's cats. This one reminds me of Benjamin, a big, lazy, orange cat my Mom and I had when I was growing up. He had no problem picking out my mother's favorite flower bed and plopping himself right down in it to take a nap.
This drawing is an original colored pencil, and is available for sale in my Etsy store here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Image a Day -- Day 11 --Big Fat Purple Cat

I was looking through a collection of artwork by one of my favorite artists, James Christensen, and I remembered where I got the inspiration for this cat's face. If you check out some of Christensen's characters, you'll notice that this long, somber face looks a little like some of his musicians. I am currently working on a colored pencil drawing that has borrowed another of his character faces, but it is slow going. It was another one that I started, thinking I would figure out what goes on the rest of the page when I got there, and now there is here, and I am still trying to figure it out.
The purple cat was never meant to be all that complicated, just a small blurb of an image with pretty colors and cat with an odd face.
He is for sale in my Etsy store both as a print and the original.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Image a Day -- Day 10 -- "The Sun Was Well Over the Yardarm"

In this laboratory where I used to work was a man who had grown up in a rural, fairly wealthy part of Connecticut, and although he became something of a tree-hugging hippie in his later years, used to make these references to Northeastern countryclub colloquialisms. One of them was, "Well, the sun is over the yardarm," which was originally intended to mean that it was getting late in the day, and there was now a long shadow from the yardarm. If it is late in the day, then it must be proper to have one's first evening cocktail. But, if you think about it, any time the sun is up, it is over the yardarm, so really any time at all will do for the first cocktail of the day, right?
This image was inspired by that saying, as I'm imagining if your first cocktail was sometime during daylight, by sunset, the yardarm has got to start looking something like this. This picture is another colored pencil that is also not for sale, and also happens to be hanging in my kitchen (where, oddly, not that much drinking really ever occurs). I suppose I chose this one today in response to my 14 year old daughter's tyrade last night about the evils of alcohol, and how, anyone who drinks alcohol at all is going to hell in a handbasket. I really don't drink very often, so mine is probably a small handbasket with rickety handles and holes in the bottom. I should probably drink more to make it worth my while.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Image a Day -- Day 9 -- Brownian Paisley

I don't often create truly abstract images, they usually have some reference to something. This image was an attempt to create something truly abstract. It really doesn't have anything to do with anything, except that I thought of the title, "Brownian Paisley," which struck me as a nifty title, and drew the design from that. I love the idea of starting with something with structure, and then just injecting a left turn in one's thought process (I'd use the word "random," but as a scientist, I know that nothing is truly random, especially something created by humans, plus the word has been recently banished from use by Lake Superior State University as trite and horribly over- and misused.) Just the idea of trying to imitate the fractal patterns inherent in Brownian motion just with pencils and paper is a big part of what being an artist is all about--imitating nature, while at the same time, creating something that wasn't there before.
This image was rendered in colored pencil, and is the first of the Image a Day Series that is not for sale in my Etsy store. It is framed and hanging in my kitchen. There's lots of other Brownian motion in my kitchen to keep it company.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Image a Day -- Day 8 -- Feeling a Little Crabby

In honor of feeling a little crabby, today's image is my tiny crab, an aquatint and etching in two colors. Originally part of a 6" x 9" etched zinc plate, the plate was not coated correctly, and as a result got horribly pitted during the etching process. I bemoaned my mistake for a little while, then looked over the printed image again, and determined that the lower right corner, intended to be part of my signature, looked okay. So I put the plate in the giant metal plate cutter and hacked it out. The resulting plate only measures about 1.5" x 3". I printed a few of these off-center prints on tiny pieces of paper, and printed a few on greeting cards. I applied the green and blue inks to the background with gloved fingers, then changed gloves, and applied the orange-red to the crab. If you look at the crab's back closely, my signature appears: a J, two O's on top of one another, and an L (JOOL). After printing, while the ink was still wet, I sprinkled tiny bits of copper powder on the background area.
This print is, of course, for sale in my Etsy store.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Image a Day -- Day 7 -- Snakeprint

Today's image is another embossed print, the plate created from a circular portion of a linoleum block, printed onto soaked Rives BFK paper. It is an image of a coiled snake, and only measures about 2" across. I printed this image as a set of blank greeting cards, and they are, if I say so myself, even nicer looking in person. I have already written about the difficulties taking detailed pictures of embossed prints with the digital camera, and this one was no exception.
For now, it is available as individual cards in my shop, but I just found a cache of them in a storage box, so I will probably list them as a set of 5 or 6 as well.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 6 -- Image a Day -- Imaginary Biology

In honor of the latest sale from my Etsy store, today's image is from my Cell Series. This was the first of four tiny colored pencil drawings designed after living cells. Inflammatory cells, such as monocytes, lymphocytes, and granulocytes, mediate the response in our bloodstream to invaders of all sorts, secreting chemicals which enroll other cells into the fight, and undergoing dramatic shape changes to suit their roll as defenders. This cell is no specific inflammatory cell, but it is getting ready to respond to some sort of invading threat. Plus the colors are pretty.

While I just sold its sister, the plant cell, this drawing is still available for purchase, as well as two more.

Also in honor of having made another sale, allow me to introduce my readers to the purchaser, who is also a clever and talented potter (no, not like the dorky kid from the movies, someone who forms clay). Her name is Katie, but on Etsy she goes by scrumdidlyump, and here's an example of her work! The grand bowl to the right is entitled "Not Yo Mama's Fruitbowl," and if you think the title's funny, go read the description. In fact, go read all her descriptions, they are very funny! Oh yeah, and go buy something!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Image a Day Number 5 -- Something Fishy

Two koi fish swim past one another in a narrow channel bordered by two Celtic knots.

Today's image was created using one of my favorite methods, embossed printmaking. It is really not just one method but a variety. The plate used to make the impression can be created by a variety of methods, including metal plate etching, woodblock or linoleum block carving, or plastic cutting and inscribing. This plate in particular was a zinc plate that I etched in stages to create variable, but very deep etched incisions. It was printed using an etching press set on fairly tight pressure, and printed onto wet Rives BFK printmaking paper. Once the print dries, it retains the pressed image perfectly.
This edition is one of several embossed prints I have created, but it is the only one using an etched metal plate. My other plates were all linoleum block prints, which works equally well, and you can achieve softer edges and higher detail.
Probably the most difficult task related to these types of prints is trying to get pictures that show the level of detail and depth of the image with my now-geriatric digital camera. This type of image is an example of something that is actually easier to photograph accurately with a film camera, because you have total control over depth of field and exposure.
Before anyone asks, you can't scan them either. The results are even more awful. I am hoping to sell enough artwork to be able to afford a high quality digital camera, but I have a ways to go.
If any of my dear readers would like to help me with this endeavor, come buy some artwork at my Etsy shop.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Image a Day..... or so. Day 4

Okay, so I've been working on some other projects for the past couple days and completely forgot about my Image of the Day. I have also recently begun working as a proofreader and editor through an online company called Scribendi. I worked for them a few years ago, but took a very long break--fortunately they were willing to take me back. Sometimes being an artist is very fulfilling, but quite often I feel like I have few useful skills to offer the rest of the world. So my proofreading and editing makes me feel like I'm making a contribution to the world, one nit-picky paragraph at a time.
So, anyway, today's image is entitled "Sacred Heart--Cosmic Twist" and is available on my Etsy site. It is yet another colored pencil drawing that I started several years ago, only to leave it unfinished until recently. The funny part is that there was really only about 10% of the blue in the background left to do, and it took me about 30 minutes. I'm not sure what the image means, but, living in New Mexico, I am exposed to a lot of Latino Catholic artistic symbolism, as well as the history of splitting the atom, so I guess it just all came together like this in a grand, colorful object. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I was featured on motomoto's blog today!

Today my Dandelion was featured on motomoto's blog, along with artwork from fellow Etsy For Animals Team member mvegan5, and some others from Etsy! I'm excited! Thanks for the love, motomoto! Right back atcha!

Day 3 -- "Gertrude"

Today's picture is Gertrude. She's one of those big-haired waitresses in some diner just off of the interstate. Between the Blue Plates and the endless cups of coffee, her mind wanders off to a place where she can roam the seas, free from bad tips and old men pinching her fanny.
She is the first in a series of pencil drawings of seemingly ordinary people who live extraordinary lives, even if it's only in their own minds.
My next drawing in the series is going to be Sid the construction worker. What an imagination he has!

Gertrude is available as a 5" x 7" print in my Etsy shop here:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 2 -- The Seer

The original drawing, a colored pencil on paper, is hanging in our living room, and measures about 9" x 12". It originally started as the eyeball in the middle, and was slowly finished between about 1995 to probably about 1998 or so. The date in the corner says '96, as, at a certain point, I inscribed my signature in the lower right hand corner, thinking it would inspire me to finish it in the year that it was signed. I did the same thing to the drawing I am going to go back to work on today, it is dated '99. This time, I'll put a -'08 next to the signature (that is, if I manage to finish this one in the next twelve months).
Sometimes I come up with a great idea for a piece of a picture, and then tell myself that I will fill in the missing areas once I get there. That strategy almost never works, but at least I'm challenging myself. The other thing about this piece is that, sometimes I come up with a great title for a piece before I've even created it, and then other times, the title eludes me forever, like this one, and I just go for some lame name like "The Seer." The aforementioned picture I'm working on doesn't have a title either, so I'll probably post it somewhere in order to solicit suggestions for a title. Stay tuned.
While the original of this image is not for sale, I am selling digital prints of it in my Etsy store, here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Artwork a Day for 2008!!

Well let's see how many days we can keep this up...

So maybe I didn't start with the first day of the year, but I've never done this before, so I figure it's better than nothing. For a few days, I'll have images of old artwork, but the cool thing about this idea is that, pretty soon, I better start making more art to post!!

Today's image is my "Heart in a Box" ACEO. I created it one day when my husband was out of town on business, and I started getting all mushy about true love and personal freedom. To me, true love means never being "captured" by another, but being surrounded, nurtured, and supported. I have much more freedom with my honey than I ever had alone, because there were too many things I was afraid to do on my own. In fact, my husband has gotten me into things I never thought I would ever enjoy, and I've done the same for him. He's got big dreams for the future, and, thanks to him, I'm building some new dreams of my own. Together we are much more than the sum of our parts.