Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gnome Break

Played with clay a few days ago for fun with a couple of ladies.

It was a fun break from ALL THE LINO-CUTTING.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Woodcarving for Shotgun

I mentioned this on Facebook last week, but my husband got me involved with sprucing up his shotgun.

He stripped the old finish and stain off the stock and forend from a secondhand shotgun. The old crosshatch pattern was sanded almost completely off from previous users' refinishing. I carved some new grooves into the stock and forend. Carving a curved object certainly wasn't what I'm used too, and my carving wasn't perfect.

Then he stained the pieces and put it all back together. It looks much nicer now.

Husband & wife collaboration for the win!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ningxia Museum (China Trip Post III)

My first two posts about my trip to China with my husband were easy to choose and write about. Today, however, I started struggling with which other experiences from the trip were worth sharing here on my art blog. I first wrote about things that happened Xi'an and then about Beijing, so it would be fair to write about the third city where we spent most of our time - Yinchuan.

For those of you who've never heard of it... Yinchuan is the capital and largest city in the Ningxia province in China. It also happens to be where my husband lived for two years, so the city and friends who live there are quite close to his heart (and now mine too).

On the morning of Friday, September 5, 2014 my husband took me to visit the Ningxia Museum. The admission was free, there was a surprisingly good audio guide in English, and he was glad to see many nice improvements to the collections since he had last seen it. There were enough things that this artist/printmaker geeked out about, so I choose to share this experience with you all today.

We were first greeted by what we believe was a fake Chihuly sculpture (which was oddly similar to the real one in the atrium of our familiar Milwaukee Art Museum back home).

Besides the decorations on the building's exterior, there were also nice details in the main atrium (a nod to the strong Muslim influence of the local Hui people).

My poor husband did his best to get a photograph of the Hui papercuts for me in the dim lighting. 

No surprise here, but I geeked out the most over old woodcuts in the museum's various collections. I'm sorry that I don't know too much about them because there wasn't much info from the audio guide, and the labels were all in Chinese. The first two are small wood fragments (4x6" or smaller) of wood blocks, carved with old Western Xia characters. The last three were in the Hui collection, and in various sizes. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Touring the Art District in Beijing (China Trip Post II)

Because my awesome husband knows me well, he made sure to schedule some time in our busy itinerary to visit the Art District (798) in Beijing. We spent the morning and early afternoon of our second day in Beijing, September 3, 20014, wandering around the streets in the bright sunshine to find galleries and shops. Below are photos of my favorites (not including all the art in galleries where we weren't allowed to take photos.)

There was everything from beautiful high end galleries to rough pop-up shops. I found a few printmakers. (And a "Printsaurus"?)

Of course I had to take some awkward tourist photos. (Best and most awkward one of this very white American shown below.)

We saw that statue guy a few times, and found even more of his clones hiding out of sight.

We found quite a variety of sculptures, usually outside the entrances of shops/galleries. The Santas, smoking Native American, and David looked rather out of place.

These huge felt light fixtures were in a stairwell that we climbed in hopes of finding another gallery, and they turned out to be far more interesting than the clothing shop upstairs.

The architecture was interesting, even under construction. (The girl in the shadows of the lower right corner of the first photo was sketching soon after I took this photo.)

There was a variety of graffiti, usually in smaller alleys and referencing popular Western culture. (The last wall looks like an electrician's nightmare.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meeting Ding Jitang in Xi'an (China Trip Post I)

Writing about my trip to China is probably more exciting for you readers than watching my slow progress on projects... so today I'm going to start a series of posts about the art-y experiences I had, starting with my favorite.

On Monday, September 8, 2014 my husband and I were touring around Xi'an. In the rainy afternoon/evening we wandered through the Muslim market (very popular with tourists!) and stumbled upon the shop of famed artist and printmaker, Ding Jitang.

After scanning shop after shop I was suddenly struck by a feeling of "hey... I know that artwork!" I tried so hard to contain my excitement as we went inside with the encouragement of the shopkeeper. This tiny old man appeared from the back, saying over and over "My work!" and pointing at the prints and paintings covering every inch of the walls. It was amazing to meet the artist himself and talk with him (sometimes with the help of the shopkeeper) using the limited English he knew and the limited Chinese that my husband knew.

I wish we knew more of each other's language so that I could've asked him better questions. Mr. Ding kept pulling out worn and faded newspaper and magazine articles to show me where his artwork had been featured - he was very exited to show me!

I was SO excited the entire time, yet trying to contain my enthusiasm so that my husband could bargain for some artwork for a good price (since we only had so much cash on us). We settled on a simple, unframed/ unmounted print that we both liked and also a book of Mr. Ding's work (translated awkwardly into English). We asked him to sign the book for us, and with the help of the shopkeeper he did.  

Meeting Ding Jitang and bringing back some of his work was definitely the best/nerdiest experience that this printmaker had during her trip to China! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

For Anna and Luke

(Thought I had a better photo of this... oops. And those dowels aren't trimmed and painted here yet.) 

Well, one copy of this big woodcut/linocut on canvas has been given to the newlyweds, Anna and Luke, and the other is up in the WLC Alumni art exhibit, so it's safe to share on the blog now. 

(Side note, it won an honorable memtion! Go see the show at WLC! I've got two prints there and I'm on the postcard, too.)

The text in the corner of this print is 1 Corinthians 13:13, and my husband helped with the translation, font, and layout choices. My mom was a huge help with hemming the edges.

Oh yes, and I should mention my husband and I went on a whirlwind trip to China to deliver this to the newlyweds. (Maybe more on that later.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sneak Peak

I know I'm exaggerating when I say that it's killing me that I can't show off the project I've been working on for the past week alongside the commission. I'm just so happy to see the work finished that had such great help and support from my mom and my husband. (Thank you!!) It will be a few more weeks yet until I should reveal it, so here's your sneak peak.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Commission Overhaul

Time to admit my failings and write that I'm moving forward.

Ok, I was self-concious about writing this update because it makes me admit weakness/ failure all over again. Some months ago I just hit a wall with this commission. After some months of work the result was not good. It wasn't finished, and it needed a lot more work. That was also the same time we started what would be the first of 3 moves in 10 months for my husband and I, which left things feeling so unstable and creativity draining instead of inducing creative endeavors. There were other opportunities, or rather distractions. I put the commission on the backburner a lot longer than I wanted to, and the guilt was gnawing away at me.

Well, I've finally started feeling settled again and it was high time to get back at it. I've taken over the whole floor space in our 2nd bedroom, which is more accurately the "project room" to sketch and flesh out a resolution to the background that I was so dissatisfied with. Parts of old background pieces have been cut up to save what I needed, and new background pieces have begun. No more excuses/ fears/ or guilty feelungs... it's high time to move forward.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Testing Clay

While timing unfortunately did not allow for drying and painting of the clay sculptures during the preschool class last week, my husband and I had fun doing the test run. Craftsmart's natural clay was great to work with, but the idea of not firing it seemed so odd. The finished products were much more finished (for lack of a better word) when painted with acrylics.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Preschool Painting Class

Today was the last day of my preschool summer art classes. Had the biggest group today too-- 16! We sketched and then painted summer scenes on canvas. Here are a few of the little artists' masterpieces...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014