Thursday, January 29, 2009
Kurt Jackson has a new show atMessum's and you can see Forest Gardens on line.
I can't seem to get enough of this guy!My catalogue arrived a few days ago and it is just beautiful. You can order your own copy of the Exhibition Catalogue .
Monday, January 26, 2009
9" w x 3" h
Watercolor on paper
This might be the last watercolor sketch and ink for a bit. I'm wanting to try a new medium for my waterways project. I'd like to have a new set of materials to work with this Spring and want to work with some textures and oil paints. My fingers are itching to try some collage....this just as school starts back up next week.
I also found this recent TED video by Rob Forbsthat speaks to the value of street design and it's importance in enriching our daily lives. You can see some of wonderful photos here at his gallery of images.
I like his idea that good design is about social connections.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Recently I learned from our Village's Chief Information Officer David Powers that we have an award winning team of vidoeographers on staff. Dave Powers comments:
"Joe Kreml, VOP-TV manager, is the director, producer, video editor and all-around technician. The talent is Cedric Melton, the Village’s director of Community Relations. My assistant, Leslie Boehms, edits the scripts and makes the static slides from the stories I prepare for the print version of the OP/FYI newsletter. "
Some of these talented people are graduates of Columbia College (YEA!!).
Every month, the crew focused on some aspect of village life. This month's segment deals with, among other things the salt issue discussed in my previous post. The Police Department Gallery Project has a nice mention also. The December version again stars Cedric as an adorable and very funny (if slim) Santa.
Over 50 percent of Oak Parkers do not have cable and won't see this worthy project unless some of you local readers help it go viral. Consider supporting these talented people by sending this link to your neighbors and asking them to pass it along.
In doing research for my Police Department residency, I came across an interesting blog. The anonymously written Second City Cop covers issue near and dear to the hearts of officers in the Chicago Police Department. This blog illuminates the thick political stew that CPD officers must swim in to survive. It is written with a bracing dose of reality and humor. WARNING: Discussion on the topics presented is blunt and "colorful" and might offend more sensitive viewers.
Ink and Collage on paper
22" x 30"
It's hard to see from the photo but the words in the background are narrative elements from reported accidents. The blue forms are blank accident reports that officers fill out for every accident.
This year, our village could not buy and spread as much road salt because of a spike in price. Even our Village Manager felt the effects of this decision.
On one day in December, a few days before Christmas, our streets were literally a skating rink and even the main streets were not adequately salted. As a result of working with the police department, I was inspired to underline this issue with my art.
Less salt means:
-More danger of injury
-More accident claims for insurance
-Mountains of paper work for officers and department personnel
I'm just wondering why no one thought we should stock up on an alternative (sand for instance?) before the really rough weather hit.
This is not "save the world" art but it's my humble contribution to underlining the headache that comes from poor municipal planning.
Here's a group that really do want to save part of the world with art.I love reading about other artist's using their work to support a good cause.
If you'd like to view a behind the scenes video from the FBI, tapped during the inauguration of President Obama you can click here I bet all these people passed out after President Obama returned to his new home that evening.Best of all, there were NO arrests that whole day.
Some are waiting to see what President Obama will do now that he's in office. But to me, what matters even more is what all of us do too.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Katherine recommended I post experiments I made with the flow of inks in water after seeing this post on our Watermarks site. I've been working on a sketchbook series of watercolor and ink and discovered some interesting things. For this experiment, I tilted the board about 30 degrees and swiped a stripe of water with a fully loaded 1" flat. I'm using Fabriano Soft Press paper as I do for my sketches.
From left to right, here are the inks tested:
1) Pre-mixed Yahutomo Sumi ink
2) Parker Quink
3) Higgins Eternal
4) Noodler's Golden Brown
5) Waterman Havana Ink
6) Dr. Ph Martin Bombay India Ink
7) Daler Rowney Liquid Acrylic
8) Windsor Newton Ink
I had better keep my day job as it supports my media "habit". These were just the inks I had on hand. I've since bought a few others but they are really liquid acrylics and are not relevant.
As you can see, the Dr. Martin Bombay Ink has the absolute best traveling capacity. I'm guessing that this is due to the fineness of the particle load in the ink. The acrylic "inks" as well as the pre mixed Sumi moved very little.
I fooled around with the amount of water on the paper and discovered that the ink needs just the right amount of moisture for maximum travel. Too much water and it's movement is inhibited; same goes for too little water. I liked the movement best when he paper was on its way to dry and just a bit shiny.
What I found interesting too is the color separation that occurred. The Quink Ink sediment sifts out to be blue when really dilute. And the Noodler's brown ink had a very strong undertone of bright yellow.
I'm going to try adding a very small, diluted amount of Bombay Ink to watercolors to see if that assists in granulating the colors.
Des Plains River Iced over
We've been in the deep freeze recently and this is what the Des Plains River looked like yesterday. It has not been sub-zero long enough for anyone to walk on the ice and I doubt I'd even try no matter how cold.
Friday, January 16, 2009
When I visited
Sallie Wolf studio last month, I noticed a hard bound sketchbook right near her front door. She had divided the spaces into monthly calenders and had a swatches of color in each day. She used black ink to mark the days she did not make it into the studio and red ink for days she was "in studio".Instantly, she can see at a glance how many days she's spent on her art work.
Here's a picture of my book from last month. It's the visual equivalent of an appointment book but the appointment is with myself and my art making. It gives me great satisfaction to put down my own red band on a working day. It reminds me of all the sort of visual charts pre-school teachers use. So there it is: nothing really is wasted in your education:-)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
22" x 30"
Ink on paper
Creating your own Artist Residency is all about finding a place where your art will be a good fit and pitching in and using the skills. I can finally lift the veil on my Police Department Residency now that I have cleared everything with Chief Tanksley.
Here is my official statement for the project:
In August 2008 I received permission to set up and manage a gallery inside the Oak Park Police Station. This private gallery, set up for the enjoyment of the staff and officers of the department, began as a way for artist's to say thank you to the hard working members of the department. The more I worked in the department, the more I began to shape an idea for art based on the work of the department. In November, chief Tanksley gave me permission to begin an Artist Residency.
I have two main goals for the project. the first is to learn more about what police work involves. I want to learn what their accomplishments and challanges are and translate this learning into visual art. My second goal is to share this art not only with law enforcement departments but the citizens they serve. Some people learn what police work is thorough an experience of loss or injury. I envision using the project o bring awareness of law enforcement work that goes beyond those experiences and expresses a more holistic experience of what officers contribute to the communities they serve.
"Running on Empty"
22" x 30"
Ink on Paper
After several fumbling starts, I've settled on the media and the approach. I'm using ink on paper, words from the Wednesday Journal's weekly crime blotter written by Bill Dwyer (used with permission) and the departments own statistics. The person doing the statistics has arts training and does a beautiful job presenting this data. (Even if the subject matter is grim.)
ink on paper
In reading the crime blotter, I'm working to see things from both an officers and a citizens point of view. It's surprising how many times the issue of crime comes up because someone forgets to lock their garage or front door. If I were an office of the law working hard to protect my community, I'd hope citizen would meet me half way and lock their doors! Highlighting these sorts of issues with my drawings seems like a good way to honor the work of police officers.
So if you have always wanted to do a residency but felt daunted by the competition for established ones, find a group you want to work with and organize one for yourself. Chances are it will be just the right fit.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
9" x 12"
watercolor and ink
Over at Watermarks some of us have been showing work created on different days at the same spot. Working over and over like this creates a real in-the- gut understanding of topography and certain visual markers that identify place. Developing visual memory requires lots of practice (not a skill I'm particullarly good at.) Because I've drawn Thatcher Pond so many times, I can recall the shape of the foliage, the memory of the wind ruffling the water, the sounds of the woods on a June morning as opposed to a January morning. It make recaling the images I want so much easier for having repeated the scene over and over and over again.
I've up loaded pages my December watercolor sketchbook over at Watermarks so you can see all of them together. Click here to see the show.
Every Tuesday, the New York Times includes a section in the paper called The Science Times. This week there was an article on the importance of costal sand in understanding the health of the world's oceans. I did not understand why sand was colored differently until I read this article. Nor why the texture of beach sand varied so much. Have a look if you are curious.
Monday, January 05, 2009
I've been giving thought to what things I'd like to work on in the coming year. All of a sudden, I have lots of opportunities and the prospect of some exciting new work.
This past year, I have been thinking about what my work means to me and what I'd like to accomplish.Just the thought of trying to do the grinding work of getting gallery representation discouraged me. I did apply to one huge university show and did not get in. I was competing with 600 artist and 1800 pieces of work. This mind numbing kind of competition seems insurmountable. So I've created my own work and what I've discovered is that making meaning is much more important to me than making money. I wouldn't turn money for work down. It's just that it feels so hopeless against such daunting odds.
1) My Art Project at the local Police Station:
Last summer, I began an art gallery at the local police station. It's in a lock down facility and the aim of the project was not to sell work but to express appreciation to the members of the Oak Park Police Department. I began the project with an idea that it might help with their job stress but quickly figured out that hanging a few pictures in that space would not put a dent in their stress. The real value of the project is that it shows the members of the department that some of us creative types want to say thank you and share what we do best.
From the start of the program, Chief Tanksley has been very supportive of my ideas and the project.Publicity is something he deals with on a routine basis and more often than not, its about something grim. He suggested we have a press conference and two local papers wrote stories. The Wednesday Journal even gave me permission to use the very professional photos Josh Hawkins took. ( He does not have a web site but if you go to the site listed below, you will see he does many photos for the paper. I offered him a show in the gallery but he let me know he's really only interested in showing in the paper...a true photo journalist!)
Wednesday Journalour local paper.
After my show, Janice Elkins agreed to loan me work and so did my friend Claudia Hallissey. I'll keep you posted about future artists. I've got the gallery space booked through September 2009.
Well, letting go of the money piece really made room for some interesting developments:
2) After working on the gallery project and completing an experimental drawing class, I asked the Chief if I could begin an Artist Residency at the station. I'm doing an extended post on this soon with work to show but I'm waiting to hear back from a few people who are kindly looking at the work.
3) During a lovely meeting with
Sallie Wolf about loaning me herMoon Project for the gallery, she recommended ways for me to find funding for the framing of my work done for the Police Department. She also recommended a 2 week residency for me to apply to for this summer and I don't want to jinx anything by saying more. I've been working hard to have seven pieces to submit for my proposal.
I'm working with Sallie to bring the Moon Project to Columbia College.
4) I will be continuing my Waterways Project and moving into more oil paints and watercolors again.
Vivien's creative child, Watermarks is an amazing group of artists who's main focus is making art around water. I've posted today about one of my favorite artist: UK painter Kurt Jackson. (Vivien will be posting about him tomorrow.) I'm honored to be part of the group and am very excited to be traveling, or should I say swimming with such an interesting group of people.
I'd like to make a Blurb book of my 2008 paintings but this next goal comes first:
5) Put together a processional portfolio and web page. This includes having a consistent visual package (Matched web page, stationary, business cards.). I'll be having my work professionally photographed too.
Well, this ought to keep me busy for well into 2009 and its a good thing I have summers off. Happy 2009 everyone!