Gelatin Printing

We had a friend over and did some gelatin printing the other night.  This is the cream of the crop by my eye, with loads of “lesser” images that will be great collage material.  I’m thinking about framing these and putting them up, the surfaces are so seductive.  It feels a little indulgent.  Perhaps I don’t need to rent time at a print studio if I can do this, not sure yet.

One was done with a star sticker stuck to the end of a finger and gently pressed into the inked gelatin.  Another is some mesh I had saved, a bag for onions.  S stretched it out and printed it that way.  The ghost images are often better than the first print.

A and I took a workshop on this technique with Linda Branch Dunn a few years ago at the library.  She told me about Linda Germaine’s website, which includes the recipe and many more helpful tips, even a short how to video.


What I Did on my Summer Vacation

I’m no watercolorist, but I did one every day.  I always began with some warm-up drawing, and usually my daughter painted too.  What strikes me is the enormous difference from day 1 to day 6.  I was looking at Frank Benson and Andrew Wyeth.






Thursday- there’s a children’s book called Carmine:  A Little More Red that says every painting should have a little red in it.  The author has a point.


Friday- that reflection is my daughter fishing on the dock




I spent a lot of time this week looking at water and trying to figure out how to paint it.  I have a profound new respect for all the artists who do it well.  It wouldn’t kill me to study with someone who knows what they’re doing and I’ve been eyeing Joel Janowitz’s summer class at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA for a few years now.  But it didn’t fit my schedule this year and instead I’m leaving Sunday for a class in carborundum printmaking with Louise Hamlin.  Very excited.





Charcoal July

We all drew today.  My primary strategy in teaching my children about art is to

1. expose them to as much art as possible

2.  put out supplies and get out of the way

3.  look out for teaching moments, when they seem ready to learn something, and try to plug into that

They do work that knocks me out sometimes.  All the time.  I feel that there’s time later to shape and direct.  In the early years, it’s time for some wild creativity.  I learn from them.

I’m not sure why my oldest is drawing pictures with ghosts and black cats in July, but there it is.  This is plain old vine charcoal, pretty much toasted willow sticks.  And fingers, a rag, gum erasors.  You want subtlety?  Charcoal is incredibly responsive and easy to work with.

My oldest is 9.  At one point I handed her the gum erasor, and told her how you could cover a piece of paper with charcoal and do the entire drawing with the erasor.  While she was working, I did this new version of John dropping back:

I was thinking to add some acrylic paint, but then the charcoal itself is so seductive, I think I’ll save the paint for another version.  Pretty sure this one isn’t quite finished yet.

Finally my youngest strolled on by, and I handed him some charcoal.  He is almost 5, so close to it I can’t call him just 4 anymore.  He thought charcoal was pretty cool, and kept wanting a bigger piece.

I love this kind of exuberant play.  Notice the crease in the paper?  That happened when middle sister (7) finally woke up and decided to join us.  In her haste to get to a blank piece of paper, she folded his over by accident.  She wants you to know that hers is still in progress.

I wonder what she’s going to do with this?  Little Miss S has a wild creativity that just bursts forth sometimes.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been telling her not to do something so crazy with a crayon or paint or gelatin printmaking, it’s going to make too much of a mess or waste too much paint or whatever in control reason I have.  She ignores me and makes pictures that are a complete knockout.  I hope she never loses that.




The foxglove grew tall and fell over with the rain, so I didn’t mind cutting a few stems and bringing it indoors.  I do hope that the rest seeds itself profusely.  I know so little about watercolor, I thought I might spend some time this Summer exploring it a little more seriously.  You’ll have to trust me that the drawing below looks better in person, but I’m still working on it and will take a more careful photograph later.


Kids and watercolors

Home today, with one girl sick and the boy wanting to do something other than watch it rain.  So we got out the watercolors, for a start.  I promised my creativity coach I would get started on 15 minutes of drawing a day again, and today I met my quota.  Actually, I promised myself.  I’m getting ready to put up a Summer Drawing Show exhibit at the library, and for the first time in 5 years as curator I will be including a few of my own drawings.  I think it has been about 7-8 years since I have exhibit my work in public.  Too long.

My favorite parts of this watercolor are the Transformer and Hello Kitty t-shirts.  The kids enjoyed that as well.


kapo in progress

Still working on this one.  I’ve been a bit sporadic lately but things are looking up, at least for the Fall if not for the Summer.

The pattern of circles was made by stamping with the cap of a crayola kid’s marker.  I’ve wanted to incorporate children’s materials for a while but I have this thing for archival issues, so this was a way to do it and keep things long lasting.  Of course then there’s the collage material, which is always iffy….


an idea evolves

Ursula With Dots

Sitting here with my ginger tea.  It is still not coffee.  My big success yesterday was getting the dots on the panel, and I think this tiny panel of Ursula in Ustrasana might be done.  I didn’t measure, instead preferring to place them by eye into their geographical locations.  It’s a different look, the imprecision of something done by hand.  I’d like to see the same panel with perfectly cut circles placed in precise coordinates, just to compare.  But then I’d have to find a hole punch or something to get the little circles more accurate than I can cut them by hand.

Anyway, a layer of matte medium and I think it’s done.  The funny thing about this one is that one night I was listening to an NPR Fresh Air interview with Johnathan Lehrer about his new book “Imagine:  How Creativity Works.”  He talked about moments of insight, their defining features and how they come about when you least expect it, perhaps during the shower or after a nap but not at the moment in which you are fighting your way through a problem.   So the next morning I practice yoga in the morning per usual, lay in Shavasana for 5-8 minutes or whatever it was.  And there it was, the image of the panel with the dots superimposed over it.

So all this really tells me is that I’m heading in the right direction even if I can’t clearly see where it’s all going and scarcely have any time to shepherd it there anywhere.  My goal this week is just to get back to the 15 minutes of day art habit I was cultivating but have slipped on the last week or two.  I did draw at the Sarah Jarosz concert on friday night at Club Passim.  But this thing happened.  I did one drawing that was good enough that I wasn’t embarrassed about it, didn’t feel like I had to explain that the light was bad or the musician kept moving.  It looked like Sarah playing her instrument.  But as we were leaving the bass player – Nathaniel Smith I believe, who had seen me drawing asked me about it so I showed him and then in one of those moments of spontaneous generosity that overcomes me sometimes, I asked him to give it to her.  Which I could have done myself but she had a line of people and I knew I’d change my mind if I had to wait.

Didn’t think to sign it.  So I wish I could post it here but that one has flown away.  I’ll just have to bug my buddy Steve to get us a good seat the next time a show comes around that we want to see.  And of course, keep drawing.


Kapo Panels

I have ordered 3 16X20 cradled gessobord panels.  Very excited.  These are small studies for the larger pieces.  I need to play around a bit more with this new (to me) surface and see how it handles collage and so forth.  If you’ve been following these, this one is Christine in Kapotasana.  I also have Ursula for Ustrasana, and Peg for Laguvajrasana.  These three yoga poses are backbends from the 2nd (intermediate) series of Ashtanga yoga.  And besides all that, they are simply beautiful poses.

I’ve been slipping a bit on the daily drawing practice, so my goal this week is to catch myself and get back to it. Which I couldn’t do yesterday because I helped my sister move.  Today, my oldest daughter’s birthday, isn’t looking so great either.  Did I mention we had a birthday party this weekend?  I am so wrung out right now.  But here’s an idea- it could become a tradition to sketch my children on their birthdays.

And  I do want to draw every day this week, for on friday I’m planning to take those nifty grey pitt pens to see Sarah Jarosz in Cambridge.  We’ve got a great seat and I should be able to sketch to my heart’s content.  I’ve learned that if I draw daily, then I don’t have to start from scratch.  Proportions and textures come more easily and I am more confident.  So today, draw,  even if only for 5 minutes!!!



Hands Off

I saw glorious hands done in pencil on paper at a local high school.  Looking at this, I realize I could use a hand workshop, or a week of drawing nothing but hands in different positions.  The rear hand looks a bit claw-ish.

On the other hand (no pun intended), I could work on studies forever and never get to an actual painting/ collage or whatever I’m doing with these.

This is a 6X6 inch panel, pencil sketch.  It’s one of those gessobord panels and the pencil smudges ever so wonderfully on the just right surface.