Sunday, December 30, 2012

woodblock print

Penn Cove, woodblock print, 6 x 8
While working with printmaster Sharri LaPierre, I have enjoyed learning about a variety of print media processes. Most recently, I tried my hand at woodblock. Above you see the results of my first attempt.

For this print, I carved four blocks: one for the black lines, one for the yellow sections, one for the red sections, and one for the green. Carving was meditative and serene. It wasn't until I ran my first "proof" copy that I realized I needed to remove much more of the waste wood.

carving lines block

After I carved the blocks and proofed them, I printed them first on Speedball printing paper, then on Rives BFK.

The design of this print comes from my sketchbook from this summer. You can see the page below. The bold, bright colors were inspired by Hans Hoffman, whose work I saw at the Crocker Museum and Blanton Museums. I also read a biography of Hoffman by Cynthia Goodman.

sketchbook 2012 Summer Boat Trip, K. van Schoonhoven
As I look through old sketchbooks now, I wonder how the various drawings might look in woodblock! I foresee some more experimenting ahead. I'm ready!

You can watch a video about woodblock printing here.

Friday, December 28, 2012


pastel, 7.5 x 11.5
 As the year rushes to finish itself, I am busy cleaning up from the holidays, getting rid of "things" I no longer need or want, and looking back on 2012. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

More than two months ago, I prepared the painting surface you see in the piece at the top of this post. I used molding paste and acrylic pastel medium on Rives BFK paper. It was not until yesterday that I knew what to paint on it. The texture grabbed the pastel in unexpected ways and I enjoyed skimming the pastels across the ridges with contrasting value marks.

"The true method  of knowledge is experiment." William Blake

Auld Lang Syne by the Leonard Trio.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Monotype, 30 x 22

I have been experimenting with Akua Kolor and a Pin Press to create some monotypes. There's always a magic, breath-holding moment when I lift the paper to see the results of the printing process.  This one reminds me of Franz Kline.

Franz Kline.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

movement and music

 I have a drawer full of Christmas music. Some is written for piano, two hands or four hands or two pianos. Some is written for piano and clarinet or piano and trumpet or piano and saxophone. Most recently, I have found some music written for piano and viola.

Over the years, I have loved our Christmas tradition that includes me at the piano and others joining in with their instruments. My sons used to play clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet in these impromptu recitals. And now, one of daughters in law plays viola.

I am looking forward to Christmas music (I'll bring my keyboard) with my kids. It will be loud and filled with wrong notes (most of them mine) but we will laugh and have a good time.

Here's a surprising take on the familiar "Carol of the Bells." I hope you enjoy it!

"Carol of the Bells" for 12 cellos.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

drawing with Phil Sylvester

Since September, I have been taking "Introduction to Drawing" with Phil Sylvester. This week will be our last class and I will miss the Saturday morning adventures at The Drawing Studio!

Most classes had us at our easels drawing while Phil talked about mark making, acceptance, music, quotes from various artists, inspiration, seeing more, feeling more, so that our drawings became a beautiful mixture of the artists' view of the subject and the artists' inner self. 

In this drawing, I was very aware of the beautiful age etched on the subject's face. That awareness led me down a long path inside where I considered my own aging and how I feel about it. It doesn't matter if my feelings come across in this drawing, but the process was very rich because of my willingness to follow my own feelings as I drew.

Two ballpoint pens held together to draw this model. The marks wrapped around the model's figure, down the leg and around the bones as if the marks themselves held the skin tight to muscle and sinew.

Every drawing is an exaggeration. Something is wrong with it. It's not meant to be a photocopy or a mechanical reproduction of the subject. It is this artist looking at that subject and responding to it with marks.

Though I feel a little sad that the class is ending, I am encouraged to draw. To enjoy the process of drawing without fretting about the outcome.

Leonardo Da Vinci Drawings.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Joy to the World

10 x 8, pastel on UART
Dave Brubeck, master jazz pianist and composer, died this week. I first heard him play in Florida in 1986 and I will never forget the easy, clear sound of his piano mixed in with his band's groove. Music floated across the water on the warm breeze. It was perfect. Anyone who ever tried to play "Take Five" or "Blue Rondo a la Turk" knows the genius and mastery of Brubeck's sense of time and space (and their own tethers to the more familiar 4/4 and 3/4 rhythms).

Endings are sad. But it's possible to celebrate what remains. With joy. That's what I'm doing. How about you?

Dave Brubeck "Joy to the World."