Saturday, July 30, 2016

ink: waterfalls

Monotype with pastel, 13 x 6.5

I was eight years old and for my birthday, I received a Kodak Instamatic camera as a gift from my parents. I was thrilled. It had a square "cube" flash for indoor shots. I took a lot of outdoor shots with it. Of my siblings. Of my friends. Of our dog.

Only a couple of months after my birthday, our family took a summer vacation to Yosemite National Park. I took my first serious landscape photographs during that vacation. What I remember most is Yosemite Falls. I was entranced. Especially when we played in the cold water at the base of the lower falls. It tasted sweet and was cool and clear.

As an adult, I am more familiar with Ansel Adams photos of the park and the falls than I am of my own images. But, in one of my early photo albums are my square photos of Yellowstone Falls. I was there. It made an impression.

As I explore more with monotype and ask myself about what inspires me in the landscape, I come back to water again. This time waterfalls.

Monotype with pastel. 12 x 12.

The two images above are monotype prints done with Gamblin Portland Cool Black ink and run through my Glen Alps Press. After the ink dried, I went back into the images with pastel. Why? I was curious to see the effect.

Black and white, without pastel color added, still holds the most drama. The print below is an abstraction of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. Multnomah Falls have such popular appeal, many visitors go there in the summer months. Crowds of people. I prefer to go in the less popular months.

Monotype. 12 x 12.
Native American legends explain that the falls were created to woo a Princess and to allow her to bathe in privacy. The falls resemble her flowing hair. I thought of her hair as I worked on this print.

Ikea purchase metal cable with hanging clips.

At Ikea, I discovered an inexpensive and effective system for hanging my prints in the studio. A thin, wire cable is suspended between metal supports and small clips hang from the cable, like clothes pins on a clothes line. It gives me a way to look at the prints from a distance.

Detail of the cable and holder.

Detail of the hanging clip and cable.

I enjoy NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. They are like little samples of musical treats. Here's one to get you started, if you enjoy acoustic guitar.

Rodrigo y Gabriela NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2016

ink: landscape confession

Seascape. 12 x 12 Monotype. Ink on BFK Rives paper

Sometimes it's better to keep my mouth shut.

When I was in my first art class, and had successfully completed the learning pieces on how to handle various media, my teacher asked me what I would like to paint on my own. Landscape? she suggested.

I made a face and insisted that I was not interested in painting landscape. Landscape bored me to tears. I would rather clean the shower than look at a landscape painting... On and on I went. I probably went on longer because my teacher's laughter kind of encouraged me.

I painted flowers. I painted people. I painted fruit.

But, I kept thinking about landscape. And I started to look at landscape paintings by the some of the greats. The more I looked, the more I liked what I saw. Maynard Dixon gave me shivers. Albert Bierstadt wowed me and made me laugh (how audaciously he manipulated the landscapes in his paintings to please himself!). Wayne Thiebaud thrilled me with the Sacramento River delta scenes.

About the same time, my husband and I started to travel. For two months or more at a time, we drove to get out of the Northwest winters and find some sunshine. And, because I love it, we often made our way to the coast. I had plenty of opportunities to study the landscape. And I did.

I love the space where the land meets the sea. I love the smell of the briny air. I love the sound of the water pulling and pushing at the beach and the whisper of the wind in the oatgrass. I love the way the light reflects on the shifting water and hints at the mysteries below the surface.

Before I realized what happened, I was painting landscapes. And loving it.

I should have kept my mouth shut in the first place. But, maybe, by opening my mouth and ranting a bit about landscape paintings (and how much I despised them), I created a space for myself to explore it. Between the rant and the question mark behind the work "why?" I found landscape and fell in love.

"This Land is Your Land" Woody and Arlo Guthrie, and others.