Above is my sixth Lenten psalm block, taken from Psalm 18. It is the last one I finished this year, although I still hope to do a block from Psalm 22 to honor Good Friday as well. With a recent trip, I just couldn't get it done in time for this year, but it will join the series soon. I already have it drawn out.
And here is Easter. I wanted color for Easter instead of the stark black and white. I mixed an orange and a yellow and tried several different ways of rolling them on top of each other, a technique I saw in progress at the venerable Hatch Show Print in Nashville when I visited there.
Here is the final version, taken from Psalm 149. It feels good to be out of a long and dark Lent and poised to celebrate Easter.
I got tentatively back to painting this week for the first time in a month or so. Regular readers will have noticed that I haven't been posting here nearly as often as I usually do. Normally I wake up every morning thinking about what art I want to make that day. I feel lucky to be a happy painter -- I don't have to cultivate or channel angst in order to make my art. That generally makes for a happy life.
However, in times of trouble and grief, it means that I hit a point where making art is very hard for me, and sometimes I just have to take some time off. I'm in the process of getting a divorce, and it's been difficult to work lately. Fortunately I don't have any shows looming, and my clients for the above commission have been very understanding.
The only thing I've been able to tackle lately is the series of lament psalm prints. They're heartfelt, relatively small, and simple in just black and white. Hopefully I can get back to more complex printmaking soon. I miss it, but it's sometimes hard to dive into a more intricate project. In the meantime, I'm trying to finish this painting (it felt great to get back into it) and also keep going with the psalms, since one is due each Sunday in Lent for use as church bulletin covers. The whole set will be available in digital form for any church that would like to use it for future occasions.
Here's the first proof for next week's psalm.
These are taking a bit longer than I bargained for, but after a lay off from art for a bit, they're a lovely way to ease back in -- not too big, one color, and heartfelt.
Here's the next one in progress. I'm back to carving this morning and hoping to finish this one today.
The first proof of my third Lenten Psalm block. I'm going to do a bit more cutting, but I like that the words appear lost in the depths, and I don't want to cut away too much more.
This print contains a line from Psalm 32 and is the second installment in my Lenten Psalm series. Anne Apple, who is being installed this week as our associate minister, requested this psalm in particular, and it fits the theme of lament psalms. I'm not going by a lectionary or any specific Lenten readings this time. I'm just choosing passages that seem to me to reflect the
Below is a series of three successive proofs, with the earliest on the left and the finished one on the right. You can see me cutting away a little bit more of the dark bits with each stage.
Lent came early to me this year. I always try to do a block print series for the churches who use my art for bulletin covers throughout the year. This year I've been reading Psalms quite a bit, and it seems to me that psalms of lament suit the somber season. I'm going to do a series that is more text than image, which is unusual for me. Having the letterpress and playing with type has made me more keenly aware of the power of words in my work.
Here is the first week, from Psalm 121, which has always been one of my favorites. It's actually a Psalm of praise, but the theme goes with many of the laments as well. I'm working on Psalm 32 for next week ("You are a hiding place for me"), and I'll post it soon.
Above is the first pull of a new print of a gorgeous old house in my neighborhood. Below is the second pull. There are still a few things I want to tweak, but it's pretty close to finished. I'm getting faster at getting right in the neighborhood of what I want during the first real carving session. This is slowly becoming a more intuitive way to work.
After days of rain, it is sunny and 72 degrees today, so it is a joy to be able to get outside and sketch. I've had a couple of new prints in my head for a while now, and it was good to do the detailed pencil sketches for them. Above is the scene I walk past every day in Overton Park, and New Year's morning the trees caught my eye meaningfully and asked to be in a print. This one will get a little wider (more space between birdbath and bench, and bench and tree), and it will join my art deco series of color prints.
Below is a study for a black and white one, though it will have "Midtown" carved underneath it. Local realtor Joe Spake has been asking for a print that is quintessentially midtown to put on the coffee cups he hands out, and I have always loved this bungalow in my neighborhood.
Funnily enough, Elmore was biking past and saw me sitting on the sidewalk drawing and thought I was a sidewalk bum. He had to do a double-take and turn around up the block to come back and say hello. I'm lucky this neighborhood embraces its eccentrics. No one tends to bother me even when I do settle into the sidewalk for a spell.
The other thing I did today was help hang the Memphis Urban Sketchers show at ANF. It took three of us two hours to hang artwork from about 16 of our regular artists. It's fun to see the group's work all up together, and I like spreading the word about the genre of urban sketching.
I finally got my second batch of prints photographed by David Nestor, who takes photos of all my work that is too large to fit on my scanner. It's nice to have good images to put up on the website. I know I've shared these here in progress via bad snapshots I took myself, but here's the second set of color prints as they should be seen.
Each of these is on 14x22" paper, and they are all priced at $140 each (the three color price), except the Elmwood print, which as only one block to carve and one printing, is $115.
I've got two more prints in progress, so watch this space for more, but first I'm going to go dance in Epiphany at the Chattaboogie dance weekend. I'll be back on Monday to dig in seriously and get back to work. Y'all have a great rest of the week!