I got my Chandler and Price printing press (see previous post for a video of it in action) in 2010 just before Valentines Day, and the first block I carved for this new love of my life was a valentine. I try to do one every year to celebrate this magnificent beast. This year I did two, one more traditional, and one for Mr. Darcy, my love and muse.
I'll be having a Valentine Open Studio Sale this Tuesday evening. It's a happy hour affair, 5-8 pm at 1780 Autumn Avenue, Memphis, so come have a glass of wine, see my new prints (the Memphis bicentennial pair should be ready by then), see Melissa Bridgman's new pottery, and meet Katrina Perdue. She's a knitter and has collaborated with Melissa on knitted cosies for coffee cups. She'll also have a selection of great hats.
I’m printing valentines today on my Old Style Chandler and Price press. It’s treadle operated, as you can see in the video, so it keeps me working off my grandmother’s apple cake I have leftovers of from a dinner party over the weekend. I’m doing two different valentines (currently having second tea after the first and gearing up for the second one). This press is so easy to print with once you get it set up. There is a bit of time getting everything inking evenly and dropping in straight, but after that, I can easily do several hundred at a time. I wish I could print all my prints like this, but it only take small prints and note cards. It’s a total joy, though, and I’m working on more smallish prints I can do this way instead of hand inking and lining each one up separately, then carrying it to my other press.
The valentines will be ready for my Open Studio Sale next Tuesday. We’ll have a small happy hour for painless valentine (or other) shopping on Tuesday, Feb. 5th, 5-8 pm.
I totally lucked out this weekend and found a teapot in an antique mall from Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The studio is owned by the family of Walter Anderson, one of my absolute favorite artists. He did designs for them as well as doing his own work. I have a few of their wine glasses and had recently been dreaming of a teapot and thinking of taking a trip down to the coast. Then this one appeared. It’s got a stylized spout, and I wish I knew how old it is. Beautifully it matches my very favorite tea cup and cream pitcher from Paris, which are also happenstance matches from different “brocantes”, my favorite French word. It means a second hand sale place, anything from a fancy antique shop to a flea market to a yard sale. It has the mystery and excitement of treasure hunting about it, and I love that the one word spans that whole spectrum.
I needed a quiet morning today, so I did a little printing, a little journal writing, and I also painted my new teapot as a celebration.
Here are a few photos of Walter Anderson murals in Ocean Springs. I’m still longing to get back down there.
I can safely post holiday commissions now. It’s fun to get to participate in people’s special occasions and help with preserveing memories. I did three versions of this house, one with its current paint color and two with the color the kids grew up with. I also got to paint one adorable dog.
The Memphis Symphony did an unusual concert last night. Our new conductor Robert Moody noticed striking parallels in the devil at the crossroads stories of Stravinsky and Robert Johnson and decided to do a mashup. He used a chamber group and brought in bluesman Vashti Jackson to both be narrator and to play Johnson's blues interspersed with the Stravinsky pieces. There was also dancing and and an actor and film bits shown as well. It sounded a bit bizarre, but it really worked. My companion noted that both musical forms have a strong percussiveness.
I had hoped to mix some ink that would be a lighter flesh tone in a brush pen (those are hard to mix in the dark of a theater), and I tested it at the top right before going. It was a sad failure and ended up both grainy and with the turkey basting quality of old TCM colorized films. I ended up just doing a series of line drawings in various pens, though I did add in the red suede shoes and matching tie of Mr. Jackson. It was a fun night.
I took the whole weekend off and went dancing, which was flat out marvelous. I’ve also been doing some work on my house, so actual art work has been thin on the ground lately. I have done breakfast sketches the last two mornings, though, and I’m easing back in. I’m both using and drawing a new-to-me teacup I found brocanting over the weekend. It’s Prussian and hand painted and the most delicious blue. It feels nice to be beginning days by drawing again.
I’ve been having a little trouble with my printer and also taking all my free time lately to dive back into oil painting, so I haven’t done any scanning yet. I am, however, doing some home sketches along the way. Here were a couple of teacups that started the year, along with a couple of Mr. Darcy sketches. And one more self portrait. I’ll try to get organized to share the rest of what I’ve been doing lately. On the organization front, I did spend all morning doing end of the year book keeping yesterday. The less fun part of owning your own business. Today I will be joyfully back to painting on my water landscape series.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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