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.
I'm not sure if "landscape illustration" is a proper art term, but it's how I describe lots of what I do lately. This term for me includes house portraits, commissions of people's homes, but also paintings of businesses, hotels, or restaurants for use on websites or in brochures. I have really enjoyed branching out into this category.
The best ones for me involve either beautifully enticing travel (like my work in Cape May, NJ) or merely require me to stroll around the block with my chair, as was the case with the top painting. This house backs up to my block, and I love walking past it. It was fun to get the opportunity to paint it.
Sometimes commissions surprise me as well, once I get to the address in question. The house below belonged to friends of mine some years ago, and I used to babysit their daughter in this house. When I drove up to find the address on my assignment, it was fun to find an old friend to paint.
Tennessee Shakespeare Gala
Last night was the Gala for the Tennessee Shakespeare Company. It was my dad's first date (more or less -- it's hard to completely define these things after decades of friendship) with his new bride, also known as my former favorite English teacher and theater buddy. I could not be more delighted and went with them to celebrate.
Here are a couple of sketches from the auction portion of the evening. I'm glad to always have a sketchpad in my purse these days.
I did two tiny (3x4ish) watercolors this week for the Madison County Arts Council in North Carolina. It's run by my friend and banjo teacher Laura Boosinger, who is an amazingly talented musician. They have an after school music program (local mountain music and instruments) for the kids in town, concerts, art shows, and all kinds of neat things. I've painted right in their neighborhood, staying at the Country Workshops woodworking school, and I always go over to Marshall for a banjo lesson too. So, in spite of this mostly being a North Carolina artists' project, Laura was nice enough to include me too. The sales of the tiny paintings will benefit arts organizations across Western North Carolina, and the exhibit will travel around the region.
Above is the French Broad river, as seen in Hot Springs, NC, and below is one of my favorite trees at Country Workshops.
Elixir of Love
I think Donizetti is my favorite opera composer. I know that Lucia de Lammermore is my very favorite opera, and I've also enjoyed the recent Donizetti comedies Opera Memphis has put on. Last night was a performance of Elixir of Love, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. They set it as a western in a frontier town, and here's the sketch of the set I did before the curtain and during the interval. It's fun to do a little drawing at a live performance, although GPAC (the theis darker than the Orpheum, so I didn't sketch during the opera itself this time around.
Still Life progression
I got an email from Kevin Philip, the advertiser who brought me into the Congress Hall, Cape May work. He wanted a winter produce still life to advertise their Beach Plum Farm, which provides vegetables and other products to the restaurants up there. I hadn't done a still life in ages, and it was fun to cruise the produce section looking for interesting forms.
Here's the painting in process, with still life set out on my work table this morning. I love the morning light I get there.
I don't often take photos of my watercolors in progress because they go so quickly, but I had a request on my Facebook page yesterday, and it seemed like a good idea.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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