I've been mostly DOING Inktober even though I've been bad about posting here lately. Most days I've managed one ink sketch, but the majority of my work this past week has been tons of computer work (taking my attention from scanning for other purposes) to get the Mr. Darcy Goes Home book and the related counting book ready to send out. I've got a mid November deadline to be able to submit to my dream publisher without needing an agent first, so I'm working flat out to get it ready. I'll show a couple of reject sketches from that process here, but for now, a few more Inktober sketches to show what I've been up to around the edges.
Above is the Side Street Steppers. Below is one sketch as I was stopped at a train on my way to a printmaking demonstration at Dixon (I'll be doing several more of those) plus a quick sketch waiting in line at Home Depot, buying materials to shore up my floor to receive the type cabinet (see the last blog post).
Plus I always enjoy drawing treats, as a way to keep enjoying them, and also remember nice days I've spent with other people. Here is one of those, just to round things out.
My week went rather spectacularly off the rails this past week. I had seen an antique mall out in the further ‘burbs of Memphis voted as the best one in our weekly newspaper’s annual Best of Memphis, and since I happened to be driving past on an unusual errand to that part of the world, I decided to stop in. It’s enormous. The size of a Wal-Mart. And I turned one corner and saw this. I’m always watching out for type in antique shops and flea markets, but I’ve never found any in this quantity before, and the cabinet itself, with its slanted work space, is lovely. In a mad impulse, I bought it and whatever type it contained.
Sadly antique stores tend to sell off letters individually, which makes the remaining type less usable, since you can’t have enough “m”s or whatever is the popular letter when you try to set a poem or a poster or whatever. But with 40 or so drawers of it, there’s still an awful lot left, and my next job will be sorting it and seeing how much and what I have. Some fonts look very intact, some are quite picked over.
After the impulsive purchase, the rest of the week was consumed by logistics (which is why I haven’t been posting any art). It’s heavy enough that the floor needed to be reinforced. I’d reinforced it once for this press some years ago, but more was in order. Fortunately I happened to have a handy and generous house guest, so we both slithered around in fine southern dust in my crawl space for a couple of afternoons dragging cement blocks and large timbers to reinforce the joists under the press room.
Some equally generous neighbors helped me move it and shove over the press to make room for it (harder than moving the actual cabinet, since we removed all the type drawers first).
So that was four good days, and on Sunday I had the amazing good fortune to get to play bass at a gig with the Bluff City Backsliders, a band I’ve loved and followed for years. (For longtime readers of this blog, you’ve seen sketches of them in years past.) That was a total rush, and it was a marvelous way to cap off my week. I couldn’t be more lucky in the life I get to live.
I made it through the Pink Palace Crafts Fair week, which is always a crazy ride but a really fun time. I so appreciated everyone who came out in the rain to support all of us local and not-so-local artists. It was fun to catch up with a whole group of different friends, and I'm always touched when people come to see my art year after year, tell me what piece they have (and sometimes show me a photo of how they got it framed), and maybe even take home a new piece to keep the old one company. I missed a couple of days of Inktober sketching in the hooplah, but I managed most days, so here are a few that I did but hadn't scanned in yet.
This last one served as a model for a demo linocut I started carving during the demonstrations at the crafts fair. I have more work to do once I pull a print and see what it looks like. I love coming home with a sketch I want to spend more time with and make more art from.
This one still has some refinement to go, but I’m feeling largely good about it. It’s probably 85% done at this point. I’m having the best time with oils lately. I’m taking time off this week to demonstrate printmaking the the Pink Palace Crafts Fair, Memphis’s oldest and marvelous outdoor fair. I loved it as a kid, and now I get to be a part of it. Come see me in the demonstration area Friday, Saturday, or Sunday if you’re in Memphis. I’ll be back to painting (and working on a children’s book) again next week.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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