I had a lovely, neighborhood sort of Saturday. Mr. Darcy and I did a variety of errands together on foot during a gorgeous November day when the weather was mid 60's and mostly sunny with lots of color still left on the trees.
I got suddenly hungry partway through, so we stopped and sat on the patio at Fuel, where I did the above sketches while having a quite good burger. My normal burger joint is also on Madison. Huey's has great music on Sunday afternoons, but they don't allow dogs on their patio (which makes me crazy), so they lost a sale today. I was really disappointed. But we had a lovely meal anyway.
On the way home, we stopped in Overton Park. I love the row of trees as the forest begins on the far side of the lake. The sky was overcast to a dark grey blue, which made the fall colors pop even more.
A friend is suggesting I do a print of his aunt's house, and I'm just beginning to play with ideas. A single print is a lot of work for one commission. I usually do house portraits in watercolor. But I got requests for more midtown neighborhoods when I had my Chickasaw Gardens print at the crafts fair recently. Cooper Young and Central Gardens folks were especially vocal, but I live in Evergreen, and this house would be pretty perfect for the history of the neighborhood, so I may do Evergreen first as I revisit and expand my arts and crafts places series. (I also need to go back and finish the Shakertown one that's been dormant for a year or so, but that's another post...)
I did the watercolor sketch on site yesterday and of course fell in love with the tree. Then I came home and tried two different quick composition sketches.
I tried it horizontal first, and it seemed a little static compositionally, although the wide porch and tree both feel welcoming to me. Then I tried vertical, and I'm leaning towards that one, though I think the letters in the sketch are too tall. And I'm not sure that my arts and crafts lettering I've done in the rest of the series will look good "condensed" (tall and skinny in font-speak). I may have to look at some other possible fonts.
I thought about color options while I was waking up this morning, which is always a fertile creative time for me, and I made the color notes after I came down for breakfast. If I do them on the sketch, I don't lose my ideas later.
I also banked a couple of photos of the house so I'll have more details when I need them --- especially since the tree will be losing the rest of its leaves any day now.
I'll keep thinking about my options and playing with sketches before doing a final drawing at the actual size I want the print to be. And, of course, I'll get feedback from the customer in this instance, since the genesis for this one is a commission.
I've had the reception for my England show (up at Playhouse on the Square through Jan. 4) and am now trying to catch up on all the business side of being an artist, which makes for bad tv on the blog end of things. So in the meantime, here's the WKNO episode of Checking on the Arts where Darel Snodgrass interviewed me about the England show and the process of turning watercolors into block prints.
I listen to a lot of NPR when I travel, and I don't know of another station that has a twice daily arts interview show. WKNO is a huge boon to everyone in our community trying to make a living in the arts, as well as to everyone wanting to hear about the cool stuff going on out there.
I had a quiet evening reading on the couch last night, but I stopped every once in a while to do a little sketching. Mr. Darcy was just looking so darned cute....
The show is up! I got it hung last week before leaving for one of my favorite dance weekends, and now I'm back home to put on the reception this Friday night, November 14th. Come and have a glass of wine with me from 5:30 to 7:00 at Playhouse on the Square. Rebecca Chappell will be having an opening in the upstairs gallery at the same time, so you can see two shows at once. Kids, friends of friends, random people off the street, all are welcome, and the reception is free.
The show will also be up through January 4, in case you can't make the opening.
Above is the letterpress poster I made. The pointing hand and the stars came from one of the antique markets in Paris. I couldn't wait to test them out.
My show is mostly in the long west ramp. The main wall is cement, which means I can hang with poster tape and stick on velcro instead of having to suspend with chains and tiny hooks. So much easier!
The show is the watercolors I did in England and then the series of block prints I did from those watercolors after I got home.
I played with different paper colors and inking methods for the first time with these prints, and I decided it would be fun to show multiples of the same print when the colors used are different. It was lovely to see them all hanging together and get to stand back and look at them as a group. That's the fun part of a show -- just getting to see a body of work all gathered together instead of sitting in stacks in my workroom.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get occasional studio email updates.