The Brooks Museum
The weather continues to be glorious, and I've enjoyed going daily to the park with my dog and sketching things. I did two different views of our local art museum, which I love having within walking distance.
Painting in the Park
This is the Doughboy statue, erected to commemorate the WWI soldiers. I've done four urban sketches in the last two days, taking advantage of the gorgeous weather lately, but only this one fits on my home scanner. I'll try to get the others scanned tomorrow, but first I'll be out painting again. The forecast is sunny and 65, which is as good as anyone can ask the last week of the year, even here in the south.
It's been warm enough for me to take Merlin along with me. He's not as mobile as he used to be, so it's nice for him to be out in the sun, watching the other dogs at the park, and I really enjoy the company. We take a short walk when I'm done working, and we both come home happy.
Here's the start of a new block I've been carrying around in my head for a couple of weeks but been too busy to start on. I finally got to work on it yesterday and will do more today (though it's also beautiful outside, so I'll be doing some urban sketching as well).
This is the first multi-color block I've tried on the letterpress, and I'll be curious to see how the registration goes. When you're only printing once, there's a lot more wiggle room for dropping the paper in.
I've been busy with Christmas the last few days -- making cookies instead of making art. Tomorrow I'll get back to work. I've got a four-color letterpress block in my head and sketched out, ready to start on. It will be the first one I've tried, a grand experiment, but since my commissions are now down to a manageable level, I've got time to play around a little bit and try some new things.
In the meantime, I hope you and yours are having a marvelous holiday season!
Urban Sketch panorama
I waited till after Christmas to post this one. It would have shown up a whole lot better if I'd thought to take the photo before wrapping it, but my brain is pretty fried these days. It was tricky to wrap, and its owner was coming to fetch it any time, so I didn't want to undo it just for a photo.
This was a commission piece -- the view from someone's childhood home. It's 9 x 30", and I had tremendous fun doing the panorama format. I'm going to try some more of these after Christmas. It took two sessions because of the size and the intricacy of the church. The only down-side was that it's on very bumpy watercolor paper (something I already had from doing larger pastels), and I want something smoother next time. The bumpiness was hard on my pens and didn't give me quite the quality of line I wanted. I did just fine a Strathmore watercolor pad that's 6x18", so I'm going to try some more panoramas quite soon.
I was commissioned this Christmas to do a pair of paintings of Greece, and it's always fun to relive my time there. The clients chose two small pastel studies I'd done when I was there, sitting right on the sidewalk, so I had the color and light information I needed to do the oils. The left-hand one is in Athens, a walking street in Plaka, and the right-hand one is on the island of Hydra.
I didn't have time to get them photographed by my regular guy, so the colors are a little wierdly warm with the sky not quite blue enough, but you get the idea.
I enjoyed the Christmas decorations and the funky tree in the foreground of this house. If the weather holds after Christmas, I'd love to get out and draw some Christmas decorations around the area. I'm still regretting the house I missed with its old-fashioned bunting up over the 4th of July. Maybe this coming year they'll hang it again.
I've been having a great time doing Christmas commissions in Central Gardens. Two of my recent favorites are both from there (including this one). I'm going to have to continue to break out of my Evergreen rut and get myself south of Union as I keep painting in the new year.
It's rainy again today and tomorrow, but I have three more commissions to do, so I'm hoping for a few more sunny days over the weekend and early next week. Today I spend packaging up all this art work and getting it in the mail. Thank goodness for the new automated package machine at the post office -- I'd still be there if I'd had to stand in that line earlier.
Break in the Weather
It was sunny all during our open house (when I couldn't go paint) and then got cloudy again, but I managed to catch a break in the clouds and do a little painting today. I've got some commissions for Christmas that I've been scrambling to get done, so I was grateful for the good weather. It's been fun to have some houses to paint that are outside my normal daily walks -- jolts me out of my rut. Here's a house some dear friends of my family lived in for years, so it was fun to relive memories of times there as I painted.
Open House weekend
Elmore and I had our annual open house this past weekend, and this year it included a letterpress demonstration both days. I got a fair bit of printing done, including an "m" note card for a couple of people I know and a set of "G" note-cards that had been commissioned.
They're both vintage wood type and show their age a bit (with a crack in the G and a bit of uneven printing in the m), but it's my new favorite font, and I'm thrilled to have it. I don't have a lot of it. t's missing the B, and many of the consonants are only present in singles, but the vowels are a bit more plentiful, so there are some things I'll be able to spell out on posters or t-shirts.
The second day of the open house I ran my new block that I'd proofed but not yet had on the press. I tried mixing the ink on the press instead of on a palette ahead of time, and I enjoyed the "rainbow roll" effect that gave me. I think it's a fun alternative to a solid color, and the organic nature of it suits the subject matter.
This is a small block, for note-cards or bookplates. I need to get on the stick and find some gummed paper so I can start doing bookplates in earnest.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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