I finally got the second harvest print finished carving and scanned in. I seem to work best with a deadline, and this is due for the month of October. First Presbyterian in Holley, NY commissioned a set of three for their fall bulletin covers, and the minister there chose a whole list of hymn lines with the harvest theme for me to choose from.
I'm moving a little slowly around here. I spent more time dancing and playing music this weekend than making art, but it was lovely to have a real break, and I got to learn the Mazurka! Now I'm kicking it into high gear, getting ready for another trip to Cape May starting on Wednesday, and then the Pink Palace Crafts Fair the following weekend.
Here's the first harvest print in case you missed it earlier. I'm still tinkering with what I want to do for November.
One of the churches I work with wants a fall series of prints for their bulletin covers, celebrating the abundance of grace and the season. They're in Holley, NY, and there is lots of agriculture in the region and lots of gardeners. The minister found a bunch of harvest phrases in the hymnal for me to pick from.
I had to go ahead and do September quickly (above), but I've got time to revisit and rethink the other two. I may go for corn instead of pumpkins. Below is just a rough sketch to get my started thinking and make sure I was on the right path before doing the first one. Stay tuned for more.
I'm in a frenzy of printmaking lately. Here's the second proof of the new Elmwood print. I've done a little more refining, but it's almost finished, and I'll proof it again next time I have ink out.
I have finished and pulled prints to sell of my new liturgical print, The Lord is My Shepherd. It's on 8 1/2 by 10" paper and is available for $60.
I've just gotten the new Overton Park image transferred onto two blocks.
I did tiny watercolor sketches to see if I like three colors or two for this print.
I'm leaning towards two colors, so I'm going to do the orange and dark red first. I can always add green later if it needs more help. Below is the first bit of carving I started last night.
I also have a couple of illustration projects I'm working on before I get out of town. Again. It's a stop and start summer for artwork, though I'll be painting out of town, of course.
Above is my sixth Lenten psalm block, taken from Psalm 18. It is the last one I finished this year, although I still hope to do a block from Psalm 22 to honor Good Friday as well. With a recent trip, I just couldn't get it done in time for this year, but it will join the series soon. I already have it drawn out.
And here is Easter. I wanted color for Easter instead of the stark black and white. I mixed an orange and a yellow and tried several different ways of rolling them on top of each other, a technique I saw in progress at the venerable Hatch Show Print in Nashville when I visited there.
Here is the final version, taken from Psalm 149. It feels good to be out of a long and dark Lent and poised to celebrate Easter.
I got tentatively back to painting this week for the first time in a month or so. Regular readers will have noticed that I haven't been posting here nearly as often as I usually do. Normally I wake up every morning thinking about what art I want to make that day. I feel lucky to be a happy painter -- I don't have to cultivate or channel angst in order to make my art. That generally makes for a happy life.
However, in times of trouble and grief, it means that I hit a point where making art is very hard for me, and sometimes I just have to take some time off. I'm in the process of getting a divorce, and it's been difficult to work lately. Fortunately I don't have any shows looming, and my clients for the above commission have been very understanding.
The only thing I've been able to tackle lately is the series of lament psalm prints. They're heartfelt, relatively small, and simple in just black and white. Hopefully I can get back to more complex printmaking soon. I miss it, but it's sometimes hard to dive into a more intricate project. In the meantime, I'm trying to finish this painting (it felt great to get back into it) and also keep going with the psalms, since one is due each Sunday in Lent for use as church bulletin covers. The whole set will be available in digital form for any church that would like to use it for future occasions.
Here's the first proof for next week's psalm.
These are taking a bit longer than I bargained for, but after a lay off from art for a bit, they're a lovely way to ease back in -- not too big, one color, and heartfelt.
Here's the next one in progress. I'm back to carving this morning and hoping to finish this one today.
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.
For week two of Advent, I'm delivering two more O Antiphon prints to the churches that subscribe to my weekly bulletin drawings. Usually I do lectionary based pen drawings, but Advent is my favorite season of the church year, and I like to do something special for it. Often I do a special series for Lent and Easter as well. This Advent I'm doing the seven O Antiphons. Above is O Key of David, and below is O Root of Jesse. (Given the Presbyterian nature of the churches I serve, I'm not using the traditional Latin titles. I'd like to give people an easy way into the images.)
I'm having fun playing with the "O" motif and getting it prominently into each image.
These images will be published next year in Call to Worship magazine, published by the PC USA.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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