Thursday, January 8, 2009

Iced in

We had quite the ice storm Tuesday night into Wednesday resulting in us being stuck home for the day. I sometimes like to be home safe and warm while I watch a winter storm doing its thing outside, especially if it's snowing. But that wasn't the case on Wednesday, it was all ice and all day long we heard trees and branches crashing outside in the many wooded areas in our neighborhood. We sadly lost 3 trees in this storm and I hope that caps it. The ice today has not yet melted from the trees and it's started to snow so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Though I had alot to do yesterday and it was obvious that I wouldn't be able to go out and do it, I decided to serve my muse instead and took out my camera to record the beautiful and deadly weather outside. It was also a good day to delve into my recently neglected sketchbook. It's so nice to have the time to indulge in sketching and recording the day when you aren't in a hurry to get somewhere. It's a reminder that, as an artist, it's important to take the time to stop and look, really look, at what's going on around you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Telling a visual story

I have mentioned the importance and the joy of sketching in a previous post. But I'd like to go further and talk about how a drawing can tell a story about what was going on that day in the form of a sketch or as seen in this post, a woodcut print.

I like to use panels when creating my print plates to suggest a story, a context, for what the resulting print is to be about. Each panel represents what was seen and what has become the inspiration for the piece of artwork. The panels relate to each other since they include elements that are as much a part of the environment as the main subjects are.

I like to go down to the Hudson River in the spring and summer where there are many species of birds in the marshlands that line its shores. Red-winged blackbirds are very common in this area and I have found that they exhibit such strong and sometimes amusing personalities as they squawk at each other and fly from tree to tree or dive after some insect they've seen from their perches. One day, watching them, I was overcome with the power of their beauty and life force. I wanted to try and capture this when I went back to the studio to work on my woodcut.

It's always great when one sees something that inspires in a simple way, just by existing and being. I try to stop and appreciate the common things that surround me and if I'm lucky, my muse whispers in my ear when it seems it is a good time to sit and draw what I see.