Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cutting the block A Closer Look puzzle print

My Favorite Part!

Definitely carving a block is my favorite part...then printing it...then having a bunch of prints hanging in the studio and the smell of ink permeating the house. That's my favorite part, all of it!

Only one item of explanation, the lighter parts on the top block (front, spanning both corners) are areas that I covered with a light wash of opaque paint so I could re-draw the block over my previous marker drawing. Tricks of the trade.

So here we go, sans (many) words, with a video/slide show at the end.


Spanish music!

And so it begins...

Love the way the carving catches the light

Friday, April 25, 2014

Red Rock Canyon: A closer look

Puzzle Print Alert!

I have begun work on the puzzle print A Closer Look, a collaboration woodcut print among participants of my workshops during my residency at Red Rock Canyon, near Las Vegas Nevada.
I ended up with fifteen blocks from 11 different recruited budding and established artists!

Here is a video/slide show of the studio happenings in the past couple of days.
It's up on my YouTube channel and I will be uploading more so if you want to subscribe directly, here is the url: https://www.youtube.com/user/1000woodcuts

I am ready to cut the block!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrating Life! 2014

50 or Better

I am entering a piece I just finished to a show called Celebrating Life! sponsored by the Las Vegas City Council. I will deliver tomorrow but the thing that called my attention to the show was the call for entries where it states "Artists 50 or better are eligible to participate" Do you LOVE that?!
I just had to enter. Hopefully I make it into the show.

After the Fire

Last year we had a horrible fire up at our mountain island, a near 12 thousand foot peak called Mount Charleston. The fire started down in the canyon of the Spring Mountains and lapped up a huge amount of land. The scars are very evident, where it crossed roads, where it jumped fire breaks, where it scorched 50 year old Joshua trees and everything around them. Mountain residents were evacuated and the fire came within a few hundred yards of one of the tiny residential areas.

This year I was driving up the mountain and I decided to take photos of the interesting burned landscape. Then I could come back every year to see nature's progress in reclaiming the mountain. I was surprised by the growing carpet of blue, purple and orange that had already begun to sprout! Between the blackened yucca, new growth afoot and yucca blooms sprouting in some of the trunks. Sprinkles of purple sage and globe mallow everywhere, daisies here and there...new life on the mountain springing up everywhere!

Here is my piece with some details, After the Fire, A New Spring a hand colored woodcut 34 x 26 inches, edition of 25, half on Arches tan and half on BFK light. Both papers color very nicely with watercolor with the Arches being a little richer overall and the BFK light a bit more subtle and delicate. Just got done framing it today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Workshop at Red Rock Canyon was wonderful


Here are some shots from participants in the awesome Red Rock Canyon workshop and future puzzle print co-conspirators!


Nothing like a video to show how much fun we had. These two wonderful people were gracious enough to allow me to film them pulling their prints!


More fun next Saturday, the 19th, 10:00am - 2:00pm JOIN US!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sketching a Big Piece and Getting Ready to Teach a Workshop

Sketching The Piece

The artist residency is a wonderful event in which artists get to go into an inspiring place and dance with the muses, don't you think?  Residencies are one of the better ways to engage in artistic development and have uninterrupted dedication to the arts. For all that I am grateful every day of this residency and truly thank the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association for affording me this unique opportunity.

As you can tell, I'm having the time of my life. I have sketched now about 8 little blocks ranging form small to smaller and am planning a large piece or two. If you have visited my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/1000woodcuts), then you know I have enough reference material to last until next year. The desert in the spring is truly inspiring.

Even if I had not signed an agreement that requires a donation and a workshop, I would be looking for ways to give something back. So, of course, I'm planning a puzzle print!

Here is a sketch on two 16" x 20" panels, total size of the woodcut will be 16" x 40". I always print a few color and black and white photos to aid in the sketching.
The plan being, I carve the background mountains, one of the most encompassing views of the Red Rock Canyon proper area.

The puzzle pieces will reside inside the valley and will be carved by my workshop participants, which is the other way that I'm giving something back to the place that is giving me so much.

I am going to place them in a quilt-like arrangement within the valley area, and will print all the tiny prints in one pass after gluing them securely. The background will be printed in another pass and I will probably hand color the resulting print (I have become enchanted with hand-coloring my woodcuts as of late!).

The finished woodcut print and the block will be donated to my benefactors and will become part of the BLM/Red Rock Interpretive Association collection. How cool is that?!


The Workshop

I am giving two workshops, one Sunday the 13th and another Saturday the 19th, which happens to be Red Rock Day! Info flyer at the end of this post.

I spent the better part of yesterday and this morning assembling everything for my brave participants. I like to provide everything so that everyone gets totally addicted to doing woodcuts. I use my own workshop instruction handout to make sure I have everything I need.

The woodcut kit is composed of: Starting at the top left and going clockwise: my handout with quick instructions, a printing tool I call a wood-button baren, pencil and marker for sketching, a door-knob printing tool, set of carving knives, paper for printing, woodblocks, a carving "bench" made of fiberboard and molding with no-slip lining, walnut ink for tinting the block and a foam brush, two demo blocks, ink slab (wax paper on foam board), ink, brayer and knife. Ready, set, go!

And the workshop info:

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Day in the Backcountry


On my fourth hike of the residency in Red Rock Canyon and surrounding areas, I headed off into the backcountry. The Black Velvet road is a less visited area, at least by the larger crowds. It is frequented by mountain bike riders and trail runners, so I'm told.

I posted more pictures here:

The trail was mine all mine, with a couple of young bike riders passing me in a hurry. Here are some of the musings I wrote upon my return.


Last hike at the pine creek, I was surrounded by the sounds of the birds scratching into the dirt, calling each other, rustling the leaves high in the pines. Today, the few birds are distant and my footsteps silence their calls, warning each other of approaching danger. I'm not dangerous, I call out and am answered by more silence. A road runner clacks his beak as he scurries across the trail but too quickly for the camera. As I follow his path, a huge hare stands tall, ignores the road runner but, ears awind, sees me and takes a few hurried steps toward safety. I decline the invite to follow; when I get to where it had disappeared it would be long gone anyway.

The narrow trail is easy to follow and devoid of rocks allowing me to keep my gaze high on the surrounding red striped peaks, enjoying the mottled sandstone and savoring the lure of the distant canyons. There! Where the two polka dot skirts meet the Velvet desert, there is where the desert calls from. Another canyon, lush with vegetation as it climbs the path of the seasonal descending water. Steep climb among boulders, oak and spruce hanging on to the vertical sides and shading the lush guarded life.
At the top, the gift of another endless view sitting on a boulder slapped by the cool breeze and listening to the sound of my tired breath. Later I return to the trail, grudgingly. I am regaled this time with the delicate cream flowering yucca and just when I begin to marvel at that and the sunny yellow daisies against the purple desert sage, I spot the unbelievable magenta color of the prickly pear blooms.

Sunday I teach a workshop and will report on that awesome adventure!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Red Rock Residency in full bloom

Two days in heaven!

What an amazing place. I have hiked here so much long ago but it feels like every time I come there is a new place. Many new trails, better marked, connected...enough trekking for a life time.
I have spent two days walking about in the spring desert; I am tired but so filled with beauty that, as I rest, I long for the next adventure.

Red Rock Canyon is just West of Las Vegas, for those who haven't clicked on the link yet. The Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association graciously awarded me an artist-in-residence spot and I am taking full advantage of the opportunity. I will be teaching two workshops so be sure to check the schedule and the workshop flyer on my  page 1000Woodcuts on Facebook
I will also be uploading selected photos from the 685 that I have taken! Very selected...


My M.O. is to hike, absorb, take pictures and maybe sketch a little, always on a woodblock. But mostly I absorb while there and sketch later from memory or as I re-read my comments. Here are some excerpts of the first two days.

"The cold wind blows and I feel its bite. The breeze scatters visitors, they snap their photos and move on quickly. I am able to withdraw, drink the landscape and write a little. Cold wind also vibrates the landscape, shaking spring blooms and the hardy yucca spikes alike and scatters early clouds. Soon the sky is blue and the crowds quickly vanish leaving me with the view, the mountains, the beckoning canyons and the warming sun.

The view is hard to describe, easy to take in. There is a circle of mountains enveloping me, colorful rock mountains hiding canyons and springs. A velvet spread of spring green covers the desert and close to the ground there is the amazing beginning of spring in yellow, purple, pink blooms. The incredible globe mallow orange buds and flowers are everywhere and speckle the green velvet with fiery splashes. Sounds are continually interrupted by the purr of motors passing by and turning on and off. Voices telling jokes, lauding the landscape or bickering about the cold breeze enter and exit consciousness."

More to come...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Artist Residency in THE most beautiful place around these parts!

Artist Residency!

While all the excitement from the first puzzle prints exhibit was going on, I neglected to announce my upcoming artist residency.
Joshua Tree Forest, in Red Rock Canyon NCA
I am privileged and excited to have been chosen for the very first artist in-residence program offered by the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association in beautiful Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area very near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Just West of the city, this wondrous place has world-renowned rock climbing and geology, box canyons, water springs year around and more hiking and awe than can be absorbed in a short two weeks.

I will be frolicking about, making sketches, writing and leaving my wood-chips in various parts of the canyon. I will also offer two public and free workshops during my residency in which participants will help me make yet another puzzle print!

Details and Dates

My residency begins April 6th and ends April 19th.
WORKSHOP dates are Sunday, April 13th or Saturday, April 19th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Call 702-515-5367 to reserve a spot, limit is 15 students each day.
We will be making a collaborative puzzle print with each student carving a tiny piece of a big image. Should be tons of fun!

The exact schedule of my wanderings will be available at the Visitor's Center so anyone can come up and find me on any given day. We can chat all about nature, the Red Rock areas, woodcuts and art!
Grab a map at the Visitor's Center and check the Artist-In-Residency display for days and locations.

I am planning to be on location on the following days and dates. Call ahead or stop by the Visitor Center for exact times:

Sunday April 6
Monday April 7
Wednesday April 9
Friday April 11
WORKSHOP Sunday April 13
Wednesday April 16
Friday April 18
WORKSHOP II Saturday April 19

Blog, Woodcuts, and Pictures

My M.O. when art-venturing in nature is to walk, drink the beauty, write a little, sketch a little and photograph a little. I will be faithfully recording the daily frolics in this blog, and on Facebook and/or Twitter as much as I can.
The plan is to make a bunch of "sketch" smaller woodcuts and write about the experience, later to be assembled in a publication of some sort.

Come on out and enjoy!