My First Thrown Cylinder

My First Thrown Cylinder, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Mark the date: October 27, 2009. Not only is it my 19th wedding anniversary, it is the date I made my very first piece of thrown pottery. I was so nervous, but in a good way. It is the unknown. I like that feeling: frightened, anxious excitement.

I took the class though the local Kishwaukee Community Collage. It has excellent community classes for non-students. More people should take advantage of resources like this.

Michelle is a fantastic teacher, deliberate, yet attentive to your questions and very helpful. She seems like a person I could easily become friends with.

I'm certain this will not take over printmaking, but I am so glad I am trying it. It is so much easier than I imagined. Frequently I imagine the worst-case-scenerio. For example I have crazy thoughts like what if the clay is going around too fast and I end up flinging it across the room, hitting someone or knocking over something and breaking it! Everyone will snicker behind my back and wonder why I would be taking a class anyway. Because I'm such a visual person, I can see this scenario played out over and over in my head.

I'm taking it with my friends Connie, Elinor, Robyn, and a new friend Erica. So I really need not worry. They've all thrown before at one point or another and it was neat to sit back and watch them go! Their items are so wonderful. I said that we will all probably end up buying one another's work.

The next class is on Thursday and we will see if our pieces are dry enough to do the next step... I don't even know what that is... there goes the exciting anxious feeling again!

I love learning new things, don't you?


Winter Cardinal

Winter Cardinal, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

So this is the finished product. I still haven't quite figured out the art of using more than one block. I'll keep trying. My registration is horrible. If anyone has tips, I'll take them! This was handpainted from the back with watercolor in red and blue. Red Graphic Chemical In was brushed on top with a stiff stencil brush. It is available in my shop at a very reasonable price :-). I tried to make it look more "Snowy by giving the white branches a subtle blue bleed into the lower portions.

5" wide x 3.25" high. The key block is shown here. and the original sketch is shown here. It was flipped and cropped from the original sketch.


Is doing your passion work?

Above: key block for Winter Cardinal. I have to carve the red block, then I'll make a proof.
I went back to an early post where I made my very first block print. That was just April of 2008. I look where I have been since then. It has been a whirlwind. I am joyful and blessed that I have the opportunity to do what I feel so passionate about. But with having some measure of success, I am finding that I need to allow myself to say "no" a little bit more often. I'd really rather spend time with my family. I'd really rather do work that I initiate. I'd really rather have time just to "be" and not always "do." I need to set my priorities and reevaluate my goals. Where do I want my artwork to take me? What do I need vs what do I want and more importantly, what does God want of me? Do I want to lean towards commercial art and hire a licensing rep or do I want to try to find a gallery to promote my work? Would it be better to push forward and start an official business or would I be better to scale back and just do it for fun? The decision is more difficult that one might think.

I've been taking fewer walks simply because I do not have the time. What the heck?!? That is what my work is about - taking the time to notice the details of nature and listening to the messages it is trying to tell me.

I will finish all the projects I have in front of me. Then, beginning with Christmas, things will slow down again and I'll have a moment to ponder these things more clearly. In the meantime, I'm having a great deal of fun. Thank goodness I have a husband who only minds SOME of the time...


Cardinal sketch: flip&crop

Cardinal sketch: flip&crop, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Just thinking out loud:
Possible print for Christmas Cards? Red, black, navy on Goyu washi to get nice whites? Maybe Unryu washi - the strands of fiber to add interest? The bird looks more like a kingfisher because its head is too big, or is the tummy too big - maybe both? This drawing was flipped and cropped from the original to create a stronger composition. Print to come.


Trip: National Museum of Mexican Art; Chicago, Illinois

Purchased!, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The day didn't start off too well. I was literally 10 seconds late for the train. It was pulling out right as I drove into my parking space. Crap. The next train didn't leave for 2 hours. We thought we could get to another station and beat the train there, but that plan didn't work out either and we ended up driving anyway. Crap again.

Once we were there, the museum was wonderful and we just happend to arrive during the annual folk art festival where Jacobo and Maria Angeles were selling their work! I can't believe it! Last year at my solo show at the DeKalb Area Womens Center, Jay Paul Bell and Julie Kiefer-Bell said that my acrylics were similar to the artists of Oaxaca, Mexico. I thought that was strange because I was studying the work of Australian Aboriginals at the time. Now that I see the Angeles' work I completely understand the comparison. You can view his work at: http://tilcajete.org Michael and Elaine Bennett were there purchsing a large piece as well. They come every year specifically to purchase from this artist.

The Women of Jurarez exhibit was very powerful and elicited strong emotions including anger that this wasn't being reported in the mainstream news sources. This is a tragety for women everywhere. The artists definitely did their job to enlighten the viewers of the subject as well as making the viewer want to scream out at the injustice of it all. I am going to do some more research to see how I can help.

The second exhibit, Dia de los Muertos, was just plain fun! My favorite pieces were:
1. a life-sized paper mache sculpture showing an old lady skeleton wearing a huge red hat and crazy earrings between two laughing skeleton men. An adorable skeleton dog was wagging its tail at their feel. It just made me smile!

2. A print that was created with a steamroller. It was of a skeleton (of course). I wasn't allowed to take photos in that room.

3. An "alter" to a grandmother complete with her favorite coffee in her favoriate porcelain cup. A piece of cake, her favorite books and chair waiting for her. I guess Dia de los Muertes entices the spirits of the dead relatives to come home by leaving out their favorite items. It is like a homecoming.

After the museum, we took the pink line into Chicago and walked over to the XOCO, a new restaurant by Rick Bayless. We waited a long time, but the food was delicous! Chef Rick Bayless was there and we took photos. I hope we didn't break protocol, but what the heck?!? We decided that had we made the train on time, we most likely would not have see Chef Bayless or have been able to sit together. All things have a purpose. We laughed alot during dinner. It felt good to sit down and relax.

Then came the long drive home. Thank you to Nancy(!), Al, Elinor, Maria and Emely for making memories with me today!
"It is always an adventure."


Photography Field Trip: Architectural Tour of Chicago

My son's photography class took a field trip into Chicago for and Architectural photoshoot assignment, so my husband and I took off work to chaperone. I am "geographically challenged," so my group of kids stayed with my husband's. It worked out pretty good. He led while I made sure everyone was accounted for by counting from the back every few minutes.

It was a regular Chicago day: rainy, cold and windy; but it could have been much worse! At least it didn't snow! And the rain was just a drizzle. It never came to a pouring, soaking rain. The kids were wonderful, well-behaved and polite. My worst fear had been that my group of kids was going to be a bunch of BA's. We had just a few minutes at the end, so we treated them all to hot chocolate which we drank under "the bean" while everyone took last minute photos.

I took photos, too. This one was my favorite, I think. This is the reflection of the city buildings on the black marble tiles of the Millenium Park fountains. I liked how the lines of the marble tiles created perspective lines for the buildings. The photo is displayed upside down.


Honey Bees

Honey Bees, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

It is getting closer to how I imagined. I used sepia instead of black for the key block, white Goyu washi instead of natural Kitakata, and I darkened the yellow with a metallic copper which added a bit of shimmer. I also made another on tissue thin washi which has thicker lines in it. The washi is partially transparent. I placed some papers underneath it and it looked cool to have these blocked areas showing subtle differences in coloring. At the Norris Cultural Art Center's Vicinity show, an artist had created a collage painting on stretched canvas using only Japanese papers. I might take this semi-transparent print of mine and do a type of chine colle effect, layering colors from behind the print.

Today was so productive. I woke up; went to work; received a message from a designer from Massachusetts with a possible commison; set up another 2010 KVAL demonstrator; came home; made a good dinner of Mexican Posole, corn bread, and tres leches cake; did the dishes, went to the studio, made a sale on Etsy, posted my work, printed out mailing labels for the prints that sold (to be sent out tomorrow morning), blogged, and off to bed... all before 11:00pm!


Honey Bees

Honey Bees, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Well, here is the very first multi-color print. As of right now I officially hate it. I have no color control, it is just so flat. Using blocks like this gives me harsh, vivid colors with stark contrasts - NOT what I want at all.

I think I will try three things: #1 changing the red to a sepia, #2 just printing the yellow and black blocks, or #3 using the same blocks but with watercolor and Nori paste on damp paperfor a softer look.

I'm torn between adding this as one of the entries to the Rockford Midwestern (due this Friday) or not. I've spent so much time and effort into getting this prepared as an entry, but I just absolutely hate it. It doesn't reflect what I am trying to say. Dang it! I feel like I've wasted my time, my money on materials, and my effort. This is very disappointing.


honeybee key block proof

honeybee key block proof, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Once again this is intended as my first multi-block piece. This is the key block. Hopefully, the finished print will have black, yellow and red. I'm planning on having the red and yellow cross hatched to form a fourth color.

Trying to get it finished, scanned and burned to a cd by a week from today for the Rockford Midwestern biennial show. I've actually carved out the red block and will begin the yellow block tonight. That is further than I've gotten before. One baby step at a time.

This is so nerve wracking! I don't know how some of you do the reduction method of printmaking - I would just be a mess! I would be so afraid that something would be messed up early in and, as you know, once it has been removed from the block it is gone forever. Let me repeat that FOR-EV-ER!

Tonight I'll be framing the "Coy Pond" prints that sold at the Bliss Bead show. I went to Michaels to get my favorite frames called Wild Wood, the only problem was they are not wood anymore - they're plastic. What the heck?!? I thought the wooden version looked so nice with the prints. They have a wide 3 inches of wood and are very plain. They remind me of Craftsman frames. So, now I'll have to locate some more. Maybe I could learn to make them myself? Ohh... I just thought of something. What if I framed my block prints in a frame that is carved similar to what the block would look like? Then it could be oiled to heighten the detailing. There's a thought. Opps! I'm rambling... I'd better get back to work.