Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chickens, Prints and Plums

For some reason I was on a chicken phase earlier this week. I'm having an art sale here soon.(Saturday, July 21st, in the afternoon. Save the date!)
I didn't do a very good job with these photos below, forgot a few phases, but I think you can get the idea of how to make reduction prints. I used 'Soft-Kut' rubber, easier to carve into than linoleum. You can make many prints with these...
First, I inked the plain rubber, and printed backgrounds.
Then I carved into the rubber around a shape...and printed that on top of the background.
Finally, I carved away everything but where I wanted that last dark color to go.

Voila, a chicken!

Maybe I got the idea from my son building a chicken coop for our neighbors...
Yes, a new home for these beauties. Aren't those feathers gorgeous?

While I was over there, I noticed their plums were ripe. Time to make some jam! These plums make the best jam in the world, I don't know what variety they are, but super tart-sweet. I just cut them up skins and all, take out the pits. Cook them down for quite a while with a little lemon juice, and half as much sugar as plums. Delicious!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Talent Schmalent

It drives me crazy the way people use the world 'talent'.
"Oh, you're so talented," is a common phrase. It implies that there was no hard work involved in whatever endeavor is being referred to. It just happened, easily and without effort.  That is often far from the truth.
According to dictionary.com, talent is defined as:
'a special natural ability or aptitude, a capacity for achievement or success, ability'.

I have taught art to hundreds, no, thousands, of kids over the past 20+ years.  I have seen a lot of talented artists. As far as I'm concerned, talent may be there, but it's only a small part of the equation. It means absolutely nothing if you don't use it, nurture it, and WORK HARD. What's more important is that you enjoy doing whatever it is, or get some satisfaction from the process, or from the end result.(This is where the discussion gets interesting, I think. Is it the process, or the striving for perfection that keeps you going? I might give you a different answer at any given moment, depending on my excitement or frustration level with what I'm working on.) Otherwise that talent will never be explored, and will just wither away.Or maybe sit there, dormant, for years, til at some point the stars align, and it gets tapped into.
People often say 'you have such talented children'. Well, they work really hard at what they love to do. Is that what makes them talented?




 The chair and table above were made by my son William.





And these character drawings were by my daughter Sophie.
I am not at all proud of their talents, but grateful they have each found something they love to do, and so very proud of how hard they work at doing it.
What is your relationship to this word, 'talent'?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

For Queen Elizabeth

I painted this little corgi in a cup last week, but have been so busy with the last week of school, and my son's graduation, I haven't had a moment to scan it... here it is! Gotta love those corgis!
I'll copy Kristin's idea and list my favorite things about England (I've been there twice): strong black tea, the beautiful gardens and oh so old houses, estates, castles, knitting!, embroidery!, the Victoria & Albert museum, the Tate Modern, really great music from all genres, cheap theater tickets (Shakespeare!), gorgeous chocolates at Fortnum & Mason, really good cheese. And some of my favorite children's books: Winnie the Pooh, the Beatrix Potter books, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, the Harry Potter series.  I'm sure I could go on and on...What are yours?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

O, to be in England...



 
I wish i was in England right now. I made scones for breakfast to celebrate the Queen, the hoopla, the royal boat parade on the Thames, the Big Lunch, all that pomp and circumstance, and washed it down with a pot of strong PG Tipps tea. 


I just love the monarchy, the castles, the carriages, the rituals. (I'd probably think it a big waste of money if I lived there, but I can admire all the pageantry from afar.) Our dear departed corgi, Fanny was named after my great grandmother, Frances Eliza Wood, who came to New York from Cornwall as a young girl. My great grandfather, Angus Gibson, came from somewhere in Scotland when he was two years old.  So I do have British blood in me. 


Below is Helen Mirren as Elizabeth in 'The Queen'. The corgis getting into mischief was my favorite part.

Here's a video of the artists and craftspeople invited to make crowns for the Harrods' windows...wish I could see them in person.


 
So, Hip Hip Hurrah! to you, Queen Elizabeth, for 60 years of hand waving, ribbon cutting and reigning supreme.