Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy December!!

A(n)d(es)vent calendar!
My family will be a bit scattered this holiday season, so we celebrated Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, while we were all together.  I gave my sister and brother advent calendars that I'd made using some 13"x19" prints and foam core.  and Andes mints.  Today they opened the first windows to reveal the treasures within (thanks to Selina for the picture).  

Sadly, this is about as "creative" as it's gotten around here over the past couple of months.  Still, it was a fun project to work on and I'm excited to get some feedback on how they (don't?) work.        

Sunday, October 7, 2012

fishes and loafs

Happy bday, Cam!

This piece was a commission from my sister for her husband, on his birthday.  She wanted something in the vein of the biblical story in which Jesus fed the 5,000 using only a small offering of fish and loaves.  My bro-in-law has a fondness for salmon, which he finds pleasing to both the palate and the eye.   

For this piece, there are a bunch of things I'd like to have done differently...probably too many to get into.  The aspects that I think were successful are the textures on the fish and the water, and the composition overall.

With the completion of this piece, I finally get the sense that maybe my 1 year-plus "bear-phase" has come to a close.  *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fancy Lads Farms

A co-worker of mine is starting down the noble path of the apiarist.  I've been helping him in various ways, whether it be assembling assembling frames, attempting to move hives, or checking on his bees.

an industrious bunch
He's hoping to have some honey to sell this season, and needed a label for his jars.  He asked for a painting in the same style as some previous paintings I've done, and here's what I came up with:

I'm pretty happy with how this turned-out, for the most part.  Specifically, I like the honey bee at the top and the blue border.  I was having some trouble deciding what to put in the background, but I'm really glad I decided on the honeycomb.  I think the gradient looks pretty cool, and it's not something I've done before.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shadow Art Fair debrief

Thanks to everyone who came out and made the art fair such an awesome time.  I had so much fun hanging out with all the vendors and shoppers.  The set up this year was a lot less cramped than in years past which made for a rather comfortable 12 hour event, all things considered.  I managed to sell a bunch of books and mini prints as well as some larger prints.  Elín and I split a shadow art fair specialty pizza from the Corner Brewery for lunch and we split a reuben sandwich for dinner; both were amazing and I'm now convinced that hummus has a legitimate place in the pizza world.

We also bought artwork from Brienne Willcock and Emi Slade.  And I got a haircut at midnight.

I'd like to offer a special thank you to Elín for sticking with me for the entire 14 hour ordeal, getting food for me, slapping me when I started to nod off, and manning the table when I had to make toilet.  And a special word of gratitude to Elín for crocheting me a set of the fanciest book ends ever to grace God's green earth.
Thanks shadow art fair, I hope to see you next year.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shart Fair

I was accepted for Shadow Art Fair this year!!  SAF is an awesome event held at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI.  When I lived in Ypsi, I was a 2-minute walk from the brewery.  It'll be great to go back and (hopefully) sell some books and prints.

This event is a charming response to the huge, city-wide mess held concurrently in Ann Arbor.

So yeah!  If you're in the area THIS SATURDAY, stop by for a beer and say hi.  The fair runs from noon to midnight, and it only costs two pennies to get in.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A belated thank you

My co-workers and I were cleaning out the attic at work a couple years ago, and we found a box of old books belonging to the late Dr. Eugene Leslie.  Our offices are located in the old Leslie family home (which the good Dr. and his wife donated to the City of Ann Arbor upon their passing), so it is not uncommon to find artifacts and relics that pay testament to Dr. Leslie's staggering intellect and insatiable curiosity.  After digging through layers of literature about everything from beekeeping to fire brick buying, I found a nasty, old bible.  The covers were black leather worn paper-thin.  The spine had disintegrated and pages were loosely contained in the shape of a book.  I opened the bible and found, on the inside cover, a prayer written in pencil:

"Put any burden upon me, only sustain me.
Send me anywhere, only go with me.
Sever any tie, but that which binds me to thy service and to thy heart."

I thought it was an especially beautiful prayer, and have since discovered that it was the prayer of Dr. David Livingstone (an extremely impressive and inspiring man in his own right...I think he and Dr. Leslie would have gotten along quite well).  So, I decided to keep the bible, ailing though it was.

Which brings us to December 2011.  

Elin was going to Iceland for Christmas, and I sent the bible along with her, knowing that her uncle Leifur is a bookbinder by trade.  I'd seen some of his craft on a previous visit and was amazed at the beauty of the books he'd bound.  With guarded optimism, I asked her to get Leifur's opinion on the book, to see if it was at all serviceable.  I wasn't expecting a good prognosis, given the condition.  What Elin brought back from her Christmas vacation was this: 

The book is now hardbound.  In fish skin.  With gold inscriptions.  It's as solid as a brick; the rich, leather-like surface is as beautiful to look at as it is to touch.  It still smells like ocean, although I suspect that will fade with time.  It's a true treasure.

It has taken about 6 months of procrastination and false-starts but I finally finished a meaningful "thank you" that I hope in some small way reflects my appreciation.  Going in the mail to Iceland next week:


  God's Bear II:  Watercolor, acrylic, and India ink on Arches 140 lb. hot-press watercolor block. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

2nd Printing is upon us

Against all odds, I have sold all 1000 books from the first print run of The Woodcutter and The Most Beautiful Tree.  My deepest, most heartfelt thanks to everyone who took a chance on a small, independently published picture book.  With your help and support, I was finally able to clear the shipping pallet that had been occupying valuable real estate in my parents' garage.  

And of course, now there's a new pallet to take its place!  (sorry dad)

The second printing is nearly identical to the first, with some small, cosmetic changes here and there.  One big change, however, is the book material itself.  I've been keenly aware of the contradiction inherent in having written a book about the beauty of trees and the need to preserve them...while at the same time using traditional printing/manufacturing practices that put less of a premium on sound environmental practices.  

But no more, I say!

Lemme drop some knowledge on you regarding this second run:

- The paper is 10% post-consumer recycled fiber.
- The stock is "Tri-Certified" (Certification from: Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forest Initiative, and Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
- Book parts meet or exceed all CPSIA guidelines for Phthalate Lead content.
- Soy-based inks.  BOOM!

Now, you can rest assured knowing that the book you're holding in your gnarled, granola-stained hands adheres to the highest environmental standards. 

No beautiful trees were harmed in the making of this book.  Only ugly ones.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ecology by Design

A good friend and former co-worker of mine recently started his own business right here in Ann Arbor.  William "Billy" Kirst started his business "Ecology by Design" in order to make sustainable, edible, biologically diverse, and environmentally friendly landscapes available to everyone in the area.  He specializes in planning and installing native and edible plants for homeowners.

He asked me to work with him on some concept art that he can show to homeowners after they've made some preliminary decisions regarding their landscape.  Billy and I went on-site and I took some pictures of a house in town owned by some of his new clients:

Use your imagination
Clearly, they are going to want some landscaping done to compliment their new why not go about it in a way that maximizes the benefits for them AND the local environment?  Billy had some rough plans drawn up and explained his vision for this particular installation: 

Looks Pretty Legit!
So, I had a couple visual points-of-reference, a list of native plants to be used in the installation, a laptop to research said plants, and a newly acquired drawing desk.  Time to get drrty.

After much sketching (I've never been very good with spatial or architectural elements), I was finally confident enough to work on the piece Billy had asked for.  And here it is:

From moonscape to landscape.
It's awesome to be able to combine my interests (ecological restoration/biodiversity) with my passion (art).  If you find yourself curious about the work Billy is doing or why it is so important, please "Like" his page on the Facebooks (Ecology by Design). 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

My second-ever image manipulation

The original.

ROUGH draft.  So rough...but, you really get
a sense of the fluttering.
''A Flock of Swönghúls''


Monday, February 13, 2012

My first-ever image manipulation.

I just altered an image in GIMP!!!

...or DID I????  

Can you believe this only took me 2 hours???/

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Welcome Home ii

I've started using GIMP to alter my photographs.  To get high-resolution images of my art, in the past I've had to get them scanned at FedEx.  But now, I can simply take my crappy digital photos and touch-up the levels to get the colors back to true.

GIMP is a free graphics manipulation program that I have been having a lot of fun getting acquainted with.  I never really got into Photoshop and watching other people use it was dizzying.  GIMP has been a less intimidating introduction to the world of digital graphics and I'm pretty excited to learn more.

thaaaaaaaat's more like it.
Artistically, I haven't had much "professional" development since high school AP Art.  Mostly I've just worked on my skills and techniques on my own or have taken cues and inspiration from others.  But learning this new program has really rekindled my interest in seriously studying art.  Hm.       

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Second Piece of 2012

From bad to worse
After such a long period of inactivity, I'm pleasantly surprised by the events of the past week.  I've started and finished two watercolor pieces and am thinking about starting a third today.  I am REALLY enjoying these studies in iconography.  I've been experimenting with borders and patterns, color, and technique.  Lately, I've rekindled my appreciation for the works of Ivan Bilibin.  The richness of his compositions, his bold use of color, and painstaking attention to detail have given me a lot of inspiration.  

I'm thinking of developing a story surrounding these icons...but I don't have anything worth sharing yet.  

More soon (I hope).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

First piece of 2012

I like where this is going

With all the writing and art I'd planed to do during winter break (which is now half over), I thought I'd have more to show by this point.  OMGMOTIVATION WHERE R U?!?//1/