Hibernate. or not.

Quite a bit of snow has hit our area in the past few weeks.  Depending on who you talk to, this is either a wonderful miracle resulting in snow days, igloo building and soup making or just a huge pain in the keester.  I am of the former camp enjoying the slower pace of kids off school and spontaneous napping.  Art making often takes a different form in the winter.  Things like embroidery and quilting come out of their baskets while drawing (especially sketching outside) tends to take a back seat.  This is all well and good but I get a little squirrelly if I don’t put pencil to paper for too long.  So today I went outside with my camera to capture a few things to bring inside and maybe draw later in my sketchbook.

A snowy day provides a tremendous opportunity for studies in contrast.  I love the play of light versus dark and how this can begin to get abstract, especially when put into a drawing.  Below are a few snapshots…


Could this be a small sign of spring… maybe?

I think the skeletons of these little weeds make nice sketches, they are also fun to embroider.

The dogs love the snow, digging their noses deep in search of interesting scents.

Sometimes they get to play with the neighbor dog Buckley…. if they can catch her.

I hope this finds everyone warm and snug on this snowy day.  I think I’ll go back outside.

spin

When it rains it pours, so the old saying goes, and it’s been pouring here.  I am in the midst of what I knew would be a busy, active time and I am just riding the waves as they come.  Last weekend was the Esme Kenney Memorial Benefit Concert.  It was, for lack of a more descriptive or colorful word, amazing.  Musicians Kim Taylor, Over-the-Rhine, Ric Hordinski, The Hiders, Jay Bolotin, and a few Riley School of Irish Music folks combined their talents to create an evening of fundraising, community, memorial and love, the likes of which I have never seen.  Artists from all genres donated items and gift certificates to outfit a spectacular silent auction.  Our committee, working so hard to make this incredible installation a reality, is now helping artist Jessie Henson get all of the pieces in place to get glass blown and steel fabricated to get the work built.  It’s a wild ride and it is giving all of us grieving for Esme a place to put our energies.  Something positive to hang onto and work for in the midst of the upcoming 1 year anniversary and impending criminal trial.  The night was full of magic and tears and special moments.  Jack not only played with Jeni and Simone from Riley School, but was invited by Kim to play a song with her.  I cried.

Meanwhile, the project I am proud to be a part of down at ArtWorks is now underway.  Below is a 3-d model that tina built to indicate all of the various pieces that will be incorporated into this huge relief mural (22 feet wide, 13 feet tall – ginormous!)  We have been handed what seems to be a dream team of teenagers who are our apprentice artists.  They are brilliant and are already working together to put their talents to work on Tina’s design.  Tina and I are working together to formulate further development of the overall design and to get the kids prepared for their in-process presentation to the folks at the Convention Center next week.  I think they will do a great job.

There are parts of this design that will involve painted portraits of historical figures from Cincinnati, while other parts will be made up of mixed media techniques to create more textural areas of interest.  Below are some “bricks” that will comprise a wall area in one part.

This is a rendering of Jennie Davis Porter, known for spearheading educational opportunities for african american children in the 1800’s.  As we explore Cincinnati’s history through this project, I’ll keep you posted and introduce you to our team of artists.  Busy as we will likely be, it’s already proving to be a tremendous amount of fun!

The ArtWorks project is not my only iron in the fire.  I am also continuing my work in the world of keeping a sketchbook.  Tonight is what we hope will be the final home-based pilot workshop for Drawing Down the Vision. We have polished our process enough to take it live to companies who are looking to inject some creativity into their work place.  Workshop participants will arrive to find their supplies wrapped up in cool little pods that I built.  They’ll get some fun pens, a small sketchbook to start collecting ideas in a new way, along with the “Atlas” which will guide them through the various exercises we have developed.  Adam and I are looking forward to a fun evening of drawing and looking at communication and productivity from a different perspective.

Next week I will be the visiting artist at UC’s Clermont campus in their Art Department.  I’ll be lecturing and then providing a workshop for a group of students in a drawing class.  This is such a tremendous opportunity and I am really looking forward to sharing my approach to the documentation of life and work via the sketchbook.  In a few weeks, I am back to where I essentially began to go public with all of this sketchy-ness in the first place, the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  Bookmaker Cody Calhoun and I will be co-teaching the “Make a Book/ Fill a Book” course which essentially combines my class with hers.  This will be new to both of us and we are really excited to get started!  The class is apparently full with a wait list so our students appear to be as excited as we are.

All of this is really extroverted and it’s good exercise for someone who generally likes to keep things fairly quiet.  But shy as I am, I do love people.  And I am currently working with some amazing people and getting the chance to present to lots of others who are interested in what I do.  It’s humbling and fabulous.  And I am grateful for it.

I’ll keep you posted in the weeks to come.