Monday, April 22, 2013

White Violets...done at last

"White Violets" is finally finished.

It was a bit of a struggle at the end. My first attempt at the white highlights seemed very crude to me. Here is a snapshot:

(As you may remember, this drawing is done with 6 values: black, four shades of grey, and white. To see earlier stages of the drawing and read a bit about my process, please look at my previous blog posts.)

I wasn't at all satisfied with that so I set about refining the modeling. When working at a low resolution - this drawing is done at 144 ppi - every pixel counts, and it is hard to get precisely the right smooth tonal transitions. In the end, I spent weeks improving the tonal transitions and proofing.

Once I was happy with the violets, I decided I didn't like my background. A section of my drawing "Salt Mist" with a layer of transparent black over it, it seemed far too flat and monotone. After a few days of trying new backgrounds, I found another section of "Salt Mist" that made the drawing more dramatic.

I love the way the angles of the spruce branches both echo and contrast with the angle of the violet leaves, the way the violet seems to spring off the page, and the light filtering through the branches and fading to fog on the left. And I find something intriguing in the contrast of scale, the tiny violet drawn large and the 80 foot spruce drawn small.

I prepared the image for printing on canvas to be stretched and put into a Nielsen frame. Then I decided I really didn't like the way the frame closed in the image. So I redid the presentation. It is now a hanging scroll. The image has room to breathe and nothing comes between it and the viewer.

On the promotional front, I have joined an online gallery called TurningArt. The Boston Business Journal describes the venture this way:

"The Boston-based startup offers a Netflix-like subscription mail model that allows people to rent pieces of wall art on a rotating schedule... the dual purpose of TurningArt, according to founder Jason Gracilieri: To make art more accessible to the masses, and in turn, make the masses more accessible to artists...The nine-employee company, founded in early 2010, works only with artists who are living and independently employed — there are no Monets or Warhols in the mix. So, in addition to bringing a little culture to its user’s lives, TurningArt provides a platform for artists to present and ultimately sell their work...On the other end, the program costs nothing for member artists, who get a piece of the membership costs, as well as a cut whenever their work sells...The company is backed by $2.25 million in funding — $750,000 from a seed round in March 2011 led by NextView Ventures of Boston, and another $1.5 million in May 2012, also led by Next-View..."

I attended The Boston Printmakers annual meeting April 5 at the home of Liz Shepherd ( Great food as always, an upbeat report from the superbly-organized board about accomplishments and excellent financial standing, but best of all was the Open Portfolio session, where we all spread our work out on tables and shared ideas. I met Tamar Etingen and fell in love with her gelatin monoprints: She was kind enough to invite me to her studio and give me a thorough demonstration of the process, which she likens to improvisational jazz. The prints are stunning compositions using everything from leaves and grass to metal washers and bits of rope, done with layers of transparent acrylic paint that glow on the paper like stained glass.

Lastly,I would like to remind everyone about The Boston Printmakers 2013 North American Print Biennial, open for entries until June 25, info here: