Wednesday, February 24, 2010

20th Annual Dayton Area Works On Paper

So, it was about a year ago when I entered my first juried show, the 19th Annual Dayton Area Works On Paper. To date, my percentages are pretty good, as this year it was the 4th juried show I've submitted to and the 4th show for which I've had an entry accepted. Even better, when the show opens this Sunday I'll be receiving my first award.

When I was trying to decide which three things to enter I thought I should enter similar pieces to show a "body of work" but then I ran into trouble when I really wanted to enter a couple of the new collagraph prints I've been making out of trash. They are interesting and colorful and different from what I've been doing and I like the way they look, but the prints I've pulled thus far have a few little printmaking mistakes were more than this perfectionist could bear. In the end I submitted three unrelated pieces in different mediums, and as soon as I dropped them off I began to question the wisdom of that decision.

But actually they were related pieces of artwork. They were personal. They all meant something to me. The reduction print of the morning view I love whenever I turn right off my street. The monotype of Alex and Anna when they were younger I did this year on my first Christmas Eve spent without my children. The soft pastel portrait of my grandfather I gave him on his final birthday.

I had two of the three selected, and the monotype almost made it in as well. I'm not sure what it means, but I think it means I should keep entering juried shows. And I think it means that making art that you have a connection to might be more important than making pretty pictures. Representing the the things in life that stir your soul and move you and make you smile and make a tear run down your cheek...

And maybe that's what it takes to be an award winning artist.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Road Into Town, Continued Once Again

So, I put the final layer of ink down on my Road Into Town print a couple of Sunday nights ago, giving it just enough time to dry before throwing it into a frame to submit to Dayton Area Works on Paper the following Monday. I've blogged about the making of this one here, here, here, here and here, but I just wasn't able to bring myself to print the final reduction until faced with a deadline. And I wasn't thrilled with the end result, although it did look good matted and framed.

Apparently good enough to get into the show. The Road Into Town is completed at last, or at least version Number 1.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

And Now, Something Completely Different

So, I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. I could begin with a description of the proofs I pulled today at the Dayton Printmakers Co-Op on my second trip there. I could talk about the Co-Op, but that needs pictures (blog post soon to come). Or I could start with how I got there in the first place, because thinking your days are numbered can lead to an interesting carpe diem story. Or about how wonderful the idea sounded to me of belonging to this Co-Op when my printmaking professor talked about it in 1987, and that 1987 was the last time I used a press or stepped foot inside a print shop. Or even why 1987 was the first and last time I used a press or stepped foot inside a print shop, which would be a tale of misdirected youth and bad life decisions.

The fact is, I am a little overwhelmed with all of it right now. I know that a year and half ago I brought a brayer and some ink into a classroom of 4th graders for project when I used to volunteer for an art program. I know that the second I put that brayer into the ink something connected. The sound. The smell. The tension of it against the ink. Magic. Life has not been the same since that moment.

When I took that Printmaking 101 class 23 years ago, something clicked and I knew it appealed to all my senses, and I knew I had a passion for it, but at 19 years old I had no idea what that term even meant. Now I know, and I often start to wonder if I I have just wasted 23 years of my life doing commercial artwork when I could have been fulfilling that passion. I like to think that everything I've done to this point was just training for where I am now.

A printmaker. Maybe.