Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Color All Around" Travel Exhibit

I've been preparing for the next leg of my travel show, Color All Around at the Miami-Dade Public Library System, January 15 - March 31, 2009. The show features 42 illustrations culled from the dozens of books I have illustrated over the years. I'll be also giving art workshops to children at many of the library branches. I've been working on creating a website for the show, where I can post the art and media reviews, plus updates on activities like the Writing Gallery Competition from Danville Museum.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Printing the Glued Plates

Middle school students in the More Than Words program inked up their cardboard and glue plates and printed on paper. It was fascinating to see the resulting prints. Many were surprised at the results, especially how you can get a variety of tones of ink, depending on how you roll the brayer over areas of the plate. Some students experimented with color, inking up a solid cardboard shape and then printing the glue plate on top.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Drawing With Glue

Yesterday, storyteller Ellouise Schoettler and I, led middle school students in a new printmaking project as part of our More Than Words program with Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring. Using simply Elmers glue and cardboard, I demonstrated how we could draw lines and create imaginative imagery. Ellouise encouraged the students to experiment with lines on the back of a cardboard. They then turned it over and began to draw using the glue on the black board. We left the images to dry overnight and will print the plate onto paper on Thursday using a variety of papers.

FROM BRUSH TO PEN Writing Gallery Competition at Danville Museum

I traveled to the Danville Museum of Fine Art and History, in Danville, VA, on October 26 for an artist’s reception, and book signing for Color All Around, my exhibit featuring 42 works of art from children’s books I have illustrated over the years.

I also came for the award ceremony that day for the museum’s 5th annual Writing Gallery Competition. This year, the artwork in my national touring show was the impetus for the writing competition and the education staff’s school focus tours in which over 300 school age children participated. The writing competition drew 153 entries including 90 poems and 63 short stories.

That beautiful fall afternoon in Danville, I stood at the podium with the museum’s education coordinator Patsi Compton, as award after award was announced during the ceremony. Children came with their parents and relatives and many shyly walked up to the stage when their names were called. Monetary awards were given to first prizewinners from elementary school to adult competitors. Others winners received a bag of books and certificates. At the end, first prizewinners read their entries that ranged from an engaging short story from a high school student to whimsical poems read by young elementary school students.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Making Cards from Painted Papers

Being a collage artist, I never like to throw away any papers, no matter how small – and especially those that I have painted or decorated with salt or plastic wrap or marbelized. So this year I decided for the first time in many, many years to make holiday cards with papers I had left over. I had great fun. I cut out bulb shapes, and added foil to form the tops of the ornaments and then cut out strips of paper to hang them from. I used paper clips to suspend them from the lines. Of course I pasted everything down with glue. I didn't make as many card as I desired, but hopefully I can make more as the days progress.

I was inspired actually by my teen-aged daughter who had been decorating the house for the holidays and creating hand made gifts to give away this year. Every night she seems to have at least one project to work on. Gifts from the hands and heart are the best gifts of all.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Simply Printmaking

I love printmaking. There's nothing like the joy of creating an image on a plate and the wonder of peeling paper from plate and savoring the results. It takes me back to my years as a printmaking student at Howard University. I love the fact that you can create prints without a press and with everyday tools. It makes it very accessible.

I taught a very simple technique to 15 middle grade students in Silver Spring using a styrofoam plate recently as part of Pyramid Atlantic Art Center's More Than Words program. The only tool needed was a sharp pencil. We experimented with different colored inks. I brought in some handmade Japanese papers too. Printing on these delicate translucent sheets embedded with a variety of fibers was a special treat. Afterwards we talked about the prints made and the students shared what they learned about papers, inks and printing.

Much of the imagery the students created stemmed from a tale told by storyteller Ellouise Schoettler called Old Joe The Carpenter, a powerful story about bridging differences.