So this all started one day when i was looking for inks in the art store, and I accidentally stumbled upon the "after thought" that is the printmaking aisle in most art supply stores. Granted, that isn't their fault, I don't think the average shopper is looking for that stuff, and the ones that are are looking for the very entry level stuff for stamp making or silk screening their own t-shirts.
But really, all of this dates back to art school where my love for drawing could only be rivaled by one other department...printmaking. In fact, in my last 2 year of art school, I basically spent all of my time in the silk screening studio where all of my finished pieces were completed. I also took intaglio as an elective in my first year, but I only actually did any relief printing, at Sir Winston Churchill high school in NW Calgary where I was enrolled in the Art IB program.
Come full circle to today, I am posting some of my black and white drawings on Reddit, and a user makes a remark that I should turn it into a woodblock cut. Actually, a great idea. Except, I decide the relatively easy version of that is to get into Linocut. So I go online, try to gather up everything I'll need to start, and I do remember the basics from high school, so I start to wing it, and actually, I am really loving it!
I forgot how much I love printmaking, and relief printing is really easy to do in a home studio, and it suits my style very, very well! So after running a few test prints off some blocks I've carved over the past few weeks I decided that I really need to setup a studio, or I am going to get ink on the carpets! I setup a little makeshift studio in the garage, and so far so good!
My first experiments:
So I've been experimenting with different carving materials, and I will be trying a couple more as well. I have also been researching a lot of other artists online. I have come to learn there is a bit of a balance between "easy cut" blocks versus traditional hard linoleum. While I like the hard stuff for holding a line, I like the soft stuff because it is a lot easier to hand burnish (rub the ink onto the surface of the paper using a flat hard surface like a wooden spoon or a burnishing tool) the soft blocks, but they also don't hold a line as well as the hard stuff. That said, if I avoid fine lines in the drawings for the soft blocks, it's not a big problem.
The middle print above was done on a soft "easy carve" block from Speedball. While it's easy to lose detail, you can still make some really nice images with it, and I am actually really pleased with the 4x6" postcard print of 3 sisters mountain range. The one on the far right is a more traditional mounted block, and the one on the left of the mama bear is actually on a material that I have been unable to find again since my first purchase, but that's ok because I would not get it again as it had some surface imperfections that affected my prints. The mounted block on the right was great to carve on, but also a bit more difficult to hand burnish, but I still really like the results.
What I am hoping for...
My hope is that people have an appreciation for the imperfect, but hand made prints more so than the Giclee prints (which are excellent reproductions of original art, but lack the hand of the artist outside of the original image). With handmade prints, what I like is that the hand of the artist is still present, and I feel the art appreciator shares a deeper connection to the art and artist. Rather than the prints being an after thought to just trying to make money off of an image, the prints themselves are the final product, they are the art!
That said, I still love Giclee prints, I even have some of my own work where I no longer own the original, I just like the added dimension of including handmade, traditional prints to my catalog of work, and I hope you will as well!
For sale at Market Collective May 24-26 at BMO Center in Calgary
If you are interested in any of the work you see, it will be available for sale at Market Collective, just a couple weeks from now. Come down and see me, I will be selling VERY AFFORDABLE hand made prints, some as low as $5!!!
Hi all, please take the time to check out the new Etsy Store:
I have been working to make more art work available for both originals and prints! I am also working on getting all my stuff on a print to order basis so I can provide more prints to you at a cheaper cost!
Prior to this, I only had available the prints I personally had in stock, but now I am able to provide all images on a print on demand basis! So if there's a print you want, and you don't want to pay the premium of an original, please let me know if you don't see it on the Etsy site yet, and I will make it available to you!
The latest time lapse video. This one is from start to finish (not including the initial drawing). I did make the mistake of shooting the video from the right, and I am right handed, so bare with me as I am fairly new to these sort of videos!
If you are enjoying these, please go to my Youtube channel and subscribe, as more subscribers will encourage me to do more, and possible talk/walk through videos.
Hope you enjoy!
The Last 30 minutes of a line and wash drawing compressed into 3 minutes using time lapse video.
I've made quite a few changes since the end of the year and my first artisan fair with Market Collective in December. One thing that I really wanted to address, is that I wanted to have a broader range of content for all animal lovers, not just birders! So I have been branching out to Canadian wildlife. I am not so rigid as to only reside on half a continent for my subject matter, but it just seemed like a natural starting point! Never fear bird lovers, this does not mean I will be abandoning our bird friends, more to come in the future.
Another change to my practice that some may have already noticed (hopefully some care), is that I am trying to develop my watercolour/gouache painting skills. This means that I am trying going to be trying to do less ink and wash images, and more pure painting (whatever that means). I am not abandoning my original love of the arts, drawing. I am just trying to hone my skills as I am a fledgling watercolourist. And besides, most good paintings start with a great drawing!
In fact, I have been trying to push my drawing skills with more sketchbooking and mammal studies. (Seen Below)
I'd also like to take this opportunity to look at one of the first watercolours I ever produced (early 2018), versus one I did just a couple weeks ago. (hopefully it is apparent which is which, otherwise I am on the wrong track!)
I'd like to continue to explore different watercolour techniques and focus a little more on building interesting compositions. I have recently completed my first "full scene" with a background landscape. While I love doing animal portraits and a more illustrative focus, I like the idea of playing with more complex relationships of foreground/background and subject.
I am also trying to give up a little control. One of the reasons I am drawn to watercolour is that it is very easy to give up control if you allow the medium to do what it does (it has a mind of its own unlike most mediums that tend to stop moving a fraction of a second after you release your hand, watercolour can keep going as long as there is water to move to.
That said, I am not looking to give up complete control. I tend to find myself in the middle between realism and painterly. I am, for now trying to avoid any nibs that allow me to fall into a level and control and trying to work exclusively with brushes, whether it's paint or ink at the end of my brush.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea of where I'm trying to go next, and even more hopefully, I can produce some excellent results (even while learning)!
Thanks for taking a look!
So I wanted to reflect on Market Collective, how it went, what I learned, would I do it again, so on and so forth. Some may or may not know why I started to draw again and what kicked off this one year venture back into the visual arts.
How this all started
At the end of 2018, my wife and I were frequenting the Millarville Christmas Market when we came across an artist's booth who was making very quaint little paintings of birds. She was also making a killing. I asked myself the question that many others constantly asking myself, why aren't you doing this?
Why aren't I doing this?
Well the easy answer is that it's hard to do this. And it is. But still...why am I not doing this?
I can't really answer the question. I can cop out and give excuses, but I can't answer it completely.
The fact is, I've always viewed art with a very "holier than thou" attitude. I've never allowed myself to make work for the masses such as wildlife art. In a sense, this has always given me an excuse I could tell myself if people reject the work, it's that they don't know any better. That's a really negative way to view high art. It's not meant to be held over others.
Also this leads me to the next question, is there anything wrong with Kitch or low art? The reality is that I paint and draw birds not because I think it's a great selling point, but because I love wildlife and nature, and I have had a passion for birds from a young age when I had a pet bird, or even further back, visiting owl sanctuaries in BC as an adolescent.
So after taking a hard look at myself and my nonexistent art practice, I decided that I am no longer "not doing this". I am going to try to do this, and I am going to be selling my art within a year.
What did I learn
So this is a lot harder than it looks. First of all, I am not really a salesman. I am an artist. I suppose I could use that as an excuse, but instead I choose to use this as a learning opportunity. I will go through all my learning points in a list:
How it went
It went well, but not amazingly well. I made money on the weekend, and even more so based on sales surrounding the market (before and after sales online). I handed out a lot of business cards. I was hoping to do better, but as one vendor pointed out to me, "everyone wishes they did better". Well yeah...also "everyone starts out small".
That's the real thing to keep in mind, you can't just start out making fists full of cash. You start small, you build a fan base and you exercise some patience. You take what you learned, and you apply it to the next time. I suppose by now it's obvious that I will try this again, in fact, I've already started applying for spring shows. I also want to try other markets aside from Market Collective (not that I have a problem with them, on the contrary, I think they put on a great event), I just want to see what other events look like as well.
2018 - 2019
2018 has come and gone, I set out and I achieved my goal from that morning standing in a cramped building in Millarville making a life decision to start making art again, building a body of work (27 finished works in total), and developing and honing a new skill (watercolour and gouache painting), to applying for 2 shows, getting accepted to one, and following through with the show. I've sold work online, to friends, and coworkers and complete strangers. None of this would have been possible without that fateful moment in the Christmas Market where I made that decision. It also helps to have a very understanding partner and wife who encourages me to pursue my passions and takes on the regular life duties on her own when I am sitting at the BMO center talking about birds and art.
What does 2019 hold for me in terms of art? I am going to continue drawing and painting birds. I have also made the decision to branch my subject matter out to Canadian wildlife, so if you like my work, but you don't want a bird hanging in your living room, stay tuned for wolves, and bears, and other great Canadian wildlife! I will continue to challenge myself and develop my practice and skills.
(some examples below of some new sketches that I worked on during Market Collective: DaVinci Travel Brushes round #6 and #12, and M. Graham watercolours set in a travel airtight Mijello palette on 9x12 hotpress Canson block and pen on paper)
If there is anything else you'd like to know about doing an Art Fair, or making art, feel free to email me through the site!
and have a happy 2019!
Season's greetings! I want to let everyone in on some of the deals I will have this weekend at Market Collective Holiday show.
4x6” $3 each or 2 for $5
Fine Art Prints
$20 unsigned 8x12” signed $30
$30 unsigned 11x14” signed $45
$40 unsigned 16x20” signed $75
Fine Art Originals
9x12” $175 10x14” $225
12x16” $275 16x20” pls enquire
DEALS! DEALS! DEALS!
Spend $20 or more, get a FREE postcard!
Buy any 2 signed prints and get 5% off!
Buy any 3 signed prints and get 10% off!
Purchase an original work at $350 or more, receive a FREE 8x12” signed print.
Purchase an original work at $450 or more, receive a FREE 11x14” signed print.
Purchase an original work at $650 or more, receive a FREE 16x20” signed print
Here is the image of the second postcard that should be arriving this Monday:
Can't wait to see you there!
Hi everyone! This is just an update to let you know, that if you would like to come and visit me, I will be hosting my own booth at the Market Collective winter fair! I will be showing from December 7-9!
Come on down and visit me!
Well I did my first ever Inktober challenge this year. I decided first and foremost to have fun. This was an opportunity for me to branch out a bit from my usual subject. I also wanted to improve some of my brush skills. I am what's referred to as a heavy handed artist. I'm the guy that snaps pencil leads constantly, or destroys technical pen nibs like they are made of paper. I press, and I press hard. So for almost all of Inktober I used a pocket pentel brush pen. I also got a couple of fountain pens as they give a nice free flowing line and are maybe a bit more durable and sketchy than technical pens which tend to make me very rigid when I am drawing. Brushes and fountain pens let me bust out of my shell a bit more.
For my first go, I decided not to follow any of the prompts, I just wanted to draw for the sake of drawing. I really liked this at first, but nearing the end, I kind of felt left out a bit of the overall idea of Inktober which is to also get you thinking about ideas and being creative. But hey, there is always next year. I will definitely join in again, and I will follow the prompts as well.
If you aren't sure of what Inktober is, it is a drawing challenge created by illustrator Jake Parker, who also shares an excellent podcast called 3 Point Perspective with fellow professional illustrators Lee White and Will Terry. As an amateur illustrator trying to venture to being a professional, I have been listening in quite a bit.
check out the podcast here:
check out the Inktober website here:
check out my Inktober Gallery here posted on my instagram: