Wow what a weekend. (I started writing this two weeks ago.) I was running around like crazy. Unfortunately I was doing this in a car with no AC on a weekend with a heat advisory… but it was awesome![Saturday Morning]
To start off here is the brief little sketch I made while at the Bellingham Maritime Museum. It is an anchor, one of the ones from the old masted ships I believe. This miiiight be the one they found at the bottom of a bay and were working on restoring. It is out of the treatment tank now though so it is hard to say.
On top of that I had the pleasure of attending Krab Jab Studio’s opening reception for their latest exhibition ‘The Dark Woods: The Roots of the Fairy Tale’ It featured many amazing fantasy and surreal artists. (Allen Williams, Amy Brown, Drew Tucker, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Heather Hudson, Olivier Villoingt, Yoann Lossel, Stefanie Vega, Sandra Buskirk, Thomas Dodd, Jeremy Hush, David Thierree, Yvette Endrijautzki, Forest Rogers, Alice Dufeu, Travis Lewis, Tory Taber, Yuko Ishii, Siolo Thompson, Masha Sardari, Carly Janine Mazur, Jason Engle, Julia Jeffrey, and Melissa Benson) On top of that I had a great time trying not to pose for photographer Sheena Marie and chatting with Robbie Barnabee!
Guest curator Satyros Brucato and studio founder Julie Baroh had an interesting discussion on the way the ‘dark woods’ is perceived in modern day culture. In short, they theorized that the ‘dark woods’ the place where man feels afraid of the other, the unknown wild.. is gone. I thought about it on the way home, my car passing through the forest covered hills of my home and I lean towards disagreeing. It isn’t that what they stated was wrong, I think the darkness has gone further back… but I think it is just hiding from the light. That being said my ‘dark woods’ are in the urban environment and my villains are in human skin. Urban jungle? I don’t think that is what they had in mind. Despite that I also feel the darkness is still in the rural woods but it is hard to put your finger on. The only way I can explain it is by telling a story.
One time as child my brother and I were exploring the woods around our home. I never feared the woods and indeed I have more memories of my childhood outside than in. We wandered from deer trails to no trails, weaving our way through Huckleberry and Oceanspray and all was joy. Just me and my big brother. We found old native relics and continued on. We stopped to rub the backsides of Swordferns on a Nettle burn and then continued on. We climbed all evening up and down hills of large Sword Fern, Salal, Bracken and Douglas Fir until we stopped dead in our tracks.
Like all the rest of the hills it was covered in Ferns and Douglas Fir yet somehow the shadows seemed darker, the spaces between the branches tighter, suffocating. It seemed taller somehow, and perhaps it was. There was definitely something there that you could not put your finger on. I remember my brave brother turning to look at me after just a moment, “We’d better go back.”
“Uh huh”, I agreed and we turned on heel, not stopping until we returned to the warm house. Now did I suddenly fear the forest? No, I adored the forest and spent just as much time there but I did not return to that place where the shadows were darker and the trees loomed overhead. To this day I remember that feeling and I think that is what the ‘dark woods’ really is. You may think it is gone or even that it does not exist, but it is still there, waiting to surprise you out of your complacency.
Okay that is what the exhibition made me think of. Hopefully it makes sense.[Sunday Afternoon]
On top of Krab Jab Studio I was last minute (the morning before the Krab Jab Studio opening) invited by Steve Mayo to the Reception for Kirsten Gallery‘s season opening, 30th Northwest Marine Art Exhibition. It was a pleasant surprise and refreshingly different from the fantasy surreal styles I usually work with. In addition to Steve Mayo’s beautifully detailed and period accurate maritime paintings I was fascinated by Byron Birdsall’s work which has a soft.. textural quality. There wasn’t as much fanfare here but I did arrive late so that really is my fault. I didn’t get a chance to see the second floor of the studio but I did meet the studio owner who’s number one piece of advice to get into studios was… “Don’t cold call.” Haha. Awkward… just a little. That being said our introduction was brief and I did come for the art sooooo… I was probably fine. The main reason he said no cold calls was because studio owners are busy selling or potentially not there and if you come in when they are busy you get off on the wrong foot and if you come in when they aren’t there your art samples could get left in a corner ignored. He suggested an email first with a few samples and a polite query about coming in sometime or whether the artwork was a good fit for the gallery. I am definitely glad we met and spoke, that is an entirely different suggestion than what I normally hear. I wonder if it is because they are in their 42nd year and they’ve seen a lot of artists come and go.
One last note on the Kirsten Gallery.. cool downstairs in the hot summer is dreamy. The one chalk drawing of train cars down there that I did get a chance to see was, breathtaking. Put me right back in front of the Christmas tree at nine. On top of the indoor art they have an outdoor piece of art, a zen garden. Peaceful in the middle of the city.
PHEW this has been a long post. If you made it this far congratulations, you are an impressive reader! Check out Krab Jab Studio’s ‘The Dark Woods:
The Roots of the Fairy Tale’ show for fine fantasy and surreal art and Kirsten Gallery’s ’30th Northwest Marine Art Exhibition’ for classic maritime painting if you are in the Seattle area. Good times.
Just another Saturday sketch meet up. Do let me know if you’d like to join. Sadly the Bellingham Maritime Museum will be closing at the end of August. A pity but I hope the board can finally get some well deserved R&R. With some luck the exhibits will find new homes. Here is my long form sketch of a wooden boat hull. Charcoal/Chalk on toned paper with Photoshop color touchup.
Also one more quick sketch. This is from the week prior. It was a really quick 15 minute sketch of one of the 1800’s anchors from a masted ship. I was a little concerned seeing this out in the open for in the history of my attending this museum the anchor has been undergoing a preservation process. Basically after sitting in salt water for so long, simply exposing it to the air would cause major damage. Turns out they were just scraping off all the ‘gunk’ that day. (looked like fungus or moss but I’m pretty sure it was the salt leeching out somehow….) It was back into its preservation tank last Saturday beginning the blackening process. Basically they had it hooked up to a generator and were channeling electricity into the water. (So cool!) It is slowly turning black which means they are almost done preserving this very VERY old piece of maritime history. I’m excited for them!
My latest work, the Elk Rider. A woman isolated in the icy wilderness. She looks to the future despite the uncertainty of now, finding friends where she can and heeding the messages of the world around her.
You can see the work in progress images here. They are really quite strikingly different. This version is the end result of blending that pencil sketch onto the detailed drawing. Thanks for looking feel free to leave a comment.
Additionally a big thank you to Bryan Syme and all the other wonderful people who helped me take this drawing to the next level. Big thank you to my super supportive husband James High for encouraging me to finish!
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Just met up last Saturday at the Bellingham Maritime Museum. Had great fun sketching with Jamel Markee. I invited members of the Bellingham Artists Collective but with such short notice nobody made it. Maybe next time! Regardless, Jamel wanted to draw the hovercraft so I drew the hovercraft for what is probably the third or fourth time. I’m actually pretty pleased with how it turned out. It is surprisingly challenging to draw this massive piece of machinery. It blows my mind to imagine it actually in action.
Following a quick YouTube search I can now imagine it.
These videos shows what looks exactly like the PACV at the museum and I know that it served in Vietnam with one of the PBR river boats they have. Who knows… maybe it’s one of the ones in the videos. I couldn’t find a video of the monster face they sometime paint on the front but here is a cool photo of the face. Source http://www.bellinghammaritimemuseum.org
This year at Norwescon I made an effort to sketch in the theme of the panels I sat in on. Here is the third! The pencil sketch was done while trying to keep up with Bryan Syme and John R. Gray the third. They each had five minutes to create a book cover based off of audience feedback. The cover they were working on while I drew this was for Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Cupcake! The book cover prior to the Missing Cupcake was my suggestion, Cyberpunk Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This is my adaptation of Bryan’s mind controlled Three Bears cover as applied to the Case of the Missing Cupcake This panel was fun, silly and looked absolutely nerve wracking for the two artists but in the end they both did a great job despite the pressure of a rowdy audience.
Panel description… “After hearing a short passage, two artists compete to come up with a cover for the story, and the audience gets to cheer them on.”
Panelists: Bryan Syme, John R. Gray III
Here is the second Norwescon panel sketch! The pencil sketch was setup while listening to a discussion on Alien Biospheres! The audience was ah… extremely creative. A tidelocked (the planet rotates around the sun but doesn’t rotate on it’s own axis so one side will always be facing the sun and the other away) planet orbiting a trinary (three) star system. Some of the panelists were opposed to life existing at all in that case but extremophil bacteria and carnivorous sponges were a possibility. So perhaps along the plate lines, or the transition between dark and light is where the climate would be ‘moderate’ enough for life.
Panel description… “Alien Biospheres — Take a world that is entirely water, or one that has few oceans, a world where gravity is twice that of Earth, or maybe only half. A world tidally locked to a red dwarf star, or one in a distant orbit around a blue supergiant. Maybe it orbits a Sun-like star but has a five-hour day. What might life look like on that world? Let’s ask the pros.”
Panelists: Brent Kellmer, G. David Nordley, Janet Freeman Daily