Thursday, August 13, 2009

Psalm 15

It all started with a picture.  
I drive by this church a lot and have always loved the architecture, sculptures and stained glass windows.  I even went there on a school trip with my daughter many, many years ago.
Then I came to Psalm 15.
"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? 
       Who may live on your holy hill?"
and I thought of this image.  Then came the next question: how to best represent the idea in my head.  I wanted something ethereal, other worldly, there but not there...

Here is the final printed image.  I found a few nicks that need repaired, but that can wait until editioning starts.  I used cherry wood, but to my horror, the wood was cut cross grain, with no room to turn the image.  So, i tried a new trick.

I carve the major areas out normally, using a small v tool and a large U gouge.
Then I took a fine point etching tool (we called them pig stickers in college) and carefully scratched out the wood to create the secondary lines.

I think it came out cool looking.  The scratch marks allowed me to show or add an additional level to the image that I could not carve.

I really like how the decorative initial came out, 
not pleased at all with the scan though.  
The color is all messed up.  The purple is a very deep, 
rich color of purple and the burgundy is also much richer, but 
once again I think the scanner 
got confused with the gold leaf and 
picked it's own color.  

One of these days I will figure out Photoshop better and 
I will be able to fix these mistakes, but for now, 
you get the idea at least.

I carried the vine theme on down the page and picked it up 
again for the illumination along the bottom, as seen below.

Here is the final image.  Comments are welcome and appreciated, contacts with publishers or buyers even more welcome.  If you would like to purchase one of these for your very own, let me know.  Prices start at $495.00 each, but I will give a 10% discount to anyone that mentions the blog.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Psalm 14: A Homage to Durer

Where do I begin.
This was definitely the hardest, most difficult image I have ever attempted. After seeing a traveling show of Durer's prints, I was inspired to take my imagery one step further, difficulty wise.

For giggles, here is my first attempt
at the final image:
I knew I needed to add the hands, but something
just wasn't right, but I couldn't see it.
Then I showed my 20 year old daughter. She said
she really liked it, but something was wrong.
Well, she told my wife, who came to take a look also.
She laughed and said Meagan was right, it did look
like a _____.

So, I asked my pastor, he said it looked like ____
before I even told him what my wife and daughter said!
Here is final image, printed and all:

I decided to keep the hands white, not truly sure
why, but it just "looked" right to me.

The medium was lino block mounted on MDF
board. I tried to follow the origianl Durer image as faithfully
as possible, but eventually determined it was impossible
with the adjustments I made to compensate for the folds
and everything. It was still hard and took me weeks to
carve and complete. Here are some close-ups:

Most of the carving
was done using an Xacto knife.

I had to take my glasses off and
use a magnifying glass at times.

Some of the lines are so thin,
they can't even be seen on the
block with the naked eye.

I used Graphic Chemical black
water based ink, the best I have found so far.

This is a horrible scan of the decorative initial, but it
will have to do. For some reason, even the best scanners
can not seem to correctly scan the gold leaf. So, instead
it messes with all the other colors in an attempt to correct
for the glare. But it gives you an idea of the image.

I never know what to share in these posts, do I highlight the artwork or do I delve into the meaning and message behind the images? In the past, I have tried to do a little of both. I probably offend some, enlighten others. Comments are welcome, so please share your thoughts.

This Psalm spoke to me about God seeing the works of man on earth, even though some do not acknowledge God, he still sees. He knows.

Here is the final image:Your comments are appreciated and encouraged!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Psalm 13

Moving along.

This is one of my favorites so far, although I did the carve the print on white oak. Never again, never again. My wrist hurt for two weeks after carving this beast. But I love the way the grain worked with the print, helping to give the impression of actual wood.

This was a very personal image for me, I internally felt it, if you get my drift. I wanted that impression of crying out to the Lord, but from strength, not weakness. That's why I used the image of the tree, strength and fortitude, but out of that still able to cry out in agony to the Lord. Oh yeah, my model was Preston again, and old friend of mine.

Here's the image:

The decorative initial and text were fun.
I think I am finally starting to get the hang of this!
I think that someday I will start to paint these images, with a
brush and tempra paints, but for now just using markers.

I am also beginning to think of the possibility of using
real gold leaf for the illuminations. Right now, I can't afford
it and I also don't know how, but the not knowing how has
never held me back before and it probably won't this time

I am also considering using a "real" calligraphy nib and
black india ink for the text. Psalm 18 is the next Psalm that
has a lot of text, so probably will try on that one, where the letters need to be very small to fit the paper size.

Here is the border:
And finally, the complete image:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Psalm 12

O.K., no excuses this time. Other than this; I AM NOT A MACHINE!
It takes time to imagine, design, draw, transfer, draw again, carve, print, calligraphy and illuminate these things. All in my spare time. At lunch, traffic lights that are too long, babysitting my daughter, late into the wee hours, etc.
So, here is Psalm 12.
For my printing friends, this was done on linoleum and mounted on a 12" x 12" piece of MDF board. Almost the entire image was carved with an Xacto knife, just the waste was carved away with a small "U" shaped tool.

The image was printed using Graphic Chemical water based black ink (big props to Graphic Chemical, this is my all time favorite ink ever). Funny, I always use the same cheap 7" Speedball roller. I have more expensive rollers, but I always seem to come back to my handy dandy Speedball brayer.
Oh well, go figure. I suppose the old saying of "Go with what works" is true.

Interesting note, I realized I was going to run out of paper soon, so I thought, I had better re-order before I go broke or lose my day job. Well, after shipping back two orders, I finally figured out that the paper I have been using is Zerkal Book White Vellum 145 gm. I ordered 25 more sheets, should last me for at least a year, I hope.

Now for my other friends, I was really intrigued by the concept of lies and lying and how they effect all areas of our lives. Somehow, I got the impression of a winding snake, weaving in and out of my life and the lives of others. Lies are like that, one person lies about something, who tells another the same lie with a twist, who passes it on to another with their twist, and so on, and so on. Even without additional twisting, lies are insidious and permeating. My original idea included a tongue getting chopped off with some blade or axe, but I am glad I got this idea instead (so is my wife and daughter, they didn't like the tongue idea either). The lie is the winding thingy, weaving in and out of ordered lives, but.... whenever it comes close to the cross, the lie is cut off. Likewise, a day will come when all lying lips will be silenced and the truth will stand alone.

Here is the text and decorative letter:

I had decided that I wanted to start tying things closer together, decorative initial, text and illumination, so I am showing the decorative initial with the text this time
because I wanted to run a line from the dec. initial down to the border and so on.

Scroll on down for the final image in its entirety.

Thanks for your comments and patience. It helps to know when someone spends the time to read and
look at the picture.

I hope you remain well until I post again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Psalm 11

I know it has been a long time, but I got hooked on FaceBook and was lax in keeping this blog up to date. Sorry. Well, on to one of my favorite "pages" so far. I showed you a bunch of the sketches and ideas a while back, but here is the final image printed on the "page":

I wanted to capture the image of the church being broken down, defeated, falling apart in the eyes of man, but yet, still watched over and protected by God.

I tried to create a sense of turmoil in the sky, but got the idea of including the eyes of God even among the chaos. Still watching, still in control, still the Ruler of all.

Once again, thanks go to my wonderful and insightful wife Lisa for pointing out that I needed to add the shadow in the foreground, which helped in creating a multi-dimensional feel to the print.
Almost forgot, for all my woodblock buddies, this was done and carved on a block of cherry wood.

I really struggled with the decorative initial and illumination, creating and then discarding idea after idea. Finally I found what I was looking for, at least the basis for the idea, in of all places a small piece of wallpaper!

I wanted something "alive", hope you understand, so I went with the vine idea.
I love the way vines not only grow, but many times overcome and sometimes take over the "host", so it fit well with the Psalm and it looked good on top of it all.

I stuck with classic colors, the deep blue and vibrant red, once again, it just seemed to "fit".
Here is the illumination, which as you will see is bigger and takes up more space than any of the previous illuminations.
This was an extremely short Psalm, so I had a lot of white space I needed to fill in, so I doubled up on the image. As you will see in the final image, I have begun moving in a direction of trying to tie everything together with some extra lines, which I really like and enjoyed.

Well, here is the final image, as I said, one of my favorites!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Psalm 10

This Psalm came to me quite easily actually. Once I read through the Psalm, the idea and imagery just popped into my head and off I went.

The model is actually an attorney that worked in the same building as I did. A very nice guy and a good person, but I knew I could draw out the "tone" I was looking for, but it took a lot of photos to finally get him annoyed enough to get the expression I needed.

The background imagery fit well, but looking back with the current events I could have probably thrown in more financial institutions other than just the street sign. Here is the final image:

As you can see, I made some changes on the final image.

I changed the oil rigs from the drawing, I felt like it was too much in the middle and distracted from "flow".

It also gave me the chance to include the Psalm title, by making it into a tie clip.

Once again, I really tried to "weight" the lines, by carving some thick and some thin. I think it helps to give me a "gray" somewhat.

O.K., here are the decorative inital and illumination. The scan is not the greatest, as the tan is actually gold and the green is more of a warm color.

Here is the completed image. Once again, a long Psalm, but at least I got it to fit without doing anything odd or fancy. Comments are welcome!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jumping Ahead; Feeling Crazy

O.K., maybe I'm just crazy, but I am really having a blast carving Psalm 14. Loosely based on a Durer print. Using an old lino block. Oh yeah, image size is 6.5" x 8".

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Psalm 9: Pushing the medium

How thin can I carve a lino block?

I'll admit, once I had the idea for this image, I kinda got lost in the execution of the image more than the image itself, which for some reason bothered me for awhile. I really was trying to create an image that got across the idea of praising before the throne while the "enemies" of God are being crushed under the throne itself. Instead, it became, how do I make the sheet music look more it is in the background, but when it intersects with the throne, the musical notes become stronger, as if the throne was increasing and strengthening the sound. I finally found some solace in the fact that we were created to create, and to create well, excellently in fact. So, I found some peace (although before I print this again, I am going to see if I can fix up the number "9" somehow, it does not look right).
Here is the decorative initial :

As you can see, I decided to follow along with the musical

I decided to go with a more fluid look to the decorative initial
image, because the print was so linear, I felt like the illumination
needed to be a tad more curvy.

That and the fact that I seem to have some facsination with musical
with musical notes and such, maybe because of my Mom. She was fluent
in so many instruments, but when I was a child, she used to play the pipe
organ in a big Catholic Church. I fell asleep every night listening to her
practice and at times she would also play classical music, so even to this
day I will hear a classical piano piece and recognize it as one that my Mom used to play. OK, enough with the Pop Psychology. Here is the illumination:
As you may notice, the words of the Psalm intersect with the illumination. You will see why in a moment. This was so far the most difficult Psalm to to layout as a complete image: print, illumination, text and decorative initial, due to the fact that it is such a long Psalm.
I usually only print 2 or 3 "finished" prints on the larger Goyu paper (trying to save money). Well, I ruined the first finished print by not planning well, the second image by a major mistake in spelling, so I only had ONE print left. So, I spent some time laying this one out, and found that I had to fill some "white zones".
Here is the final image, let me know what you think.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Psalm 8: Finished

I actually complete these over time, but it costs sooooo much to scan them, I wait until I have 5 or more done before I get them scanned and uploaded.
*NOTE: Major props to FedEx/Kinko's on Dale Mabry and Fowler in Tampa, they are awesome!
So, this image took a long time to decide on. Not because of the image itself, but how do you show God's magnificence in creation? What to imagine; man? animals? universe? landscape? sunrise?
I decided I had to make a decision, and this is what I decided upon:

To me at least, a sunrise is the best way to display God's glory.
Just to remind those following this, these prints are
roughly 6.5" x 8" printed on paper (Goyu) that is roughly 15" x 21".
I only print two or three final copies on the large size paper, usually tossing about 5 or 6 proofs till I feel that the block is printing right.
On this one, I think I only did a few "correction" proofs until I felt I had it right.
For all my relief print friends, I'll go ahead and tell you that this was done on a Speedball 9 x 12 lino block.
Tried to see how thin I could get some lines (wait till you see Psalm 9, the pinnacle I think of my lino carving, if I do say so myself).
The image itself is a combination of some pictures I have snapped over the years.

O.K., on to the graphic folks.
Here is the Decorative Initial and Illumination.

I really like the color combination (click on the images for a
larger and clearer image).

I have been trying very hard to get these even minor details right, imagining myself as a monk sitting in a bare cell, attempting to please God by giving my best.
Here is the final image, love to hear any comments or ideas for future posts.
Stay tuned......