Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lilac Festival Update

© Hannah Phelps
Wentworth-Coolidge Rock
oil on board, 8" x 10"

Last Saturday, I painted outside in Portsmouth, NH as part of the Lilac Festival at the Wentworth-Coolidge Historic Site.

The weather was perfect - warmth without excessive heat and bright views all around.

Even though the site offers a wide variety of subjects - the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, gardens, marshes, islands, and kayakers to name a few - I painted what I usually paint. A rock.

I painted this same rock on site last year and started a large studio painting of it.  It is kind of my thing - get obsessed by a rock and keep painting it.

While a bunch of artists worked outside, the Coolidge Center for the Arts hosted a dry painting exhibit. That will be up until June 24th (info in the sidebar). I have a few rock paintings in there too, if you haven’t had enough yet.

In the meantime, I've been creating prints. I will show you some WIPs (works-in-progress) next week!

Monday, May 21, 2012

All Dressed Up

© Hannah Phelps
Grey Marsh, Cutts Island, Maine
11" x 14"

The paintings are framed and ready to hang in the Sense of Wonder Exhibit at the Children's Museum of NH in Dover.

Grey Marsh, Sunset from Quincy, Late Summer Marsh and First Beach Day will be joining paintings by Wendy Turner, Soosen Dunholter, Tess Feltes and many others all summer long.

So go visit the paintings now that they are all dressed up - more info in the sidebar!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

More Naked Paintings

© Hannah Phelps
Sunset from Quincy
oil on canvas, 6" x 9"

Look, another painting for the Sense of Wonder exhibit at the Children's Museum of NH in Dover that isn't framed yet....

It will be in time for the drop-off. And it certainly will be dressed for the opening reception on May 30th. Here is your invitation:

I am also preparing some paintings for the Lilac Festival Exhibit at the Wentworth-Coolidge Historic Site in Portsmouth, NH. That show will be up for a whole month this year! Those paintings don't have to be ready until the end of next week - tons of time to tell you about that later.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Places to Go and Nothing to Wear

© Hannah Phelps
Late Summer Marsh, Cutts Island, ME
oil on canvas, 6" x 9"

I need to deliver some paintings to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire in Dover early next week for the Sense of Wonder Exhibit*, so I have been framing today. Framing is not my favorite part of the job. Although, it can feel immensely satisfying when the paintings are all suited up and looking their best. 

I didn't get quite that far today, so this painting is still naked. It is ok to look. Paintings don't seem to care about things like that.

*More about the exhibit in the side bar!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Local Color Pop-Up Open!

photos, paintings, woodworking, and ceramics

Local Color Gallery celebrated its first weekend open on Main Street in Goffstown, NH this weekend. Within two hours of opening, we had visitors and sales!

 prints, photos and superbly hand-crafted children's clothes and jewelry

The place looks great and the work inside is fantastic - you are going to want to come see it for yourselves.

ceramics, collages, woodturned bowls, paintings, more photos, and watercolors

Remember, we are a pop-up. That means we could be gone at any time, so come quickly!

pens with wooden handles, cards (some hand-printed) prints and photos

This Friday, May 11th, is our Grand Opening celebration from 5-8 and you are invited!

Local Color Gallery
35 Main Street
Goffstown, NH 03045

Friday 10-7
Saturday 10-5
Sunday 11-4
and Memorial Day! 

Parking is free on Main Street!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Printing it Apart

© Hannah Phelps
Gentle Assault
jigsaw white-line woodcut print

Here is the first print off the block I showed you a couple of weeks ago. There is only one completed so far, but there could be many more.

How is this different from the jigsaws you've seen before?
The other three jigsaw reliefs were reductions - one block, but multiple layers and I could not go back to any preceding layer once I had started carving the next one.

This print is a combination of two relief methods.  For the top and bottom pieces, I used the moku hanga (Japanese style woodcut) technique and then printed the middle piece as a white-line.  I tried this because I know that Japanese-style woodcuts are artistic "grandparents" to white-line woodcuts and I felt there must be a new way to honor that connection.

Moku hanga is a huge topic - there are hundreds of blogs dedicated to it* - so I won’t go into it too much here. The application of ink is the main thing that I borrowed. For the previous jigsaws I shared with you, I rolled ink on the wood with a brayer and printed on dry paper. For this print, everything started out wet. I flicked pigment and rice paste onto the block with small paintbrushes, mixed it around with different brushes (called maru bake) and then printed.

Since I was making a huge mess with all that flicking and brushing anyway, I made a bunch of prints with no middles:

 Gentle Assault, top and bottom blocks printed

After they dried a few days later, I printed the middle section as a standard white-line woodcut.

Here’s what I liked:

I get some washy effects in the large water areas. I can print washes with regular white-line techniques, but I find it tedious. Once everything is set-up, creating washes with traditional Japanese methods are comparatively easy.

Stuff I need to figure out:

Registering all this is a little tough. I have a template that helps, but it really needs to be checked all the time. It was important that the middle block stay clean while inking the top and bottom, but it had to be there to register the other pieces correctly. I removed it before I inked and replaced it for printing. Not hard, just time consuming.

I love the pigments I used for the top and bottom (Akua Kolor), but I didn’t like them as well for the white-line part. I have some ideas about how to improve this experience, so we will have to see how I feel after I have printed a few more.

What's next? 
More jigsaws, most likely reductions. We'll see.

I wonder though: Is it going to become a problem that when I see a block, I yearn to cut it into pieces? First reductions, then white-line woodcuts, what could possibly be next? Keep your lithography stones locked up....
 * My favorite sites for information on moku hanga:

- Matthew Brown's

- David Bull's