Horizons Project

I took a short hiatus from projects for a while. It has been very hard to start up something new in the middle of the summer, so after some input from friends and other artists, I decided to reset my project clock to the Fall and Spring. I am much more energetic at those times of the year. For those of you new to my “project clock,” I usually start six-month projects in January and June, focusing on different themes in order to keep myself organized and moving forward.

So, the new project actually started on 22 September, 2010 and runs until 21 March, 2011. The Derrybawn Project was successful in some ways but not so successful in others. I created more new pieces in the span of the project than I have ever done at one time before, but they are neither ready for sale nor headed to the printers yet.

But with a new project comes new goals. I will revisit the Derrybawn artwork soon, and document the t-shirts and prints when they are available.

The Horizons Project is primarily a collection of landscapes. They are part of my study of the concept of a “Place of Resurrection” as described in early Christian writings. A place the soul goes to, a place so part of you that you will wake up there at the sounding of the horn on the Day of Judgment. Each place I have selected for this project is important to me for many reasons. They are “Thin Places” or places where the veil between the visible and invisible worlds is thin. They are places with strong memories for me. I hope to bring out more than just lines in the distance as I create these works of art.

I’ll address aspects of each place as I go. I selected these places using some rather arbitrary criteria, so while all these places are special in some way, they are not the only places I find special. I also selected places in which the landscape was a large part of the experience. Thus Dysert O’Dea is not yet on my drawing board, as my reference photos are targeted towards the serenity of the carved faces in the church structure, and less about the surrounding countryside.

Another reason I did not include Dysert O’Dea is that I plan to complete an entire project solely on sites in the Burren later. I am also saving the sites of Glendalough for a full project. So, in general, I also was looking for places where my own, personal reference photos reflected interesting landscape opportunities.

I started with a list of places that mean something to me, whether through the beauty or history of a place, or because something happened to me there that brings the place to mind. I sifted through those sites to find appropriate landscape photos, sketches and impressions from my writing, to bring together as much as I could for each place. In the case of Knocknarae, my photos are quite poor, but my writings and sketches are very powerful, so I am not sure what the final result will be.

My six selections, some of which may possibly change as I go along, are the following:

The hilltop tombs of Loch Craobh, or Loughcrew in Co. Meath.
The entryway of the passage tomb Brynn Celli Ddu, on Angelsey in Wales.
The ruined temple to Poseidon at Sounion in Greece.
The view of the strand below Maeve’s Tomb from Knocknarae in Co. Sligo.
The view of the countryside from the caves of Kesh Corran, also in Co. Sligo.
The Wicklow Mountains near Bray, Co. Wicklow.

I will be posting my preliminary work for Loch Craobh soon.

I’ll post what I can of sketches and my own reference photos as I work. This Project is also about improving my skills in landscapes, and learning how to render distance and atmospheric effects. It is primarily a Project of drawing, with a bit of painting thrown in. I hope to use pencil, ink, silverpoint and watercolor in this six-month span. Perhaps some colored pencil.

I hope you stay with me, this should be fun.



Continuing on…

The Derrybawn project is sluggish, as you may have noticed. But not dead yet. Sketches for Arkay Sonney and Bloddeuwedd are still in progress, though not complete.

I have two small pieces ready to be made into printing plates, but haven’t done that. I haven’t gotten some of my new 2009 photos of Ireland reproduced yet either. Lots and lots of potential, but little real progress.

However, I have provided four black and white designs to a printer for professional reproduction. The images are fuzzy, as I was in a hurry and only trying to get quick images done.

Maeve’s Spear is a simplified, smaller version of an original ink and watercolor piece I created a few years ago. The original is a very large piece and the design is the one most people have asked me to create as a print.

Maeve's Spear scratchboard

Maeve's Spear scratchboard

Spiral Raven is a simple, but dramatic design, and may be destined for t-shirts or other items.

spiral raven scratchboard

spiral raven scratchboard

The Kells Bird is an older design, created for notecards. It has come out of the archives for a new breath of life.

Small scratchboard print plate

Small scratchboard print plate

The Key Panel was originally made for notecards, but never was used. Out of the archives and into the market, it seems. This design was made with a lighter, crosshatch technique to add texture to the flat design.

Key Panel Scratchboard

Key Panel Scratchboard

I have also widened my circle of possibilities through writing some articles about my travels and possibly getting them published. Working on that, anyway.

Daily sketching continues. I have some interesting pieces done as projects for a sketching class in D.C., which I will provide when I get my scanner back up and running.

In my quest for seeing new things, I went to the National Zoo on Tuesday this week. I tried sketching the animals as they went about their morning routines. I despaired of catching the sinuous slink of the clouded leopard, with his eyes as clear as rose amber glass in the early sun. I couldn’t keep up with the pair of small-clawed otters as they tried to get closer to the tourists watching them.

The red panda hid behind a branch, and the Giant Panda cared little for my efforts, as he continued to munch on his breakfast. I watched the cheetah watch me for a while. He stalked, loose-limbed around his enclosure, walking back behind bushes when he heard screaming children and coming back to pace close to the fence when they were gone. He watched me carefully, but seemed more irritated by the occasional click of the power generator in the corner of the enclosure.

I tried to catch them all. Much more difficult to catch than people drinking coffee.

Anyway, I’ve decided to continue a version of the Derrybawn project through 1-6/2010. The potential is there, and I still need to do everything I started out to do, but the early part of the year has fewer distractions than the summer and fall.

Bloddeuwedd and the Arkay Sonney will carry over to the new year, along with my small Brambleponies print and a print of a willow tree I began as a gift for a friend. I will also document the final result for the Maeve’s Spear, Spiraled Raven, Key Panel and Kells Bird pieces that I submitted for professional printing, as well as any new black and white art. Reproductions of photos will also be documented and any new plates will be shown.

My goal is to have at least 12 new designs in reproductions for the Potomac show in June 2010.
A secondary goal is still to gather up the threads of my grant proposal, which has gathered new steam as friends have mentioned they may obtain a Letterpress and have been discussing using it to lure me to Pennsylvania to make my prints.

Additionally, I will be using the new prints to revamp my Etsy website.

Hmm. Is that enough for one project? As always, biting off more than I can chew.



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