Monday, September 23, 2019

Moku Hanga in Progress, and in London for SWLA

Spotted, Solitary and Least Sandpipers. Working  proof  of  moku  hanga print by Ken Januski.

I'm not sure if I've ever shown a work in progress from my Moku Hanga prints. But I easily could. That's because they take forever. I'm now on week three of this print. And I still don't have the final design, or colors. But  I'm getting close.

I had been planning to write my next post on my field sketches, both those done at Cape May in May and also those done around  here. But having three of my works in The Society of  Wildlife Artist's  annual show 'The Natural Eye': Purple Finch and Hairy Woodpecker at Andorra' has been a bit of a distraction, though certainly a pleasant one.

The three framed works waiting to be shipped off to 'The Natural Eye', accompanied  by  the  hope  that at least one of them would get in!

I'll go on a bit more about  the SWLA show later but for now I'll try to finish a thought and stick with this print. Though not a field  sketch it is based on and inspired by them.I think it was in May that I did some field sketches of both Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers at Morris Arboretum. They ended up being somewhat clumsy works but they still captured the life of the birds. And as I've said probably a million times over the course of this blog it's next to impossible for me to get that feeling of life when I'm working from photos. So it's much easier for me to be inspired by my sketches though I often will use my photos to at least see the details, and  then decide how important it is  to try to get them into the work. In this instance I also added two Least Sandpipers which I'd also seen and sketched  at Morris Arboretum in  previous years.

Once I get started on a work, particularly a print, though it used to be just as true in my large abstract paintings, my main concern becomes the orchestration of shapes, colors, textures,  and movement. Often I get seduced by the colors, shapes, etc. and find I've gotten too far away from the original impetus. So  I find it's always a dialogue/dance/or whatever you want  to call it between the original impetus and the logic and poetry of  the medium itself. I think that is why they always take so long for me to complete.

When it comes to most wildlife art, and again to repeat something I've said a million times, I  often find that it seems to get all of its emotional resonance from the reaction to  a PHOTO of something not to the real thing. That is why I love 'The Natural Eye'. Once again viewing the online gallery this year I find it positively thrilling. The art about nature  should  be as exciting as nature, or  even moreso in that it combines  the excitement of  both art AND  nature. It was particularly thrilling to be able to walk through  it in person last year both to admire and enjoy all the art work that was in it but also to honestly assess whether my own work really belonged there  or  perhaps  had gotten there by some fluke, twist of fate or whatever. Almost all artists and some time doubt themselves. I'm happy to say that I  left feeling that my work did  hold its own!

But that is not what is most important. What's most important  is  that this show demonstrates that it's quite possible to make the most ambitious, exciting, moving art possible all using wildlife as its subject. The Society of Wildlife Artists should be proud of themselves for coming up  with such a rewarding exhibit year after year.