Omar learns about personal space

Is life overwhelming? Add puppies!

linocut of stunned, confused looking Great Dane Harlequin puppy

Detail from “Omar learns about personal space,” hand-colored linocut

Finally, some production, and a new print that I’m pleased with. It’s been a tough winter to get studio work done… Continue reading

Cow for Graze restaurant

Graze Restaurant asked me to paint a cow for them. Here’s the progression (click any cow to enlarge), most recent progress at top.

If you want to read this from the beginning, starting with the delivery of the cow, just start reading at the bottom of this post and scroll up….

Done! Finished varnishing last week. Whew!

Wanted to get this uploaded before 2013, so here you go:

2 little terriers sit before a lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

We all breathe a sigh of relief at the completion and varnishing of the cow.

closeup of wisconsin products

Detail

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Side 2.

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. Closeup: fish. Closeup of fish

Side 2, detail.

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. Closeup: fish. Closeup of fish

Pretty much done…

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Side two almost done (gotta soften the pasture-to-black transition on the right side of the state, soften the udder-to-white-fur transition, and clean up the blacks and whites…)

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

A closer look…

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Side one details corrected. Done.

November–almost December–Aaaack!

What a nightmare this has been. Should be easy-squeezy, but with the other deadlines in October/November…. Oh well. Working away on side two now–getting there! Here’s side one, pretty much finished (below):

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Side one pretty much done

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

You can see that face is getting there–pretty much done.

Final (Side One) State of Wisconsin with products

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Wisconsin products modified (got rid of those white outlines around each object–just wasn’t working).

Side One almost done

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Side one almost done…still needs some rearrangement of black spots…

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

You can see the horns painted now (over the texture added in the step below). Face pretty much done. Eyes still need some work, but close…. Hooves made to look more realistic/3-d with painting in the shadows to create depth.

Adding texture to the horns

lifesize fiberglass cow: closeup of horn texture

To build up the texture in the horns, I glob on various acrylic gel mediums. This one is a mix of Golden’s molding paste and soft gel.

October 1 progress:

lifesize fiberglass cow painted with wisconsin-made products decorated on it's Holstein body. State of Wisconsin pattern on side of cow.

Some of the locally-sourced, Wisconsin(!) products that Graze uses in it’s cooking. Products blocked in, painting in progress.

September 23 progress:

fiberglass cow painted by S.V. Medaris, showing state of Wisconsin in cow fur, plus 2 small dogs in front of cow for scale

Black and white Holstein colors blocked in (with my little helpers, for scale of course).

September, 2012

lifesize fiberglass cow painted orange

Blocking in the distinctly Wisconsin ;-) Holstein fur pattern.

lifesize fiberglass cow with state of wisconsin fur shape on forehead

Underpainting begun on forehead–trully a Wisconsin Holstein….

lifesize fiberglass cow painted orange

First thing is getting the white out. A layer of orange as the colored ground to make subsequent layers on top glow…

Some info from an earlier post:
Aug. 20
Graze restaurant has commissioned me to paint a cow for their patio.

The design will be a holstein (modeled after one of the dairy cows milked at Sassy Cow Creamery, where Graze gets much of their dairy products). Incorporated onto the black/white holstein pattern, will be painted the specific, locally sourced products–produce, Highland beef, trout, etc (that Graze buys from local farmers in the area)–from which Executive Chef Tory Miller and the Graze team create the dishes on their menu.

It just arrived today…

Unwrapping

fiberglass cow becoming unwrapped from bubble wrap and cardboard

Yep, it’s a girl!

white, grazing fiber glass cow unwrapped standing on cement out in country

Big blocks, little dogs.

As the big blocks and prints multiply, the dogs seem to be growing smaller.

2 little dogs about to be stepped on by giant chicken. Hanging woodcut carcass to their right.

(click image to enlarge) Giant chicken about to crush 2 tiny dogs

A new block–that big guy on the right. Going to try to get it done within 1 week’s time–kind of need to. Wish me luck ;-)

(Hanging on the left is one of the finished carcasses, just completed this weekend. This is one of a group that will be in an installation at the “From Pattern to Processing” show opening reception May 7th)

The giant chicken print will be one of many Beastly Prints in our 3-person show (Briony Morrow-Cribbs, Patrick Smyzcek, and me) at the Overture (reception May 6th).

woman stands on stools to carve near the top of an 8ft plywood wood block

The carving begins (click to enlarge)

This is one way to carve an 8ft tall birch plywood block (at right).

Why a red block?
If you’ll notice, around the perimeter of the rooster’s head, you can see the bare wood showing through–that’s where I’ve cut. If I don’t color the block beforehand, I have a hard time seeing clearly where I’ve cut.

The process: 
1.) Draw image onto 4x8ft birch plywood block with brush and waterproof drawing ink. Let dry thoroughly.
2.) Mix up a thin wash of acrylic (any color you want that’s transparent and obviously not wood color nor black) and water, and brush lightly over the whole board. Let dry thoroughly.
3.) Coat entire board with thin layer of shellac. This coats the board, sealing it somewhat, which will make the cuts sharper/cleaner and will keep the ink from soaking into the wood too much when it’s time to ink and print the block.

Coyote vs Ivan

Exciting night. Zuzu (ratjack terrier) was barking a crazy bark out in the dogyard–definitely an alarm–and I heard what sounded like that excited yipping of coyotes. Ran out of the house with huge floodlamp, and there’s Ivan (Great Pyrenees) standing out on the ridge (must’ve jumped the dog fence recently), looking regally off to the North (do Pyrenees ever NOT look regal when they’re looking off to the horizon?).

Then this loud, sharp bark from down below in the north pasture, and I swing the light around to see 1 pair of golden eyes looking up at us, and before I can get to Ivan, he’s off–charging down the hill. The golden eyes make a loud yelping bark. Coyote! Following the white of Ivan with the lamp, he quickly closes in on the eyes, who it appears, just watch him coming. There’s another excited yelp from the coyote and Ivan who has his nose to the ground, racing, following the scent, quickly closes in on the eyes. The eyes disappear and Ivan continues charging to the north, close behind in pursuit of the coyote and they both disappear over the hill. Then only barking and yipping–from both canines. I continue yelling for Ivan (he “can’t” hear when he’s in pursuit), but no response. Then silence. Finally, there, a glow of eyes belonging to a faint white blob appear at the crest of the hill. Waiting, listening, looking behind him making sure his intruder stays on it’s side of the fence (off our property), Ivan starts back down into the valley and he begins trotting home. I can hear the train-chugging of his breath clearly across the valley in the night stillness.

When Ivan has descended into the valley, less than 50ft from where he had appeared, a 2nd pair of eyes suddenly flash in that same spot atop the ridge, where Ivan had just been. And a sharp, piercing bark cuts through the night, again. Ivan stops and looks behind him, and the coyote barks and yips, but doesn’t move, just watches Ivan. Ivan hesitates, but then, sure that the coyote isn’t returning to “his” property, he continues home. The coyote is literally yelling at him the whole way back. I know it’s barking, but it sounds like yelling–just mouthing off like a son of a gun. Is the coyote establishing his border? Yelling insults or threats at him? Simply stating it’s presence? Communicating with his pack? Ivan pays no heed (an occasional glance backwards to be sure the coyote isn’t following him), but steadily trots back to us, train-chugging breath practically drowning out the crazy, incessant barking from across the valley.

He reaches me, and I fall in beside him, trotting back to the house together, me mumbling about how he’s a good dog for coming home, and how I hate it when he does his job ’cause doesn’t he know coyotes can gang up on dogs like him and kill him?…but you’re a good dog for coming home…let’s go in for the night….

And now, as I’m about to head back out to studio, the night is completely quiet, still. No animals can be heard. Ivan has conquered the night beasts once again.

Carcass prints take form

8ft carcass prints hang next to foam shapes

(click image to enlarge) Priming in progress.

Continuing on, a couple days after printing the carcasses….

…the prints were left to hang for a couple of days for the ink (oil-based) to dry, then the prints were cut out with scissors. After that, I prepared these pink insulation foam shapes cut from 4ft x 8ft sheets. I cut the shapes out with a small, hand-held, electric jigsaw, then lightly sanded the edges, so there were no sharp-looking corners/edges. Then, 3 coats of white primer, so the pink won’t show through the print (masa is a very thin paper and the pink would show through the paper without the white base beneath it).

woodcut-printed carcass, applied to form and hanging from hook

(click to enlarge) The finished print, adhered to form, hanging next to the woodcut block.

What fun! It’s done!! Now, I just have to do print/assemble three more.

See them all together in an installation at the May 7th “From Pattern to Processing” show (and after that, I’ll post to the blog).

Links to earlier stages showing carcass block being cut, and first prints.

Carcass block done

carcass image carved in woodblock done

(click image to enlarge) Block is done being cut, and first print has been printed! Zuzu (on left) is happy to be held, and Dexter (on right, with tongue) is elated.

Block is done! I printed the first two prints today (you can see where the red ink was rolled off the edges), and boy do they take a long time when you’re printing with a wooden spoon!!! I’m not very good at it–patience sorely lacking….

You can see the prints below. In the 2nd photo, the first print is on the left, and though it’s probably not obvious here, it IS fainter for various reasons: It’s the first print (ink soaks up into the woodblock somewhat with that first layer of ink rolled on), I’m inexperienced with printing this way, and I used the rough side of the Masa paper (thinking the print would stick more to the block and perhaps slip less). Since I’m printing these vertically, I was worried about the paper slipping/moving while I’m rubbing/printing the block, so I used a more porous side of the paper to print on, means the ink soaks into the paper more on this side.

8ft prints of hog carcass

(click image to enlarge) Prints are left to hang for a couple of days until ink is dry to touch and print can be handled.

The 2nd one came out much darker–thick blacks and full red–as it had a thicker layer of ink rolled on, I used the smooth side of the masa (no slippage–ink is sticky enough to hold onto the paper even with this vertical setup), and I paid more attention to how I was printing/pressing/rubbing the spoon over the raised parts…. Still, I can see this takes practice, and I don’t love printing this way, but it gets the job done when the block is too big for the press (which is “only” 30in x 40in–plenty big for most jobs).

You can see the first stages of working on this block at: Cutting up meat.

More to come when prints get cut out and applied to forms….