Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Works

"Snow Laden Cedar, Chickadees"
12"x16" Oil

Winter artwork is something many artists avoid...maybe if you're stuck in the studio during the winter you'd prefer working on something "warm"!? I'm not sure of the psychology behind it all but I do know that "winter" paintings, drawings, photographs, etc. do not sell well with the public. Photos can be the exception with publications however, magazines often find they are short on sources for winter images...but I do think that's an exception.

I find I do about one "winter" piece every year and I usually do it with my Christmas card in mind. I do have years when I'm pressed for time and just use a photo (as I've done the past 2-3 years), but I've used artwork in my Christmas cards since 1966.

Often I find the artwork used for a particular card ends up being the springboard for a bigger idea. The piece above is a painting I did after doing a small serigraph (the fine art term for silkscreen print) for a Christmas card. Serigraphs are really good for graphic presentations and I took an Eastern Red Cedar that was heavily laden with new snow and made a small design out of it. After seeing the graphic presentation of the card, it reminded me of some paintings done by members of the Canadian "Group of Seven" (Love their work - they've been a quiet influence on me since I first discovered them in the 1970's.)

(Snow Laden Cedar - Serigraph)

You can see the cedar in the serigraph and the painting as one and the same. I added the Black-capped Chickadees to the painting as focal points and as a reference to scale.

Georgie and I have had a conversation concerning Christmas Cards...we see a definite decline in cards sent over recent years. With postage getting more expensive, more people opting for a "Christmas" letter, and more people writing less and less or communicating less and less on paper. Is this something anyone out there is seeing as well?

I quit doing serigraphs as cards as the work doing so consumed large blocks of time! The cedar card above was a 5 color card and likely took 3-4 weeks to print (after work and weekends)...of course we have to keep in mind the quantity printed...I send out about 125 cards each Christmas and when printing a serigraph you have registration to worry about and have a good deal of waste (rejects). But I do miss was one of my two minors in art school. There's still something very magical about an image growing physically right before your eyes with the pass of a squeegee!

Back to the beginning thought; winter artwork and small pieces leading to bigger least my Christmas card experiences have led to some good exercise for me! I'll try and show some winter card work in the future.

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