The layers of my creative experience, including informal tips from my extremely talented mother and father, to formal instruction by acclaimed professors at a noted art school have contributed to how I visualize the world around me. My art work is hopefully an extension of what I see and what I find interesting. Very simply, working with design elements of line, shape, color, form, texture, value and space help me to organize and express my perceptions. Whether creating a collage, painting or photograph, it is the layering of these concepts that creates the final image.
My interest in graphic arts and printmaking has its roots in my early undergraduate years. The instructor for my printmaking class was also my my rep drawing teacher. As a freshman in college, with limited serious drawing experience, I learned to both love and hate this professor. He wanted perfect, photographic renderings and would force us to do the assignment again if it was unworthy. My printmaking experience was more positive, although I never got the knack of pulling identical prints from a plate. My year in graduate school challenged me again, both in drawing and printmaking. As mentioned in a previous post, it was during this time I learned the silkscreen process. I had the pleasure of taking a graphic design class with Malcolm Grear. He also founded and ran a successful graphic design studio in Providence (Malcolm Grear Designers) while teaching at RISD. He presently serves as CEO of this design studio. In his class I became enchanted with typography. I have always said had I not become an art teacher, I would have enjoyed studying graphic design. A good print catalog can always get me excited.
One such catalog is an annual production of the Landreth Seed Company. In a plea on Facebook during 2011, this company asked readers to purchase a catalog for $5 each, hoping that increased sales would help the historic Pennsylvania company from going belly up. I bought a few catalogs, hoping my interest in gardening would motivate me to actually plant something. When I received the catalog I couldn’t believe it could be sold for only $5. Color reproductions of historic advertising for Landreth, along with color photographs which identify each fruit, vegetable or flower seed sold, made up this lovely, illustrated catalog. I saved it hoping I could use it for my collages or possibly frame some of the included reproduction posters.
Recently I received a beautiful calendar of bird illustrations as a gift. “Birds and Nests” published by Cavallini & Company of San Francisco highlights each month with a wonderful illustration by George Edwards who is known as the “Father of British Ornithology.” It also doesn’t hurt that the calendar is printed on luxurious paper from Italy.
Both the Landreth and Cavallini catalogs inspired my collage today. I also used the remaining six sketchbook collage scanned prints as a background. Layer upon layer of printed images, gesso and matte medium built up the surface of the 18″ x 24″ image. Colored pencil and ebony pencil provide the final layer.
Check out the links for Landreth and Cavallini. They will not disappoint. Be prepared to pay $7.50 for the seed catalog should you decide to buy one. The art included is well worth the price. Vintage advertising posters are totally frame worthy. While you’re at it, take a look at the many products offered by Cavallini. They are equally delicious.