Tag Archives: Lansing

Focus, Grasshopper!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. That means there’s been a lot going on. Spring was nuts with setting up a new on-line course at MSU, doing my first Potters’ Guild Sale, teaching at Interlochen, learning and working at the Potters’ Guild as a VP (apprentice), and creating work for the January exhibit at Lansing Art Gallery. Too many hats to focus well on any one item.

Last week I realized that the Potters’ Guild work and the exhibit work were becoming a muddle in my head. I was trying to create work that would work for both the LAG exhibit and the VP exhibit, both of which take place in January. A little AHA moment helped separate the two…focus on one area at a time…I don’t have to do everything with every piece I make.

So…for the Guild work I want to focus on form…getting basic shapes and skills down. Lids that fit, handles that stick, shapes that are elegant, glazes that enhance those shapes. Seems simple, but it’s still an almost overwhelming puzzle for me. So many options. So little understanding of what happens when I use which glazes together and in which order and on which clay. Such a crap shoot till some systems get down, but I do love the mystery and the exploration.

The LAG show is starting to fall into place.

Deb Cholewicki and I are doing this exhibit together and we have been comparing notes. It’s exciting to see the cool things she is doing and have those trigger thoughts of what I might do next in response. This is why the exhibit is called “Echo”.

I love that in nature there are nooks and crannies everywhere and that things find their way into them…stones, bugs, nests, pine needles. These are intimate little places that take slow and close observation to appreciate. Below is a little ceramic piece of such a space. There will be more.


This summer will be the big push for the LAG exhibit. I can’t wait to get down to it and stay in that zone for awhile…be able to look at the big arc as well as the individual elements.

Evolution of an Illustration

I thought it might be interesting to post the various stages of an image while I’m working on it. I hope it is.

This piece was done for the MSU School of Music’s upcoming production of La Boheme. The impetus for style is the historical time-frame for the production and elements were pulled from the set design.

Once the sketch was approved I drew the image on 140# Arches hotpress paper, soaked and stretched it. You can still see the mottling from the water. This is the time to put in a background wash.


At first I want to establish the key values and cool/warm range. We were aiming for a Toulouse L’autrec palette.


Next I wanted to get a feel for how much washy paint I wanted and what flat areas. I also needed to test how to handle outlining. I was looking at old prints, but did not want to copy style, just pull some of the feel.


Since the roses play such a big role, getting their color in place was important and would drive the rest of the piece.


With such a light-touch on the wash, doing the face was scary…no room for error!


This is the finished art I submitted.


It was asked to make the woman prettier and smiling. I could not make the changes on the original art without changing the entire look of the face. It would have had to become opaque to allow coverage of the old features and adjustments. So, I went to PhotoShop. I felt like a plastic surgeon…nip and tuck.

This is the final image which will appear on the poster. I have to admit I prefer the original, but if my client’s happy, I’m happy.