Here are two prints I did in 2009, while I was living in Michigan’s upper peninsula. I was taking an art class at a little local community college, which turned into an independent study, which led to me being part of a committee to start a gallery in the college’s basement.
I moved on from that town, but being on that gallery team was great. We wanted to paint a room, put up lighting and host the kind of art displays we’d always wanted to see. We were a little judgy – this town needed some high-class art, and we were obviously the people who were going to bring it to them. But we were also just excited. We wanted to have a space open for people to try their own thing, a stage for music, maybe a projector for movies. Heck, we even kicked around the idea of a coffee shop.
I moved before it got past the planning stages and I wasn’t sure if it ever came to anything. But it turns out the group kept on. They opened the gallery about a year ago with a student exhibit of charcoal sketches. Very, very cool. I’m glad I moved, but I wish I could have been around for that gallery opening.
I did these two paintings with watercolor and Sakura micro ink pens. The gallery committee was talking about doing an exhibit that embraced the place where we were living, with its pine forests, deer and wolves.
It wasn’t all idealized wilderness. The deer had a bad habit of treating speeding cars like long-lost family members they wanted to hug and half the town was lobbying for the right to shoot the (endangered) wolves on sight. But if you let go of the gritty day-to-day reality, you remembered that there was a reason you couldn’t look away from these animals when you saw them, or get enough of hiking in those woods.
So deer, wolf. The extra lines are part of how I draw, and I thought they added a little movement. Then I added some geometric shapes, because, I don’t know, this was supposed to be a high-class gallery, and nature and geometry are a fancy pair because juxtaposing, or something?
I’d like to think that when professional artists are asked to explain the things the make, they sound as incoherent and full of nonsense as I do. But that couldn’t possibly be the case.
But I’m not a professional artist, so I don’t feel bad about saying: I think that deer painting would look great writ large on a T-shirt.