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Monday, August 17, 2015

Wind At My Back

Every year my wife and I enter various competitions in the creative arts building at the Erie County Fair (Hamburg, NY). We've been doing it for close to 15 years now, and love it every year. It's a pleasure to see such great art and craft work by our neighbors, and I'd be lying if it isn't a thrill to see a ribbon on your work. This year our craft work didn't collect any ribbons, but I was pretty surprised to find that not only did "Sweet Breeze" breeze into port flying a bright blue flag, but a green one as well. The green denotes a special prize, usually from one of the sponsors of the competition ("Autumn Camper" from a few years ago received a green from Hyatt's art supplies). And a first for me was a ribbon -- blue no less -- (AND a green) for a photograph taken at the Fair last year.

If you get a chance to attend the Fair this year, please stop by and see all of the great work from your friends and neighbors, and if you have a creative bent, PLEASE pledge to participate next year. You'll be glad you did!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Toon In, Turn On

I wonder what you, Dear Reader, must think of my frequent and lengthy absences from this blog. Mayhaps you think I'm fishing by some flower-wreathed waterfall in Maui; maybe you picture me gnawing pencils at my desk, feverishly trying to come up with the next woodcut. Maybe you've glanced at the obituaries (jeesh! But thanks for checking!). While it's closer to choice two (and as far away as can be from one (sigh), I'm actually very busy in these breaks.

During this particular break, I had an operation to repair a hernia, my second. I'd hoped to use my time off to work on artwork; however, the discomfort and medication saw an end to that fantasy. At to that a raging strep throat infection immediately following surgery kept me from even thinking of art.

But through it all, and over the course of these last few years, I have been immersed in self-education, focusing squarely on cartooning. I first became interested in cartooning in 1990, but other than constant doodling, I never took it seriously. Throughout my printmaking career, I often found myself drawing out cartoony images, but I usually never made them into prints (well, once: 2005 I did a Che Guevara wearing a McDonald's visor). Over the last few years I've really become an avid student of the form, but I've been doing more bookwork and theory than actual drawing, save at work, where management looks down on my doodle-covered files. The studying hasn't been part of some grand career plan; rather, I've just been interested.

Then a few months ago I participated in print exchange through Baren Forum. You may recall that I commented that it was my second design choice, and that my first choice was a cartoon I thought might be a little risque (I'm an idiot). Anyway, that cartoon led me to looking through a pile of papers I keep with little creative bits scrawled on them, and they were mostly ideas for cartoons. So, I decided to finally start drawing, which is where I am now.

So, this "Snowfight" cartoon is my very first finished cartoon. I'm happy to share it with you, and all of Erie County, as it's my entry into the drawing class in the creative arts competition at the Erie County Fair. I also have a woodcut print, "Sweet Breeze," in the show as well. Hope to see you there!