Gardenia Riot

Gardenias are incredibly beautiful, delicate and fragrant flowers. We have three large plants in separate pots on our patio. They flowered beyond our wildest dreams this year–we were completely overwhelmed with white blossoms and their heady perfume. Of course, I’ve been photographing them a lot–but this spring I was so taken with them that I simply had to use them as subject matter for some drawings and prints.

This one was simply perfect!
Wishing you could smell the amazing fragrance!

Most people know I can’t do things halfway (yes–I am just a little obsessive)–and right now I’ve got 5 new print editions based on my gardenia photos and drawings. There will be a few more print editions and maybe even a painting or two. Here is a look at a small portion of the work I’ve been making. There are dozens more computer-generated ideas, color studies and patterns.

Gardenia; ink on paper; 2019
Gardenia Stripe; Ink on paper; 2019.
Gardenia Stripe Mirrored; ink on paper; 2019. This drawing will soon find it’s way onto the press as a photopolymer print with a split fountain color background.

And now for the prints…they are based on the first simple line drawing of the gardenia above. Future prints will be based on the second drawing with the two different stripe widths. The 5 editions (below) were all printed by Brent Bond of Santo Press this past month. Brent selected the colors for Gardenia Riot Pulse and all I can say is WOW!

Gardenia Riot Lace; 2019; photopolymer relief; image size 12 x 9.5 inches on paper 16.5 x 13.5 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press; $150.00.
Gardenia Riot Pulse; 2019; photopolymer relief with split fountain; image size 12 x 9.5 inches on paper 16.5 x 13.5 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press; $150.00.
Hot Gardenia Riot; 2019; photopolymer relief with split-fountain ground; image size 12 x 9.5 inches on paper 16.5 x 13.5 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press, $200.00.
Gardenia Riot Blue; 2019; photopolymer relief with flat background bleed print; image size 12 x 19.5 inches; edition of 50; printed by Santo Press. A.P.s available for $100.00
Gardenia; 2019; laser-cut linoleum block with photopolymer relief; image size 9 x 9 inches on paper 13.5 x 13 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press; $150.00.
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1967 Swirl

Today I completed a new painting 1967 Swirl that will also be made into a relief print by Brent Bond at Santo Press. The painting is a combination of two patterns that meld The Sixties series with my Swirls series.

The idea was haphazardly generated in my sketchbook when I collaged both patterns on one page. I really liked how it worked and after mulling it over, decided to push it further.

I wanted the pattern to be a very “clean” image (unlike the above collage) knowing that I wanted to make a laser-cut relief print out of it. So, I bit the bullet, and made as precise an ink rendering as I could manage of a one-quarter section of the pattern.

The above ink drawing was then scanned and mirrored in Photoshop.

And then I painted it…

The finished acrylic gouache painting is 15.75 x 20 inches (on paper 18.5 x 22.5 inches).

Look for the print (which will be smaller) to be released in a month or so.

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Carnegie, PA: I ♥ You!

I recently had an opportunity to visit my daughter and son-in-law in Pittsburgh.


Perhaps I should be more honest about the real reason I went to Pittsburgh.  I went there to see my new baby granddaughter! (Sorry, Emily and Michael!) She is also the reason I have taken a small “vacation” from blogging and posting things on my FB artist page.  I just had to hold that sweet little girl in my arms for as long as possible every single day!

Anyway, I arrived at the PIT airport close to dinnertime. And because it was on our way home, we decided to stop in Carnegie (a Pittsburgh neighborhood) to eat at Papa J’s Ristorante, a favorite place of ours for some yummy Italian food. (Just thinking about their fried zucchini strips with marinara and lemon has me salivating into my keyboard).

We had a little time to spare before dinner, so we strolled around the neighboring area.  I am really glad I had my camera with me ( I always have a camera with me) because Carnegie is a treasure trove of uber cool grit and grunge just waiting to be photographed.

I am a sucker for any sort of urban scene; the more grunge, graffiti, grit and grime the better!  I fell in love with that sort of thing while living in Center City Philadelphia. Anything crumbling, decrepit, cracked, peeling or rusty leaves me weak in the knees. And let me just say this for the record, downtown Carnegie, PA has all that in spades! Here is just a small sampling of close to 50 photographs I managed to snap in about 15 minutes of wandering around the streets of Carnegie.  I must go back soon. In fact,  my next trip is already booked.

FYI: If you want see what I am up to on a regular basis check out my photos on Instagram.

Wooden Panel; Carnegie PA by Janet TowbinWooden Door Panel, Carnegie; 2014; Digital Photography

307 Carnegie by Janet Towbin307 Carnegie (Yin and Yang); 2014; Digital Photography

Bricks and Dots, Carnegie by Janet TowbinBricks and Dots, Carnegie; 2014; Digital Photography

Carnegie White Wall by Janet TowbinWhite Wall, Carnegie; 2014; Digital Photography

Peeling White Door, Carnegie by Janet TowbinPeeling White, Carnegie; 2014; Digital Photography

Mail Pouch Tobacco Brick Wall, Carnegie by Janet TowbinMail Pouch Tobacco Sign, Carnegie; 2014; Digital Photography

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Chalk Wall Wabi Sabi

Another Tuesday spent in the print studio at Mesa and I was able to see (and capture) a few more wonderful chalk abstractions. They appear on a cement wall in the courtyard outside the print studio just for me (I am not kidding–I doubt anyone else notices them!)  Last week’s rain created some interesting nuances; there were drips and smudges in the chalk which, to my mind, made them even more interesting.  To me these wall drawings exemplify the Japanese aesthetic of wabi wabi as they embrace the qualities of impermanence, transience and imperfection.

According to Richard A. Powell, wabi sabi acknowledges “three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” I love that concept and can easily apply it to life, art and beauty.

I also like this quote from Leonard Koren’s book Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, Stone Bridge Press (a book I highly recommend) about how one can achieve wabi sabi in their work: “Pare down to the essence but don’t remove the poetry.” 

I keep wishing I could paint or draw something to resemble these chalk drawings. But I guess I will have to settle for capturing their transient beauty with my digital camera.

ChalkStract by Janet TowbinChalkStract 1, 2014; Digital photography

ChalkStract 2 by Janet TowbinChalkStract 2, 2014; Digital photography

ChalkStract 3  by Janet TowbinChalkStract 3, 2014; Digital photography

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