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It is the start of the busy summer season in Alaska. Lupines are blooming, swallows are sitting on eggs, and goslings are teetering about eating grass in Potter Marsh. Before it all gets too crazy I wanted to share some of the things I'll be doing this summer.
Since last fall I’ve been making cyanotypes from my drawings, which I’ve written about here a few times over the past year. It’s a work in progress, which I am continuing to develop, but I wanted to share some of what I have finished so far, and some of my thoughts behind it. This collection of images, Encounters with the Spirit World, is a series of cyanotype prints of animals and plants that are spiritually significant to me. In creating the drawings that I print from, and the handling of the printing process, I try to connect with the soul and essence of my subjects.
How it is that I haven’t posted on this blog since mid-February? Sometimes time just slips away, or flies away. So I decided to write a quick update to fill you in on the happenings at Kristin Illustration since then.
Like the engineers of the pre-digital age, I was also looking for a low-cost and relatively simple way to reproduce my drawings. I like the idea of blueprints because they still feel handmade and I can use the outside environment (sun and water) to make them. I’ve written several posts about how I started experimenting with cyanotypes during an artist residency with Joshua Tree National Park. In this post I wanted to focus more on the process I’ve been using.
I completed a double major in studio art and environmental studies with a focus in conservation biology in 2008, and decided to do my thesis in art. We could choose if we wanted to do a thesis or not and I was really looking forward to having my own studio and basically getting to do whatever I wanted with artwork for an entire year. That seemed like a lot of fun, and sure it was, but I think it was also one of my hardest classes ever.
Last year I wrote an end of year post summarizing many of the projects that I worked on, I want to do something similar again because I haven’t been diligent about documenting my work online. In 2016 I got to try some new things (like illustrating a coloring book and teaching in Savoonga) and I’m excited to share that with you. I also have some ideas for this year that I’m excited to talk about.
I want to wish you a happy winter solstice. This is an important day when you live at northern (or southern) latitudes. Some people tell me that I’m weird, but I absolutely love December in Alaska. I especially love Decembers on the Nizina River, where I live in a little off-the-grid cabin, in the middle of the Wrangell-St. Elias. There are limitations that come with this lifestyle and this time of year, but as a creative person, I think limitations can be healthy.
This fall I was selected to be one of six artists to spend three weeks as a resident at the Lost Horse Ranger Cabin in Joshua Tree National Park. Let me say here that it would be easier to write an artists blog about successes, and finished pieces. However what I really enjoy reading about is the process and the struggle to get to that point of creating finished work. A part of me wanted to save this post for later, when I had more time to finish what I started during my artist residency. Then you could see the end result and probably part of the story of how I got there. But today I am sharing the story of unfinished work.
One of my first tasks was to get back in the studio and finish off two pieces for an exhibit about gold for the Well Street Art Company in Fairbanks. The only requirement for the show, which is organized by Elizabeth Eero Irving, was that the images use shiny gold color. I used a Lascaux Artist Metallic acrylic paint with watercolor, gouache, and drawing materials.
Last Monday I sat down at my desk and thought, today is the first day of my new job. I’ve had an exciting fall. After completing my artist residency at Joshua Tree National Park, (which I promise to tell you more about soon!), I came back to Alaska to scramble like crazy before leaving for another month to raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.