Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hog Island Audubon Camp and the Audubon Artist Residency

It's hard to believe that I've been in Maine for almost two months now. That familiar dichotomy of just arrived/been here forever has taken hold and I find myself conflicted, as always, about the approaching transition back to the west.

Here at Hog Island Audubon Camp we just wrapped up another action-packed Educators Week. Fifty teacher-naturalists from across the educational spectrum gathered on the island and spent 5 days learning about the natural history of Maine and sharing ideas about how to bring their enthusiasm for the natural world back to their communities.

It's hands-on for camp participants and their subjects

My friend Trudy finds a mini-island in the middle of the trail and
uses it to explain natural succession

Sing it with me now:
The forest is a wonderful place
A place to find frogs and snakes
I wanna see a salamander's face
The forest is a wonderful place

Journal-building! Stab-bound books are always fun.

There are a zillion images to share about the Hog Island experience, but I don't want miss an opportunity to share our Artist-in-Residence program. Full disclosure: I am the program coordinator, so my excitement about it is sort of a given, but it's the unexpected results of sharing the island with campers and artists simultaneously that really gets me going.

We've had three Artists-in-Residence so far this year, writer Rachel Dickinson, painter Michael Boardman, and photographer Daniel Grenier. Watercolorist Judy Boyd will join us in August.

Dan Grenier was with us these last two weeks, working on a project connecting people who work behind the scenes for the environment to place. He made thoughtful portraits of campers and staff, but not just digital snapshots. Oh, no no no! Check this out:

Photographer-in-Residence Dan Grenier and his large format Linhof camera

We're excited to see the end results of his work, but of course we'll all have to wait... Dan included! I like to think of Hog Island and the Audubon Artist Residency as a bit of a throwback to slower, more thoughtful times, and Dan's project as well as his antique cameras and generous energy were a perfect fit. (Thanks for a great two weeks!)

The application period for the Summer 2018 Residency season will open in mid-October. Check out the information for yourself or someone you know, we'd love to welcome you to the island next year!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Print fun in Massachusetts!

It's my first morning back in Maine after almost a week at the Museum of American Bird Art (MABA) in Canton, Massachusetts. This past weekend ten inspired and inspiring participants joined me on a journey into reduction linocut; we had a great time and they did some great work!

Before that workshop began, however, I got to spend a little time working with students at MABA's Wild at Art Summer Camp, a program for kids age 4-13. They had been using pollinators as their creative inspiration, so butterflies, bees, bats, and birds were the theme for collagraph prints.

The following morning the over-18 set arrived for an intense two days of linocutting. Most had never tried linoleum block prints, and those who had done block prints before had generally not picked up a tool since high school. (Except for one who hadn't picked up their tools since they worked with me last year. Ahem. JP, I'm looking at you. ;-))

We spent a half day getting acquainted with tools, carving, inking, and printing by creating some linocut "samplers."

These were great fun, and it was fascinating to see the variety of marks and textures everyone achieved.

Armed with a little experience and some new ideas we jumped on in to reduction printing. It pleased me to watch the smoke coming out of my students' ears as they wrestled their brain cells into the world of inside-out-and-backwards that is relief printing.

The only disappointment to the weekend was that the instructor (ahem) did a lousy job of photographing everyone's work! But here are a few images that show the range of approaches, from geometric abstracts to intricately textured seascapes.

Many thanks again to the staff at the Museum of American Bird Art for hosting the workshop and to the fun and enthusiastic participants. I hope to see you again next year!