Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pasadena Museum of California Art

Block printing is one of my most appreciated art techniques. The Pasadena Museum of California Art has an awesome exhibit through the end of January. Behold the Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart is a beautiful display of this artform.

There are two segments to the show, first Gearhart's children's book and then her landscapes. For the children's book "Let's Play," there are 19 prints of kids - you guessed it - playing plus a progressive set where you see the seven layers of color used to build an image.

Before I could really grasp that whole process, the landscape portion starts, and I was further blown away. The landscapes are stunning! I counted more than 70 prints of California coastlines, mountain scenes, trees, and rock formations in watercolors. Then I began thinking about the layers of colors to create these images, and my head was spinning. In this picture (taken of the lobby signage as photography isn't allowed in the gallery) the blue, green, orange, purple, and black had to be planned in reverse and cut out individually to make this image.

My former Cubicle Neighbor, who is a scientific illustrator and artist extraordinaire, patiently explained to me the painstaking process of making the individual layers and assuring they fit together. Now when I see shows like this, I am even more astonished by the output. Thanks, CN, for adding immensely to my appreciation of this artwork!

Click here to go to their Web site.

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