Tag Archives: Joe Max Emminger

ONE SUN ONE MOON

Wren, Oregon — Early Monday morning we slipped under the wire fence and climbed a hillside cow pasture, then watched while the light dimmed and crickets tuned up their fiddles.

famonhill

As the moon slipped in front of the sun, the skies darkened to indigo and the most wondrous jewel was revealed, hanging in the sky where the sun had been – a total solar eclipse. We were transfixed.

myphotoeclipse

Then roosters crowed and the skies began to lighten again.

Over the next hours, as the eclipse moved coast to coast across America, millions of people shared our gobsmacked, goosebumped wonder.

Eclipses have amazed humans for a long time. Ancient Mesopotamian warriors who witnessed a solar eclipse on May 28, 585 BC interrupted a longstanding war between the Medes and the Lydians. They saw the eclipse as an omen. Fighting immediately stopped and they agreed to a truce.

For modern scientists, this eclipse offered a chance to study the sun’s corona. A Nova special which included film of Monday’s event, detailed how scientists are trying to understand the forces that impact coronal heating – the surface of the sun is 10,000 degrees but the corona can heat up to 1 million degrees.

ourshirts

We gathered in a field near my sister Kate’s house. She labeled it a “Partial Reunion Total Eclipse,” and made t-shirts based on our LITTLE WOLF’S FIRST HOWLING artwork. Note the wolves wear protective sunglasses and the white ink glows in the dark.

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Monday’s eclipse may have been the most photographed event in the history of mankind.

My friend, photographer Max Waugh got some amazing shots from Central Oregon.

Solar Eclipse Composite

Solar Eclipse Composite

See more of Max’s images here: Max Waugh

In Seattle, my friend Karen captured the effect of the eclipse on leaf shadows in her driveway.

Another friend, Melanie, set up an Optical Sun Projector with binoculars and snapped photos as the reflection crossed a screen. She explained: “The binoculars are set up on a tripod, facing the sun. One lens is occluded to allow for one image. This will project a reflection onto a screen. I made my screen out of white black-out fabric and made a little tent over to help balance light.” The image on the right takes into account a cloud passing by.

Before the advent of photography, artists painted the eclipse. A current exhibit at the Princeton Art Museum includes the paintings of Howard Russell Butler, whose “scrupulously accurate paintings” captured the colors in the corona. Check out his methods here. http://artmuseum.princeton.edu/transient-effects

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I was proud of the moon on her Big Day. I am a longtime fan. I wear a crescent moon necklace. Joe Max Emminger’s painting of a tender moon hangs in our entry

joemax

and Margaret Chodos-Irvine’s moon series hangs over the piano — where the chart for “How High the Moon,” stands ready.

mci

The moon has a starring role in my picture books, too. The highpoint of FRANK AND IZZY SET SAIL, where they sing to the stars, features a crescent moon,

F&I.31

and Kate’s and my latest, LITTLE WOLF’S FIRST HOWLING, is all about howling the full moon to the top of the sky. I love how Kate painted the moonlight into our book.

LW5C 0204 2

This eclipse was incredible, even more incredible when you think it is only possible because the sun and moon appear the same size in Earth’s sky because the sun’s diameter is about 400 times greater – but the sun is also about 400 times farther away. The disc of the moon fits perfectly over the sun.

Like the millions of others who witnessed Monday’s eclipse, I was filled with wonder when the temperatures dropped, the sky darkened and the beautiful jewel appeared. Quite a memorable Partial Reunion Total Eclipse.

finalimage

 

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Books Across the Ocean

Edward Bawden tote bagFaithful readers of this blog will know that I was in London last week, along with my husband Joe. We stayed with Margaret, Bradley and Clare. They were generous hosts and brilliant guides.IMG_0270They fed our stomachs, eyes, hearts and minds.IMG_0324It will take a while to digest everything!IMG_0463We saw so much, including many wonderful old and new books.IMG_0194Here are a few book covers and illustrations from the trip.
Old:punch

IMG_0141Older:bestiariumNewish birds from Edward Bawden (1903-1989):Edward BawdenAnd cats, also from Edward Bawden:Edward BawdenEdward BawdenEdward BawdenWe took a side trip to Amsterdam where we saw some volksvertelsels (folk tales). Old…books in Amsterdamand new (Beautiful Griselda illustrated by Isol):GriseldeHere are images from De Direntoen: a Netherlands edition of a book by André Hellé called Drôles de Bêtes, originally published in 1911 in Paris.andre helleandre helle IMG_0200andre helleandre helleandre helleandre helleBack in London: old games at the Sunbury Flea Market.IMG_0444IMG_0421 (1)IMG_0413 (1)This is just a taste of what we saw. Right now I am feeling jet-lagged, but replete.Bawden backwardsHow many miles to London town?
Four score and ten.
Can you get there by candle light?
Aye – and back again.Museum of childhood V and A

Color Full

Recently I found a tube of Cobalt Blue gouache and I swooned.
Paschkis parrotsI painted several blue paintings.
Paschkis Everything-is-connected

Painting is always a matter of choosing one color to go next to another, and lately I’ve been carried away by the sheer pleasure of doing that.

Paschkis small possibilities and parrots

 

 

Sometimes when I look at other people’s paintings I can feel the artist swooning from the pleasure of the colors. (Angel by Paul Klee).

klee angel899

This image by Borghese di Pietro Borghese was painted in 1448, and the pink still astounds.                                                                                                     .

Borghese

 

In Melissa Sweet’s illustration from Firefly July each shade of pink adds to the ones around it . The greens are gifts to the pinks and vice versa.                          .

melissa sweet moonlight

 

Georgia O’Keeffe experienced synesthesia. She heard colors. This is a collage illustration from Through Georgia’s Eyes by Rachel Rodriguez. Rachel said that O’Keeffe walked through the hills, humming the colors she saw.                                     .

Through Georgia's Eyes paschkis

Do you hear the reds in Margaret Chodos’s illustration for Buzz by Janet Wong?
chodos irvine buzz
The little red triangle says AHA to the orange and yellow/green in this paintingby Douglas Florian.                                                                                               .

florian
Radio Lab has a podcast all about COLOR, rich in information. One fact: butterflies (and pigeons and lampreys) have pentachromacy and can see many more colors than people .                                                                                                  .

paschkis butterflies see
In addition to the physical capacity to see a color (rods and cones etc.) your brain and your eye also need practice and coordination. When you learn a new language it takes time for your brain to learn the sounds that it hears. The same is true with visual perceptions. If you have never seen the color blue you will not be able to see it even if you have the physical ability to do so. Here is a landscape without blue, by Paul Klee- just lush oranges, reds and greens.

klee with the eagle
In Seattle right now there are blossoming trees, bushes and flowers everywhere- a profusion of color, light and shadow. Are humans hardwired for these colors and contrasts to give us joy? These cherry blossoms are from Maira Kalman.

mairakalman

This painting by Klee (below) is called Blossoming.                                                   .

klee blossoming

The podcast used a choir to illustrate the harmony and depth of colors. The bass note of  dark colors brings out the soprano yellow and white. Bright boats and buildings sparkle in the alto fog in this illustration by Melissa Sweet.                     .melissa sweet fog

Pink and green add harmony to the red and blue duet in this bouquet by Joe Max Emminger.

joe max emminger bouquet

And finally here is a swooping, swooning, humming landscape from Matisse.

matisse acanthes

I hope you have a color full week.

p.s. I am having a show at the Bitters Co. Barn in Mt. Vernon, WA , opening on May 9th. Please come by if you are in the area.

Wings

Birds placemat

“Birds have wings; they’re free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.” – Roger Tory Peterson

I must be one of those people to whom the famed naturalist was alluding. I find that things with wings, especially bird wings, have a special attraction. Real birds fascinate me. How they have evolved, the way they communicate, their behavior. And of course, how they move. This attraction extends to other winged creatures as well – angels, putti, mythological characters. Anything with wings on it seems imbued with magic.

Cherubs-Neopolitan-mid 18th c

Have you watched the PortlandiaPut A Bird On It” skit? Now, I enjoy the humor in that show as only a true urban Northwesterner can, but since that episode aired, I can no longer indulge my bird love without a twinge of shame. Damn them. Don’t they understand that we just envy birds’ mobility?

M Chodos-Irvine -Get Out Of Jail Free charm

So bear with me while I bare my feathered soul.

There is something about birds that I find comfort in. I don’t collect birds like a philatelist collects stamps. Rather, such items accumulate around me like pigeons around a cafe. They inspire me. Why shouldn’t I want bird imagery on things I have around me in my nest, so to speak?

Such as outside my window, on a metalwork piece by artist Deborah Mersky.

Deborah Mersky-Crow metal hanging

Or on the walls of my home, as in one of my favorite paintings by Joe Max Emminger, “Bird Moon.”

Joe Max Emminger-Bird Moon

And on jewelry.

MOP bird pin

Blue bird and moon pin

Winged school bus pin

Japanese bird badge mount set

I also have amassed a large number of bird related postcards.

I H Jungnickel-Der Hahn als Festordner

Bill Reid-Haida-Raven and the First Men

Pablo Picasso-The Dove

Claude Coats-Disney production image for Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

Crows-detail of Japanese screen-c 1650

Ruan Sidi-Jinshan folk art-Ducks Eat Rice

Along with this page from a Mary Poppins “Magic Paintless and Dot-to-Dot” coloring book by J. LaGrotta and E. Eringer for Disney Inc.

J LaGrotta and E Eringer-Disney Mary Poppins Magic Paintless and Dot-to-Dot

Of course, the works some of my favorite children’s book illustrators have wings too.

Julie Paschkis:Julie Paschkis-Word Bird-Flutter and Hum

Leo Lionni:Leo Lionni-Tico and the Go copy

Lizbeth Zwerger:Lizbeth Zwerger-Swan Lake

Wood engraving is a beautiful medium for portraying the delicacy of feathers. These are some of my favorite prints in that medium.

Sarah van Niekerk:Sarah van Niekerk-Jacobins in a Bay Tree

Eileen Mayo:Eileen Mayo-Two Doves-1958

John Buckland-Wright:John Buckland-Wright -Endymion-1943

This is a wood engraving of the sculpture of the Winged Victory of Samothrace by an uncredited illustrator, used as an advertisement for air power. It came from the now defunct scrap file at the Central branch of the Seattle Public Library.

Winged Victory of Samothrace-Airlines determine the destiny of nations-artist unknown

There are wings of inspiration in all sorts of places. I took this photo of some old airline signage from the Boeing Museum of Flight.

Boeing logo bird arrow

I went to Paris recently. Paris has wings everywhere you look.

Winged monument Paris

Winged Victory statue Paris

Wall decor painting - Louvre

So by now it shouldn’t surprise anyone that bird imagery shows up often in my work.

M Chodos-Irvine -Dreamer

M Chodos-Irvine -Cycnus

It helps to have some good reference materials. I have accumulated a number of  bird books, but there are a few that I use often. Birds In Flight, by Carrol L. Henderson, has excellent photos of birds on the wing. Any bird book by Roger Tory Peterson will be good. The World of Birds, by Peterson and James Fisher has good structural information, such as this page on the anatomy of the wing.

R T Peterson-wing anatomy

The “How To Draw” series from the 40s includes a handy instruction book on drawing and painting birds.

How To Draw and Paint Birds cover

Hunt makes it look so easy.

Lynn Bogue Hunt-How to Draw and Paint Birds-pg 14

Audubon’s illustrations are fun to peruse. His birds are placed in the most awkward positions, yet they are graceful in their own torqued way. I guess this is what you get when you are drawing from death, rather than life.

Audubon-White-tailed Kite

Birds and wings and feathered things. They tell a story of flight, of soaring, and of freedom. May they inspire you to make great art. Or at least put a bird on something.

Jean Honore Fragonard-The Cage

Picnic

sip the roses, anonymous artist, 1809

In 1809 John Roscoe published The Butterfly’s Birthday which included the following advice (still good today):

roscoe advice

Beautiful summer days are meant for pleasure.

kite and garland 1825

And picnics with friends.

Our New Friends by Joe Max Emminger

Our New Friends by Joe Max Emminger

You never know who will show up.

Sylvester by William Steig

Sylvester by William Steig

Don’t bring too much to a picnic.

On Market Street: words by Arnold Lobel and pictures by Anita Lobel 1981

On Market Street: words by Arnold Lobel and pictures by Anita Lobel 1981

It helps to have a picnic basket.

August Picnic by Julie Paschkis

August Picnic by Julie Paschkis

If you bring raspberry tarts, make sure there are enough for everyone.

Raspberries by Jay O'Callahan, illustrated by WIll Moses 2009

Raspberries by Jay O’Callahan, illustrated by WIll Moses 2009

Sometimes I am too lazy to make elaborate food for a picnic. Watermelon with lime juice squeezed on it is delicious and takes no effort.

Julie Paschkis fruitful

Sometimes you don’t need food at all.

Collage by Richard Kehl

 Richard Kehl

A bonfire is the best way to end a summer evening.

Orlando the Marmalade Cat by Kathleen Hale 1938

Orlando the Marmalade Cat by Kathleen Hale 1938

I hope you are having fun summer days filled with excursions and picnics. If you have ideas for the perfect food or book to bring on a picnic, please comment.

She Sells Sea Shells, Seymour Chwast 2008

She Sells Sea Shells, Seymour Chwast 2008

Snakes

Julie Paschkis Catkin illustrationFebruary 10th is the first day of the Chinese New Year, and 2013 is the Year of the Water Snake. Julie Paschkis from Imaginary Menagerie

Snakes are often feared and disliked, but they do have some good qualities.

Here is a family portrait with snake by my husband, Joe Max Emminger.Joe Max Emminger painting

Snakes are fun to draw. This pen drawing was done by John Coates in 1916.John H. Coates snake 1916

Snakes move beautifully. This illustration is by Ivan Bilibin.The pattern gives the snake direction and dimension; without it the snake would almost be a blob.bilibin snake Snakes fit into small spaces.wolfli snakeThis drawing is by Adolf Wolfli who fills up every space.

Snakes survive in harsh environments, and they take care of themselves. J. Paschkis 2006Colonial Americans had a flag with the slogan “Don’t tread on me.”. This is my 2006 version.

Here is a poem by Julie Larios which celebrates snakes, dumplings and the street food of Beijing. I illustrated it with cut paper. I painted the paper before creating the paper cut.Paschkis and Larios

So in honor of reptilian virtues let’s welcome the Year of the Snake. Please comment with your thoughts about snakes in life, snakes in art and what the Year of the Snake will bring.

Apple Cake

I have a new book out this week – Apple Cake!  

A few winters ago I was fooling around in my studio and painted this man in a treetop.

I wanted to write a story for the character in the tree, but the only words that came to mind were recipes. So I decided to illustrate a recipe.

My great-grandmother Lily Jane Powell made a simple apple pudding cake. Her daughter made it for my mother. My mother made it for our family. My sisters, my brother and I all make it now. It is the only cake recipe that I know by heart. I love the cake, and the cake carries love through time.

I thought it would be funny to have the text stick as closely as possible to the straightforward text of a recipe while the art veered away wildly. This is the first picture I painted for the book.

Alfonso takes an egg and adds it to the bowl.

He adds a little salt.

The first ingredient for this book was a painting which I did alone in the studio. The second was a family recipe.  Painting is solitary but books are collaborative; this book would not have been possible without the work and critical input of Reka Simonsen, Linda Pratt, Christine Kettner, Margaret, Laura and Julie.They all made it a better story.  Everybody stirred the batter, even though just one person shows.

Many thanks.

The book also led me back to the studio. My husband, Joe Max Emminger, and I are having a show together called Feast. It opened last night. You can read more about it and see pictures at our show blog.

It’s feast or famine in this world: this week has been a feast.