Thursday, June 27, 2013

John Cage rediscovers Thoreau on a visit with Wendell Berry:
I've kicked off this project with a workshop at Crown Point Press in San Francisco. I thought that a series of prints or a book of prints could possibly be the form that the work generated by the mights might take. However, seeing as I knew nothing about printmaking (or rather remember nothing about printmaking from undergrad days), I thought it might be fine idea to brush up. And what better place than where John Cage, Tom Marioni, Sol Lewitt, Richard Diebenkorn, Julie Mehretu, etc., etc. made/make prints. Thanks to a grant from the Framingham State University Center for Education Learning Teaching Scholarship and Service (or something like that...CELTSS), I am in San Francisco making prints at Crown Point Press. 

I came with no fixed idea of what I would work on, less concerned with images than with process and
ideas.  I've taken as source images things at the periphery of attention... tape on the floor or press, shavings from deburring plates, etc.  While this may seem all too cerebral, I find it to be wonderfully organic and in keeping with my process/practice. It's a "what it is, is what it means" point of view.

These are the flatfiles for a bit of historical context.

Adrian pulling my first print.

Plate inked and ready for chine colle.

Outside the Aquatint room.

Copper plate inked and ready for the press... I'm going for deep, dark blacks. 

Plates in  process. Blocked out with Asphaltum.

My work station.

Workshoppers at work.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A word on the GPS Drawing tool. It employs an Arduino microprocessor. You can check them out at:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The GPS Drawing Device

Here's the GPS that John Anderson ( built for me. When I approached John, last fall, about creating some sort of drawing device, I was thinking, at first, about a wooden box with a rolling pen in it that I could wear around my waist that would make drawings based on my gait as I walked. But, I've got to hand it to him. He took this on as a challenge. John immersed himself in this with total engagement. He first tried to think up a mechanical means, but the more he thought about it and the more we talked about it, it became clear that the thing needed to be digital. I'll be wearing this thing on my hat as it needs to lie flat and exposed to satellites. Next step is some industrial strength velcro. So if you see someone on a trail in New England with a blinking light on his head, don't be alarmed, that's just me... drawing.

GPS Drawing Device built by John Christian Anderson

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Welcome to Walking Is Drawing

Welcome to Walking Is Drawing. I'm Tim McDonald, an artist and Associate Professor of Art at Framingham State University in Framingham, MA. This blog will document my sabbatical project which I just this moment titled Walking Is Drawing. Over the next several months I will be walking the mountains that Henry David Thoreau walked in (and around) New England. I will make art based on this experience. What form it will take is as yet unknown to me. Paintings, collages, drawings, video, photography, field recordings... all of these? Maybe none of these.

There are 11 mountains and 15 walks. While I follow Thoreau's footsteps, I'll be tracking my movements with a GPS device built by my colleague at Framingham, sculpture professor John Anderson, a sculptor, animator, cyclist,  and all around mensch. The device will allow the mountains themselves to participate in the making of drawings. This is in keeping with the chance-based work I've been making over the past few years. Whether it is using fire or melting ice to make a drawing or using found materials in collage, I try to impose myself as little as possible on the material... kind of taking the "capital A" art out of the art-making process. The drawing below was made with ink and melting ice.

burning, ink, charcoal on paper
41 x 30 inches

Over the course of several months I'll be documenting my progress. I'm very excited about the possibilities inherent to this project/process. I'm kicking off the project with a printmaking workshop at Crown Point Press in San Francisco next week. John Cage, composer, writer, thinker, visual artist, student of zen, and user of Chance Operations in his artistic practice, made prints at Crown Point and some of his first work there incorporated sketches from Thoreau's journals. In a way, I feel as though I'm sharing a trail with them both. Stay tuned!