contact us

Drop us a line!

Use the form on the right or email dowdhousestudios@gmail.com


Alpine, WY, 83128
USA

JDowd_SucculentPots.jpg

Journal

News from Dowd House Studios: places to find our pottery, exhibitions, classes & workshops, new forms and exciting projects.

Filtering by Tag: illustration

Jackson Hole History

Jenny Dowd

Recently the Jackson Hole Historical Museum asked me to create an illustration that would embellish the text accompanying their new exhibition: the History Co-op Corner. This exhibition asks the community as well as visitors to share their Jackson Hole History.

The final illustration is 11 feet long, definitely quite a bit larger than I’m used to working!

This was a challenge to wrap my mind around. A small and very, very rough draft helped me visualize the scale and subject. The drawings needed to add to the text, yet not distract.

I started by thinking in terms of seasons and easily recognizable land formations - from left to right: Winter / Saddle Butte, Spring / Tetons, Summer / Sleeping Indian Mountain, Fall / Snow King.

Since history is past, present, and future I knew it would be important to mix together the contemporary and historical nature of Jackson Hole. After making a list of landmarks, activities, and a few interesting historical objects I translated each into a small cut-out drawing. This gave me something to move around under the text so I could play with relationship and readability.

The scale was a challenge, but since the final image would be scanned, printed onto vinyl and then applied to the wall - I did not need to make the drawing 11 feet long. Instead I made the drawing in 4 sections, at half the size of the final product. The text was printed out and pieced together - so I would roughly know how much space was available around it for the drawings.

After moving around my little cut out drawings I was able to edit and figure out which images made the cut. This was tough - there are so many recognizable images that can be used to illustrate Jackson, plus many activities that people travel to this area for. In the end I had to choose images that would read well from a distance and that could be drawn in silhouette.

I really love this photograph of Jackson’s original school bus, it was one of the first images that I knew needed to be included. It may not be easily recognized as a school bus, however it doesn’t take much research at the Historical Museum to find out what it is!

A few challenges included keeping the line of images from becoming static - I wanted some of the images to break into the space around the letters. Also, there were plenty of items that I had to look up for reference, such as the bus used in Yellowstone National Park.

This is the final drawing with lettering laid over top. And the final version in the museum…

This exhibition invites interaction by asking the community and visitors to participate through answering the question “What is your Jackson Hole History?”

Local Elementary students were asked to draw and write about their Jackson histories and High School students researched and shared an oral history of their families. Postcards are also available for visitors and locals to include their histories in this evolving exhibition.

There is much to explore in this exhibition and it is best experienced in person. I’m honored to have my artwork be part of this display! If you are in the area be sure to stop by and participate.

Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum

225 N Cache, Jackson, WY

Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm

Illustration project sneak peek

Jenny Dowd

I’m excited to share a peek into a project that has been in the works since late last year…

In collaboration with the Culinary Arts Program at Central Wyoming College, located at the Jackson campus and illustrators Jocelyn Slack and Cal Brackin, I’ve been working on a cookbook! The three of us have been illustrating a collection of recipes developed by the culinary arts students.

The end result will be a published cookbook and an exhibition with some of the original illustrations as well as actual recipes made and served during the opening by the students.

Wrapping my head around how to create illustrations for the recipes was a challenge. It didn’t take long to realize that composing the image right there on a piece of paper was causing me to stall out and I would be more confident if working dimensionally.

I thought about the story each recipe told and how to best give visual instructions, then drew the components. After cutting the pieces out I was able to play with the composition and relationship of each object. Some images came from memory, while some- the 1950’s pink convertible- needed a source image.

After the initial composition on scrap paper, I moved onto ink on drawing paper. The next part seemed the most scary- I don’t usually use much color and rarely use watercolor. I had a few drawing drafts that didn’t work out, so they became confidence building practice pieces.

Pictured here- how to chop lemongrass for Thai Masala Squash Soup, Taco Soup, and Asparagus Soup with Cream- for that one I imagined a budding romance between asparagus and a pitcher of cream. (I got sick of my brushes rolling around on the table and making a wet mess, so I made a quick brush holder with foam and push pins. I made a sea monster brush holder out of clay earlier in the summer, but haven’t glazed it yet.)

For some recipes, I picked out a few key ingredients, like a shallot and mint for the Cucumber Mint Salad. Some are more visual how-to’s, like the middle illustration- Winter Vegetable Hash (Scrub veggies before peeling, do not rinse after!) and some are about telling a story- Thai Coconut Rice- gateway to the taste of another country.

The Cuban Chicken recipe was influenced by the grandmother of the chef… so I couldn’t resist a 1950’s pink caddy being driven by a chicken on a mission! The Singapore Fruit Salad made me think of a market full of exotic fruits which led to fruit eager to travel the world. Mixing pasta dough like a volcano of flour filled with eggs… well, that’s my visual definition anyway.

Some recipes got more color than others, I still love the simple black line of pen on paper, so I highlighted that in a few of these drawings. Especially the Meatball Sub- the meatballs are waiting for the toast to be perfect.

I still have several more illustrations to finish, so stay tuned for an update! And if you are in Jackson, be sure to stop by the Theater Gallery in the Center for the Arts to see the exhibition. The work will be on display from October 20 - November 5. The opening reception will be November 2 from 5:30 - 7:30pm. And the cookbook will be available at that time too!

FoundSpace: Update

Jenny Dowd

I'm used to projects offering more challenges than initially expected. Most things are not as simple as they seem, and making working thaumatropes proved that statement true over and over this summer.

Despite, or perhaps because of the difficulties, these are the projects I love the most. In frustration I'll leave my studio to take a walk, returning with another idea that I'm eager to try. I'll turn a difficult project around in my mind while working on something that makes sense- then when that project turns on me I'll go back to the other one.

To read about the first installment check out this past post and to read about the whole FoundSpace project check out this past post.

Thanks to installation by Matt Daly all 12 thaumatropes are now on display until the middle of August at Emily Steven's Park!

I got really serious about making the thaumatropes sturdy and functional, so for this final version each disk spins on an axle. The wood disks are glued and screwed together (learned from another early mistake.) The screws are counter-sunk on the last 4 disks so the drawing surface is smoother.

Each illustration was completed on paper, then transferred to the wooden disk using carbon paper and drawn/painted with acrylic paint pens. The illustration for the mottled sculpin was made on paper as well as vellum so I could check the overlap. When the disk spins both images are visible at once- for this image the mottled sculpin needed to look like he was under water- or more precisely, in a riffle.

After the logistics of creating spinning thaumatropes was figured out, the illustrations came easily as accompaniments to Matt's poems. 

One of the coolest things about working with Matt on this project was learning about these little critters. When I looked up images of the Bushy-tailed Woodrat I also learned that they will drop whatever edible thing they are carrying back to their stash in favor of a shiny object- like a spoon or coins!

I had no idea what a Mottled Sculpin was- and that they are tiny- end of a finger tiny! 

Plus the humor- while it may seem funny and light-hearted to authropormophise animals, it might also be serious. They might actually find each other obnoxious.

And cicadas might actually be pretty excited to graduate from nymph-hood!

The best part is that this project has made me look differently at this area I've lived in for over 10 years... there is always something to learn and something to see.

Stop by Emily Steven's Park to see all 12 before August 20th!

FoundSpace 2018: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

FoundSpace 2018 is ready to be explored! 

Now in its Fourth year, this project is a collaboration between the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art. FoundSpace offers the opportunity and challenge of interpreting conserved public land in creative and interactive ways. This year FoundSpace is at Emily Steven's Park just outside of Wilson, WY.

Last year I collaborated with Matt Daly, (see our project here) we had such fun that we decided to work together again. Inspired by the optical combination of words and images in thaumatropes, Matt wrote 12 short poems, one for each month, that highlight the overlooked (and often introverted) mini-fauna found in this area. 

I illustrated each poem, which has been challenging since the magic behind the thaumatrope is 3 drawings- one on each side, plus a combination of the 2 when the disk spins.

The image had to be clear enough to read, yet the multiple parts allowed for slightly more information. I was so excited about telling the stories that I missed an important step- the image has to be perfectly registered on each side so that when the disk flips the image is not blurry. Oops.

I drew the image on paper, transferred it to plywood with carbon paper, then registered the image using holes in the side of the disk. (As seen by the highly technical use of drill bits...) 

Each little critter has such personality and imagery created through Matt's words, it was easy to imagine the story and what I wanted to visualize. I am so excited to be part of this project and to work in collaboration with another creative who sees the world from a different angle. I'm already learning a lot about some of the mini-fauna that I was not aware of! 

The thaumatrope is made cut disks from plywood in a diameter to fit discarded bike wheels that Matt scavenged. I drew and painted on the primed surfaces and made cranks so they can be turned by hand. The stands were made by Matt from discarded fence posts, and all stand at different heights.

We've started with 4 thaumatropes, and will install all 12 within the next month. So stay tuned for updates, and if Emily Steven's Park is part of your normal routine be sure to check back periodically.

There are 3 more artists who have installed artwork in the park: Bronwyn Minton, Bland Hoke, and Brittany Hill. Check back for my post on Saturday June 9th for a full update!

And if you are in the area, stop by Thursday June 7th from 5-8pm for the opening event. (You'll be able to make your very own small thaumatrope!)