December storm part deux

As predicted, more snow arrived on Saturday night and flurries fell off and on all day on Sunday. I love how the storm left little white hats on everything.

Yesterday was a good day for baking and finishing my holiday cards. Since the roads are still covered, (i think there are only two or three snow plows in the county) perhaps another batch of holiday cookies is on order for today.


Snow Day

Winter Storm 2008, Part I hit the northwest yesterday. Part II is expected tomorrow night. They say we are in for a white Christmas because the storm systems are coming from Canada, which means the temps will remain low and the snow will stick around, or some such thing. Today the side-streets are a mess, but that won’t stop me from venturing out a little bit later…what’s a few inches of snow over already icy roads? But for now I will stay home, decorate the house and wrap some presents. Here are a few photos of our winter wonderland, inside and out.

The devil-children who live up the street made a snow man.

View from my front window.

My snow-people family.

Paper snowflakes; one of my favorite pasttimes.

Happy weekend! Everyone, stay warm!


Words from a kindred spirit

I don’t knit, but I know exactly what this blogger is talking about.


One fish, two fish...

One of my chores at work today was to remove name ribbons from the baptismal candle. Each year on All Saints Day church members are asked to write the names of those close to them who have died in the past year on a 2″ x 11″ piece of paper. During the service they tape their ribbon to the baptismal candle. This act symbolizes stuff like, uh, our connection to one another and to God through baptism, stuff like that. The ribbons stay on the candle until the end of the church year which was yesterday. So, today I took almost 200 paper ribbons off the candle. Somehow I can’t believe that all those folks died in the past year, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that each person named is remembered. Most of the paper ribbons are plain and have just a name written across them. But the children’s ribbons, oh, they are so lovely! I hope I’m not crossing some ethical boundry by sharing a few here.

I think these ribbons demonstrate three very important things:

1. Picasso was right, all children are artists!

2. Pets bring joy and meaning to our lives.

3. If your child wants a pet, but you, as a parent, aren’t up for years of committment and responsibility, a fish is your best bet.

You’ll find other examples of kids are here and here.

Another Pt. Townsend Sunrise

Wow, it’s already late November. I’ve been working in my studio but progress has been slow due to the necessity of a day job and the responsibility of yard maintenance. I’ve been hoping for a good wind storm to blow the gazillion leaves from my yard to those of my neighbors but no such luck. As a result, I think I may have leaf-rakers-elbow. For Christmas I want the Black and Decker Leaf Hog. I hope to post some studio pictures soon, (once the Motrin kicks in and I can lift my camera off its shelf) but in the meantime here is another sunrise taken last week while at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA.

August, November it doesn’t seem to matter; the sunrises viewed in Fort Worden are spectacular.
Here is an artist whose work I like.


End 'o October

As much as I dislike the long gloomy northwest winters, this year it’ll be easier to endure because we’ve had such a brilliant October…bright sunny days and exceptional fall color.
Here is a photo of the tip-top of the katsura tree in my front yard. Lovely isn’t it? Historically, it has been a persnickity tree; slow growing, sensitive, out of step with the maples. But this autumn it is my favorite. This year the katsura has outdone itself, taking advantage of the sunny days and cool nights to put on a show of color I’ve never witnessed from it before. Changing from green, to yellow, to orange, to pink, it actually glows. And when I walk by the front door as I pass through my house I pause, wondering if I left the porch light on, (again) before I remember that it’s the katsura tree reflecting all the warm light into my house.

…of course now most of these leaves are on the ground. sigh.

Here is something I will be thinking about as I return to my regular work schedule.


Oh well

I came across this blog today. It is written by a London artist who is attending the Nagasawa Art Park Artist-in-Residence program in Japan. This is a program I was short-listed for earlier this year; I didn’t make the final cut. ugh. When I found this blog it knocked the wind out of me just like the rejection letter did back in April. Oh well. I guess there is nothing wrong with living vicariously. I’ll be checking back there often.
My month of more studio time is almost at its end. I have lots of drawings and ideas to carry me forward and I’m making progress on my wallpaper-inspired piece. Here it is after four runs through the press.



The current “global economic meltdown” (surely you’ve heard of it) has me wondering about the holidays.



I’ve kept a sketch book journal for as long as I can remember. Back when I lived and worked in Chicago, during my lunch hour, I’d sit at The Wells Street Deli, eat my grilled cheese sandwich and do little drawings of the car lined streets. Later, when my home was crawling with babies, I’d take some time every day and draw domestic still lifes. In the years between then and now I’ve use my sketchbook to record ideas that have flitted through my head as I’ve gone about the daily business of raising kids. Some of those sketches have become finished pieces, some not. For the past year or so I’ve taken to maintaining five sketch books. I’ve been drawing with a brush and diluted carbon black which is fun and requires a committed line, but it also requires drying time. So I’ll draw in one book, and while that sketch is drying I’ll draw in another, and so on, and so on. Here are a few of my sketches:

If you like unique books and peeking into other artist’s sketch books, check out this website.



My doorbell rang a while ago. When the doorbell rings and I’m not expecting anyone I try to ingnore it because I have learned the hard way that a mid-day doorbell ringer is, nine times out of ten, a salesman…um, salesperson. Today, feeling strong enough and poor enough to say honestly to any door-to-door solicitor, ”sorry, I’m broke”, I went ahead and answered. Surprise! It was the mailman and he had a package for me! It was a tube, and in the tube was the most gorgeous piece of wallpaper I have seen in ages. A gift to me from someone who knows how much I love (any kind of) paper. Here is a snippet:

Is it not exquisite? I mention this because it just so happens, the print I started only yesterday is inspired by a piece of wallpaper. Here is a snippet of the block I just started carving:

Isn’t it funny, (strange, eerie, awesome) how the universe works? Here I am on the west coast being inspired by old wallpaper patterns and someone 3,000 miles away pops a piece of wallpaper in the mail to me. I only hope my finished piece will be half as dazzling as my gift from afar.


Return from the Edge

This past Saturday I returned from Fort Worden State Park and Conference Center in lovely Port Townsend, Washington where I attended the week-long EDGE program with 16 other artists. Every day, from nine to five, we were presented with mountains of material from portfolio presentation to marketing to bookkeeping. All good and useful info, but it will take me some time to sort and assimilate everything we were taught. In the meantime I thought I would share some of the beautiful sunrises I saw on my early morning walks.

I also some some incredible clouds on my morning strolls....

big ominous clouds...

wispy little clouds...

and clouds that were hardly there at all.


Mercury in Retrograde

Life gets crazy sometimes doesn’t it? Crazy expensive. I’m starting to believe all that mercury in retrograde shit I read about in the monthly horoscope columns and I’m starting to believe all the threats about not forwarding email. You know the ones…“this email must be forwarded to everyone you know within the next seven minutes or tomorrow something bad will happen to you!” In the last two months I’ve had a run of bad luck. Well, more like a string of annoying and expensive home and car repairs. Here’s a list:
A broken latch making my Cuisinart unusable.
A broken fuel pump in one car,
A broken computer in the other…why does a car need a computer anyway?
A couple of nasty dents and gouges on the hood of my car (left by someone who apparently didn’t know he or she had done so…probably a Jim-Bob who drives a Hummer and routinely rolls over small cars and children without knowing it).
A swampy bog backyard needing thatching, aerating, and de-mossing.
Two lilac trees needing drastic pruning or death by chainsaw.
A broken clothes dryer.
A trickling toilet that occasionally produces a mysterious puddle.
A kitchen faucet that drips enough to fill a watering can daily.
A microwave oven that sparks and glows.
A refrigerator whose doors have decided to remain ajar.
I just have to wonder what sort of bad karma-ish thing I’ve done to deserve this spree of costly repairs and replacements. Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t pass along that important message from the Dalai Lama. Really I am. Ditto on the email about the starving kids who try to sell you perfume but it’s really ether and then they bop you on the head but maybe they are really just your guardian angel and have come into your life for only a season…blah, blah and blah.
On the other hand, maybe I’m a modern day Job, (Jobelle?) and my patience will result in some greater glory…maybe a spot on a home makeover program.
In any case the above list combined with a list of summer activities and obligations has distracted me to the point of madness for I haven’t spent any time in my studio and little time in the ‘art world.’ I did the Artist’s Garage Sale back in June which, despite the dismal weather and my general lack of experience with such things, went well. I have some prints hanging in the Edmonds Library which actually earned a little press action in some local papers. And of course I’ve looked in on a few galleries, museums and shows, but doing so when I’m not working myself only makes me anxious. To be honest, I have been experiencing a rather scary dearth of inspiration and have produced no new work. I’ve pulled out my copy of The War of Art for re-reading and placed an online order for Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. I’m seeking inspiration, comfort or a kick in the ass. But what I’m REALLY hoping is that my attendance in the upcoming EDGE program (for which I have been frenetically preparing) will be a turning point. I’m hoping it will put an end to my home appliance crisis, (seriously, how many other things can break? Wait, don’t answer that.) and put an end to the artist drought I’ve been experiencing. One can only audaciously hope. But, to ensure my good fortune you must pass this along to at least seven friends in the next seven minutes. Just kidding.


Progress V

Here’s the final print. It all came together quite well and I am pleased.


Progress IV

Remember that song from the 60’s sung by Dusty Springfield? It goes something like, “wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’…”? Do you remember all the lyrics to that song? …the part about doing the things he likes to do and wearing your hair just for him? makes my skin crawl but that’s another blog entry. Anyway, that’s where I am with this piece right now. Wishin’ I’d done a few things differently, thinkin’ it looks okay so far, hopin’ those bluebirds aren’t too blue, prayin’ it’ll all come togehter with the next, and final, run through the press.


Progress III

Last night I printed the skin tone, and the redish-brown breasts of the blue birds. I decided to underprint the entire figure for a more consistant black when I print the key block. This was the third pass through the press. When it’s done, this piece will have had five runs through the press. Registration is my greatest challenge and with each pass through the press I worry a little bit more about whether, when the print passes through the press the last time, everything will line up. Sometimes the black lines in the key block covers any imperfections in the registration. Sometimes the registration is hopelessly off and those unfortunate prints end up as proofs at best and in the recycling bin at worst. Sometimes the registration is perfect and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Because all three of the these options occur with each and every edition, I generally print twice as many as I hope to have in the final edition. This time I’m working with twenty and hoping for an edition of 10.


Progress II

On a snowy, spring Friday I printed the next color. It’s not the best photograph, (I really need to set up a place in my 100 square foot studio to photograph my work, ha!) but I think generally one can see what’s happening. Usually at this point in the process I love what I see…the freshness of the color especially. As the print develops I pass through several love-hate stages. My next decision is whether to underprint the entirety of the figure on the left, except for the areas that will remain white. If I choose to do so I will need to carve another block, which is not entirely a bad thing as it will give the green-blue ink plenty of time to dry.

Green-blue + orange.



I’ve been spending time in my studio lately working on two projects. One is hush-hush for the moment, (I don’t want to jinx myself) and the other is a relief print of an image I’ve been toying with for some time. Following through on an intention to document my progress I submit the following:

My working sketch.

The key block.

The orange block.

I’ll be posting additional images as the print develops.