Sunday, December 27, 2015

Home for the Holidays and printmaking fun

since my last post, i traveled to lubbock and now have the luxury of 3 weeks at home!

one goal for this time is definitely getting in the studio. i've been able to do that a bit, although one of our dogs had major surgery and time has been spent sitting with her, keeping her calm & tending her needs since she can't get around well. she is feeling better, and i have gotten some studio time in the past few nights (with the help of my husband doing dog duty).

i have a few things to prep for- a BOSCO small works (under 8x10) show, valentine for aids and the leftovers print exchange. it feels like so long since i have made an actual piece of art- not a sketch or a book. the last was the moose, but he's the first in a long time.

i have been making backgrounds for the totem series, and started another 8x8 for the BOSCO show, but was uninspired. while molly has been recovering i've been rereading books on printmaking. i need to do something for the print exchange anyway. that sounded like a lot more fun to me than forcing something for the small works show, so i started working on something in the studio today.

this is going to be a process for me- i haven't done enough of these to see how it's going to look finished. so i pulled a test print- hand burnished- and saw that work remained to be done.

round 2:

and 3:

and 4:

i need to clean the beak area up- duh- the beak is dark, so i should have it surrounded by light- but i feel definitely on the right track & inspired to play some more. i'm intrigued by printing and then going back in with color- watercolor or ink- maybe doing a series of prints and finishing them differently.

and- i will get around to using my press. these were hand pulled just because it seemed easier to do it that way when i'm still working on the linoleum but i'm sure that as i use the press it will seem just as easy.

here's to learning new skills! hope to have a finished piece to share soon-

Sunday, December 13, 2015

looking back at 2015, and what's next

a lot has changed this year. i left the gallery because i wasn't covering my rent, and was traveling so much for work that i wasn't making much new art either.

leaving the gallery freed me up to spend time experimenting and playing with different things- like spending time making journals- which has been great for me creatively.

 one thing i decided to do is learn to draw. to that end, i started bringing this old swedish/english dictionary with me on trips, challenging myself to complete 4 small drawings each trip. it gives me something fun to do while traveling.

it's also funny how much difference practicing does make. they are not amazing works of art, but i'm not ashamed to show them to people and am gaining confidence in my ability.

one thing i wanted to do is a series of paintings from wildlife and bird photos i've shot on my travels. i wanted to paint from drawings- not by gridding things out, tracing or using a projector. for the first time, i am doing studies in a book before committing to canvas (or wood, in this case). not so much about working through a finished composition but practicing drawing and trying a few things out. 

after drawing this guy in the journal (he is traced from a photo), i decided to use a different photo for the painting. i liked the way the image fits on the board better for one.

the idea behind these is to include the animal's meaning in the background of the painting, to inform the end result and provide interest and depth.

you will see writing to the left of the tree in this one. i'm sure that these will evolve as i go along, but am happy with the results here. in no small part thanks to my 2 sculptor friends lynn and jaki who helped me get him right.

next up, this mule deer doe from a photo i took in yellowstone. i was really pleased to draw the image at left without too much agonizing. i now know where i need to look out when i draw her on the wood panel. i'm not sure where to go with her colorwise. deer stand for innocence, and white is the color of innocence. but white may be too "real" of a color for what i want to do here. will have to think on it.

it's nice to have enough confidence in my ability to feel like i can draw decently. and to know that it's not about photorealism- because that's not what i want to do- but about capturing energy and emotion.

of course, i have no idea where these are going to hang when they're done, but i'll figure that out later.

next up- one more trip to lubbock, then home for 2 weeks, hopefully with time to paint.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

the space between


it took me 14 hours to get to fort worth on tuesday- nearly 3 times the usual travel time. gave me lots of time to read- tom petty's biography, which made me really happy- and to ponder being in transit. which is a state that can be (and often is) viewed as a necessary evil and something to be endured. it can also be appreciated as a place to stop and catch one's breath and just be. the spaces between- the transit times- are necessary fuel.

when i finally got to my hotel all i wanted was food and a glass of wine, but both had to wait until i finished my sketch. it's always interesting to see what happens when i pull the kit out. either people have no interest (or act like that) or they ask questions. i had a very nice woman ask what i was doing here and say she had a friend who is a watercolor painter. to which i replied "oh, that's really hard, i don't really do watercolors" and immediately realized that she saw me painting in my book with watercolors. maybe i do do watercolors......

here's this trip's page in the travel journal-

i appreciate that disciplining myself to draw in the journal each trip makes me think about where i am and grounds me- making me more aware of using my transit time rather than figuring out ways to "kill" it.

it's interesting to try to sit with myself when sitting is the last thing i want to do ever, anywhere. that's the thing about being in transit- it's possible to distract oneself, but at some point giving in to the journey is much more enlightening.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


 this week's trip was to chicago, the mother ship

i am fortunate enough to stay downtown in michigan avenue and enjoy the city, even though i'm there for work. i love it.

i'm also fortunate to work in a group who understands the value of doodling, and who were more interested than annoyed when i completed the upper right hand corner during a meeting. watercolors and all. ( lots of talking, not so much interaction)

pleased to practice drawing on my trip again. got home and the world changed. 

the first is a friday night reaction. an i am drinking wine in my studio, feeling helpless and pissed off and appalled and needing to express it reaction. 

same feeling, different day- (today)

 a) so happy to have this outlet to think things through. b) i am pretty freaked that the main casualties were from a rock show- art is an easy thing to target. music brings people together. driving people apart is what this shit is about. we get to choose how we react. we can decide to try to barricade the doors and keep the scary ones out or we can invite everyone in and work to change hearts and minds.

i know where i land-

Sunday, November 8, 2015

a way of life

i received a questionnaire from a student who came to my studio on BOSCO weekend. he's writing a paper on a community & selected the artist community. i enjoyed answering the questions, as i'm not generally introspective & it's good for me to think about things. one question in particular resonated:

Is your art a way of life or just a hobby? Although I have a full time day job art is a way of life. It's important for me to express myself, and the community of friends I have is very important to me. I find ways to incorporate art into my life- when I travel for business I take lots of photos with my phone, I take my journal to draw in- it relaxes me and gives me something of my own to do. I'm interested in exploring. All of this feeds my art when I do get back to the studio.

and that's how it is- that's why all of the photos, and carrying around the journals and pens, etc. it's a way of life. so where ever i'm traveling, i fit it in- by visiting an art supply store, drawing in my journals, taking photos & instagramming, going to a museum or seeing new landscapes.

it was denver this week. out tuesday & wednesday. even being gone for one night seems like so much more sometimes- especially if weeks of travel pile up. because so do obligations at home.

this week's pages- which i finished up with molly's paw at home-that's part of the trip too, coming home-

some friends and i are doing the artists' way. we're just getting started- it's a 12 week commitment to work through the book. we'll be meeting on thursday nights until done. one key exercise is doing morning pages- writing 3 pages of- anything- first thing in the morning. i've been doing pretty well with this for the past several weeks. it is a good way to dump stuff out of my brain.

i did manage to finish up 5 more journals- now to photo & put on etsy, then run to the BENCH. i felt the need to finish these before going back to painting or doing anything else, so it's good that they're done.

also found time to doodle with art supplies purchased in roswell-

it seems to be a little bit of this, then some of that and not really spending time on anything consistently. been looking at those journals for a long time, glad to have them complete. i then went back to the moose. i started this during open studios weekend, and had drawn the moose on the background with white pencil. then i decided to knock the writing on the left back with another coat of paint. which, because i applied it very very watered down, dissolved the drawing.

but- i do like the background better. so i went back & drew him in again today- and even started painting him. i had to get myself past a block on that- it's been a while since i have painted- but i feel like i have a decent start now.

it's hard to feel so fragmented with time & projects, but it's going to be that way for a while. sunday studio time is essential for me to at least get something done. working the artists way will be good too- the other essential tool is to make an artist date with yourself weekly. it can be anything, as long as it's dedicated to thinking about art, seeing differently, opening your mind & nurturing the artist within. this i can do ( and really already do a lot) when i travel.

off to chicago tomorrow. need to find time in there somewhere to do chapter 1 a.w. exercises & be ready to discuss on thursday- that should keep me out of trouble :)

til next week-

Monday, November 2, 2015

finding time

once again, there's been lots of this-

leading to most art opportunities being of this variety:

 so i am really grateful that i've learned about and decided to practice art journaling. it sounds so much less intimidating than carrying a sketchbook. so it is. still loving using the old dictionary, and quarter pages- all conspiring to make me actually draw. 

and there's always photography

and the fact that every experience, recorded or not, leaves an impression.

i was fortunate to be in carlsbad national park to see the bats leave the caverns at night. we were asked to turn off phones and cameras and it reminded me that i am removed from an experience when behind the lens. the desire to record and share can take away from being in the moment. i sat and watched bats spiral out of the cave with the full moon rising in the background and a redtail hawk cruising for dinner. it was one of the most beautiful, mesmerizing things i have ever seen. and would have been very difficult to capture "on film".

there has been a bit of studio time, dedicated to trying out some new supplies (inktense blocks- fun!)

and finishing up some more journals for sale.

i am looking forward to seeing what comes out of all of this. starting the artists way this week with some friend, which will add more to think about. for someone who isn't introspective naturally, i seem to be headed that direction. fall is a good time for it- we'll see how i do-

Thursday, October 15, 2015

on creativity and making art, pt 2

over the past year, i have spent a lot of time doing this, so my interest in art journaling and learning the discipline of drawing came at the right time. or maybe this is why it showed up- hard to tell-

regardless, i am able to stay creative and practice drawing on the road. this is what i pack in my computer bag on trips- i've (finally!) managed to scale things down to a manageable few items. i may still be overboard on pens :).

this is something i picked up in an online class from another student. i use an old book (given to me by a friend- it was her grandmother's swedish/english dictionary) and section a spread into quarters; easy to finish a small sketch in a short amount of time. 

this is me set up in the airport in Houston waiting on the flight home.

and the finished spread- last square done on the flight home, which led to learning about the best art supply store in Houston & neighborhoods to check out next time i'm there.

i'm thinking about this because last weekend was Boise Open Studios weekend. 49 local artists invited the public into our studios. i love participating because it gives me a chance to talk to people about my art and i inevitably learn something. people were very interested in my journals- so much so that i set up a separate table for them on Sunday.

in the process of talking with visitors and explaining what's going on in my studio, which has a string of animal photos i have taken hanging about my work table, i realized that i have wanted to learn to draw for a while. 

i thought about doing a series of paintings from my photos of wildlife a while ago. i didn't want to grid everything out like i have in the past to be able to go larger than a tracing allows. for the first time, i am working things out in a book before putting them on a canvas.

it's fascinating how things build and come together and how the threads become apparent sometimes much later. these pieces will have the animal's symbolic meaning written in the background. probably not legible, but informing the finished piece.

i'm excited to see what else comes from this, and grateful for all of the things that headed me in this direction.