Friday, November 30, 2007

What do you mean, it's not all about (Me)me?

It's a really long story, but let's just say that technology has recently impacted my life in unexpected and delightful ways. I've always enjoyed cultivating and nurturing a wide and diverse personal network, but adding the blogosphere and virtual worlds to my repertoire has had completely unforeseen consequences. And so far, as they say, "It's all good."

(Oh nice, Sherrie... very cryptic introduction. Has your brain come back from Thanksgiving holiday yet? I think not.)

That said, it's incredibly timely that friend and colleague Susan (I'm not forgetting the "J") Tweit has tagged me with the "It's all about (Me)me," which gives me an opportunity both to fire up this recently-neglected page and to cogitate on the joys of bloggerhood.

1. How long have you been blogging?
Ooh! Almost a year! Brush and Baren stumbled into being at the end of December 2006. Maybe I should throw a party. Will you all come?

2. What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
Funny thing, this. Last autumn I participated in an art marketing workshop presented by Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield. As Alyson stood before us extolling the joys and benefits of blogging, I sat in the back row, internally rolling my eyes and thinking, "Great. One more thing to do."

But darn it if she wasn't right. Three weeks after Brush and Baren launched I found a circle of creative, intelligent bloggers to play with. AND traffic to my website grew exponentially. Crazy. (And in true domino-effect fashion, I am now being forced to rework the website. Could Alyson be some sort of technology demon in disguise, rubbing her hands together in a dark room gloating, BWAH-ha-ha-ha?)

As for other blogging heroes, that's easy. Debby Kaspari, Bill Schmoker, Susan J. Tweit, Snail. A diverse group of creatives, the lot of 'em. Birds, snails, pencils, plants, brushes, cameras, words, images... geez. They do it all.

3. Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?
Um.. hello. ARTIST. Trying to make money any way I can (within reason, law, and propriety, of course). But blogging has been a great way for me to actually THINK about what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, and how my work life and my explorer life fit together. And it's been a real smack upside the head on those days when articulation eludes me completely. Sorta like now.

4. What five things do you struggle with online?
I think this is a funny question, actually. Probably the same things I struggle with OFFline, but that's perhaps a little too personal. Blogging struggles are likely the usual ones 1) what to say, 2) what image to post, 3) what to do when there just ain't no inspiration. Do there have to be more?

5. What five things do you love about being online?
Again with the five! Sheesh. Obviously the person who started this meme is not a Monty Python fan. (Three is the number to which thou shalt count.)

1) Reading other blogs: ideas, quirks, rants, and the delightfully new things I learn from bloggers every single time I read. It's a worldwide community of creatives, literally at my fingertips. Click! Australian invertebrates. Click! Caribbean sharks. Click! How not to behave at literary events. Click! Bloody Schmoker snapping another 100 drop-dead gorgeous Colorado bird photos despite having a family and being a science teacher and..... Click! Tsunehiko's daily sketches of Paris. Click! The real, live Sleepy Hollow.

2) Feedback: Ohmigosh! People actually READ this thing, and some times they even get something out of it. How cool is that?

5) It's a good excuse to avoid washing dishes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Forward, slowly

Really, I HAVE been working on the ponderosa pine linocut (known affectionately as the pondo-lino). Today I pulled color #3, carving begins this evening for pull #4. Five are planned (more or less, "planning" not one of my greater skills).


A while back, Debby over at Drawing the Motmot asked about my registration jig for multicolor linocuts. Specifically she wondered about my less-than-clear description of what I call "shims," but which might more accurately be called "spacers."

The low-tech rig is a sheet of masonite with 1 x 2 boards affixed squarely in one corner. On top of the 1 x 2s rest charming corner molding pieces, which serve as paper "stops" to help with alignment. The plate fits snuggly into the corner, paper goes on top against the stops... life is good.

Except that sometimes I want or need a deeper margin of clean paper around the image. (As in the ponderosa pine in progress. It's 12 x 18 inches on a 19 x 24 inch sheet of Hosho.) Enter the "shims." These are just chunks of pine, ripped in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1-inch widths. I stack them up against the 1x2 rails to hold the plate a little farther from the corner.. and magically get a wider margin in the process. Cool, eh?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Fish

Yikes. Yes. Quiet from this corner lately. About to get even more quiet for a few days, as I retrieve a highly anticipated holiday guest from the airport tomorrow. Unplug your computer and join us for the festivities in quirky downtown Salida. Friday night is the Parade of Lights and lighting of Christmas Mountain. I'd try to describe it, but you just have to be here.

Once upon a time I thought I'd have a nice turkey drawing for this spot today, but no dice. But when I start to think of the myriad things for which I am thankful, I feel I must include the interesting and entertaining guys at Zooilogix. Every time I go there I learn something AND I laugh out loud. What could be better?

For the holiday, they solicit descriptions of weird Thanksgiving meals. But before that, prepare to be amazed at the discovery of 57 new species of fish. Or don't. It's a holiday, after all.... you don't have to do a darn thing.. except remember to be thankful for it.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Okay, so finally I have managed to have the camera, its cable, the computer, and myself all at the same house at the same time. I pulled the second color on the emerging ponderosa pine linocut... when? Last week Friday? Took photos and then promptly misplaced the camera.

Of course, now that I have downloaded the photos, I have discovered that the camera struggled even more than I expected to get an image.... but the prints are hanging in the studio at home and I am at the home of those Majorca-visiting friends mentioned earlier.. so we have to put up with this. The colors are actually a very pale gray blue, and an only-slightly-less pale gray blue... but you get the idea. (They look much more contrast-y here.) The next carve will be to print green, methinks. Starting tomorrow.

But today it is gray and cool... and I've already had to build a fire in the stove to keep dog, cat, and artist comfy. Could it be we're finally succumbing to autumn?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Invoke the Python (Monty)

I'm not dead yet!

Although probably there have been some questions on that count lately. I have lots of excuses for no posts in ten days or more. To facilitate said excuse-mongering, I shall give them by the numbers. It will save time during future long silences.

1) Work. As in the kind designed to generate income, which has been woefully slim lately.
2) Company. As in the kind that removes you blissfully from your usual routine and then lands you unceremoniously back there with a thump when they leave. This thump is immediately followed by a panic-striken reminder of #1, above.
3) House-shifting. As in a temporary move to the home of friends whilst they are in Majorca. Adjustment has taken more time than anticipated.
4) Laziness. As in... laziness.
5) Company. As in the kind that hasn't arrived yet, but will right about the time a new routine is established at temporary home, beginning the cycle of #2, #1 and then #3(a), as in going back to my own home and settling it all back again.

But, blog guilt will always win out in the end, so here I am... sketch at hand... ready to make amends.

When the aforementioned Majorca-wallowing friends (see #3 above) finally put their suitcases in the car this week, they lamented that the lovely magenta-colored orchid on the kitchen table had chosen the morning of their departure to bloom. In their honor, a little sketch. Probably I shouldn't have tried to add color by dim table light... but I did. So there.

Linocut in Progress: Let's wrap this up!

 Okay...  Remember that cartoon in which a couple of scientists stand at a chalk board filled with complex equations, at the bottom of which...