Monday, June 30, 2008

It's gonna be a shirt

This weekend I carved this little line o' birdies for use as a t-shirt design. It's the 20th Anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory!

I only carved and printed the black. The other colors were added digitally for easy separation at the silkscreener. Linocut as fashion statement. Cool, eh?

Another busy weekend

This past weekend was the ArtWalk madness here in Salida. It was also the opening of the Impressions exhibition at the Danforth Gallery in Livingston, Montana. Guess which show I missed.

ArtWalk was unfortunately slow this year... lots of people feeling the crunch of weak economy and ever-increasing fuel prices. Still, a goodly number of folks saw some new Sherrie linocuts at Cowgirl Coffee, and the DM had his first two music gigs in his new hometown. (That's the DM entertaining ArtWalkers at Apogee Studio and Cowgirl Coffee.)

We laughed mightily at ourselves on Saturday morning, for our complete lack of culinary foresight. We both woke up famished, so launched out of bed and into the kitchen to make a "big ol' sloppy breakfast" (as the DM likes to call it). Fortified with eggs and turkey bacon and taters and toast, we strolled the block and a half to the farmers' market.

Dang. What were we THINKING? There's food HERE!

More coffee, and of course a delectable slice of apple strudel from the bakery. A loaf of dill bread. Multi-color radishes.

We walked back home, dropped off our purchases (except for the coffee and strudel, already consumed), and headed down to the Steamplant to check out the miniatures exhibition.

Dang. What were we THINKING? There's food HERE! And it's FREE!

Sheesh. We did the entire morning completely backwards. The mini show is a fund-raiser for ArtWalk, and a local sponsor puts up a great little catered breakfast spread during the silent auction hours. Oh, well. The good news is that when one spends the entire morning grazing, one does not have to think about lunch.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Surprised us all, eh?

I am reasonably pleased with the print, not so much with the scan, but that's technology for ya. "Lovely, Dark, and Deep," reduction linocut, 3 x 4 inches. Next up? A Twentieth Anniversary linocut t-shirt design for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Risky Business

The problem with posting the steps of a linocut in progress is that one runs the risk of a very public creative crash-and-burn. There's but one color to go on this baby. Will it resolve itself into an image by tomorrow? Tune in next time as our heroine battles ink, registration, and poor planning to rescue yet another swath of Hosho paper from the bin. (Dramatic music swells.)

There is no joy in Finchville

Friday evening I found a dead finch below the apple tree in the front yard. I didn't think much of it, as shortly after we moved in to this house we saw a dead finch far out of reach on the porch roof. I figured it was that same unfortunate bird, finally come to ground, and kept on with my chores.

Later there was a huge blow of restless wind... keeping us awake for most of Friday night. In the wee hours of Saturday morning we heard a finch ruckus of some sort, but the rest of Saturday we ourselves were headless chickens, preparing for a party.

On Sunday we realized we hadn't seen the momma finch at the wreath nest in a while, but we couldn't remember the last time we'd seen her. Friday? Saturday? I figured the eggs should have been hatching this weekend, so where was she?

Monday, no momma.

Tuesday, no momma... but we did see an obviously unwell finch on the porch roof. I haven't looked today to see if there's another finch carcass in the yard. I think it's safe to say our grand-eggies won't be hatching.

It's difficult not to take this nest failure personally... as if we ourselves neglected our duties as grand-egg-parents. There are six perfect eggs still sitting there... I suppose I'll give it a couple more days before I take them down and candle them to see if perhaps they just weren't fertile.

The conditions are no longer right here for a do-over attempt: the roofers arrived this morning and started sliding large chunks of ancient roof-matter on to the ground. It's none too sedate a situation for ME, and I understand what's happening. I can't image a bird wanting to set up housekeeping here for a bit.


Sometimes paying attention is no fun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How we spent our weekend

It was the DM's first opportunity to experience the madness that is FIBArk, the annual whitewater festival (now 60 years old) that invades our little town each June. We spent more time down at the park this year than I ever have before, taking in events and music and eating bad fair food.

As always, the Hooligan Race was a favorite: Homemade water craft and the crazy people who built them trying to navigate the whitewater park and make it under the F Street bridge. Think duct tape and empty milk bottles.

There was a little concern this year that the river would be too high and fast for the Hooligan. We had record snowfall last winter, and the week before the race the water was coming through town at 4000cfs. Exciting, but potentially dangerous. But it seems the river gods smiled on the festival once again. We had a couple of cooler days just before everything got started, which slowed the snow melt and lowered the flow. So they say. Today the flow is back up. Methinks there were some control issues in play at the headwaters reservoirs. But what do I know?

Sunday we decided was Adventure Day for the DM. Time to show him some more of his adopted new state. After a couple of delays (we're still learning how to organize together) we packed a lunch, loaded up the car and headed south in to the San Luis Valley.

First stop, Great Sand Dunes National Park, one of the great hidden wonders of our area. Medano Creek was filled with a greater flow than I'd ever experienced... it was wonderful to wade through the damp sand and pulsing stream. We started up the dunes on the other side, but found the sand already entirely too hot for a leisurely stroll in inappropriate footwear. Next time.

Since we were most of the way there, we cruised through the town of Alamosa. Half again as large as Salida, but aside from a few more chain stores, you'd hardly know it. Sunday afternoon, Father's Day. Quiet.

On the way home we OF COURSE stopped at the UFO Watchtower. This quirky icon of the San Luis Valley is run by a couple who gave up on both the city and on ranching. Strange things are said to happen in The Valley, so Judy and Stan decided they'd test out the adage "build it and they will come." Eight years later they're still at it, hosting an annual conference and nightly campers.

We waved goodbye to many kayak-laden vehicles headed AWAY from our little town as we dawdled our way back over Poncha Pass. It's good to get away... and it's great to come home.

Monday, June 16, 2008


When we moved in to this house last month, friends began to provide us with the botanical means to make it a home. The very first day we had pots with two new tomato plants, one oriental eggplant, and one basil.

Since then? A mixed pot of herbs and edible flowers, a hugeongous pot of mint (the DM's favorite), another tomato (cherry), peppers, chives, and a pile of native flowers. We've not yet got everything in the ground... still nursing it all in pots and rushing out periodically to cover the lot when we get a ridiculous overnight temp below freezing. (You might expect such a thing in June in Australia, but we're north of the 38th parallel for pete's sake!) Tomorrow morning we hope to turn one of the backyard beds and get some of these little fellers settled.

But two days ago.... miracle of miracles! I discovered proto-tomatoes! On all three (different) tomato plants! Yippee! This is almost as fun (and certainly less nerve-wracking) as finches nesting over the front door. They're small and timid... hiding away under clumps of leaves, but they're there! And this time the rotten deer can NOT get to them. THIS yard is surrounded by 6-foot-high wooden fence. I might actually get to eat these instead of the ones with the Tim Burton stems from the grocery. Which, incidentally, no one can eat right now because of a tomato-borne salmonella outbreak amongst commercial output. One more reason we can't wait for the local Farmer's Market to open this weekend.


And a full rack of drying linocuts (second color pass) in the new studio.

Can you hear the happy sigh from there?

Friday, June 13, 2008

First ink-up!

Finally, after a month of getting moved, settled, organized, and distracted by illustration work... a new linocut is on the table! Yippee! It's a tiny thing, just 3 x 4 inches, and it's a winter scene, of all things... but it's something I wanted to try before the crazy rollercoaster of change started. Better late than never.

I'm not very efficient yet in the new space; still reaching for things in the old places and coming up empty-handed. The ceilings in this house are quite a bit higher than the old, even where they were lowered, so my drying rack hangs a tiny bit too high. (Requiring a stretch to hang up wet prints!) Easy enough to fix, I just didn't realize it until this morning. Little by little it all becomes comfortable, just a few more tweaks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm in!

A nice piece of mail this afternoon:

"It is my pleasure to inform you that your print "Run Rabbit Run" has been selected for inclusion in Washington Printmakers National Small Works 2008 at Washington Printmakers Gallery from 29 July through 31 August, 2008.

The juror, Ann Shafer, is Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. She selected your work from among more than 220 works by 73 artists. This year, 30 states were represented in submissions, providing an interesting cross-section of printmaking nationwide."

Also coming up: an exhibition of original prints, featuring 7 of my linocuts, at the Danforth Gallery in Livingston, Montana. June 27 - July 19.

Doncha just love summer chaos?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Workshops, workshops, workshops

It's that time of year again! Summer workshop season. It looks as though I'll be wandering from here to Maine and New Mexico in August! Fun! (I think.) Just in case you're looking for something to do:


• Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
Crested Butte, Colorado
July 8-11, 2008
Visit the Wildflower Festival website for registration and details.

What's on at the Festival:

Field Sketching Basics
Even if you think you can’t draw a straight line, you can keep visual field notes. In this workshop we will cover several basic drawing and observation skills and techniques, including contour, memory, and gesture drawing.
Two opportunities:
Tuesday, July 8 or Thursday July 10 9:00am-12:00 noon

The Handmade Journal
Keeping a journal can be that much more special if you record your observations in a book you’ve made yourself! We will use artist-quality supplies to build a soft leather-bound book.
Wednesday, July 9 9:00am-3:00pm

Field Sketching II: Let’s go draw!
Have you been wanting to keep a field journal, but don’t know where to start? Are you ready to add to your repertoire with color? Spend the day in the field and classroom with us and fill some sketchbook pages through guided exercises and experiments.
Friday, July 11 9:00am-4:00pm


• GARNA Summer Seminars
Salida, Colorado
August 2, 2008
Visit the GARNA website for registration and details.

Field Sketching and Book Making
Time spent aboserving nature is ALWAYS worthwhile, and to sketch while you're at it is just plain fun! Grab a sketchbook and a pencil and join us as we learn to record the world around us. We'll also spend a little time looking at different sketchbook and journal forms, including some easy ways to bind your own books.
Saturday, August 2, 9:30am - 12:30pm
Meet at Salida Regional Library

• Audubon Leadership Camp
Hog Island, Maine
August 10-16, 2008
Visit the Hog Island website for registration and details.

• Teacher InService, Santa Fe Public Schools
Santa Fe, New Mexico
August 21-22, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Look! We have Grand-eggies!

Mum took a stroll so I took a pic. Sorry it's blurry, but what do you want for reaching over my head and aiming blindly with the camera?


Monday, June 2, 2008

5-minute iris

This weekend we dug more long-accumulated leaf litter out of garden beds at the new house, and I discovered that we had iris buds almost ready to bloom. Oooh... what color will they be?

Overnight we got our answer: This morning we found soft blooms of the palest yellow... lovely!

Windy and hot today, so only time and patience for a 5-minute pencil sketch. Hoping for calm and cooler in the morning to give them proper sketchbook attention.

Doesn't everyone have a dead fish phase?

Whilst looking for something else (of course), I came across this little study of small trout. There's a fish hatchery conveniently located on my usual walking route, so one morning I stopped in and asked for some cooperative models. A few minutes later I was the happy owner of a bag of frozen hatchery failures.

There was, of course, the matter of having to carry this bag about 2 miles home, but I wasn't worried about it. The air was cool and it was early and I hardly EVER run in to anyone I know on the trail.

The punch line is obvious, isn't it?

That particular day still holds the record for number of acquaintances encountered and explanations proffered. But I got nice sketches, anyway.

Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...