Saturday, February 28, 2009

No easier to follow

Sorry, gang... I'm having a dickens of a time getting decent shots of these print stages. Colors 6 and 7 (darker orange-brown and light green) went down this evening. Pajamas were NOT involved. I'm not sure what that means.

Anyway... ink colors will be getting darker from here, so hopefully something will start resolving itself soon. Otherwise I'm going to have a nice stack of paper to chop up for collages or book covers or something.

I've somehow managed to get myself completely swamped again, so the DM and I are going to make a run for it and get out of town for a little perspective tomorrow. Not going far, just to Leadville to poke around, have some lunch, consider our respective and collective futures. You know, easy stuff.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Can't go to Atlanta? You can still see the show!

Those clever folks at Art House Gallery in Atlanta are going to live broadcast the opening of the Sketchbook Project #3 tonight. Who'dathunk it? From the letter they just sent:

LIVE VIDEO BROADCAST from The Sketchbook Project in Atlanta, GA tonight!
Tonight marks the first exhibition on the Sketchbook Project tour. We will be broadcasting it live over the internet so that people who can't make it to the exhibition in person can have a chance to view the show and see how people interact with it. The show tonight also features the work of Emily Maxwell.

The show starts at 7:00pm EST and runs until 10:30pm. To view the broadcast, simply go to:

Please note that because tonight's show is at our own gallery, this is unfortunately the only exhibition on the tour that we are able to broadcast. Also, the broadcast is limited to up to 50 viewers at a time, so if you aren't actively viewing it, please close the window to allow others a chance to!
Golly... now HOW am I going to see if my entry gets any vid time unless I sit here and watch for 3 1/2 hours? I'm good at slacking, but sadly have too much work to do today to be really good at it. You'll just have to let me know if you see any familiar pages go by. Perhaps this one, for instance.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Steps toward recovery

The fifth color went down on the pine cone linocut this morning. I was awake at 6:00 again, so wandered bleary-eyed downstairs and got to work. I'm still uncertain about how things are going here, but intend to reserve judgment until the darker colors start going down.

You can see in the ink-up that I left one corner devoid of this orange-y color. None of it appears there, so it wasn't necessary to roll ink. I think things are still going to look rather nebulous for at least one more color pass, and then hopefully the image will begin to resolve. It's like a painfully slow movie with poorly translated subtitles, isn't it? Really difficult to follow.

In other news, this afternoon I'm off to the Salida Museum to do some research for an interp project for the Collegiate Peaks Byway. The museum is actually closed this time of year, but one of the volunteers offered to help me dig through the photo archives to see what we can find pertinent to our goals. It's too bad I have to focus on work today, because I'm intrigued by the possibility of getting in there to make some drawings. One thing at a time, I guess. Dangit.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Would you like some jam with that muff-up?

So I woke up shortly after 6:00am, grabbed my slippers and bathrobe and stumbled downstairs to the studio and the linocut block waiting quietly in the jig. I cheerfully set about mixing two different ink colors, and when that was accomplished I confidently picked up a brayer to begin placing the first color.

And then I set it down.


I didn't think this through quite clearly enough.

Both colors define delicate, skinny little bits of dried grass and dry pine needles. Some of these interact with each other in close proximity. Huh. It didn't seem that critical yesterday, but this morning I can see that if I'm really going to ink up two colors at once, it's going to have to be handled with some precision.

I am SO not in to precision inking. Expletive. I have muffed this step. PLEASE don't let it be too serious.

So I abandoned the orange-y color for the pine needles and set about only pulling the yellow for the grasses. I tried to keep this to a minimum of ink application by rolling mostly in the places that needed yellow and rubbing most carefully in those areas to transfer ink. I rubbed the entire plate with the baren, pressing hardest in the areas I needed. I even used my fingers for some firm spot rubbing, too. (I put a piece of tracing paper between the print and the baren partly for this reason. No finger oils to transfer to the back of the print.)

The result is a bunch of prints that look very odd. I actually rather like the sort of fuzzy aspect.. hazy and incomplete. I might save one or two out at this stage and see what happens. Or not.

At any rate, once I cleaned up I went ahead and carved for the next pass. If these dry enough in the next 24 hours, I may try to print that tomorrow. The rest of the week is pretty densely scheduled, and I hate to think of leaving this for too long. Especially so I don't forget what it is that I think I figured out to make up for having not thought to remember in the first place. Or something like that.

The middle school weather station says it's 59 F (!). I think it's time for a walk.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What's cookin' for Sunday brunch?

Tomorrow morning I'm going to try to do two colors in one pass. Oooooooooooh.

Don't forget your jammies and slippers.

The weather is supposed to be ridiculously nice again tomorrow, so my plan* is to get up reasonably early and have this pass finished by mid-morning so we can get out and enjoy the sunshine. (You know how plans sometimes go.)

Yesterday was (probably) our last day to help with the bighorn sheep project this winter. No more hay in our pockets and apple mash in our shoe treads until next year. (sigh) Personally I think the DM looks relieved to be finished, but he assures me he enjoyed the adventure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Remember the tiny linos?

They're still finding homes, but I think I should warn you: There's only one Snail left in the edition. It's hanging out at Etsy. Just in case.

Time out for inspiration

I don't know if you are familiar with TED... but I'm a bit of a groupie. TED started out as a conference bringing together people from Technology, Entertainment, and Design fields (get it?), but now the annual gathering brings together fascinating thinkers and doers in many disciplines, challenging them to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). The ticket for admission is quite high, but TED is kind enough to post many of the great presentations on their website. Go poke around, you're sure to find something worthwhile!

TED also sponsors the TED Prize: a goodly grant to help three world visionaries fulfill grand wishes. One of this year's winners was Jose Abreu of Venezula, whose music program "La Sistema" has touched the lives of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of kids. Jose's acceptance speech is here, but I just had to put the kids of Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra right here where you can find them easily. It's a long vid (17 minutes), but oh so worth watching and hearing. (The young man conducting, Gustavo Dudamel, is a former student of La Sistema and now the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic!)

In other news... I made good carving progress this morning, and then spent the REST of the day working on (choke) tax stuff.

I think I'll go listen to the orchestra again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three down...

...and... hm... Five to go? We'll see. It looks like at least that right now.

The third color went down on the new linocut today. Yes, pajamas were involved. I'm not sure yet, but I think the next pass is going to handle two colors at once. That's the goal, anyway. We'll see if I can pull it off.

Time out for wildlife coolness

Bonus points for the person who can identify the bird species. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Sunday night miscellany

Prints are drying, carving is happening, roses are opening ever-so-slowly. Your Surrogate Cousin is practicing and I am trying to organize for the week ahead.

A few little tidbits that might be of interest:

1) That rush job of "whimsical cartoony images" went live online this past week. Take the Birds and Climate Change Quiz at and you can see the crazy little things for yourself.

2) Jala Pfaff tagged me a little while back with a "random things about me" meme... have I gotten to it? No. Susan Tweit also tagged me with the "Happy Meme." I haven't done that, either. They're both producing lovely, worthwhile reads, though... so pop on over and see what they are up to.

3) If you haven't gotten your printmaking fix this week, you can also go over to Printsy and see Who's Printsy This Week.

4) And, OOOOOOOOOOOOOH! Look at my fabulous find at, well, Fabulous Finds, an antique store a scant 2 blocks from the house. I haven't tried to print with them yet, but you KNOW I had to have them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

PJs and roses

Party animals that we are, the DM and I went out for music at the Salida Café last night. It was an eclectic evening featuring a fingerstyle guitarist, a celtic duo, and a honky tonk/blues pianist. Friends with separate careers, they thought it would be fun to tour together a bit, which meant we were treated to a three-concerts-in-one event. As a collection they call themselves Uncommon Bonds, but we were cautioned against trying to Google for them. (Apparently the hottest link by that name turns up an over-18 Australian fetish club. Yikes!)

A later-than-normal evening (we were still in bed by midnight, don't get any crazy ideas) meant a slightly later-than-normal morning, but I had already prepared the print setup and was ready to roll when I finally got vertical.

OOPH. There were a few struggles to overcome this morning, the greatest one being color mixing. The first print I pulled was alarmingly dark, so I stopped to tweak the color some more. And then some more. And then some more. Sheesh. So much for the "printing better in pajamas" theory.

While I was fumbling around with ink, the DM discovered a cupboard devoid of coffee. (Not a crisis for me, but for him.) Luckily we live a block and a half from the grocery store, so he trundled out for beans and came home with roses. Golly. My studio sports prints and flowers. Can't get much better than that. Ink struggles are already just a memory. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Get your jammies ready

I know it doesn't look like much has changed, but trust me! Second carve is finished, and depending on how the day goes I'll either print this afternoon or first thing tomorrow. Slippers will be involved for certain. Jammies if I don't get it going until tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

That wasn't so bad

I definitely print better in my pajamas.

There's something about rolling out of bed and straight downstairs to a waiting print setup that seems to make everything go smoothly. Maybe it's just that I'm not awake enough to see the problems, but I don't think so.

Anyway, the first color is down and the second carve has begun. AND I had ginger pancakes to celebrate. Heck, my day was a success before noon... how's that for good living?

I tried to darken the image of prints on the rack so you could maybe see what the first pass looks like. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe. Close. Not quite.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baby steps

I'm experiencing an unusual amount of trepidation over the beginning of this new linocut. The trickiest bits seem to be right up front in the first few carves, and I'm much more accustomed to having the first color or two provide a bit of a "warm-up." It always seems to take me a little while to get in to the groove....

But not this time! Jumping in with both feet required, which must be why I'm dragging mine in a big way. First pass is carved, paper is torn down... all that remains is to mix the color and start pulling prints.

So, of course, I'm tidying my workspace, doing laundry, washing dishes, making salads.....

At the moment the plan is to set up tonight before bed so I can just tumble downstairs in the morning and start printing before I am awake enough to be nervous. In the meantime, I'm going to have lots of clean clothes and organized pencils.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It's all your fault

Really. I'm not kidding.

If you, oh adored readers, had not been so supportive of the crazy process of High Tide Detritus, I might not have been inclined to try THIS. But here we go.

The biggest challenge of this piece (I think) happens with the first carving. Argh. Those large, semi-open spaces are melting snow. Delicate, lovely shapes in real life... but precisely how I'm going to get that quality in lino is completely theoretical at the moment. The first carve will be for the whitest portions of these shapes, the first color to print will be an oh-so-pale blue -gray. After that? We'll just have to see, won't we?

During the arduous drawing-up I kept thinking that a wise person would do this image in black and white and be satisfied with the drama of all that line. 'Nuf said.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Where, oh where, has our printmaker gone...

Oh where, oh where can she be?

Distracted by contract work, that's where. Finally it's all over. At least until Monday. But the rush job was wrapped up this week and I'm back to having brain cells enough for more than one occupation! Hoorah!

Case in point: I have FINALLY finished the little sketchbook for the Art House Sketchbook #3 Project. I had the idea that I would build one of those nifty little slideshow thingies to show you all the pages, as Jafabrit has done, but for reasons which shall remain safely my own secret, I decided this was perhaps a little less than prudent. You caught a glimpse of the big foldout page, which takes up the middle of the book quite nicely, thank you very much. Here are a few others.

I found the entire project to be surprisingly challenging. Most interesting to me was that I ended up working the book outwards from the center in both directions.. and not in a particularly tidy fashion. As someone who primarily does reduction prints, it's imperative that I work in a steady, more or less linear mode. There's no going back to change something once it's carved! Random page generation seemed... I don't know... so... RANDOM. But, hoo-ee! Once I got going it was quite fun.

I'll be packing up the little beast and sending it off this week (deadline is next weekend!). The first exhibition of the collected sketchbooks will open February 27 at the Art House Gallery, and from there they are off on a grand tour. I would LOVE to see the show, but the closest scheduled venue at this point is Chicago... a bit of a commute. Hopefully they'll do some fun things with it online.

And speaking of exhbitions! Yikes! I've been a little entry-sending and show-organizing monkey lately. If it all comes through, well, I don't even want to think about it. There are a couple of local things coming up in March: I'll be hanging work at Mother's Bistro* in Buena Vista (opening date still TBD) and doing a stab-bound bookmaking workshop in Salida (March 14). Specifics to follow shortly!

* Yes, this is the place where the DM has a regular Wednesday night gig. Your Surrogate Cousin got some great press last week. Too bad they got the DM's first name wrong. (It's Dave, Beverly! ;-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday night miscellany

As anticipated, it was back to work for the DM and I today. As I type, Your Surrogate Cousin is practicing in the dining room, and I am tucked back in a corner of my studio trying to keep tunes from getting stuck in my head. (This has become an unexpected hazard of living with a musician. Who knew I'd dream the same song over and over and over and over if I didn't exercise some auditory caution on rehearsal nights?)

No real progress on the new pine cone lino this weekend, but I did tend to some other projects. At present I have a contract job which is requiring me to reach well out of my comfort zone: I'm being called upon to make "whimsical cartoony images"! Trepidation levels were high at the start of this process, but to my surprise and relief I'm actually enjoying the challenge. I'm not ready for the funny pages, but I don't think I'll completely embarrass myself.

I also spent a little time working on the Art House sketchbook project. I confess I've struggled mightily with this "assignment," but it's due in two weeks and I'm feeling compelled to get something accomplished.

The first issue was that I was unfamiliar with the paper in the little Moleskine cahiers, and it turned out to be completely unfriendly to any of my customary approaches. In the end I've yanked out half of the sheets (completely legal, honest!) and am tipping in papers I like much better. The most amusing to me is this accordion-folded sheet of watercolor paper with, surprise! "whimsical cartoony images" of some of our friends. The theme of the project is "everyone we know," and this page celebrates the fact that just about everyone we know has multiple occupations. We know biologist-writers and farmer-musicians and researcher-event planners and, well, you get the idea.

In other news, Katherine Tyrell over at the most excellent Making a Mark has made another of her amazing, information-packed posts. This one leads with a response to recent online printmaking buzz, and guess who got a nod again? It was definitely my week for "atta girls."

In the week ahead I shall attempt to live up to all this praise... as soon as the blushing recedes, of course.

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...