Saturday, March 28, 2009

More book news, a workshop, and an exhibition


Book signing party tomorrow (Sunday) at the Book Haven in Salida, 3:00-5:00 pm for "Walking Nature Home." Author Susan Tweit and illustrator Sherrie York (hey, that's me) will be present and accounted for. At least that's what the big sign in the window says. Yikes! The WNH Blog Tour comes to Brush and Baren next weekend. Maybe I should say something about the illustrations, eh?

This Wednesday, April 1 (yeah, yeah, I know), I'll be adding a few linocuts to the walls at the Café Dawn, 1st and G streets in Salida. Coffee, art, sunshine, and hanging out with the gang for the entire month. Chances are good you'll run into me there at some point.... given that it's 3 blocks from the house.

And just in case you need WAY more notice for your social schedule: I just added a new workshop to the summer schedule: "Journal Jumpstart," for those of us who have either let our journal practice wane or still need a kick in the pants to get it started. (Or for those of us who just need an excuse to go outside with our journals.) June 14, 9:00-noon:thirty, in Salida. Details coming soon at the GARNA website.

8:30pm. Lights out, everyone!

It's good to be in the dark once in a while.

From the Earth Hour website:

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009....

It's already underway around the world, in some countries Earth Hour is already past. Here in the Heart of the Rockies we're just over 4 hours away. Catch the latest updates, photos, and news here. And find yourself a smile here:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A wild hare

You just never know where linocut images might turn up.

Several weeks ago I received a lovely and polite inquiry about licensing a portion of one of my images for a unique project. It was an application I had never really considered before, but I was charmed by the request (a birthday present for the inquirer's wife) and curious about the potential results (custom embroidery on a bag). So.... why not? A quick negotiation, a digital handshake, and the project was underway.

This morning Ted (for that is the devoted and creative husband's name) sent me a photo of the finished bag... delightful! Perhaps you recognize the speedy hare in his new role as messenger, but just in case you need a reminder, you can find him in original context here.

The bag was produced by Seagull Bags of Columbus, Ohio. Photo and bright idea by Ted Tollefson. Happy Birthday, Megan!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A new record

Four colors, 20 prints, 2 days. :-) But now I really MUST get back to client projects. (sigh)

2:30 a.m. Why am I awake?

Sunday (yesterday, a scant two-and-a-half hours ago) was a great day. Got up in the morning and pulled prints, then the DM and I went for a goodly hike up Browns Creek, did some quality career and home-life planning for the next few weeks, spent a little time doing minor spring maintenance to the yard, took a stroll downtown for tea and a cookie, and THEN I printed AGAIN. By 9:00pm we were both pretty pooped, so retired to bed with books until overtaken by sleep. Can there BE a more perfect day?

I slept like a rock until 30 minutes ago. Now? Wide awake. At least I get to catch up with blog reading. But don't expect clever writing at this hour.

Must tell you, after the two month (!) process of the pine cone linocut, I am diggin' this little bitty thing in color. In just over 24 hours I was on the 3rd color pass! The fourth and final will hopefully be accomplished later today. 48 hours to a complete edition? I feel slightly tipsy over the entire idea. Granted, this is not a thing of complex and subtle carving... but simple graphic compositions have their own kind of appeal.

So... Sunday morning's pass:

That accomplished, we threw lunch goods and water in a day pack and headed up to Brown's Creek. There are a couple of trailheads in the area which connect to the Colorado Trail (a 469-mile hiking trail mostly through the mountains), which we "discovered" in November when we went holiday tree-hunting.

We started up the Wagon Wheel trail, but as it was on a north-facing slope we discovered too much snow (read: slush and ice). Slow and slippery going. Trudging along through all that was not really how we wanted to spend the day, so after about half an hour we turned around and went back to the Brown's Creek trail, on a south-facing slope. Much better! Despite the fact that it was really quite windy down below, we managed to stay wind-free for most of the afternoon.

The first attempt. Definitely not terrain for hiking in tennis shoes.

Look. I conceded to a photo of me. Don't get used to it.

The view from Brown's Creek trail, roughly southeast.
That's our town at the bottom of the valley, just beyond the swath of yellow pasture land.

When we returned I was surprised and delighted to discover the little blanketflowers were ready for another pass, so color #3 went down before supper.

Today it's back to work on assorted client projects. Still have that 18x24 watercolor to finish for the sagebrush poster and some writing to do for the Byway interpretive project. Other things, too, but those are the big priorities the first part of the week. Actually, the biggest priority is to try to get back to sleep. Remedies, anyone?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why stop now?

And they're OFF! The first official book release event for "Walking Nature Home" was a success yesterday afternoon. At least I think it was... I had to leave early to get to the reception in Buena Vista... but there was a nice crowd and methinks there were probably a number of books sold. Hooray!

The reception at Mother's Bistro was nice, we met some interesting folks, and the DM and I stayed after for yummy food (chicken tamales and pork molé... mmmmm.) When we got home... I dunno... I was just in a mood. I decided I would draw up a tiny lino block to do in color.

And then I decided I would carve it for the first color.

And then I decided I would print the first color.

And then I decided I would carve for the second color.

The interesting thing is that, having just made some glib remark about every project having its own challenges, I think doing these itty bitty things in color might end up being a greater registration challenge than the larger pieces. The little sheets of paper are just... flighty, I guess. There's no intrinsic weight to hold them in place as I drop them, nor are there long edges to stay firmly in the jig. The tendency to cattywompishness is high. Hmmmm.

(Here's a funny thing... the Blogger spell check is NOT alerting me to the word "cattywompishness.")

Anyway... we'll just see as we go along, I guess. I intend a completely civilized 4 colors for this little image.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to celebrate finishing a project

Start another one, of course!

I've recently started playing with little accordion book forms, and last night I made my first attempt at gelatin prints. Put the two together, and viola! The Houseplant Book.

"Underfoot," pine cone lino hanging in the background.

Sorry. Blurry cover image.

Time out for good cheer

Probably you've met Dancing Matt. But just in case you haven't, and just in case you've had too much doom-and-gloom morning news....

Get the story on Matt's bad dancing crusade and watch previous years' videos here. You might need a hankie, though.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Whew! Talk about protracted labor! But the pine cone linocut (title still pending) is finally done and drying on the rack. In all 10 colors in reduction, but DANG. I don't know if I'll put myself through that again any time soon.

I'd love to sit and chat a while, but I need to draw a watershed this afternoon and get back to the sagebrush steppe. The PLAN (always with the plans, eh?) is to take a little kick-back time this weekend.

Oh right. I forgot.

Presentation and reading from Susan Tweit's new book "Walking Nature Home," with a few words from the (ahem) illustrator at the Salida Regional Library at 3:00pm tomorrow. I won't be there for the entire event because I am due at the Mother's Bistro reception for my work and for the newly-installed exhibition of 4x4 works by local high school students. Argh! Did I say I was taking time off this weekend?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Working. Really.

Hoping to print the last color on the pine cone linocut tomorrow... assuming I get the carving done. I've been having to squeak little bits of time in between other projects to pick up the carving tools... not my favorite way to work. And, sheesh. I'm starting to confuse MYSELF with this one. :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mental Health Day

I've been ridiculously busy the last few weeks, with no end in sight for the next few weeks, so decided that the only way to stop working was to actually leave town for the day.

Fortunately it's mid-March, and that means sandhill crane season in the San Luis Valley. It was Crane Festival weekend in Monte Vista, so the DM and I piled selves, binnies and scope into the car and headed south.

The Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is just about an hour and a half drive from home, and the weather was perfect: 50 F, clear skies, and no wind.

We saw: Lots of cranes (of course), bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, kestrels, a northern harrier, many species of waterfowl (including pintails, a fave), blackbirds and bluebirds and assorted larks and sparrows. Pronghorn. Prairie dogs. We also saw a few friends we hadn't seen in a long time AND were surprised when our Salida neighbors honked and waved as they drove past us in Monte Vista.

We also indulged in decadent ice cream things from the DQ on the corner.

On the way home we stopped at the painting and pottery studio of Meerfeld/Mitchell in Saguache and visited with friend Marty for a little bit. In all a great day.

Tomorrow I have on the table an 18x24 illustration of the sagebrush steppe that will ultimately be a poster. 32? 33? species of plants and animals in one scene. Always a challenge! The pinecone lino waits patiently for breathing space and completion.

Our first stop: Look! The cranes are loafing, too.
Can you see them all out there?

I don't have a digiscoping rig, so the best I can do is stick my little point-and-shoot camera on the eyepiece of my spotting scope. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I lucked out today.

Yes, those are mountains filling the background, not sky.

Yup. A great day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Last push for the summit

It was a rough morning at the printing jig. Color #9 went down on the pine cone linocut, but it didn't do so without a fight. Ooph. I've decided that the next color will be the last, despite earlier plans to squeak one more in. It's just getting ungainly for reduction printing by hand, and I'm ready to get back to something simpler. I've actually queued up some more tiny blocks... think tiny linos in 2 or 3 colors! Could be fun, could be a nightmare. We'll find out, won't we?

There's still a little room in my bookmaking workshop this weekend. I received a roster of participants today and, whoo-ee! I know most of them... it's going to be a high-energy afternoon! I'm quite looking forward to it. So.... learn a skill, have some fun, and I guarantee some laughs, too. Come on up!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Now we're getting somewhere!

It was another morning for printing linocuts in pajamas, and it was a good one! Finally we can start to see that I am not completely off base here.

It's difficult to see in this image that this was actually color #8 for this print so far: light blue, 2 grays, yellow, 2 oranges, and pale green came before this brownish bit. At this point I'm after 3 more colors in 2 passes. Keep your fingers crossed, eh?

I'm hoping to get the whole thing finished during the week ahead. Hard to predict, since I'm quite busy with eleven (!) interp panels (an assortment of writing, illustration, and design), a poster illustration, several spot illustration jobs, and a workshop to teach next Saturday. Yikes. Best I don't think about it too much.

As for the workshop... it's a quick little half day adventure in beginning book making. We'll make a stab-bound book (like this except with blank pages) and I'll provide all the materials, 1:00-4:00pm, March 14, here in Salida at the library. Such a deal for only $32. More information and registration available through GARNA, the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association.

Off to clean up the table to make room for the next task.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Got yours? Got mine!

Did I mention I was swamped? I've been going from one thing to another without respite for several days... so busy, even, that there wasn't time to open the tantalizing box from University of Texas Press. I am literally waiting for paint to dry this evening, so out came the Xacto knife.

Yippee! My copies of Susan Tweit's new book, Walking Nature Home, chapter heading illustrations by yours truly, have arrived! It looks as if I'll be hanging out with Susan for some local book release events later in the month, so come on by and chat:

March 21: Reading for Arts at the Library, Salida Regional Library, 3:00-4:30 pm.

March 29: Book signing at the Book Haven in Salida, 3:00-5:00 pm.

The pine cone lino is sadly neglected at the moment, due to a sudden excess of contract work. Hoping to get the next color(s) down on the weekend.

This afternoon I also installed 23 linocuts on the walls of Mother's Bistro in Buena Vista. Show will be up until the end of May! Remember that the DM and pals play music there every Wednesday evening from 7:00-9:00 pm. It's like two arts events in one!

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...