Sunday, May 31, 2015

View from the coast #1

If it's Sunday I must be in Maine. Actually... it was Thursday when I arrived here, but this is the first opportunity I've had to make even a short post.

Landing on the coast just before dark.
I'm spending the next few weeks as the interim Program Coordinator at Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine, a place I typically enjoy as an instructor for a week in July.

Sunny, quiet hours before the busy-ness begins.

Already it's a different experience, and not just because I'm here in a different role. This early in the season there are different flowers in bloom... the lobster boats have not yet started their early morning rumble... and the ferns have only barely begun to unfurl.

In a few weeks this entire area will fill in thick with ferns.
It will be several weeks before I have any real time to work on sketches or develop new work, but I am of course noticing subjects and scenes that could make interesting studies.

Today's scenes were much wetter than those pictured here, since we were in and out of showers... and unfortunately the forecast calls for two more days of rather stout rain. But our first group of 44 program participants has arrived, ready to learn about birds, birding, and conservation and their enthusiasm and anticipation make the whole place seem sunny.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

(Pr)in(t)spiration Day: Marthe Armitage

I'm in the final countdown for departure to the coast of Maine, which means that there will be pitifully few print-related posts while I get myself 2000 miles east and settled in to a routine. The next few weeks won't allow much time for image-making, but I do plan to share sketches and photos as I can.

In the meantime.... my friend Merry Cox, a fantastic found object sculptor, sent me a link to this charming video of Marthe Armitage, a British designer of wallpaper and fabrics. Ms. Armitage hand- carves and hand- prints wallpaper to order.... from lino blocks! It's mind-boggling, really.

There's a great article with lots of photos at The Bible of British Taste, too.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hoppiness is a toad linocut

Ready to print!

Perhaps I should call it a toad-o-cut. This cheery fellow is part of a small contract job that just came up for one of our local natural resource agencies.

Once common in montane habitats (7,000-12,000 feet elevation) here in the southern Rockies, the boreal toad (Bufo boreas boreas) population has declined significantly in the last 20 years, due in part to infection by the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) chytrid fungus. 

The boreal toad is listed as an endangered species in both Colorado and New Mexico, and is a protected species in Wyoming. One of its strongholds lies in the national forest on the western boundary of my county, and last year I worked with the US Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to create an information kiosk about that critical toad habitat. Our little buddy here will expand that public information effort by appearing on some cautionary signs.

I'd watch my step if I saw this, wouldn't you?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Coming up: Colorado Governor's Show

Next week I'll be delivering work to the Loveland Museum for the upcoming Governor's Show. Unfortunately I will miss the opening night gala, but I encourage anyone who's in the area to check out what is sure to be another excellent exhibition.

And, wow! I just discovered that my work is gracing the exhibition's web page! How fun is that?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Birds, Prints, Snow (??).... must be Spring!

Yesterday was the first Global Big Day, a birding event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Birders all over the world submitted their day's sightings to the eBird online database which, if you're not familiar with it, is a great way to keep track of your birding checklists and contribute to the scientific record at the same time. I just checked the status page, and as of this morning 8,886 people from 108 countries had submitted 25,254 checklists, featuring 4,751 species. Cool.

You might have noticed that I do a lot of linocuts featuring birds, so I'm sure it's no surprise that I've got birder tendencies. Since I've been using eBird for a long time participating in the Global Big Day was kind of a no-brainer. But rather than just record data from my usual patch I teamed up with an old friend to check out some additional locations.

The day started out lovely enough....

7:00 am. Blue skies and a few clouds.
 8:00 am. Oh, look! A pelican in perfect light! Maybe another lino?
By mid-day we were about an hour up the valley from home and the sky had turned gray and thick with clouds.

 Early afternoon. Loggerhead shrike. Definitely some lino potential here.
By 3:00pm there was no denying that some serious weather was on the way, so we piled back in the truck and headed south.

Some rain, but mostly SNOW. Not sticking yet, but will be soon.
The weather continued through the night, and this morning my neighborhood looked like this:

Snow in May is not unusual here, and during the time it has taken to type this post most of it has already disappeared. It's lovely, in a "seriously-can-we-just-get-back-to-green-please" sort of way.

But cold, wet, and gray days are good for painting little bird linos with cheery and colorful palettes, so that's what I'm up to now. As for birds, we ticked 71 species yesterday... including a few that I don't manage to see every year. Birds, prints, snow. No denying that it's springtime in the Rockies!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cruisin' to Birds in Art!

Ah, Jury Results Day.

My groggy self rolls over in bed and then suddenly my eyes fly open, my heart starts pounding, and I stumble towards the computer and my inbox with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Which will it be? The "Congratulations" email... or the "Sorry, Maybe Next Time" email?

Juried exhibitions are fickle beasts... which is a nice way of saying they can be pretty much a crapshoot. As a general rule I don't apply to a lot of juried shows, but there are a few with long histories of consistent excellence to which I do submit work, and then wait nervously for the outcomes.

At this point in my career I know that a rejection does not necessarily reflect the quality of my work, because these major exhibitions receive an overwhelming number of outstanding submissions which must be whittled down to a cohesive show by a small group of jurors. It sounds a bit cliché to say that acceptance is an honor, but the "Congratulations" email means I've been invited to share my work alongside that of respected colleagues, and an honor is precisely what I've received.

So, yes. I am honored to announce that my reduction linocut "Cruisin'" has been accepted to this year's Birds in Art exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin. This will be the 40th Anniversary of the museum's flagship show, which is widely recognized as the premiere bird exhibition in the country.

(Insert happy dance here.)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Environments: Pressed" is up and open!

Exhibition is up and ready for visitors...

Whew! Friday was a whirlwind of a day. I loaded up the car first thing in the morning and drove the 3 hours to Denver. First stop was to pick up frame moulding from the supplier, then to the venue to hang the show.

Visitors started arriving shortly after 5:00 and there was a steady stream until nearly 10:00! Lots of great response (and even some sales), but the best part was getting to see some friends I hadn't seen in a long time. (Read: 20 years!) Crazy, and great.

... and here they come!

The show will remain up through the summer at the Denver Architecture Collaborative, 863 Santa Fe Drive, and visitors are welcome to wander in during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Rocky Mountain Land Library, a project near and dear to my heart.

Now that this major project is handled I might actually find a little time to print this week. Yesterday was the annual "International Print Day in May," which I missed... but then wouldn't it be nice if every day were Print Day?

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...