Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Fever Hits the Studio

Yep. I've got it BAD.

73 F. Today's temperature was 73 (count 'em) lovely degrees. Even better? No wind. I threw open a few windows and tried to focus on tasks at home this morning, but I. Just. Couldn't.

So I gave up trying to be virtuous, grabbed my journal, and headed down to the river. I did walk there, a round trip of about 2.5 miles, so I told myself I scored at least a few points in the getting-some-exercise column.

There were a LOT of people down by the river this morning (clearly suffering from the same malady), so I tucked myself into a more-or-less hidden spot behind the bandshell and made a little drawing of the F Street bridge over the Arkansas River.

F Street bridge, downtown Salida

My semi-hidden spot behind the bandshell.

It felt quite nice to get out with my journal for a bit, especially since my practice has been sadly neglected through the winter months.

After my little field trip it was easier to work on projects in the studio, most importantly on a long-overdue birthday gift. It was great fun to carve some single-color linocuts, and then to play with the arrangement of the two separate blocks on different kinds of paper. (Full disclosure: the seated toad was carved a while back for another project. The leaping toad is a new block.)


I also pushed around a few ideas for new color linos, although I haven't committed to anything yet.

Tomorrow, however, I'll be back to indulging my restlessness with a trip to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. The trip to MVNWR, stopover site for several thousand sandhill cranes, is a spring ritual, but this year it's gotten a bit out of control. Tomorrow will be my third trip there in 10 days. Is it any wonder I'm not getting much work done?

How can I resist THIS, though?

Yes! All cranes!

See? Not my fault. Wildlife spectacle is not to be missed, and with (ahem) spectacular spectacle weather, it would be pretty much criminal not to take advantage of the opportunity. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking with it. Monday will be a perfectly good day to tackle the to-do list.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2-Day Linocut Workshop in Salida, Colorado

Hey, Coloradans! By popular demand, I've scheduled a 2-day reduction linocut workshop here in the Heart of the Rockies. Space is limited to 8 participants and we're over half full already, so if you're interested let me know ASAP!

(Details will be easier to read if you click on the image to embiggen it!)

Click to embiggen

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Printmaker's Bookshelf: Preface

The art and nature corner of my library

Let's talk about book addiction, shall we?

Even as a kid I was a book junkie. Where's Sherrie? Reading. On the bed. In the tree. On the roof. In the car. Who had the tallest stack of purchases when the Scholastic book orders arrived at school? Sherrie. Who maxed out her checkout limit at the library? Sherrie. Who had the most stars on her summer reading program card? Who spent her junior high years volunteering and her college summers working at libraries? Sherrie.

My personal library grew slowly until I started haunting used book stores. And then? The internet happened. The Natural History Book Service. Abe Books. Freakin' eBay.

For a while the (legitimate) excuse was work. As an illustrator I needed reference material, so I accumulated field guides and old coffee table books about birds and bugs and mushrooms. But just like mushrooms after rain my library kept growing. Art and natural history were the main themes, but there were plenty of other random topics, like cooking and languages and knitting. My circle of friends grew to include some great authors and my fiction shelves started bulging. I was a happy, happy book junkie.

And then came the horrible day when I was obliged to downsize, moving to an apartment barely 1/3 the size of my house. I'd arrived in the big house with almost 50 boxes of books, and my forced purge whittled it to just over 30. Bit-by-bit I sent 16 boxes-worth to our local library. Some books went to friends, a few I sold. Several bookcases went to new homes, too.

After the dust settled and I made the move I discovered I had precisely enough shelf space for my remaining library (with a couple of shelves reserved for treasures). I declared a moratorium on book buying and redoubled my efforts to boost the circulation numbers at the library.

Zero accumulation lasted about a year, but friends and colleagues kept producing new books, and my work appeared in a few more, and... well... you can see that things are going a bit cattywampus again.

Some of my printmaking books. A little bit of everything, including
a few recent linocut titles.

It's my guess that I'm not the only printmaker with bookish tendencies, being generally obsessed with ink and paper as we all are. So hey! Let's talk books once in a while, okay? I'll share some of my favorites for both information and inspiration and you can contribute to my literary delinquency by sharing some of yours.

While I'm putting together my thoughts for my first book offering ("review" seems so...cold), I'd like to introduce you to some friends with an even bigger book obsession than mine: Jeff Lee and Ann Marie Martin and their vision of the Rocky Mountain Land Library.

It's been my great fortune and pleasure to know and work with Ann and Jeff for almost 15 years. Long before we met they'd amassed a collection of books that dwarfs any of my aspirations: More than 30,000 volumes at last count.

Jeff and Ann (and those of us who know them) are getting closer to seeing their dream of a permanent home and residential library for this collection, but of course the limiting factor is always money! They have the location, Buffalo Peaks Ranch in the Colorado Rockies, but the historic buildings are in need of much restoration and repair.

They have a Kickstarter campaign underway for funds to complete restoration work on the Cook's House, and are about 1/4 of the way to their goal with less than a month until their campaign deadline. I encourage you to check out the Rocky Mountain Land Library's Kickstarter page, pledge if you can and share the information far and wide with all your book junkie friends. There are some great spaces for studios on the ranch, too, and part of the dream includes the day we'll all be able to gather over prints and books at this literary home on the range.