Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Repairs made, work begun!

The studio in coming together. Click image to embiggen.

There are a lot of reasons that I am happy that I moved to Maine, but at the top of my list right now is my new neighbor, Jeff. I shared my woes over my damaged press bed and he came right down to take a look. He felt we could manage a repair ourselves, and since I know him to be very handy (and experienced with construction and countertops), I figured we couldn't make things any worse and should give it a try.

A couple of days and a lot of stinky contact cement later... voila! We got the laminate re-adhered smoothly to the press bed and I am back in business.

There are still a few little quirks that developed in storage... mainly with one of the adjustment screws... but I jumped on in and printed some black-and-white images just to see where things were.

Happiness is linocuts on a drying rack.

Of course just because I haven't been able to print doesn't mean I haven't been working on other things... including the opening of an exhibition at the Green Lion Gallery in Bath.

I was tickled to find my piece, "Wild Dreams" facing the gallery entry door, and two small floral pieces adjoining the work of another local printmaker, Holly Berry. That's Holly in the middle, Martha Truscott on the left and some other slouch printmaker on the right.

Whew! It's suddenly summer time in Maine and things are hopping. Gallery shows, workshops, and field work are all vying for my time... and I'm still trying to get things functional in my living and working spaces. And I've had some company again, too!  It's starting to feel like a more normal sort of craziness, and I'm happy to be in the middle of it.

I'll be prepping some paper and getting started on a small reduction print in the next few days, although I expect to be interrupted by a high school graduation extravaganza and the annual Belfast Ukulele Picnic this weekend. Ukulele? Yes. That's a whole OTHER story.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Girls in Science at Herring Gut Learning Center

It was my great pleasure this past week to work with the great staff at Herring Gut Learning Center to present their Girls in Science event.

Sixth grade girls from area schools spent their day learning from scientists and a certain natural history artist/illustrator you may know. (Ahem.) Guest speakers included a local kelp farmer, renewable energy and water quality experts, an algae curator, and... me.

The young scientists built wind machines, identified and handled different types of seaweed, fed baby lobsters, dissected squid, looked at phytoplankton under the microscope, and did some drawing and printmaking based on their observations. I spent two action-packed and fun days at Herring Gut, and enjoyed watching these young women exercising their curiosity and exploring possibilities.

Field sketching

Studying stones below the Marshall Point lighthouse


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Birds, Bees, and Springtime at the Green Lion Gallery

"Pas de Ducks," reduction linocut, 8" x 16"
Please join us this Friday at the Green Lion Gallery in Bath, Maine for the opening of "Birds, Bees, and Springtime." 

We're celebrating the exuberant color and promise of springtime and new beginnings, but the show also includes images of migration, movement, and multi-layered ambiguity that might recall paths not taken and things left behind. Most of the works in the show are wood or linoleum-cut prints, but it also includes print collage, monoprints, drawings, and paintings. 

I'm delighted to have my work showing at this lovely space, alongside that of Holly Berry, Siri Beckman, Matt Brown, and surprise! my "old" friend Jean Gumpper from Colorado. I'd love to see you on Friday if you're in the neighborhood. 5:00-7:00pm, 104 Front Street, Bath.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Trouble in Paradise

Well, I suppose it was a little optimistic to think a move of this magnitude would happen without a few hiccups.

Go ahead, embiggen this image with a click.
Oh, that we could enlarge spaces with a click in real life.

Thursday was the epic last push to get the studio moved in to the new house. With just a small pickup truck and one friend for most of the day it took a couple of trips and several hours to get the flat files disassembled, moved, and reassembled. By the time we had more helpers and were shifting Presston (the press) it was nearly 10pm and very dark.

But we got it done. I untied the cord and fabric we had used to bundle Presston up before the journey, made sure the adjustment screws were loosened, and left him to acclimate to the new space while I went to bed.

Yesterday afternoon I gave Presston a quick dusting and then did a little test-roll of the bed to make sure everything was functioning. I was met with a funny little crunching noise. Uh oh.

Eek! Peeling laminate! No linocuts happening today...

The bed has a plexiglass cover on it, so at first I thought the plexi had warped in storage. (An easy, if not inexpensive fix.) Alas, no. When I pulled up the plexi I discovered that the adhesive holding the laminate top on to the bed had failed along one edge and the laminate is now buckling.

Swearing ensued.

Presston is almost 20 years old, and moving him from a dry climate to a damp one wasn't without risk. It's possible the adhesive would have failed even if we stayed put in Colorado, but it's certainly not a welcome problem.

It looks like the center of the bed might still be smooth enough to work on small prints, which I had anticipated doing while I get used to working in the new space and climate. I don't know if it's possible to re-adhere the laminate or if my best bet will be to try to peel it all up and have a bare-naked metal bed. (But how to get rid of laminate residue?) The Takach mothership has been consulted via email. I'll see what they have to say on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed I don't need a replacement bed.

In the meantime I still have plenty to do to get the space functional, AND I have to frame some work for delivery to a show next week, so it's not like I'm twiddling my thumbs! And despite this bump, I'm still happy with the road I'm on. It feels great to have all my belongings in one place again and to be moving forward, even if it's not as smoothly as I'd like. And hey! The box of tiny prints that was missing all winter has finally turned up! Stand by for the repopulating of website and Etsy stores.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Coming soon to a neglected blog near you!

That's the new studio space behind the double doors!

The most protracted studio shift in history (okay, maybe not in history, but it's been close!) is about to come to an end! I think.

The first hurdle was surmounted two weeks ago when I finally found a place to land. With some help I collected the household goods from their assorted hidey holes across midcoast Maine and have steadily been setting down some roots.

At the end of last week I had my first visitors "from away"! Friends from Colorado turned up on my new Maine doorstep, so I took a little break from emptying boxes and we visited some quintessential coastal sights. The Pemaquid Point lighthouse is a whopping 12 minutes from my new digs, and it was a brilliant day to be out and about.

All of this is great, but the studio isn't in place yet. Getting the press and my work tables and flat files out of storage will be no small feat, but I think it's finally going to happen this week! Keep your fingers crossed for me. Naturally the day I had a crew organized to help is the one day that it will be raining, so we're on to Plan... C? D? R? I've lost track.

The studio-to-be! Embiggenable with a click!

I'm so twitchy to get back to work I can hardly stand it. It's going to take a while to understand how paper and ink will behave in my new, more humid environment, and I've got projects lined up left and right. It's been so long now that I sometimes despair of ever getting ink on paper again. Patience? I'm pretty much out of it.

But I'm sure that once everything is in place and I can start pushing lino and tools around I'll forget all this anxiety and we can get back to the business of watching the craziness unfold, one blog post at a time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Opening this weekend: Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Well! It's finally happening. I am up to my ears in UNPACKING! A place to settle here in Maine has finally materialized and I'm hard at work getting myself shifted to the new digs. Moving the studio will be a bit protracted, as it's going to take a little engineering to get the press in to its new rural location. But once I'm up and running it's going to be great.

In the meantime, I'm off tomorrow to hang a show at the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge visitor center in Rockland. Show opens Friday, May 4, with a reception from 5-8 pm, part of the First Friday Art Walk. Hope to see you there!

Linocut in Progress: The Finish and the Rescue

 In the first post about the process of this linocut I mentioned that I was distracted and unfocused during the time I worked on it... whic...