Friday, December 30, 2011

Hasn't snowed in a lifetime

That title has nothing to do with this post. I just like how it sounds. And it happens to be true.

I haven't posted in a lifetime, either, and I have new images to post, but at the moment, I am camera- less. I have the first four panels of the triptych printed, and I'm getting ready to try the pochoir technique of coloring them. I'm going to make their skin blue, which references Anne Sexton's The White Snake from her Transformations collection of poetry. I also have the second four, but only in drawing form, and they aren't quite finished yet. I'm also trying to get back into the gold leaf groove by making a small panel. I'm on my second try at gilding. Wish me luck.

I have a camera coming, so I hope I can post images soon.

Maybe we'll have snow for the New Year.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Artist kami

Every time I try a new print method, it is a humbling experience. Real printmakers make everything look so easy. The good news is that I showed a student how to do it and she made a cool little print of a wrench. I love it when that happens.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dreamer quilt, Finished!

Phew! Glad that's done. On to the triptych. I just met with Jeanne the Carpenter and we worked out all of the details for the support. I started the drawings today and will post something soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

For Karyl

I've posted this drawing before, but this week, Karyl, the man/boat in this piece, died suddenly. I made the drawing because of a story my friend Lois tells about before she met Karyl, she was all sail and no boat, and together they worked just fine. Now, she has lost her boat. Now, she will have to do without the safe "boundaries" of Karyl's boat. Good travels, Karyl.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Drawing Board (as in back to)

Well, that didn't work....As I posted before, I had high hopes for the litho I did this summer, but it was unsuccessful. The litho gods just weren't smiling upon me, so while I did get a print, it isn't in color, much less pochoir. I'm still going to try pochoir, but I'm going to use a simpler image from an old painting about what a good listener my mom is. It's called Time to Listen and is in the collection at the Kalamazoo Hospice. And, I'm going to do it in photogravure, instead of litho. Time for a break from that.
Anyway, I'm glad to have the opportunity to re-work this image. I've always liked it, but it has some formal issues that I'm looking forward to fixing. As soon as the quilt is finished, I'll start on this drawing.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This is better, I think

Well, I hope it's better, anyway. This is the version I'm going to transfer to the plate. I hope there isn't some glaring idiotic error in perspective that I haven't seen. Why can't I ever do anything the simple way?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Obsession : )

Since Friday, I've worked on the powerlines. I hope they're closer to correct now. You can see the new version here:

Today's IF challenge is obsession. I'm not a very obsessed person, except when it comes to artwork and getting it right. Currently, I am obsessing about those darned power lines. I always think my drawings will be easy, but then I end up setting very complex problems for myself. I want to have this drawn on the plate before I go to art camp. If all goes well, this will end up as a color litho using the pochoir method of printing, ala Mucha. If anybody has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I'm telling you, synchronous events keep happening. I was very lucky to see the Mucha exhibit in Taipei this month. It was an enormous, wonderful display of his lithos. I had my craft eyes on, and I didn't see any mistakes. Mucha was a master draftsman, and I don't know if he did his own lithos, but that work was very fine, too. I just found out today that the technique (I think) that Mucha used was a stencil method called pochoir. And guess what? In the course catalog for my upcoming class the description says it will cover "hand stencil techniques". I'd bet anything that pochoir is one of those techniques. This is the drawing I'm planning to use. Now that I see it on screen, I'll need to change a few things before I transfer it to a plate, and if you can't tell, there will be reflections of power lines in her eyes, and I'm thinking about maybe shadows of the lines across her face, but I'm not sure. The piece is called Cicada. It goes with the power lines, I swear.

Friday, July 22, 2011


The world is so synchronous sometimes. Last year while traveling in Korea, I stumbled upon a printmaking workshop in the basement of the Busan Museum of Modern Art. The workshop was being presented by the POSCO company, a major steel company in Korea. The purpose was to foster creativity in this employee group. Today, POSCO was mentioned in a conversation on Facebook as a driving positive force in S. Korea. I figure, if they think to do things like cultivate creativity through printmaking, they can't be all bad. I wonder if they'd be interested in making an inexpensive but quality version of my plates. I spend a fortune on those!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More experimenting

I haven't posted to Illustration Friday for a while, and yesterday, the prompt was gesture. Because I am still shaking off jet lag, I was in my studio late last night and decided to try some monoprints for the first time. I'm on a bit of a mission to try as many techniques as I can before I'm done with grad school, and this was on my list. I also think this will be a nice technique to share with my students in the fall. So here are the two prints I made at 2:00am this morning. The lighter one is a doctored ghost image from the first print. As far as the prompt goes, the duckling isn't gesturing, but the images are gestural in nature.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home again

I just got home from a nice trip in Asia, where I saw some wonderful sights as well as some excellent art. This time, I was able to see both Shanghai and Taiwan. That was great because I had just read Shanghai Girls, the sequel to Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, in which the action starts in Shanghai before the Communist Revolution and refers to Chiang Kai Shek and his opposition to Mao. I had no idea that the Chinese people were persecuted as much as the Japanese were in the '50's. Seeing those two cities gave me a "before and after" look at the Chinese. I have to say though, that the view on the Bund in Shanghai rivals any city view I've ever seen. Taiwan had the best art, though.
I also got to see Transformers 3 in 4D, which was amazing. And I saw a good Korean flick called Hello Ghost. I recommend both.
Anyway, I didn't do a lick of work while I was away, even though I had a drawing with me to work on. I was bugged by the missing toes in the Dreamer quilt, and the only thing I did was to mull over how to fix that. I think I figured it out.
So now, it's on to printing, coloring and sewing the tessellation and quilting the rest of it. I'm also going to work on some plates to get ready for summer camp : )
It's nice to be back in the cool green of Michigan.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Quilt Face

Sigh. After all of this work, I'm really sorry now to see that it bugs me that the mom's feet are cut off by the quilt blocks. I don't really think there is anything I can do about it. I still have the tessellation to print and add on, and I think I'm going to beef up the colors. I really hope my MFA committee thinks it's OK.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Four panels left to piece

I have 12 of the 16 blocks of the new quilt pieced and quilted. I still don't exactly know how I'm going to join them together without hand stitching the backing, but I'm happy to have the time to make this progress.
In the meantime, I'm exchanging emails with Jeanne the Carpenter about my triptych. She is very logical and detail oriented, and we're coming along well on the design. If it works, it'll make a yummy project for next year at Kendall.

Friday, June 3, 2011


OK, I'm digging way back here, really to my very first drawing class at Idaho State, and then later when I made a print of the original drawing as a lino cut. But, it was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw today's IF prompt, Shadows. I think this must have been the beginning of my tendency to be invisible.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New idea, technical questions

I have a new idea. I'm in the process of designing something for my MFA thesis show that will hopefully knock my committee's socks off. I think I know what I want to do, but I'm stuck on how.

Here's how it came about: I've been reading some contemporary versions of old fairy tales, one of which was Bluebeard, but this time, the wife avoids being killed by her husband simply by not succumbing to the curiosity of what is behind the final door. I also just read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, which has as a main element the secret language of Chinese women call nu shu. I started thinking about how throughout history, maybe keeping secrets was (is?) a survival tactic of many women, either in keeping them or respecting them.

I want to make a large triptych that opens like an altar piece, except one side will be locked, with the key available so that the viewer can open it if they want to. All of the surfaces will have printed images as well as painted elements. The problem to solve is how to build the thing. Normally, I'd just charge in and give it a go, but since this is for my thesis show, the craft has to be wonderful and I can't take three tries to get it that way. It needs to be light and strong, as well as beautifully made. Anyone know a good carpenter?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Laughing Woman

For Sunday Sketches:
I've been having great fun thinking about captions for this little drypoint:

How about: "She cackled like a hag, thinking about how she would trick him. It would be for his own good."

Friday, May 20, 2011


I had a wonderful, awful day this week, 23+ hours long and filled with art, new friends and a healthy dose of odd luck. I went to see my new friends in Chicago who I met at Ox-Bow last summer. Maureen and I were in the same litho class taught by Mark P. at the AIC. Mark is a curator of prints and drawings there, but he is also an accomplished printmaker and teacher. Like me, Maureen has been an artist all her life and unlike me, has an amazing background in art history. She attended the AIC for her undergrad degree, and through her I got a peek into the art history associated with the school. It all made me want to go to Ox-Bow again this summer. We'll see.
One of the wonderful developments of the day was viewing a large work that was made up of several small woodcuts, assembled to make the image. Just like my quilts, except they were just laid out together on a big sheet of paper and framed. I'm thinking about not continuing the quilts and maybe collaging the prints end to end like this. I'm feeling the need to speed up the process.
Another cool thing was that Mark graciously pulled out some June Wayne prints for us to see, since I had just missed her show at the Institute. I couldn't have asked for a nicer day.
The bad luck came on the way home. My train broke down and we were stuck on the tracks for 4 hours. I'm no stranger to travel and I know that things like this happen and it is best to just buck up and get through it. But. On this particular train there were people who did not know this. One man also didn't know that it is very rude to have many loud conversations on his cellphone when others cannot escape hearing the conversation. I now know way too much about this stranger, and unfortunately, it isn't a nice picture.
Still, I loved the day, and discovered an excellent new novel to boot. But this post is too long already, so maybe I'll tell about it later!

Friday, May 13, 2011

First watercolors

Here's my confession: I've painted and drawn and printed and sculpted, but I've never been able to do watercolor. It has been a bit of an issue lately, because my students really want to do it, but I've been dragging my feet for lack of knowledge. Recently, I found a book called Watercolor Painting for Dummies by Colette Pitcher, and look! Here are my first two projects from it. Ms. Pitcher gives clear and useful exercises to understand how to handle this medium, and does it with a sense of humor and good fun. And, surprise! The color theory is really the same as in other mediums. I don't know why that surprises me; it makes perfect sense. These two aren't great by any stretch, but they give me hope that I can figure this thing out.

The little landscape is actually just a little sketch I've been thinking about. This is (sort of) a picture of my wedding day. Just my luck, it was a typical Michigan winter ice storm that day, and I remember seeing all the old aunts creeping gingerly down the icy driveway, trying to keep their balance, arms full of packages. Today's challenge for IF is safari, which is a long journey over land (Truly. I looked it up.). It was a journey down the driveway for them, and a long journey since then for me as well. So, please think of this little sketch as a Michigan "safari". I'm just not sure what I was hunting for, even now.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I made this drawing at the same time I made Guitar Kami and Journeyman. They are kind of a triptych, of the stages of development in learning an instrument and becoming an artist. We have a program at Ferris called Music Industry Management, a very popular program in which students learn the ins and outs of the music industry. Many of them are guitar players on the side, and they always look so cute and sort of vulnerable in their playing, underneath all the energy they put out. So, I'm entering this for today's IF challenge, beginner.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trojan horse on hold

For those of you who are interested in the status of the Trojan horse that was so cleverly left in the KCAD building a few weeks ago by the Calvin College art students, I finally have a tiny bit of information. According to a Kendall professor, the horse has been moved to a safe location and is waiting for the Kendall students to craft a response. I've heard a couple of good suggestions, but I won't spill them here. I really hope the Kendall students don't let this pass. Maybe I'll sneak down and do the deed myself!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dry Point Day 1

At the beginning of the day, I was surprised because no one wanted to make a print! Then, gradually, a few changed their minds and in the end, I'll have ten students printing tomorrow. Probably a good number to start a new project. A couple of them had really good drawings to work with, so we might get some good ones.
Switching over to teaching fine art has been an interesting experience. I have to admit I've been a bit clueless about how the change would affect me and my teaching. I guess I've always approached teaching drawing from a fine art point of view, because that's who I am. But now that I've done it for a year, I'm trying to think about how the course should truly be. The purpose of the course is to turn them on to art and art making, along with showing them some basic skills. I also want it to be fun, without doing a disservice to art.
In all, though, I think this has been a good change for me. So many things that I dearly loved have passed out of my life. There have been buckets of tears for these things. One of the lessons that I've learned is that impermanence is best embraced. Endings can be painful, but it's better to embrace the change and be in harmony with impermanence.
What if I made my next quilt out of the bike image, and then the next could be when she finally takes flight?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tomorrow is Drypoint Day

Tomorrow, I'm going to get my ARTS 101 classes started on drypoint. We are making do with a lot of things, so today I ground down some nails to the sharpest point I could to use as drypoint scribes. This will be my first time teaching printmaking. I hope it goes OK.
Making those scribes brought Frank Morgan up for me again. I'm not sure why I started thinking about him lately, or what made me look up Carol Estrup's site in the first place. She is amazing for making a web page for Frank. I wonder what he would think of it. Anyway, while grinding those scribes, I had strong memories of one of the first things Frank taught me, which was how to make tools. He gave me some scraps of wood, some spring steel and the grinder, showed me what to do and I spent a few weeks making tools that are meant to last a lifetime. The handles were turned on a makeshift lathe that Frank had set up with his grinder and vise. I ground the steel to the shape I wanted and attached them to the handles with fine silver wire. Two of my favorites are a very small, fine chisel, and a knife that can be ground down until there is no more wood left to hold it. Wasn't that an amazing gift?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I wish the wings would kick in

I've just discovered whole other worlds of artist bloggers our there! It all started for me with Illustration Friday, which I love. But after visiting blogs from IF, I've found Paint Party Friday and now Sunday Sketches. It is so fun to connect with all of these kindred spirits. I'm still buried, but making headway with the papers, so I'm posting this for my first entry to Sunday Sketches. Below is my original post for this sketch:

Well....I'm buried under a ton of grading and should be doing it, but instead I've been thinking all day about the IF prompt, "bicycle". This is the part of the semester when everything becomes very concentrated and intense, and it requires a lot of effort to stay above water. Last year, and even last semester, I had an image of myself barely keeping my nose out of water, I was so overwhelmed. This semester there has been some improvement. At least now I have a bike that paddles, and a new set of wings. Once the wings start working, I'll be out of the danger zone. Sorry this is just a sketch. I'll get back to it in a few weeks when I hit dry land again : )
When I lived in San Diego, my bike was my primary mode of transportation. I got into a few scrapes with opening car doors, ran down an old lady (I'm not kidding and I am very, very sorry for it) and got a ticket (still not kidding). But my most memorable and scary experience was when, as I was flying down a very busy 4 lane street that is a very steep hill, an exhibitionist opened his car door out into my lane and stepped out of his car to face me. He was stark naked. Again, not kidding. I was furious with him because losing control on that street and hill would have been disastrous. I yelled at him all the way down the hill.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A story about Frank

The only piece of art of Frank's that I own is a little statuette of a Pan figure that was used as an award of some sort for a nudist group Frank belonged to. This was San Diego, after all. He used to encourage me to become a nudist; he'd get out the phone book and find their number for me, but I was way too shy for that. The statuette, probably circa 1970, was broken, and he said if I fixed it, I could have it. That and an excellent set of woodcarving tools were my inheritance from Frank, besides all of the knowledge and experience he passed on. Several of our models were from the nudist group. One, wonderfully named Mercedes, whose cafe I ended up working at as a barista, used to stop by the studio on hot days, complaining about the heat. She'd strip down and Frank would take her out to his garden and spray her with the hose until she was cool. After looking at his photo and thinking about this aspect of Frank, an image of him as a jolly little Pan kami floated before my eyes. Might have to draw him like that. Doing his part to maintain the cool.

Dreamer quilt, first draft

This is how my Dreamer in Training quilt looks at the moment. About 3 hours before my final crit at Kendall, I realized that maybe a large portion of my troubles have been due to my printing on Okawara paper, because the tessellation which will form the border, is printed on Bageese paper and it prints just fine. Both are made from coquille drawings and exposed and burned the same way. The only thing that is different is the paper. So, I think I'm done with Okawara, and maybe graphite on coquille for a while, too. I'm thinking about doing my next quilt based on a charcoal drawing of the Guerilla Girl Julia Child, called The Fitting Room. You can see a print of it here:

No news from my spies about the Trojan Horse.

Frank James Morgan

I found this site about my dear teacher, Frank James Morgan, posted by his friend Carol Estrup. Frank was an extraordinary man and artist. He took me in to his studio and made me his apprentice. From Frank, I learned anatomy, composition, mold-making and casting. I will be forever grateful to Frank for all that I learned and for having the opportunity to experience this type of traditional apprenticeship. He was a wonderful man.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


For Paint Party Friday: This is not a painting, but since the question for this week is about how we cope with technical or natural disasters, I'm posting this litho, the first I've done on my own. Litho is one technical challenge after another, and it seems like almost the whole piece is in response to what went wrong and how can I save it? I do the same thing in paint, but it is rarely as crucial, since paintings can be changed so easily. In this one, curse me for a novice, I didn't know that you are supposed to wash the plate with citric acid before you draw. The result of not washing was that the tusche formed little dots everywhere it was applied. Not the classical elegant tusche texture I was looking for! But, I incorporated the dots into the design, by making the loose nuts and bolts in the background. So my answer is, work with what you've got. Art is a large part problem solving, right?

For IF: Lesson
Boy, did I learn some lessons on this one! Mainly, that it takes patience and intuition to make a good litho, but also that lots of things, like ink viscosity, room temperature, press setting and tons more details can make the difference between a fair print and a mess.

One thing is for sure, real lithographers, people who do it every day like my friend Catherine Chauvin, are amazing iron people. On litho days, I go home completely whupped, because it is such a physical printing process. Catherine is the real deal; she is a Tamarind trained master printer. A true iron woman.

Original post:
I was finally able to make a decent litho from a plate printed on an etching press. It was touch and go, because the day was warm and my ink was very soft, but I managed. I'm convinced that litho requires years of experience to really master. My first tusche was too light and this one is a bit dark. Maybe the 3rd time would be the charm.
I might get back to it, and I'm glad that I got the CAC equipped and up and running for litho, but I'm putting a bookmark in this process for now. As part of my M.F.A., I feel I need to learn all of the usual printmaking methods so that I could teach them if I need to. So this summer, in addition to working on the quilts (I think I have a new one cooking) I'll try a color-reduction woodcut, and in the fall, maybe serigraphy.

Guitar Kami

I finally got a good plate for this image, no thanks to my daydreaming tendencies. I was off in another world while burning the aquatint for this plate and exposed it for 10 seconds too long. I didn't want to risk using it for the quilt (I've had enough troubles with that!) so I hauled out this drawing and quick used it to make this plate. It turned out, so it was a happy accident after all.

Calvin College Trojan Horse Update

Well, I was at Kendall tonight for my final crit of the semester, and the Trojan Horse isn't looking so good. It has pieces torn out of it, and some writing on its front. I'm not sure if the students around it were crafting a response to the warriors at Calvin, or if they were just dismantling it. I spoke to two students about it; one was a grad and the other an undergrad. The undergrad didn't know much about it and was not surprised no one had acted yet. It is our final crit week, and next week are the reviews for B.F.A. and M,F.A. candidates, plus there are accreditation reviews going on, I think. So the event was ill timed for our side, but all's fair in war, right? The grad thought it was a Kendall project at first (as did I). I got the impression he thought it was rather silly.
I don't agree. I thought it was brilliant, because not only did the Calvin art students try to engage us, they did it in a very literary and cultured way. And, they provided me with the opportunity to talk about Homer in my ARTS 101 classes.
I'll find out tomorrow and report back about the fate of the horse. But I say, way to go, Calvin College Art Students!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trojan Horse

This was in my Ferris/Kendall mail today:

If you have not been in the Ionia Lobby lately (outside the Activities & Resource Center), you may have missed the large Trojan horse. This is a declaration of "Art War" from Calvin College's Art Department. Their students came to Kendall, unannounced, and placed the large cardboard horse in our lobby. The following note was left with the horse.

"We, the members of Calvin College's Art Department, are ending the age of silence and are hereby declaring 'Art War' on the following institutions:

Kendall College of Art and Design

Hope College

Grand Valley State University

For too long has silence been the only common thread among the above schools and our own campus. Therefore We have taken it upon ourselves to send a message; we will no longer tolerate apathy, indifference, and lack of communication within the frontiers of the next generation of art makers and thinkers.

In the dark of night we have infiltrated the domains of the above establishments and placed a gift upon your doorstep. We stand ready and waiting for your next move.

-Calvin College, Art Department"

If you are interested in making that "next move" and/or helping to remove the horse from our lobby please sign up in the Activities & Resource Center. We would like your suggestions and manpower. If no one signs up by Thursday, April 21 at 3:00 pm, the horse will be removed with no response.

You've been challenged!

The horse is just a bit smaller than my living room.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ice Mountain

For IF: bottled

I swore I'd never publish this painting, but I'm such a glutton for blog hits and this one fits today's prompt bottled, even though you might not know it by looking at it.

Our community has been though a legal battle with the Nestle company, because they bought a piece of land, plopped a factory on it and proceeded to pump the ground water for their Ice Mountain bottled water. So they basically got their product for free at the expense of our wetlands and water table. It stinks, but as far as I know, the Nestle people's money was bigger and better than ours, so the factory stands.

During the heat of the argument, I made this painting. I was studying eastern Indian myths at the time and doing a demon series based on absorbing and learning from the dark side, seeking a balance. The goddess's hand gesture is one of warning. I don't use this painting because it has some unresolved technical issues and it kind of beats the issue with a stick, but again, I am a glutton for hits : ) I always liked the demon, though.

Friday, March 25, 2011


When I got my son everything changed, as everyone said it would. I was ready to love him and watch him grow, but I didn't exactly expect that I would be voluntarily captured by him. That's what happened, though, in body and spirit.
I've posted this before as a part of a much larger work called Mrs. Swift Learns to Speak Boy. People have commented on the "robots" in the piece, but they aren't really robots, they are Lego men. Along with my son (a few years down the road) came a considerable and still growing army of Lego men. I've been wanting to post a detail from the larger work, which ended up as the image I used for my first printed paper quilt, so that you could see that the robots are really Lego men. I hope the Lego people don't mind that I played with their toys, today's IF challenge. You can see what became of this drawing here:

Sunday, March 20, 2011


On sale 9-27-11: Absolute Midnight, the third installment in Clive Barker's Abarat series. Yum.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The thing with feathers

For IF: Cultivate

Initially, this image came from an Emily Dickenson poem about hope being the thing with feathers that perches in your soul. It's a companion piece to a drawing and print called Watched Pot (see below). My friend Olive really liked Watched Pot, and I just noticed the feather sketch next to it in my sketchbook and decided to do it up.
I think the feather drawing fits the topic of cultivate, both because of the pot and the dreams that are growing in it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bad litho karma

Sigh. Apparently, I have bad litho karma. I'm not gonna say what happened, just that I've learned a good lesson and I'll never do that again. I gave my plate (or myself) one more chance today to save the image, but I just don't have the experience to make it work. So, I'm going to start over from scratch. I'd sure like to print at least one successful litho before the semester is over.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I just realized that at my school, and I suppose at other schools as well, we refer to grad students as just "grads". Isn't that odd sounding? In my case, it probably means gradual! I've also been tallying up my credits and looking at my GPA's. I had a 4.0 in my undergrad credits here. Sheesh. These people are easy graders : ) The joke is that I teach "here" now, and am indeed, an easy grader! My grad record isn't quite as good, to be sure.

Anyway, it looks like I have 15 credits to go and I will be a bona fide MFA. The current quilt is coming along, despite many technical problems this spring. I have almost half of the plates made and printed at least once, and one set is nearly colored as well. I'm starting to think abut cutting paper for the quilting, and piecing at least a few blocks for our final crit. The biggest question right now is how to go about the next quilting session. The last one was fun, but I don't think I handled it right. It was too physically demanding for the sewers (there must be a better term!) and I think I need to do more, as Morgan suggested in our last crit, to identify why I am bringing these particular groups together and to figure out a payoff for the sewers. I have some ideas, but no stunners, except maybe asking people to quilt two blocks, and then the group could keep one and I keep one. I'm also wondering if I should go small scale, and visit with smaller groups or individuals to quilt a block or two at a time. I think coming up with a way to document the sewing experience would be good, and I might be more comfortable doing that in smaller groups, at least at first. Maybe the solution is, like in so many things, to let the project grow.

Friday, March 11, 2011


For IF: As she stirred from her sleep, she began to lift off the bed and into another world.

This is a cropped version of an older drawing. I made it into a print to test my lightbox for exposure times on this type of drawing. I think I'll print the whole thing on a larger plate next.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Here is a link to Kevin Haas' technical information handouts about printmaking:

Lots of good information there! Thanks, Kevin!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Thanks to Mark P., I found an amazing site for print geeks (Mark's term; I think I might be one of them) called Inkteraction. It is a haven for printmakers, with forums, articles and opportunities. Mark also sent me an article from the site about plate litho. When I can find a link to it, I'll post it as well. That makes two papers on this process, so when I add to my Ox-Bow paper, I think I'll just detail printing them on an etching press. It was really nice to find this site.

These are the first two successful plates, after too many tries at exposure, of the new Dreamer in Training quilt. Sorry they're a little crooked up there! I'm still learning how to wipe them, but the good news is that I finally have an exposure setting that works, in both Photoshop and the lightbox. Now I should be able to scan, burn and print the rest of the drawings with the same settings.
It was a long road figuring out those exposures. Right when I thought I knew what to do, a tube seemed to have burned out in the lightbox. They aren't exactly easy to find, but I did, and after waiting almost a week to get them, the tube still didn't fire up. It turned out that each tube has a starter and one of mine was burned out. I found one in town for less than a dollar. Sigh. The silver lining is that now I know a lot more about my lightbox. And the two plates I burned after this odyssey are fine!

If this ever happens to you, (a tube stops working in your lightbox built by Dan Welden) there is a printmaking supply house in Oregon, called McClain's: They sell the tubes you need. You can get the starters at Menards. I wish Daniel Smith would carry the tubes. Except now I have a lifetime supply, and the box will probably fall to pieces before I need one again.

Snowpants girl

For all of you out there who don't like the snow:
It was an incredibly beautiful day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Murder of Crows

For IF: The crows swarmed around the door, which was a portal to the other dimension.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I think I saw this in Busan

On another sweater note, I saw these prints and videos in, I think, Busan, South Korea. Some of the pieces were lithos, maybe, or maybe pen and ink, and some were videos of the sweater knitting itself. It was amazing to watch the sweater be created and unraveled. If I were more organized, I'd be able to tell you who the artist is. I'll keep looking.

Litho scan

For IF: She really needed a sweater, but these darn things clutching her head were in the way.

Sorry. Couldn't resist. This is actually a litho plate that I'l getting set up to print on an etching press. The crayon is too light, and I've had a little tusche trouble, as you can see. Who knew you had to wash/counter-etch a plate before you drew on it? That's another thing to add to my Ox-Bow paper. I hope I can post a print of this soon.

Check out my next post for real sweater art!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Engine for new quilt

For IF: Even with her engine in reverse, she couldn't stop herself from lifting off the hill.

Actually, this is part of one of the drawing for my new print quilt, Dreamer in Training. I'm burning another test plate for this today; the first one turned out way too light. I'm going to radically pull back on the exposure this time; another reversal!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dream Lover

For IF: No matter what she did, she couldn't get him to surrender.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Directions for lithos on aluminum plates

I was just compiling my notes about printing lithos on aluminum plates and I came across this site. It does a wonderful job of laying out the steps for this type of printing. Thanks to Andreas Dieberger for the clear directions.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Litho paper

As I learn more about litho, I'm finding things to add and alter about my paper "What I learned at Ox-Bow".
First, I learned from Mariel that Simple Green, a cleaning solution in a very friendly spray bottle that one would think, because of the name is harmless to the artist and the planet. Not so. Mariel told me about a printmaking teacher who is pretty sure that Simple Green caused her breast cancer. A brief search on the net backs up this opinion, and there are sites that link the ingredients to Simple Green to all kinds of ailments. So it will soon be out of my paper!
Also, I have to check if I said this in the paper, but Stonehenge paper is not good for litho. I remember having a terrible time with litho at Idaho State, an experience that resulted in my swearing that I'd never do it again. Now I know that it was probably paper troubles all along.
The last thing is that I have conflicting information about the strength of the second etch. Mark Pascale said one thing and Mariel says another. I'm waiting for my Tamarind book on litho to show up to solve the argument.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new quilt for a new year

Here are the drawings for the new quilt. I'm still working on values and on the track. The lines are pretty much there, but I still have to fix the curves and widths of the track.

I'm also drawing on a litho plate and I hope to get the litho lab set up soon. Thinking about litho has made me find some things to add to my litho paper. Those things will be my next post.