Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Foam Stamps with Kids

Earlier in April I did a fun project with the preschoolers and kindergarteners at my daughter's school, Mountain Village Montessori Charter School. I did a simple line drawing with hills, a river, pond, train tracks, houses, roads, a school and a farm. And then I added lots more foam stamps to the ones that I'd already made for a similar project I did a couple years ago at our library.

It started out pretty calm and organized.

But it soon got very busy with lots of kids stamping!

Above is my friend, Ann who was a big help teaching with me. There were three classes of children who added to our long skinny picture, or about 60 kids. Half way through the project we realized the picture was filling up so much that it was running out of empty spots for stamps! So I got out the other similar drawing I'd started as a practice piece with my daughter. We'd done some stamps on that one but it still had plenty of room. The children filled that one up too and at the end there were two 12 foot long pictures chock full of stamps. A good time was had by all! And hopefully all that ink did wash out of clothes and hands. I swear the ink pads say they are washable ink!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

44 Easy Steps To Follow When All Of Your Art Submissions Are Rejected And No One Buys Anything At Your Art Show

1. Overeat.
2. Be depressed.
3. Feel like quitting.
4. Consider moving and deleting all social media accounts.
5. Rearrange the furniture in your house instead.
6. Listen exclusively to James Taylor.
7. Feel assured that everyone knows that you are a dork.
8. Try to make some new art and have it turn out badly.
9. Become extra depressed at everyone else's success.
10. Develop severe social awkwardness.
11. Eat chocolate.
12. Go to your depressing day job.
13. Laugh when you read about a famous author being rejected 10 times..... What, THAT'S ALL?!?
14. Realize that you've wasted your whole life.
15. Indulge in retail therapy.
16. Indulge in some other things. I mean, who cares?!
17. Make some more bad art.
18. Accept that you are a terrible artist.
19. Look at your website and think, maybe it's not ALL bad.
20. Listen to inspirational podcasts and briefly think maybe you could have some success eventually.
21. Sleep too much.
22. Go back to your day job that has nothing to do with your interests.
23. Wonder why anyone bothers to talk to you at all.
24. Overanalyze everything.
25. Make some more art.
26. Pretend to be happy.
27. Go for a walk.
28. Make some more art.
29. Read a good book.
30. Cry.
31. Remember that your joy in making art has nothing to do with whether other people want to buy it.
32. Accept that you are a dork but some people seem to like you anyway.
33. Be brave.
34. Make more art.
35. Delete your Facebook app for a while.
36. Make more art.
37. Make more art.
38. Enjoy the sunshine.
39. Enjoy your family.
40. Try to believe in yourself.
41. Try to stop overeating but first eat a little more chocolate.
42. Make more art.
43. Laugh.
44. Make more art.

It's ok, you don't need to worry about me. I'm on number 44! Although I might need to take a break from submitting for a little bit and just enjoy the sunshine and Easter candy for a week or so before I dive back in.

In the spirit of being brave, below is a photo of my little girl who is shy, nervous, and most definitely an introvert like her parents. She was so brave and excited to sit on Mrs. Bunny's lap! Happy Easter to you all!

Friday, April 7, 2017

More Animals

Three new animals have been added to my recent animal series- the Bumblebee, Hummingbird, and Peacock!

Below are some process photos: 

My 3-year-old did her own painting on some of my reject prints.

And here they all are together!

If you are interested in buying any of these sweet little animals, you can find them on my website. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Our Home Family

I recently finished this large linocut for my picture book dummy. It's a close-up of the family and I have to say THANK YOU to my critique group who offered a lot of advice and suffered through many redrawings!

The young girl in this image is the narrator of Our Home. There is nothing written about it in the story, but you can guess by looking that she's adopted. I have lots of friends and family that look different ethnically from their parents. I know that presents its own challenges. But part of the beauty of adopting a child from a different culture is how bit by bit it can make our world more open-minded and compassionate. Parents learn more about a culture different from their own with traditions and role models who might become important to their children. It's my hope that every day our world will get more respectful of different cultures and religions, people that look different, and all gender orientations.

Whew, that got a little heavy! But I worked hard on the manuscript of this book to have it not sound preachy, just respectful, loving, and hopefully eye-opening. Below are some photos from the process of printing the linocut.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Sometimes when I'm working in my sketchbook on the 100 Animals project or last year on the 100 Trees, I feel like there is no consistency between the pieces. I use lots of different media, techniques, styles, and palettes. There are almost no rules! Well, other than creating at least one animal per page.

Artists are encouraged to have a distinct style that is recognizable. So when I feel like I'm all over the map and having an artistic split personality, I remind myself that the whole point of the sketchbook project is to experiment and be playful. I do enjoy taking favorite pieces and reworking them into a more finished series after the fact. I've had so many ideas that came from experiments in my sketchbook! And yes, I could do the work on my own without sharing it on Instagram, Facebook, and my website, but posting it every time holds me accountable to the project in a way that I wouldn't be if I didn't share the pages. So if you are considering a sketchbook project, I definitely encourage you to do it! I've learned so much and had so much fun!

But back to consistency. Even though I try so many different things, I like to think there are some links between all of the different pages. There are favorite themes and favorite colors that pop up a lot. There's a sort of style that hopefully travels from image to image just because each was made by the same person. It's really interesting to think about the themes and styles that are consistent throughout your work. Knowing what those are helps you decide what you want to spend more time on. Plenty of artists tend to focus really tightly and create similar imagery over and over again. That is too restrictive to me. But I have the opposite problem and could experiment wildly without gaining much focus at all. If you have MY problem, try this:

Write down all of the things you most like to draw. Write down your favorite colors, media, & techniques. Write down the things and ideas that inspire you. And pull from that list over and over again! Part of gaining maturity for any artist is knowing what you are good at, what you like, and gently pushing at the outer edges of those things to introduce variety. I'd love to hear your list if you make one!

Here is my list:
Black Line

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

9 Animal Linocuts

The first nine new animal linocuts are done! I do plan to make more since I'm still in the middle of making 100 Animals in my sketchbook and they fit in there well. Here are a couple more linocut blocks:

And here are some early morning printing results:

I originally designed them to be black and white with no color, but I had to try painting and they looked even better with color, so I painted them all!

And here they are all painted. Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's the first Valentine's Day that my daughter has been in school. So we had a great time making Valentines for everyone in her class. I used to love doing that all through elementary school. I don't remember what they looked like, but I remember spending lots of time on each one! Here is Tessa with her beautifully painted hearts.

And below is my sketchbook page from this morning. You can see more of the 100 Animals on my website. 

The last image is one of my favorites from last year, The Valentine Tree.

As long as there is a leaf growing on the Valentine Tree, there is still love in the world.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Linocut Animal Series

I'm going to be the featured artist at the Steamboat Art Museum Gift Shop in March. I wanted to have a new linocut series for the show, and because I'm working on 100 Animals in my sketchbook, animals seemed like the perfect subject.

These are small, 4x6 inches and will be printed in black on white paper with maybe just a few spots of color. But since I'm doing lots of sketchbook work lately, I made some fun prints directly into the book that have colored backgrounds.

Next up are the turtle and the dragonfly! I'm trying to stay away from my usual furry mammals and try out some insects, reptiles, fish, and of course I can't resist making birds. Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

This and That

Sorry it's been so long since a post! My lovely iMac died about a month ago and I wasn't able to replace it until a couple days ago. There wasn't anything so pressing that I needed to blog from my phone, which is a little awkward. However, I'm always active on Instagram and Facebook if I vanish from here for a bit, look out for me over there.

I've really been down about the election, crazy awful policy changes, and the division of our country. I did a few things that made me feel better. I wrote a thank you letter to President Obama and Mrs. Obama in December.

My daughter and I made signs and just marched in the Women's March on Steamboat Springs this morning.

 And in the last month I've done lots of crafts.

I made 2 different bird's nests and have a lot of respect for nest builders now- it's not easy!!

Tessa and I made a hat.

And pretty snowflakes.

As a Christmas surprise, I turned Tessa's painting into fabric from Spoonflower, and my mother sewed it into a wonderful twirly skirt!

And I had a couple of treasure hunts.

Some of these older prints were claimed, but there are lots left. Let me know if you want one!

Larger linocuts of mine were hidden in the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

 And one set was even found by a good friend!!

I'm still creating 100 Animals and you can see them all so far on my website, Facebook or Instagram. Here are a couple of favorites from the last month-

I've started a new series of linocuts and I'll share a bit about them in my next post!