Friday, July 18, 2014

Bookmaking Class with Laura Wait

Next week I'll be in Santa Fe for a class about hand made artist books taught by my friend, Laura Wait. I'm excited! Laura makes unique books full of rich abstract paintings. Each book is an original work of art created completely by hand. Here are a couple of pages from her recent book, 

Codices Palimpsestus I.

I've been Laura's assistant for many years. She taught me so much about bookbinding and art in general. She tends toward the abstract while I tend toward children's illustration and those styles couldn't be farther apart. But I always learn interesting things while trying to combine her techniques with my style.

Laura has taught workshops at many prestigious art schools, but this year she is teaching some classes at her studio in Santa Fe. I know the class is going to be awesome! Check in at her website next year because I bet she'll be doing this again and I really recommend her classes.

I'm thinking of doing a book in class with the lyrics of Blackbird by The Beatles. It's a song I've always loved and I now sing to Tessa as a lullaby. Of course the book in my head might evolve into something completely different, but in the last week I made some blackbird stamps that I can use in class. Here's a photo of my sketchbook and I'll keep you updated from Santa Fe!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Traveling Book from Spain

I met Mariann Johansen-Ellis online a few years ago. She is a printmaker living in Spain, and soon moving to Denmark.  I'm a little bummed about her move in a selfish way- I want to visit Spain again and thought it would be neat to see her studio! I'll be happy to visit her wherever she lands, though. (You have to realize how unlikely a trip to Europe is for us. We rarely make it out of our  own pretty valley.)

Mariann started a traveling book that is going from artist to artist and being filled with beautiful original prints. When it's full she is going to auction it for charity. It's going to be an amazing book. It's only about a quarter full and I love the prints!

Here are some of my favorites-

This opening print is by Mariann. Check out the bird waves!

Spanish Hills by Sara Wall (or Sara Well?)

Church with a poem by ee cummings

Spring is in the Air by Jenny Kapteyn

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Baby Sings

The whole dummy for Baby Sings is drawn! I've been scanning and doing some final cleanup. Then I get to start on the final art. That's the super fun part! I want to do this artwork similarly to how I did Whale Song. It's going to involve some experimenting. My fingers are crossed that it will look nice.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Website

I was finally able to update my website! I used Squarespace which was straightforward and had lots of nice templates. It's the same address- Please let me know if everything works for you! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Illustration Friday: Summer

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is Summer- my favorite time of year! This is a linocut of Lily Lake, one of the beautiful spots on Rabbit Ears Pass where we like to hike. Unfortunately we haven't done any camping or hiking since our baby was born last spring. We do lots of walks closer to town with our dog, though. The production involved in a bigger hike and the timing always seem too challenging. There's still plenty of summer left though to give it a try!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whale Song

For the month of June in Lilla Roger's Assignment Bootcamp, we did a nautical theme and we were encouraged to use hand lettering. You have to check out the gallery of so much gorgeous ocean-inspired artwork. It's really incredible!

I chose to do a mama and baby whale because I looooove whales. I've been wanting to test out my idea of printing on top of collage so that's what I did.

I intended to print my linocut edition on top of a series of original collages but it didn't work out. The paper got both stiff and wavy because of the layers of paper and paint. It didn't look good and it was difficult to print on also.

So I scanned the collaged background and printed it out using my Epson printer onto BFK Rives. It looked great! Once I'd printed the linocut, I stamped WHALE SONG and added a little watercolor.

I'm so glad I found a way to make this idea work, because this is how I'd like to make the artwork for my book Baby Sings. I'd been taking a break from working on that dummy, but I'm back at it now!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spoonflower Fabric

I'm so excited- I got the fabric I ordered from Spoonflower! These are fat quarters- 18x22 inches. And the one on the bottom is a little sample of faux suede that they were offering for free. It's great to see my stamped patterns turned into fabric!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself

Wow! I have to share this book. I've always loved Walt Whitman and especially Song of Myself. His expansive joy and love for everything and everyone is so wonderful. I don't know how he pulled it off without sounding like a sap, but of course he did. When I first read this poem I was in high school and I wasn't an artist, I was a musician. Even though I hadn't drawn anything since grade school, the imagery made me want to illustrate many of the passages. The musician in me also responded to the flow and rhythm of the Song.

As I grew into an artist, I often thought that I would like to do artwork for Song of Myself. But it's so overwhelming! Talk about an all-inclusive, jam-packed, marathon of a poem! So, even though he didn't illustrate it anything like the vision I have, I'm amazed at the stamina of illustrator Allen Crawford.  What a big project and so beautifully done! I love the graphic quality of the artwork, the hand lettering, the quirky layout of the text, the simple colors, and the attention to the design of the book. It's gorgeous!

The two spreads below have my favorite part of the poem. Although I love the look of the text handwritten in every direction, it's hard to read. So I included it below. I still have my own imagery for this passage swimming around in the back of my head and maybe I'll do it one day!

I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,
I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night.

Press close bare-bosom’d night—press close magnetic nourishing night!
Night of south winds—night of the large few stars!
Still nodding night—mad naked summer night.

Smile O voluptuous cool-breath’d earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset—earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbow’d earth—rich apple-blossom’d earth!
Smile, for your lover comes.

--- Walt Whitman from Song of Myself

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Space Patterns

I  was inspired to make these patterns because of the Cosmic Voyage contest put on by Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics. But I wasn't paying enough attention and had the deadline day wrong. So I missed the entry! But anyway, there will be so many wonderful entries it will be fun to see all of them. Getting this ready prompted me to figure out how Spoonflower works and I'm glad I did. You can have your designs printed on many different types of fabric or gift wrap. How fun! I uploaded 4 of my stamp patterns and ordered fat quarters- 21 x 18 inch pieces of their standard cotton. I can't wait to see them!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Liz & Smokey

Here is the finished print of Liz with her dog Smokey. It was fun to paint the sunset sky and flowers. And  Liz likes it- yay!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Leaves

It's my favorite time of year- when the grass is bright green and the new baby leaves are just coming out. Here are a couple of spring photos from Steamboat Springs.

And here are the leaves I'm carving right now. Happy green trees!

Friday, May 16, 2014


A friend lost her dear dog, Smokey recently. I'm making this print for her in his memory. It's so terribly hard when a pet dies, isn't it?

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Second Print Book Returns!

Just the other day I got the best surprise in the mail!!! This little book full of prints from artists all around the world has been passed around for the last two years and just made its way back to me. 

I first made 5 of these small blank books in 2010 and mailed them to printmakers asking them to add a  print of their own to the pages. One came back to me blank and one came back after a couple of years full of artwork! Here is the blog post I did about that book. Diane Patmore in Australia saw that post and asked me to send her a book. Below is the Koala Bear print she added. This book has really traveled the globe- from Australia, to Spain, France, South Africa, China, and back to New York. What fun!!! 

Now I will make some prints to send back as thank you's. If you didn't include your contact info in the book, please email it to me- I'm so excited to see this book! It's amazing how beautifully it turned out. So nice to meet some new printmakers!

I'm on the left and Diane Patmore at More Idle Thoughts in Australia is on the right.

Mariann Johansen-Ellis at Cascada Studio in Spain.

Nancy Wilson at Atelier & Maison Conti in France and Colleen Ross in South Africa.

Heidi Mouret in South Africa and Anne Cameron in China

Gretchen Ettlie in China and Karina Zuniga in Rochester, New York

Jaci Ayorinde in Rush, New York

I've actually passed this book on to a printmaker I met just tonight who lives in Steamboat, Molly Wilson. I'll share what she adds in another post!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sandhill Cranes finished

I just love it when the Sandhill Cranes come each spring. They fly overhead making their distinctive strange call. Standing in the field, they are so large I've mistaken them at a glance for deer. When we see the cranes, we know the snow is on the way out and the trees will be budding soon.

Below are the black and white print before I painted it, and the carved block.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hi Again!

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple weeks. We had a good vacation to see family in California. And then when we got back it was time to celebrate my baby's first birthday!! Wow! hard to believe she's a year old.

I've made progress on the Sandhill Cranes block, but it was slow going with all of the distractions. I should be able to finish it quickly now. Here's how it looks today.