Thursday, May 3, 2018

Yampa River

I'm still deep in the Yampa River projects and I wanted to share some updates! Audrey Dwyer wrote a wonderful article in the Steamboat Pilot and Today about the mural that we are planning. She asked me a lot of good questions including why rivers are important to me and why I loved spending time rafting and camping by the river when I was growing up. I struggled to put it into words at first, but after a little thought this was my answer:

I love the feeling of being outside in the breeze, by the river, with trees and mountains around. It’s both peaceful and exciting. Being near a big river gives me a feeling of adventure, like the river is flowing past to places far away and it could lead me there too. It also feels like a sanctuary. Because we depend on water just like the animals and plants do, being next to a river is reassuring. The river may be frozen, low water, or flooding its banks, but it’s always there providing water, which is something we shouldn’t take for granted. 



Because of the mural, I've been studying photos of the river landscape for quite a while. Where the Yampa meets the Green River in Echo Park is an amazing place and my family got to go there and camp about a week ago. It was fantastic! Here are a few photos.


Steamboat Rock


You can just see the green color of the Green River where it meets the brown Yampa below the rock wall where it looks like there is a shallow amphitheater.


Here I am carving a little print for the Friends of the Yampa in the campground below Steamboat Rock. They asked me to do the artwork for the t-shirts and poster for their River Festival coming up the end of May. I tried to make it similar to the style of art I used to design the mural, but better suited to printing on a t-shirt. Here's a peak at how it turned out!


So, here's to celebrating our Wild Yampa River during it's spring high water season!!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Snowflakes and Changes




It's officially spring, but spring in the Rocky Mountains still includes some snow. And I managed to finish up this block of snowflakes and print it while we were still getting a bit of snow. So I feel sort of seasonally appropriate!



I've also been overhauling my website, www.jillbergman.com. Every page is updated and I put these new black and white prints on the opening page, they look really great all together! 

For almost a year I've been slowly changing my focus artistically. Before that, most of my energy was directed at children's illustration. I still love picture books and illustration, and I still intend to finish my book, Our Home. But opportunities kept coming my way for other types of illustration, commissions, and fine art. I'm enjoying creating a little more graphic style work lately with pattern and design like these recent prints with white ink on black paper.

I'm very interested in doing commissions and I've made a page highlighting some favorite projects here. You can comment over there, it's set up like a blog, and it would really help me out if you'd like to leave a comment! Please also get in touch if there is a project you'd like to talk with me about doing for you or your business.

Also in the spirit of a fresh new art business, my website shop is newly stocked, very full, and I have a discount code for 25% off for the month of April, 2018!! Please email me jill@jillbergman.com and I will send it to you. Or comment here with your email and I'll send it your way. Happy art and happy spring, whether that means snow or sunshine!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

ReTree Steamboat


It's spring and time to think about planting... and I've been thinking about planting trees! I'm making a t-shirt and poster design for ReTree Steamboat again. This is a program that I really love that's put on by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. There will be a tree potting event in May and planting will be in the fall. For the past couple of years we planted trees along the Yampa River to help protect the river channel and restore animal habitat. If you are in Steamboat, I hope you can volunteer and come plant trees with the community!




The t-shirt will  be printed with light colored ink, so I used white on black paper for my print.


And I got to paint with color for the poster. I like this brown version because it's a little different for me. I don't use colored paper for printmaking very often, but brown, blue and green are the perfect earth and tree colors. Take action, plant a tree!

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Yampa Print is Done!


I've been printing and painting...




And I know you have all been holding your breath.... so here it is!


I'm going to create a numbered, open edition of this print and donate the first three to Friends of the Yampa to help with fundraising some more money for the mural. So if you are interested, please contact them! After that, I'll have some for sale through my website, www.jillbergman.com. And we will also be creating poster reproductions that you'll be able to get through my website. I'll be splitting the proceeds from all poster sales with Friends of the Yampa to support this mural, and also future projects of theirs. I'll let you know when everything is ready!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Final CD Cover

Last summer I created the artwork for my friend Chris Farrell's new recording of classical compositions. I've always wanted to make an album cover and it was as fun as I thought it would be! Then it took time for him to record and process the music, and in December I did the layout for the entire cover. Here's how it turned out!



If you like classical music, I think you will love this! The compositions and musicians are wonderful,  and the recording is very professional. And can you imagine supporting a living composer instead of someone who has been dead for hundreds of years? How great! Here is where you can buy the album. If you buy the physical CD, Chris has shared the background and inspiration for each piece inside the cover. And of course you get a little more of my artwork, too :)


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Yampa is Printed!


It took a long time, but this Yampa River block has been carved and printed! I wanted to share some process photos and after it's been painted I'll post pictures of the final print. If you follow me on Instagram, I've also shared lots of videos of the carving and printing over there.


Above is the Little Snake River flowing into the Yampa with a tiny little heron standing on the sandbar.


And here are rafters floating past Steamboat Rock at the confluence with the Green River. I grew up rafting, but I've never been here. I'm planning to visit this spot in Dinosaur National Monument this spring.


Here is the finished 35 inch long linoleum block!


I tried printing with both black and brown ink, but I liked brown best. It suits the image best and is a more natural landscape color.


And here is a print reveal photo. I'm happy with how it turned out! It needs a few changes before it gets converted into a full size mural, but I'm glad I decided to make the image into a relief print before tackling such a big painting. Now I feel like I have a good guide for how the mural should look, and a fun print that can be available all on its own!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Yampa Is Wild


I've been working on a project for quite a while already, and I'm excited to start letting everyone know about it! I've been designing a mural about the river that flows through my town, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Yampa River begins in the Flat Tops mountain range and flows 250 miles to the confluence with the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. There is a non-profit called The Friends of the Yampa that has asked me to design the mural, and they'd like the whole river- beginning to end, to be shown.

It's not possible to show the entire river, of course, unless you just paint a map and leave out the landscape and wildlife details. But those are the good parts! So what I've done is use a lot of artistic license and compress the river dramatically, but try to keep the feel of the landscape as it changes.

I was going to paint a scale version of the mural, but I was feeling pretty nervous until I decided to switch from paint to the medium I'm most comfortable with, and carve a relief print of the image. The way this print turns out will greatly influence what the final mural looks like. And I have a feeling it's going to look like a gigantic linocut up there on the wall! So I'm feeling out of my depth, but also learning a ton and having a really good time.


The title The Yampa is Wild was chosen because the Yampa is a free-flowing river with only some small dams and diversions. It floods its banks during high water in the spring, and this supports rare cottonwood forests along the banks. There are also native Colorado fish, birds, and other wildlife that depend on the wild and free Yampa River.


In the photo above I've been transferring the drawing from tracing paper onto the block. The drawing looks backwards here so that when it is printed, the image will be facing forward.


I just recently got the image completely drawn onto the linoleum block. Now it's ready to carve! I'll share updates about the mural as I make progress. Hopefully we'll be painting it this spring or early summer. Stay tuned! :)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Flying Into A New Year


I'm looking forward to a lot of things in 2018 and I hope you are too. This last year was very hard for a lot of us artists, who tend to support openness, expression, equality, protection of the underserved, protection of our public lands, scientific progress, and just progress in general. Sometimes our culture regresses a bit and that is depressing. But I think the direction our country has been taking has woken up the fight in so many people who at heart are pacifists. And us sweet, kind people need to fight for what we believe in too! I have a feeling that while slow to wake, our movement of caring and joining together instead of crushing and separating will be the overwhelming winner in the end. We are the giant, slow rolling, unstoppable wave of the future. So let's all take every opportunity in 2018 to shine and let our light guide the way into the future.

Happy New Year!



Friday, December 8, 2017

Dancing with the Waves



I've finished another print in this new white and black series! This is Dancing with the Waves. I really loved carving and printing both this one and the stars. Next I'm going to make birds flying!!! (My favorite.) I'm not adding these to my website yet until there are enough to make their own page, because they don't really fit into any of the categories on my site. I think they will look really good all together.
Below I'll include a few process photos.


The image is drawn on the block and ready to carve.


Details, details, details!


This is the block ready to print and photographed in some high contrast light. I had fun carving the background too. :)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The World


Here is the progress on the latest spread for Our Home. I've made lots of images of the Earth, partly because I've been making versions of this book for a long time. You can see a bunch of them in this post. And here's the latest!




There is a neat video of me inking this block on Instagram. I can't share videos here, but I've been doing a lot over there. If you are on Instagram, say hello!


It's printed but not painted yet. I'm planning to paint it tomorrow. You can go over to my other blog, Our Home to see how it turns out and looks with color!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Bookmaking at Mountain Village Montessori


My daughter goes to preschool at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and I've gotten to do some fun projects with the preschool and kindergarteners there. This year, they added Enrichment Programs that happen once a week for the 1st through 6th graders. I volunteered to teach bookmaking and it was such a great adventure! I had 2 classes once a week for 45 minutes each, and the session was 9 weeks long. One class had the younger children and the other class had the older children.


Over the 9 weeks, we made 4 different styles of books. In the photo above, they are holding up the first books which had hard mat board covers bound to the pages with screw posts.


Then we did a sewn book with colored paper covers. Above was a beautiful moment when a whole table of boys were concentrating on their books.


Before doing artwork in these books, I explained about using a storyboard to plan the pages and then transfer your ideas into the finished book. Only a few students really took advantage of their storyboards, including the awesome job going on in the photo above. This young lady created a non-fiction book about asteroids and used her storyboard to get her book done just the way she planned it!


These two amazing comic artists above were less interested in bookbinding, but complete naturals at filling up their books with dense storytelling, comics, and Minecraft narratives.


Next we created accordion books and used fun papers to make collaged covers.


Each book turned out so differently! I loved to see when someone got really involved with their book and spent time making it just right.


 Our last one was a watercolor book bound with ribbon. So much fun!


These girls really enjoyed the watercolor and definitely could have used one more day to put the finishing touches on their books. Hopefully anything not quite done can be finished at home!


Group photo of some fantastic bookmakers! I'm so glad I got to teach these classes. I think there are definitely some students in these photos that will be making art, writing, storytelling, and even making books as an important part of their lives. Yay for books!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Shine Bright and Fast


I'm a list maker, that's how I manage to keep everything straight. But sometimes I rebel and go completely off script, which is what happened last week. I got the unofficial word that I get to be part of a show with two other fantastic artists in a bit over a year. I abandoned all the art projects that need to get done and instead started something new that is in the spirit of the show that we will be having. I'll share more about that another time, but for now I wanted to show how this experiment turned out.


I had a stack of 8 blocks cut the same size that were left over from trimming the lino blocks for my picture book spreads. So I was thinking of using them somehow and decided to do a series of diptychs. I want to create a bunch of watery images and other things that flow and swoop and travel, so I started with stars- or maybe a shooting star or comet? I didn't think too much about it, just drew directly on the blocks which was really refreshing after doing so many detailed, thoroughly planned images.


During the process of carving the blocks I started to realize that having a break in the middle of the image wasn't really going to look good or make sense. I hadn't designed an image that used the break and made it necessary. I had drawn something that didn't want to be interrupted. Oh well, so much for not planning or doing sketches first! I tried printing it with the break and without, and the uninterrupted print was definitely the way to go.


The paper I used was Somerset Black printmaking paper, it's very thick, rich, and a little textured. The white ink sits on it a little inconsistently, giving it a blotchy look. But I like the variations in the color of the lines and I think it adds to the movement and interest.


So, the only other thing to solve is the title. I normally have everything planned before I begin, but I was doing lots of experiments and being pretty loose with this print, so now I'm trying to figure out the title. I'm leaning toward Shine Bright and Fast. But there are others I've considered. If you have a favorite or can think of something different, share it in the comments!

Shine Bright and Fast
Shine Brightly in the Dark
Shine On
Light the Way
Starbright