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!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

100 Animals

I started a new daily sketchbook project! Well, I'm actually only going to do 5 a week so I have a bit of time still to do other important things. This year I'm creating 100 animals- any media, any style, any animal, anything at all! Here is a link to the page on my website where I'll add the sketchbook pages. I'll be posting them daily on Instagram and Facebook but only occasional updates on my blog. Below are the first seven:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Our Home

The latest installment of the Our Home picture book dummy was ready for a photo shoot yesterday. It's really exciting to hold a little book in my hands even if it still has a long way to go. And this book has already come a long way! This photo has 5 revisions of Our Home and the most recent one is no longer anything like the first one was.

Our Home is about our beautiful planet and how all of us share this world with the plants and animals  that also live here.

I'll be making finished linocuts of the interior spreads and submitting my book to agents and editors soon. But I'm going to make this book even if it doesn't get published traditionally. I'm so excited to create a finished book after so many sketch dummies!

Above is the completed cover for my latest version. Below I'm going to share some of my favorite finished spreads and drawings from earlier versions of the book. These pieces haven't made it into the new Our Home, but I still like them. They travel back in time to the bottom image from 2011.