Thursday, May 28, 2015


This spring a friend of mine asked me to create a piece for her friends who were getting married. After talking about the image layout and looking at lots of photos, this is the print I made for Hannah and Kevin (and their very large dogs!!)

I haven't met Hannah and Kevin. I heard they like their picture and I hope they really do!

Doing commissions is hard because you often don't really know the person who asked you to create the art, or you don't  know the recipient, or you don't know the setting that was requested, or whatever, but it's IMPORTANT that you get it all just right anyway.

So I ask a lot of questions and hopefully get some reference photos. And there's always Google Images when you  are feeling lost. When I have a general idea for the image I usually run it past the client verbally or in an email and make sure I'm on the right track. If that goes well I do a drawing and show the client. Everyone who has asked me to make something for them has already been really familiar with my work. So I don't worry too much about if they will be able to envision what the final piece will look like based on the drawing. It will look like one of my linocuts!

I thought I'd share some of the other commissions I've done in the last few years.

This teepee is near Hayden, Colorado and was commissioned as a birthday present for the owner of the teepee by his very sweet girlfriend. I asked her if she minded if I made the print into an edition and had it available for sale for other people too. She thought that was fine, so I made it to go with a series of Colorado images that I sell locally as originals or cards.

This is a picture of my friend, Liz and her beloved dog, Smokey who passed away. She asked me to make a piece where they are sitting under a tree at sunset. I made this one a little more stylized but hopefully it still shows the love between the two of them.

This one was very hard. A coworker asked me to make something for the parents of a baby who passed away. She was a twin and her sister is living. My coworker wanted to give something personal that would commemorate Allie Mae. I wanted it to be small so they could tuck it away and only look at it sometimes if they wanted to. And I didn't want to try and do the baby's likeness because it would have been too sad and I don't think my artistic talents are up to it. So here is the symbolic piece I did. I not only feel  sympathy for the baby's parents, but I also have a lot of respect for people who make sympathy cards.

This one is a much happier story. A lady I've emailed quite a bit but never met in person collects my artwork. She had a fall and winter linocut of mine and wanted to get spring and summer images as well. She picked my Crows print as the summer picture and asked me if I had any spring pictures. And I have some that would maybe pass as spring, but I asked if she would wait while I made her a new piece that would go with the Crows. In this case, she didn't want to hear anything about the new image. She wanted me to surprise her. Like the Teepee, I asked if she would mind if I made it an edition and other people could buy a print also. 

So here is a spring picture and it's especially relevant this year with all of the rain. There are Sandhill Cranes because they fly through our area every spring and fall. These cranes are towing rain clouds. The river is high and there are glacier lilies blooming. 

Happy spring to all of you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ugly Duckling Painted

Here's how the first Ugly Duckling print turned out. I didn't originally know if the central image and the border would fight, but I think they are working together ok!

I've just started carving the second image. I'll post that when there is something worth seeing.

I wanted to share a little inspiration for the style of this linocut. I've always loved doing borders, but they are sort of old-fashioned for illustration. Sometimes I give in though, like in Dreaming of Flowers above.

One of my favorite illustrators who uses a lot of black and is not afraid of decorative patterns and borders is Julie Paschkis. She has a wonderful blog about children's books with several talented friends called Books Around the Table. Here are some of Julie's illustrations:

There's a Czech illustrator named Josef Paleček who I discovered online while poking around. Wow! I just love his colors, textures, and his style. Here are some of his Ugly Duckling illustrations:

And in an older style- Maxwell Armfield. I love the detailed paintings with the ancient style borders and text.

I just wanted to share some of the beautiful illustrations that were stirring around in my head as I created my own version of The Ugly Duckling. Thanks for taking a look!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ugly Duckling Progress

I've been working on lots of different things lately but I managed to squeeze in enough time to finish carving and print my first Ugly Duckling Block. 

Here it is black and white. I'm definitely going to add color though, so stay tuned!

I've already gotten started on the next image. This is when the Ugly Duckling is all grown up and meets some swans for the first time. I'm going to carve an apple tree and lilacs in bloom. This will be a very fragrant print!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Stamps at the Library

I wanted to share some photos of the kids stamping, drawing, and making some great art at our library during Children's Book Feast! It was so much fun and the stamps I made were a success. Yay!!

It started off rather calm and in control...

You should have seen the little twin on the left at work. She was incredibly enthusiastic. I think she may even grow up to be a printmaker! Or a drummer?

It got rather chaotic at times.

Here's my daughter in the middle with some of her friends having a great time.

And me toward the end. Whew!

Here's how the painting turned out. Most kids were more interested in doing their own pictures on blank paper, so if I do this again, I may just skip the big painting and make more stamps for the kids to use!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stamping a City Scene

I'm getting ready for the Creativity Fair this weekend at Steamboat's Bud Werner Memorial Library. I'm excited! It's part of the Steamboat Book Feast, a festival of children's books this Saturday May 9th. Check out the schedule- Brian Floca and Avi are doing presentations! Here is a nice article from The Steamboat Today about the festival.

The Creativity Fair is aimed at the younger kids with arts and crafts, face painting, and storytelling. I'm going to be helping the kids do some stamping. I've been cutting cars, trucks, people, dogs, cats, and birds out of foam and sticking them on blocks. The foam prints really well with stamp pads. Here are some test prints with the blocks from my sketchbook.

Here are more blocks along with part of the scene I painted. 

And here's the whole scene. I am having to restrain my self from stamping on it right now. It's just calling out for some cars driving on that road! I'll be sure to share some photos and let you see how it looks once the kids are done with it.

If you are in Steamboat, please come and play at the library from 10-12 this Saturday, May 9th!