Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Mountain Breeds"

16" x 20" (image)
Oil-based ink on Kitakata paper
Limited edition of 5

This is a portrait of my mom's and aunt's dogs. Bella (top) is a Bernese Mountain dog, and Paco is strongly suspected to be part Collie and part Saint Bernard. My mom gave me a photo of the two dogs to turn into a print, and as I contemplated what sort of scene to put behind them, I discovered that they are both descendants of mountain breeds used on farms in the alps. All three breeds were highly useful for herding cattle and guarding property. They are a sort of naturally derived technology, integrated into the ever-evolving environment of man. Here Paco and Bella sit superimposed over the grandeur of a great mountain range, layered with other useful inventions that have allowed humanity to survive and flourish.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"The Danger is Already Inside, Cute and Destructive, with Wily Paws..." by Marian Short

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More about Marian Short and her work can be found at her Cakeasaurus blog or Etsy store. 

The title of this is already a sort of poem about the image. Just one syllable off from being a proper haiku in fact. And so it seems most appropriate to offer another:

Stiff, still, and pretty
Wilderness as wallpaper
Then, a guest intrudes

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Owls" by Elizabeth York Brunton

Ah, yes, now that I have a closer look, I see what you mean. Completely unsuspecting  How perfectly we two melt into the waning light of the sky. How ethereal the blues. How soft the orange in our plumage. How numerous the shades of grey. So much the picture of quiet and stillness and the illusion of peace are we in these moments just before we strike.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Expand...Enlighten" by Stacey Streett

Image posted with the permission of the artist. Find more of Stacey Streett's artwork and jewelry at her Etsy store Junction Streett or check out her page on Facebook.

My eye follows needle-thin rays which radiate out from the top, left corner, and from there my gaze is vigorously rocked further and further down by bands of lime green, yellow, and deep violet. The journey is sped up by three eel-like forms that seem to swim through the bands toward their outer perimeter. From there I fall into the blue cracks which reveal what seems like open space dominated by a burning eclipsed sun. The hot star shoots flames out from all directions, as thorn-like waves crash below, and red-edged clouds melt into the fire.

I am most vividly reminded of both supernovas and the fertilization of an egg by persistent sperm, and thus the thin line between destruction and creation.

What a wonderful image to view before a long night of hard, but meaningful work.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Fair Hare Misfortune"

This is a mixed media sculpture made with woodcut and collograph prints, paper mache, wire, tissue paper, yarn, plastic eyes, binders board
26 "x 23" x 28"

I'm most pleased with the use of scale in this piece, and how it emphasizes the timing of the event about to transpire. Due to the perspective of this particular moment, the owl is smaller in width and height in comparison to its prey. The owl is also two dimensional in contrast to the rabbit's three dimensional existence. Although in real time the owl is very near, in another sense, she occupies another world altogether. Were time unfrozen and this scene come to life, in only seconds the owl will have entered the rabbit's dimension. Then, dwarfing him in size and dominating him in fierceness she will have snatched the poor rodent in her talons, rendered him lifeless, and carried him off to feast on his flesh.

There is something cherished in this moment, the very last moment a being is living, whole, and free. The last moment before he steps off the ephemeral stage of life, before his body is transformed into something else.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Swooping Owl"

This is a three layer reduction. The wingspan is 17". The dimensions of the paper don't matter since I'm going to cut it out. You see, I have bigger plans for this creature...

I did do a few artist proofs on colored paper. They are for sale at my Etsy store:
Red paper version 
Purple paper version 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Ripe For Picking" by Maria Arango Diener

Image posted with the permission of the artist. Learn more about Maria Arango's work and check out her very reasonably priced work on her blog 1000 Woodcuts.

It invites with its plumpness, its electrifying color. Touch me, bite in. I am orange and red, like mangoes and strawberries. You can imagine the sweet flavor, practically feel the juice dripping down your chin. Even needles, which usually would repel, have softened, at least in appearance. They read more like spools of soft yarn than prickles. And even if it hurts a bit to reach in, isn't the taste that awaits worth a little pain? Especially when the window for perfect ripeness is so short-lived?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Janet Fisher's Woman and Goats

The light in the sky wanes, turning the trees in the distance blue, and the whites of her apron and the goats' fur gray. Her shoes are the first to melt into the graying green of the ground. As the day ends she gathers the two, blithe animals who had been enjoying the meadow. A golden light in the window of the house beckons, and a winding trail of flattened grass points the way home.

A part of me wants to holds on to that golden light like a life raft because it might keep me from drowning in the dark, quiet, chaos of night. But the truth is, I find a certain joy in these repetitive chores. It is like the satisfying, aching bliss I feel when I hear a song that ends with the chorus slowly fading into silence.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Mnemone: Clockwork Thought Process" by L. Van Nortwick

Image posted with the permission of the artist. Find more work by L. Van Nortwick at Tiny Little Odd Things. 

I find this image terrifying, yet calm. At first the portrait seems to confront her viewer. But then I see that the gaze of her minuscule, single eye is starring past me. Is she deep in thought or simply absent? The mouth suggests a smile, but it is the detached smile of someone whose mind is otherwise occupied. With what, I cannot be sure. The revealed gears suggest movement, but everything else holds still, from the near perfect symmetry, to the vertical sweep that emphasized by the elongated neck and wood grain in the negative space. In this image, time and thought take a monumental pause. All is silent and still. Are we waiting? I just don't know. As I said, terrifying, yet calm. The shades of red, reminiscent of both blood and rust feel appropriate.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Turkish Bath" by Eileen Mayo

Women, white and powder pink, perhaps washed out by the flash of a camera, moving in and out like cats in between naps. A woman-with-a-confrontational-stare's breasts demand attention, but the longer I look at the entire scene, the more I am lost in zigzags, stripes, and black cracks. Until finally I remain most taken by grey squares that seem more like shady openings into some cavernous unknown.

That woman's eyes, too, are grey.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Gatlinburg, 32" x 10", white line woodcut. AP
I made this print for my inlaws. I myself have never been to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but they have been there many times and absolutely love the place. After looking at photographs to prepare to make this image, I can see why; the mountain landscape is breathtaking. I wanted to emphasize the green mountains in this image, so the buildings and many man-made tourist attractions are left understated, tucked into the folds of the rolling hills. Also, I used watercolors instead of printmaking inks, which shows off the grain of the wood board in a subtle manner and also creates other variations in texture reminiscent of the texture of foliage.

This is definitely nothing like what I normally make, and I'll admit I was pretty nervous taking on such a large print to make as a gift, but it's healthy to get out of one's comfort zone on occasion. In fact, it's probably necessary to do so in order to grow as an artist.