Saturday, December 31, 2011

100th item listed in Etsy Shop, 100th Blog post entry!

Hooray! I am closing the year 2011 with 100 works of art for sale at my Etsy Shop! I just posted item number 100 a few minutes ago. And, if that isn't cool enough on its own, this right here is my 95th Blog Post Entry!

Below is a sampling of some of the works at my Etsy Shop. Click on individual images to go directly to those specific listings or click the link directly below the block of images to go the home page of my Etsy Shop. Please visit and "walk around" my Etsy Shop to see the variety of art I've listed.
Who knows? Maybe you will find and purchase the first work of art in the new year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kitchen Lithography once again

Wow! It's been over a month since I first posted my results from a try at "kitchen lithography" (November 17th blog post, if you want to review it.) I've been busy with monotype printing -- teaching it at all the rural schools and Hutterite Colonies that I work with as a visiting artist once a month. The students had a good time with the monotype process, but I still have hopes of presenting a kitchen lithography session. So today I revisited kitchen lithography.

The first litho did not turn out as it should have but I think I may be onto something that I noticed during the pouring of the soda over the plate. I talk a bit about it in the first video (posted below.) For anyone who does not have speakers on their computer (like I don't), basically I'm pointing out in the video a pattern that matched the pattern of flow the soda took on the initial pouring over the plate. The effect seems to be that the soda "over etched" and also may be eating out under the litho pencil marks. The pattern was in exactly the pattern the soda took on the initial flow over the plate. Hmmm.

NOTE:  I had to post both videos onto facebook because they wouldn't load onto this blog host. Hope that doesn't create any problems for viewers.

In the second video, you see the plate being inked for my fifth print pull. I clean the plate between prints, using a little bit of vegetible oil and a soft cloth. I don't know if that's really necessary, but it does help me see the "print" areas (what the ink will be sticking to) on the plate. I like being able to see the quality of the lines and what marks are where. For example, there was a stray mark in the cat's right eye and during the first "roll up" with ink, I pushed the ink around that spot quite a bit with the sponge before I realized it was in fact a part of my original litho pencil drawing on the aluminum. Successive roll-ups reveal more and more of the actual drawing and I get a better feel for when the ink coverag is complete.

This second video is a bit longer. I haven't been able to get my video editing software to function quite right (yet.) In the beginning of the video you'll see that the image appears when I start the inking and then I essentially wipe it off. Well, actually I don't wipe it off; It only appears that way in the video. What I did was to wipe enough off so that I can see the "drawing" and how it is taking the ink. I've found that it helps me spot potential problem areas where I might need to not wipe so much or maybe need to deposit more or less ink with the brayer/roller.

And here (next link below) is the last part of the preceding video. In this one I run the etched/inked aluminum plate through the etching press. I had the camera mounted on a tripod that in turn sat on the end of the tables that hold the press and provide the space to ink the plate (previous video.) Maybe I can get someone to operate the camera next time and so get a better view of the whole process.!/video/video.php?v=10150484090474349&notif_t=video_processed

All That Jazz

Reorganizing the studio is a good time to say good-bye to "old friends" -- paintings that date back a ways and for various reasons remained in the studio, through several re-locations and several years. "All That Jazz" is one of those works. Time for it to find a new home where it can be displayed rather than tucked away in my studio storage.
"All That Jazz" was painted in 1988. I was studying anatomy at the (then) Alberta College Of Art (in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.) I supplemented my in-class live model sessions with visits to Calgary's various live theaters to sketch/draw during performance rehearsals. "All That Jazz" captures one of those performances where singer and musician seem to intertwine and boundaries between them (and the audience) become fluid until everything is in the moment.
The painting was done on stretched canvas. To protect the work from damage, I unstretched it and kept it in a flat file for a number of years. Recently I decided to mat it flat rather than restretch it. It is currently listed for sale at my etsy store at
Here is "All That Jazz" and some close-up detail photos (click photos for larger images):

Even after the interim of 23 years, I still find this to be a good work. (Wow! almost a quarter century! Does that make this a vintage work?)
I should note here also that this painting served me as a reference for a portion of a mural commissioned by Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. You can see that mural at my web site at:

Monday, December 19, 2011

War Horse

Wish this stage production would come to a theater close enough to be able to go see it. There's a movie version set to be released around Christmas, but somehow film just never quite compares to live theater. The horse costumes are fantastic and are both spell-binding and uncanny. A great stage performance causes the audience to suspend reality and within a few short minutes, the horse costumes become living breathing beings.
Watch a video of segments of the theater performance at this link:

Saturday, December 17, 2011


While at the studio last evening, I listened to an interesting radio discussion about the origins of some of the icons of the Christmas holiday season. It was a compelling enough program that I decided to stay to hear it all (I don't have a functioning radio in my vehicle, so I'd have missed a bunch of the program while driving home.)
The topic set off a bunch of images in my brain and at some point the little Blue Penguins (also called Fairy Penguins) of New Zealand came to mind. The penguins have been in the news lately because of a tanker spill that threatens their immediate survival. There's been a world-wide call for volunteers to knit or crochet sleeve-less "sweaters" for the rescued penguins. The sweaters cover the penquins body from neck to feet. They look pretty cute waddling around in their recovery cages after they've been all cleaned up as best as possible. The sweaters prevent the birds from preening and ingesting any left over oils, but also keep them warm  until the full insulating quality of their feathers is restored.
I still had some paints out from my previous monotype session and decided to make a few whimsical penguin prints. Here is one from the session plus a couple detail close-ups (click the images to see larger):


And here is a link to a video of the penguins being being cleaned and then shows some pics of them in their sweaters. The video also shows some other kinds of penguins which are very large compared to the Blue Penguin. Notice the size of the sweaters when a woman in the video is holding one; and the tiny sweater covers the whole body of the bird.

The penguins don't look very blue in the video because they have so much oil staining. Here's a video of what their plummage normally looks like:

As for my penguin monotypes, I had fun and am thinking maybe I should pursue this a bit more. Maybe polish the image a bit, try some different poses and see if I should push it to something more realistic or stay with a bit of whimsy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

YEE HA! Pronghorns at a run!

Today was clear sky, gusty wind and sunny, though not much above freezing (high for the day was 36 degrees Fahrenheit.) Perfect for a drive over some local gravel roads, as the surface is frozen.
Just northeast of town About 35 miles northeast of town (less by air) was a large herd of Pronghorn Antelope. Filming from the vehicle, I "captured" about half the herd on video. They were really flying! The truck was moving at about 40 mph. The second video below is of the group that split to the right at the end of the first video. Estimate there were at least 200 antelope in this herd.

Typical of camera work, objects (in this case the antelope) always look farther away than they actually were. Still, the video is a nice treasure to remember the day.
Give the video sufficient time to load. Enjoy!  (P.S.--lick on the start arrow at the bottom of each video. If the video blocks below are black, refresh the page from your tool bar (refresh is the little circle arrow at the right of the address line at the top of your window/screen.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cats Again! This time with monotype process

It's been a couple weeks at least since my last post. Using as much of my time as possible in the studio, I decided to make some monotypes. It was a good diversion from the aluminum foil etching process I'd been experimenting with (see my November 17th post.) The end result was a lot of small monotypes, all similar in subject (cat), but all different in various ways.

I started by painting a simple, stereotypical sitting cat image on a piece of plexiglass. I used a type of tempra paint that is non-toxic and under the brush it has the feel of fingerpaint -- sort of "slippery" even on paper, let alone a plexiglass surface. All of the monotypes in this series were executed with a sable brush. The paints are water-base so they dry fast. That meant decisive, quick work on my part. But I enjoy working that way so this was actually a very relaxing process and the immediate results captured my interest and enthusiasm. The session only ended when I had to hunt the studio for more paper to use!

Once I had my painted image, I placed the paper on top of it and hand-rubbed with a baren to pull the print. I tried different kinds of paper and also experimented with pulling prints from prints that had larger amounts of paint on them. Some of those prints are among my favorites. I also pulled some second prints from the plate image if there seemed to be sufficient paint remaining.

I did not remove the paint from the plexiglass between prints. Instead, I allowed it to build up and found that it provided a better "tooth" for subsequent layers of paint. Also, I did not enslave myself to the exact contour of the image from one print to the next. At some point it occurred to me to put more control on the direction and pressure of the baren and in that way I could indirectly manipulate the way some of the paint contacted the paper.

Here are the top 25 monotypes -- the ones I decided to mat and offer in my art shop at Not all of these are currently listed at the etsy shop but eventually will be. All of these are for sale, so if you see one here that you'd like to purchase but that is not yet listed at my etsy shop let me know. I've put numbers next to each print shown below; use the number to refer to the print when you contact me. Each print is matted as shown. Some are printed on a kind of Japanese Rice Paper, and so in those particular ones you can see some "waving" that gives a textile feel to the print.










10. SOLD








 18. SOLD





23. SOLD



Number 1 has an oriental feel, I think. Number 25 was among the first ones printed. See if you can pick out the ones in this group that are "second pulls" or "mirror pulls."  Most of the prints are sort of generic cats of the kind commonly referred to as domestic short-hair, which is what my cat is. However, there are a few that resemble the Maine Coon breed. My mother has a Maine Coon and so I suspect that's how that interpretation got from my visual memory to the paint to the paper. One does, after all, paint what one is familiar with.