Thursday, December 26, 2013

Winter Osage Oranges

I thought I was done posting for the year but when I drove by this tree the other day and saw these beauties laying on the ground I couldn't help myself.  I didn't think it was possible but they are even more beautiful now than they were in the fall.  From a distance they might appear to be slowly rotting fruit but if you take a closer look they are amazingly gorgeous!. 

Walking among these aging fruits at the end of December made me think it's not so bad to enter into the new year.  Although we don't often welcome the signs of age I like to think each year we are all slowly turning a more fabulous shade of amber.   Wishing you a very Happy New Year filled with peace, joy, and beautiful color!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Acorn Linocut - Printmaking

For our final project in printmaking we were free to choose whatever technique we wanted from those we learned in the course, including embossing, collagraph, linocut, woodcut, monotype, and intaglio.  I decided to carve this acorn from a Christmas card drawing I did a few years ago out of safety-cut.  I love this material because it is easy to carve (my friend calls it butter-cut).  The only drawback was I had to hand press it with a spoon because I didn't have good luck running it through the press (the paper shifted unreliably).

I wish I had taken some process photos but I was lucky to just complete the project.  The first thing I did was carve the background and then print the gold color.  This created the background you see here and a solid gold acorn shape.  I then carved the "fingers" where I wanted to reveal the gold, created a stencil in the shape of the acorn to protect the background, and printed the brown.    I then carved where I wanted to reveal the brown and printed the black (again using the stencil so as not to print over the background).  The process is interesting because you have to think backwards.

As you can see below I printed eight copies.  I was trying to use the press at first but was having registration problems so I resorted to hand burnishing with a spoon.  If I became a print-maker full time I think I would have very strong arms.

After I finished printing the color versions I printed four black and white versions.

Below you can see the final safety-cut plate.  You have to carve the reverse of how you want the image to print.  This is very important to consider if you have text in your image. 

I wanted to take the photo with the Speedball linoleum cutter but I turned it in already so I put a pencil in for scale.

This is a close-up of the plate. 

Overall this was my favorite technique we learned this semester.  I like it because it is easy to carve but also because I can do it at home without a press.  Hopefully you will see more of this to come in the new year.  I am not sure if I will be posting more this year so I wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!!!

If you are interested in purchasing a print visit

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bird Boat Woodcut

A while back I came across a poem online entitled, "Tossing the Oars"  by Chuck Surface. The poem talked about different ways of sailing... some sail by using the wind, others use a rudder and map, and others row like madmen.  But the author chose to surrender.

I took down sail, unlatched rudder and oars,
And threw all into the Vastness.

I loved these lines and tucked them away in my memory.  Last month I was doing some doodles for printmaking and when I looked down at the sketch I remembered that poem and realized it had come out of me in visual form. When I finished the piece I think some people thought it was a little depressing or sad but I explained to them that the girl in the boat was quite content.  Perhaps my woodcutting skills are not quite there yet but I wanted the expression on the girl's face to be one of peaceful content.  What more could a girl ask for than to go on an adventure with her cat in her trusty bird boat?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


When I first saw this vegetable in our CSA bag I did a double-take.  "What the heck is that?" I asked.  It turns out it is called Romanesco, or Romanesque cauliflower or Romanesco broccoli and its scientific name is Brassica oleracea. But forget about the name...look at its shape!  Its flower buds form a natural fractal and according to Wikipedia the number of spirals on the head is also a Fibonacci number.

I just finished reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and in the book they talk about the old theory that food that looks like a body part will help that body part (i.e. walnuts look like mini-brains and are therefore good for your brain).  The scientist in me is not so sure of this idea, but if it's true imagine what this is going to do for my inner spirals!  If ever there were a magical vegetable surely this is it.