Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Spring energy is in full bloom right now in Ohio and I have come across so many interesting things on my walks I can't keep up!  If I forget my camera even one day things have changed dramatically by the next time I am out again.

The flower below is from a rather weedy looking plant in my backyard. I always want to pull it but never do because it has the prettiest pink blooms every spring.  I have asked several botanist friends but I can't figure out what it is.  I thought it might be a plantain (Plantago) of some sort, but I can't find any with pink flowers. If you know what it is please let me know in the comments.  Regardless of its name I love the form of the beautiful pink inflorescence.

Right next to this pink flowering plant is our mill stone fountain.  One day I was sitting in front of it and decided to try and photograph the water that bubbles up out of it.  It was around seven in the evening and the light was sparkling in the most beautiful way.  I had never tried to photograph moving water like this and was quite pleased with the amazing globular forms in the images.  The water seems so alive, and even more so when you hear the sound it makes.  I included an audio file below the photo so you could hear it too.

I also took a gazillion photos of bees on crocuses this year trying to get one in focus.  The photo below was the best one.

You might not recognize the Virgina bluebell below.  Its blooms had not opened yet and I loved the incredible design created by these flowers.  This flower is so awesome because the blooms are pink before they bloom and gradually turn blue as they open.  You can see an open one here.

Each year I think, "Oh, I've already photographed this flower or that bee" but I am always happily surprised when I see the same flower (or bee) in a new way.  If you really think about it you will never see anything in exactly the same way because everything is constantly changing.

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
  - T.S.Eliot

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Acorn Linocut - Part 2

I finally finished printing the giant linocut acorns!  It has truly been quite a learning experience for me.  I learned that:
  • It will take me months to complete a project like this
  • You need to sharpen your linocut tool every day with a slipstrop
  • I friggin love carving and listening to music 
  • It is really hard to print a big black area evenly
  • I need help to print this large
  • I will have extremely strong arms if I keep this up
  • I need to clean the basement so the whole house is not disrupted by large prints laying everywhere
The list could go on and on, but in the end this experience has only wet my appetite to do more.

I also had fun documenting the process.  Below you can see photos at each stage.

1) Complete full-size pencil sketch.

2) Transfer to Safety-Kut.

3) Carve design.

4) Ink the plate.

5) Print!

It was interesting to me because in the end I may have been just as excited about the photos of the plate and print as I was about the actual print.  Maybe down the road I will make some note cards of the photos. (You can click on the images to enlarge.)

As I said above, one of the biggest lessons I learned was that I need help during the printing process because the paper is so big.  I couldn't have done it without the help of my next door neighbor John.  He not only shot the following video of me inking the plate for the first time, but he helped me lay each sheet of paper down onto the inked plate and then meticulously rub every square inch until our arms were going to fall off.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, John!

(Music and permission given by Kodomo)

As you can see in the video this was the first time I inked the plate to make a test print.  I quickly realized I needed to buy a bigger brayer!

Below are a few more photos of the final print. If you are interested in purchasing a print visit NessyPress.com.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Acorn Linocut - Part 1

I have been dreaming about giant linocut acorns for a while now so I decided it was finally time to attempt one.  I usually have an assortment of pods, seeds, and random plant parts sitting under my computer monitor and I stare at them all the time.  I think the acorn caps below have been sitting there for at least a year and it was finally time to make use of them.

I started this project by photographing the acorns and then composing them exactly how I want them in Photoshop. I then printed the photo and did a large sketch exactly the size I wanted to do the carving. Below is a short video of the sketch as it came along. (Sorry about the quality, I am just learning this video stuff!)

After finishing the sketch I then transferred the design to my plates. I originally wanted to make a SUPER GIANT print, but decided I'd better start with a size where I can buy the paper locally. So I went downtown to Suder's and bought a roll of mulberry paper and a sheet of their largest Stonehenge (38''x50''). I then had to decide what material to use for my plates. I wanted to use safety-kut because I have some arm issues and it is nice and soft to carve. But the down side was I would have to tile two sheets together to make the print (they sell a 26x30 "Monster" sheet). The other option was to carve out of wood or linoleum, but then I would have to buy real tools that can cut those materials. In the end I decided to go with the safety kut and hoped that fixing the seem wouldn't be too un-seemly. 

Below is a video of some photos of the carving process.

To see the inking process and final print, click here!