Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Mexico Adventure - High Road to Taos

Door to the Tower Gallery

They call New Mexico the "Land of Enchantment" and ever since my first trip I have fallen under its spell.  I don't know if it is the clear air of the high desert, the beaming sun, or the earthy adobe but there is certainly magic in this part of the world and I can't get enough of it.

Before Christmas we took a trip to travel and visit friends in New Mexico.  We had never flown into Santa Fe airport before and when I got off the plane I couldn't believe the airport!  It is certainly the cutest airport I have ever seen before.

After picking up our luggage from the single baggage ramp (about 10 feet long), we rented a car and headed toward the high road to Taos.  On our way we stopped at the Tower Gallery where my favorite New Mexico sculptor, Roxanne Swentzell, exhibits her work.  I love the beautiful curvy bodies of her forms and am in love with the way she expresses emotions through her work.  I am especially enamored with the feet and toes of her figures.

Once past the gallery we found the high road to Taos and were on our way.  It is always fun to stop and photograph the Sacred Heart Catholic church on the way.  It is such a lovely example of adobe architecture.

It doesn't take long before one is out in the wide expanses of New Mexico.  Maybe its because I come from lush Ohio but it is always breathtaking to visit the desert.  It is one place where you can really see the earth and the sky without interruption and it makes my heart sing.

You can't take the High Road without stopping at Chimayo sanctuary.  Chimayo has several interesting legends associated with it but the most well known legend revolves around "el pocito" ("little well").  Next to the main sanctuary is a tiny pit which contains holy dirt which is said to have remarkable curative powers. People come from far and wide to scoop a bit of dirt to bring to loved ones that need healing.  The tiny pit is said to be never run out of dirt.  So if you are planning on visiting be sure to bring a little baggie (but if you forget you can buy a container at the gift shop.)  

I had so many photos from the trip I am dividing them up into several posts.  My next post will be on our adventures in Taos so check back soon!

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” ― Nora Roberts

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Card Linocut

This year I told myself I wasn't going to make a Christmas card but then an idea popped in my head and I just couldn't help myself.  I have been obsessed by folk and embroidery patterns so I decided to try my hand at interpreting that into linoleum.

I started by finding embroidery patterns in some old polish embroidery books that I have had sitting around for years.  I also looked on Pinterest and in the end I combined two different patterns in Photoshop.  I then printed out my design and simplified it with tracing paper.  Once I was satisfied with my design on the tracing paper I flipped it over and burnished it onto my safety-kut linoleum.  Then I turned the music on and carved away.

I love how the plate looks before it has been inked.  There is something nice about the texture all by itself.

The hard part for me is the printing.  It would be easy if I just wanted twenty or thirty, but this year I printed over 100.  George had to help me in the end because my wrist wouldn't take it any more.  I was able to print them over two days and was exhausted when we finally pulled the last print.

I had so much fun photographing the print I couldn't decide on whether I liked the greens (first photo) or the wreath and berries (below).  I usually try and pick just one but some times you just can't decide and have to include both.

Below is a short video of me pulling the print.

I am so thankful to everyone who reads the blog.  This has been a big printmaking year for me with the launch of and I couldn't have done it without all the encouragement from my friends, family, and you.  I wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and much joy in the New Year. 

"Happiness is there for the taking and making." - Oprah

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hand-painted Folk Ornament

I was shopping at Michael's when I spied these wood ornaments on super sale last week and I couldn't resist.  I love the shape of them and had the idea to paint them with red and white folk patterns and then stain the wood a bit darker to make them look old. 

Overall this was more difficult than I anticipated.  It might be that my paint was ten years old and stiff...or maybe I needed thinner brushes. I spent about two hours on the one in the background and accidentally ruined it.  I got a little carried away trying to fill in blank space and finally ended up having to paint the whole top red.  In the end I still like it so all was not lost.  I can't exactly put it into words but there is something so basic about putting paint on wood in a folk pattern that brings me so much joy. 

"Delight in the little things." - Rudyard Kipling

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Book Signing

I am excited to participate in a book signing this Friday with Christina Wald and Jeff Ebbeler at Sharon Woods. I will be signing my latest book, "You're Joking! Animal Jokes for Children".  Come out and see the holiday light display, get your books signed and finish your holiday shopping at the gift shop!