Thursday, December 29, 2011


Sketching some godwits. What an interesting name!
One type of godwit is the bar-tailed and they say it's a very special bird, the only one known to fly more than 7000 miles non-stop! Although it can sleep by shutting down one side of its brain at a time. Very handy!
When it summers in Alaska, it eats enough to double its weight and then awaits a good storm system to give it a boost for the the long journey  over the Pacific to New Zealand. Even cyclones are welcome!
Now I know that the name comes from Old English with god meaning good and wit meaning creature. A good creature!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Louvre

When we were in France in September, we had the opportunity to visit the Louvre in Paris. Can't miss the most famous museum in the world! Since it was a rainy day when we arrived in France, we decided that it would be a good place to start. Unfortunately our drowsy heads prevented us from staying to see more than a small part of this fabulous place. I know we missed all sorts of wonderful works! Certainly one could spend a lifetime exploring all the Louvre has to offer!
Anyway, I loved the ceiling and walls in this room. The other shows the museum from a window in the same room. ( I think!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rosette Wafers

I've never tried making wafers with some old irons that I have but it seems as good a time as any since it's Christmas and they are a traditional Christmas cookie. (of Scandinavia at least!) This little brochure of pictures and directions doesn't easily hide the age of my irons! But do they still work, I ask myself.
Here are the two irons that I have to try.
Hmm....I wonder, could they be useful for printmaking in some way???

After dipping the hot oily iron in the batter for 10 seconds, it cooks in the hot oil.
This is the fun part!
My first attempts were disasters as the wafer wouldn't release from the irons but with a little help from the internet, all went well.  The batter needs to be cold and the oil temp about 365 degrees F.

The wafer releasing from the iron after a minute of two.
It seemed like magic!

The final result!
I had my doubts but it worked!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Scherenschnitt - Title Unknown!

Hansel and Gretel??
It looks like it could be a good story!
I'm not sure who in my family made it but it intrigues me with all its detail. Now these types of works take patience!
Doesn't it look like it could be a linocut?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Le Moulin de Trebes - France!

When we were cruising the Canal du Midi in France recently (ah, those were the days), we spent much time in Trebes, which is along the canal. This restaurant is right next to the locks there so it's a good location to sit and watch the action! This placemat depicts a scene a little livelier than I saw but I  like it. Sorry, it didn't travel very well in my bag! It made me sorry that I didn't bring along some watercolors!
Of course, click on to enlarge!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feet Redesigned

I remembered that I had a drawing of feet that my mother did years ago!  I didn't want to remove the glass and I knew that reflections could be a problem if I took a photo of  it. Anyway, I placed it by a door in my house for light and found that the reflection from the window gave it an intriguing look. So here it is in a new way!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Virginia Woodturners' Ornaments

Virginia elves are busy making their beautiful Christmas decorations! I was at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia last week with relatives for Thanksgiving. (It was unusual not to be cooking! Well, I'm not complaining!) I saw this busy elf in the lobby with the tree and so many great decorations. I would love a tree full of these wood ornaments! The woodworkers who made these are so talented and all from Virginia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recently I  finished reading the classic sea tale of Mutany on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Hall. I didn't read it in school nor have I seen any movies based on the story. I'm not sure how I missed it! I thoroughly enjoyed this sea adventure based on the true story of the tragic voyage of His Majesty's Ship Bounty in 1788-1789. I loved some of the descriptions in the book, especially near the end since they seemed quite sentimental. A character in the story, on a ship in Portsmouth Harbour, England, says "I saw boats passing back and forth, their oars dipped in gold, and the men in them seemed transparent in the pale light. Knowing how brief a time remained to me, I found nothing unworthy of interest and attention. Even the common objects in my small cabin, - the locker, the table, and the inkwell before me, - seen in various lights at different hours of the day, I found beautiful and wondered that I had failed to notice such things before." These words made me think of painting and paintings so I spent some time on-line looking for paintings illustrating this story. Of course I found several good ones of the sea and the Bounty and also some portraits of the characters in the story.
This story was a good diversion from the usual reading of art books!

Butterfly Boxes!

Somehow I got distracted and thought I should make something for the Christmas fundraiser at my art center.  So I painted these boxes last weekend with acrylic paint. They still need is a shiny coat and felt inside. (I made a funny error on one of them! Maybe you'll see what I did.)

Now back to printmaking!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Linocut

I've been working on this linocut, layering several light colors, trying to keep it soft and subtle. Now I have to decide - keep it going?  And how to proceed!! Hmm....thinking......
Maybe watching a little college football this afternoon will inspire me. Wishful thinking!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lilypads - a miniature linocut

This linocut is very small but someday I'd love to make a larger one.
Or maybe a painting would be simpler. Or faster!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Linoleum Block Printing Book

When I was looking through my art book collection yesterday, I could not believe that I have this little book about linoleum block printing!! I don't remember it - it must be magic! And because I love block printing, it's a fabulous find! The 47 pages were printed with the actual linoleum blocks in 1939. In the preface, the artist says that it is possible to run a well-carved linoleum cut for at least 50,000 impressions. Can you imagine that? It's all very charming!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When I was in Paris, I saw a fountain near the Pompidou Center that was very quirky! Actually it consists of several fountains, all moving!  Yikes, my video isn't very good! (I don't think I'll be making a movie anytime soon!)  But it might give you some idea of what it looks like. I thought it was very entertaining!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Canal du Midi in France - Plane Trees

I was so lucky to be cruising on the Canal du Midi in Southern France in September for a few days! I found the parts of the canal lined with plane trees so beautiful with the calm water and the reflections. Now I say to myself - Was I dreaming?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fishy Swirl Screen Prints

These screen prints aren't new but I'm still trying to decide what to do with them. I'm not sure they're quite finished. There may be too much going on here! Are they making your dizzy? I made a watercolor painting with an animal in a swirl in school and another student said it was making her sick! Sorry!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Acorn caps

I have never seen acorn caps like these. Aren't they beautiful? They look a lot like little sea creatures and so lively that I can imagine them crawling across the page!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ecluse de l'Anguille on the Canal du Midi in Southern France

I've heard that the location of the Ecluse de l'Anguille, a lock on the Canal du Midi, is the most decorated and although I didn't see all of them, I can believe it's true. The keeper of the lock definitely enjoys sculpting and his creations are everywhere around the lock as well as around his house and they are quite original! For me it was unexpected, a pleasant surprise!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mallards on the Canal du Midi in France

While on vacation in France recently, we rented a boat and cruised the Canal du Midi in the south for a few days. These ducks were especially plentiful around the small town boat bases. Of course we know why but I have not heard such vocal ducks. One evening I was cooking dinner and using my phone as a timer when I heard this familiar duck sound. It was so loud and clear that it seemed like a duck was on board! We searched high and low for that duck until I discovered that I had chosen a duck call for the timer on my phone. Very appropriate I guess! Need more wine, please!

This video of the real ducks is one of my first attempts at using my phone as a video camera. It isn't very good - for one thing I turned the camera the wrong way! But I wanted to see if I could put one on my blog, so here it is!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Johnson's Orchard in Bedford, Virginia

After going to a college football game this weekend in the western part of Virginia, we stopped by this apple orchard on the way home. I love to pick apples but if you pick too many, you can't get them to your car! Just try to resist them! Anyway, I'm looking forward to apple pies and fresh applesauce! Some of the things I love about fall.
How do you like this orchard's version of Johnny Appleseed?!!?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Le Papier

Last year I received this writing paper for a gift and I loved it then but it is more special now that I have been to Paris. I have been very fortunate to have spent two weeks in France recently. The Eiffel Tower really is beautiful and looking much bigger than I imagined! Anyway, I love this paper and box for the design and charm and memory making qualities. Someday I'll open it and write a note to someone, somewhere .....who might be inspired to visit France as I was!

Friday, September 9, 2011

T-shirt Bird

I'm wondering if I should add more birds to this t-shirt that I did as a demonstration for a student.
Fun with stencils!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Tide!! Looking Nice!

Yesterday I rode our new rail service, The Tide, to my studio from the border of my city, where it starts, to downtown Norfolk. I wanted to see how long it would take me to get to my studio. It was twice as long - 45 minutes! It takes 15-20 minutes to drive to the train's parking area. Then 20 more minutes to ride the train. So, timewise it doesn't work well for me! :-(  My city is debating whether it wants to expand it because they aren't sure how well it will do. Of course, the cost! The train is certainly a novelty around here! It's a good start but clearly, it needs to be expanded. Anyway, it was a good ride from a different perspective! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Thinker

I wonder if Rodin would approve of this Thinker. This called for an investigation into the history of the original sculpture (1902) by Rodin, of which I should probably know but somehow missed. The statue was originally named The Poet and was part of a commission by the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris to create a monumental portal  to act as the door of the museum. On Wikipedia it says that it was meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. In the end, it seems only a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates of the museum. And a frog ponders flies over our garden gates!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Butterfly Plant

Have you ever seen a butterfly plant? Oh, it is very unusual and difficult to find. They bloom only for a short time where a pond is shallow and the small fish swim gently near the warm surface. Almost silently. Near dawn.

linocut  6" x  8"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pet Photo Exhibition

Saturday was the annual Great American Dog and Cat Photo Exhibition and party at my art center. The center partners with local Humane Societies  to promote the Art of Photography (amateur) and the love of animals. Dogs and cats are invited and other types of pets are welcome - someone brought their pig this year! I wanted to adopt this cat, it was so sweet! But here it looks exhausted - maybe too much action from too many dogs! Anyway, the guests were mostly well-behaved and I believe most enjoyed the party. (Although I noticed that one pug was frightened into its owner's lap when a much bigger dog started to sing Happy Birthday!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

PULPFICTION: The Art of Paper

This afternoon I went to see an excellent exhibition at the Courthouse Galleries in Portsmouth, Virginia where artists are showing some very innovative approaches to art created with paper. I love to see what people can do with paper -  very creative!! I liked everything in this show. One artist creates his work from recycled newpapers, "paying tribute to the valuble role that for years printed news has played in defining our society's cultural models." You can see his work at his website:
Take a look!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Butterfly Count #1 - Counting with the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory

The Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory is a non-profit established in 1994 to carry out the work of volunteers who began an annual songbird banding station at Kiptopeke State Park in 1963 on Virginia's Eastern Shore about a 40 minute drive from here. I decided to join them for their annual butterfly count since I have an interest in butterflies for my artwork and have a general interest in them and nature, of course! We met at the Eastern Shore of Virginia Wildlife Refuge visitor center to begin our count and then visited three butterfly gardens, walked in Kiptopeke State Park and made some roadside stops. We found at least 18 species of butterflies! And I learned alot from the people in my group, especially the master naturalist and my leader, the planter and caretaker of the butterfly gardens! A good day! Hot but good!

Butterfly Count #2 - My Group

Where is that fritillary??

Butterfly Count #3 - Wood Nymph

Of course I wanted to take lots of great butterfly photos but they were so busy fluttering about! I was able to get this one of a wood nymph near the end of our walk. :-)
(Click on it to see the larger view.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

3 Way Rabbits #2

I wanted to do my second rabbit work in gouache paint because I love to work with the colors and see the texture of the paint on the surface of the paper. I use a hot press paper that comes in a block which helps to keep the paper flat. (yes!) I must have been imagining some sort of social gathering for the trading of carrots in the world of rabbits!

Now what will I do next for my third rabbit piece?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Art Makes me Hungry!

I am convinced that the artistic struggling for ideas and the appetite activator are next to each other in the brain. Every time I sit to concentrate about an idea, I want to eat. Maybe it is just a need for procrastination! So I try to find something healthy like this popcorn and not keep too many cookies around! And I am out of chocolate. :-(

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Safe Harbor from the Storm

Safe Harbor from the Storm is a fundraiser event for Our House Families being held at Passion Restaurant and Wine Bar in Chesapeake, Virginia. A portion of the sale of art works will be donated to Our House Families which provides tangible resources to families in crisis. Passion's owner loves having the artwork in the restaurant and is passionate about supporting community organizations. My artwork is there with that of three other artists. If you can, come enjoy a fabulous meal at this trendy restaurant and see the art!! The event continues until December 31 of this year.