Stamping into Spring!

Stamp Making 2015 018

I’ve been trying my hand at stamp making by carving the stamping material rubbery stuff called “easy-cut” or “quick-cut” made by Speedball.  Its very simple really just draw something onto the rubbery stuff and then use a small tool to carve out the lines!  Pretty easy!

Stamp Making 2015 004 (2)

This is the actual carved stamp.  I used both types of carving material and this one is the white kind and it is very crumbly as you carve – but the crumbles seem to add a little depth to the stamped picture.

Stamp Making 2015 023

These are the tools I used.  You can see the different sized blades.  These tools come with a set of blades in the handle, and you just unscrew the plastic cap on the end to take them out.  The fit into the other end which has a chuck that you can inset the blade into.  I didn’t want to keep changing the blades so I got three sets  and I can just leave them set up to go.

Stamp Making 2015 024

This was my original drawing for the standing bunny – nothing complicated!

Stamp Making 2015 009

I used the pink material for the duck.  Its much firmer, and doesn’t crumble.  Its very smooth.  The pink is the stamp, the image on the right is the printing of the stamp.  I just spread some Speedball water based print ink on a plastic pallet, put the stamp on it face down, and then lifted the stamp and lay a piece of printing paper over the inked stamp  and pressed it with my fingers.

Stamp Making 2015 015

A funny little star clown!

Stamp Making 2015 012

Jack Rabbit.  This one with more lines, some carved background, getting fancier here!

Stamp Making 2015 008

A very simple sunflower.  I didn’t carve any background lines and I can go back in a cut away the plain space and turn it into just a sunflower stamp by itself, no background or block around it.

Stamp Making 2015 020

A simple leaf shape which I intend to carve away the space around it to make it just the leaf shape by itself, and then it could be used as a border on a journal page or something like that.

Sketches and Spring

February 2014 006

 Yesterday!   From my front door, looking up!

February 2015 001

I’ve been sketching in a little book I’ve made myself.  The pages are long and narrow 11.5×4.5 inches.  I’ve been trying to fit the sketch onto the page and making the subject matter long and narrow too.

February 2015 006

Then I started thinking of the old classic film, The “Children of Theatre Street” filmed in Russia about 1950 something or very early 60’s about the Vaganova school of ballet. I decided to make my figures beginning ballerinas!  I don’t have the film anymore, wish I did!

February 2015 010

Double page with two ballerinas.  The one on the right I sketched her head on my work table cover paper several months ago.  I cut it out and glued it on the page and added the little body.


February 2015 008

This one must have decided to forego ballet class and explore the outdoors!

February 2015 007

This one may be a grown up ballerina — but I copied her face from a fashion magazine — so she’s actually a model.  I like to sketch from magazine photos – its so easy to see where the shading goes!

January Light

2015 PaintingsJanuary light  in Portland is often filtered and without shadows, gray and flat.  I try to get through this long  month as best I can!  Sometimes a surprise will happen and we get nearly brilliant sunlight for a few hours – a true gift!  Today was such a day!  Bright skies, stark January light, an infusion of hopefulness! So I pulled out some paintings I’ve been working on but haven’t finished.

I know its been a long while since I’ve posted anything – I have no excuse other than … I don’t know…. just haven’t been doing much and feeling very guilty for it.  Making many half attempts, and not finishing much of anything.   Maybe tomorrow will be a bright day too!




Sketchbook Abstractions and ‘Strangelings’

I continue to move paint around in my sketchbook – now I’m adding drawings on top of the background paintings.  Nothing serious — just moving the paint and charcoal around — if things are out of proportion, good!

Abstractions 2014 002

A Strangeling with his red heart on view.  Acrylic, charcoal.

Abstractions 2014 011 (2)

An angel standing on the sun.  I loved painting this sphere so I did it again on another page.


Abstractions 2014 017

I’ve been trying these matte acrylics put out by Dick Blick.  I really like them for journal work, but they might be too flat looking for paintings.

Abstractions 2014 004 (2)

Another little stranger wearing woad! haha.

Abstractions 2014 020

The background painting is fun to do.  I did this one by painting one side and laying the top page over it to create a print.  Then I drew in the figure with charcoal.

Abstractions 2014 009 (2)

This angry looking stranger didn’t warrant filling in with paint.  Just a charcoal drawing.

Abstractions 2014 008 (3)

This strangeling may be off-putting to some, but he has a pleasant demeanor, really!

I’m thinking summer has arrived in Portland – the cottonwoods are blooming or whatever it is that they do, and the air is allergy inducing!  I’ve been spending my days sewing myself some new summer things to wear.  Haven’t done that in a very long time!  My evenings I’ve spent painting these strangelings, or maybe they are changelings.  They do appear somewhat mysterious.  I haven’t been posting much this last year – life just hasn’t been very creative — but I’m always thinking.  Maybe my dry spell has worked itself out and I will soon be turning out canvases again!










Journals, Sketchbooks, Workbooks

Workbooks 2014 007

I’ve been making sketchbooks, or what I call workbooks, from leftover papers I’ve had sitting around for years.  I’m not very good at coptic binding, but I like how this binding method allows the book to lay flat when open.  There is room for improvement in my technique!

I’ve started to play with paint in the first one with the painted cover. The cover is heavy watercolor paper that I happened to have some leftover scraps. It’s about 8×12 inches. That’s as big as I like to go with journals. It has about 64 pages, counting both sides. I’m calling it “Abstractions” because I am just playing around with color and shapes.  I don’t like to use more than about 64 pages  per book – I seem to get overwhelmed artwise when there  too many blank pages!  That’s why its nice to make your own, you can choose size, paper, etc.

Workbooks 2014 003

This is the one in the middle – about 6 x 10 inches.  I used brown paper called “bogus rough” and gray tone paper.  It has about 64 pages counting both sides of each page.  The cover is 140# watercolor paper, which I will paint when I decide what I’ll use the journal for.

Workbooks 2014 006

This is the one on the right.  Its tall and narrow – due to leftover paper sizes.  You can see how nice and flat they stay open!  It has a cover made from the back of a used purchased sketch pad.

Abstractions 2014 004

Here’s what’s happening inside the first book.  I’m using acrylics on gesso coated brown pages.

Abstractions 2014 010

Abstractions 2014 027

Abstractions 2014 003

I wish acrylics were’nt so shiny, but they’re great for journals because they dry fast.  Sometimes the pages do stick together a little bit.  But for now, I’m just painting!










The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 023

9×10 inches.  140 # watercolor paper with muslin glued to surface of pages.  Watercolor, acrylic, oil pastel, graphite, collage.

The Sacred Life of Trees an artist’s book I created from an idea I had about how much I love trees, and how much everyone values and loves trees.  It seems, from my research, that trees have been a source of mystery from the beginning of time.  I wanted to do a more in depth study, but was unable to complete the whole thing in time for the Illahe Gallery Invitational Artist’s Book Exhibit in Ashland, Oregon!  So I concentrated on the most loved concepts of sacred trees.

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 021

Double page spread.

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 020


The Sacred Life of Trees Book 019

The Tree of Life with a guarding snake, and golden fruit!

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 009

The Apple Tree – worshipped by ancient celtic cultures for the bounty of her fruit.  Some think it was an apple tree that instigated the downfall of man in the Garden of Eden!  Maybe, maybe not.  But she is lovely!

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 013

The quiet little Hazel Tree – also bearing life sustaining nuts.   The hazel was considered by the ancient celts to be a magical tree.  Her wood is used for making dowsing rods to find water.  A hazel wand is very strong – be sure to thank her if you take her branches!

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 017

The Ogham is an ancient celtic alphabet – often referred to as the Celtic Tree Alphabet.  The marks were made vertically on standing stones, many of which, are still standing in Scotland, Ireland, England.  They are read vertically from the bottom up.  I have written the Ogham name for each tree on the right hand bottom side of the drawing.

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 015

The beautiful Willow Tree – known as the Lady of the Moon.

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 006

The Birch Tree – Lady of the Wood.

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 007

The Oak Tree – royalty of all trees.  Very strong, long lived, the king of trees, in this case the queen!

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 004

The sacred Hawthorn Tree – the wand made from a hawthorn twig is truly magical.  The ancient celts believed the tree to have healing qualities, as well.  If a hawthorn self seeded next to a natural spring it was believed that dipping a scrap from a piece of clothing in the water and tying it to the tree would bring good health, and good luck.  Many of these are still honored in this way in the celtic countries and are laden with odd scraps of cloth.  They are known in Scotland as a ‘Clootie Tree’.  A clootie is a scrap of cloth.

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 002

The Sacred Life of Trees Book 025

Final page with a verse from Loreena McKennitt.

I apologize for the lack of quality in these photographs.  The finished product really does look better than this.




On My Work Table

Sacred Life of Trees 2014 003

I have been creating patterns on fabric with rust.  I mostly used steel wool in a half and half solution of apple cider vinegar and water.  Before the steel wool fully rusted I dipped the linen into the solution and got the lovely soft gray color.  Then I lay a piece of the steel wool on it to create the subtle color change.  After the steel wool rusted I took out pieces of it and lay it on the wet muslin after a few hours the patterns shown are the result! I’m using the rusted pieces of muslin and linen for the pages of a handmade book.  Gluing them down to folded heavy watercolor paper to create signatures for a handmade book.  I intend to incorporate the rust patterns into the pages, although that didn’t happen below.

Sacred Life of Trees 2014 002

This is one of the pages I’ve created for my book, I’m calling it “The Sacred Life of Trees.”  Using watercolor, oil pastel, pen and ink for 12 original drawings depicting the spirit that humans have given to trees through folklore, religion, and daily life.  The letter “A” is painted in bright gold paint.  I like the kind of medieval look of the gold paint – kind of like an illustrated manuscript. This is my first page so I may discard and have a “do-over.” haha

I’m creating the book for the book arts exhibit at the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon in April for their Fifth Annual Artist Books Invitational and Printmakers; Also, the “Community Press” work by community members. First Friday Art Walk April 4, 5:00 to 8:00 PM