Saturday, March 28, 2015


Last summer, I did a lot of oil studies to become more familiar with the medium, since to me, using oils was at first about as intuitive as painting tiny details with house paint.

These are three small oil studies of sea shells from that time. 
Shells I, oil on canvas, 6x6"
Shells II, oil on canvas, 6x6"
Shells III, oil on canvas, 6x6"

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Way of Souls

These little prints are inspired by the Spirit Tree, a tree that still stood after a tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, killing 158 people in 2011.

With woodcuts, the wood grain and some texture often shows through in the print, and in this case, the lighter texture in the dark sky reminded me of the Milky Way. When I was a kid, I used to wonder about the relationship between stars and souls, so it seemed fitting in this case to call the prints "Way of Souls."

Way of Souls, blue, woodcut, 4x6"

Way of Souls, purple, woodcut, 4x6"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mini Woodcuts

I have been working on some tiny woodcuts, using high-quality Japanese Shina Plywood, which is made specifically for woodcut printing. To get started, and to get used to the material, I began by carving tiny blocks, no larger than four inches across.

The process for making woodcuts is quite simple:

First cut the woodblock with desired design. Then evenly ink the surface of the wood. Lastly press a paper onto the inked wood. That is basically it, with a few specialized tools to make the process easier.

Here are the first prints I made this way.

Fabricated 1, woodcut, 2.5x4"
Fabricated 2, woodcut, 4x2.75"
Fabricated 3, woodcut, 2.75x4"
Construction, woodcut, 2.75x3.25"

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monastery Sketching

I met with the SketchCrawl Washington group at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington DC on a beautiful sunny day a couple of  months ago. The group meets a few times a year to sketch in different locations of the area. I really enjoy the company of fellow sketchers when I have the opportunity to attend a SketchCrawl. And the monastery and grounds were a lovely and peaceful oasis in the city.

Metro ride and monastery chapel, micron pen, each 3.5 x 5" 

Franciscan Monastery, micron pen, each 3.5 x 5"

Franciscan Monastery, micron pen, each 3.5 x 5"


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christmas Displays at the Bookstore

Daily sketching without fussing or erasing was the idea when I got a small sketchbook in the fall. I haven't exactly kept to my intention of sketching every day, but I am sketching much more than I was before getting it. And I am using micron pens exclusively in this sketchbook, so no erasing possible. Here are a few sketches from one of my favorite indoors locations done before Christmas.

Bookstore, micron pen, 3.5 x 5"

Bookstore, micron pen, 3.5 x 5"

Bookstore, micron pen, each 3.5 x 5"

Bookstore, micron pen, 3.5 x 5"

Friday, August 15, 2014


Right now, I am learning to paint with oils. My goal is at least 50 studies completed this summer, before the fall semester starts in a couple of weeks. I still have 15 to go.  This means I spend a lot of time with oil paints in my little basement studio. While there, I enjoy listening to podcasts. They keep me entertained and I learn a lot, so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

Answer Me This Based in London, Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann answer listener questions about McDonald's marriages, toaster trouble, raccoon poop, and many other totally random subjects in a really funny way.

APM: A Prairie Home Companion's News from Lake Wobegon and APM: Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac Because I love Garrison Keillor's voice and storytelling. And Norwegians even though I am Swedish.

The Broad Experience Refreshing series on women in the workplace by reporter Ashley Milne-Tyte. I really didn't think I would like this podcast, since I admit to cringing when I think something is going to be "feminist." I am all for the concept, but in my (admittedly prejudiced) perception, feminism excludes pretty much everyone who is not a white western woman wanting to get ahead in a male dominated career while despising, and feeling the need to rescue, every woman who does not share the same ambitions and advantages. But I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging and informed Ashley is in her interviews with diverse women, and her open minded and respectful approach.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History Dan Carlin loves history and thinking about ideas. He brings his interests together in somewhat long-winded, but fascinating stories about historical events and figures. He basically produces an audio book, in a podcast format, every few months. My all time favorite is Thor's Angels.

The Moth True short stories told live onstage by people of a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. Touching, funny, sad, always engaging. I never forget the tough guy who took his dying young wife out on a motorcycle ride.

NPR: Planet Money Economic stories from around the world by reporters who seem to have a lot of freedom in what to report. Haitian schools, Detroit's water problem, refugees for profit in Somalia, why we still use pennies, and many other surprisingly interesting money topics.

Radiolab from WNYC I can't describe this one, so here it is from their website: Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. ...NYC's Peabody Award-winning program that examines big questions in science, philosophy and the human experience through compelling storytelling.

Savage Lovecast Dan Savage got Ira Glass to join him in giving sex advice to listeners. That is how compelling he is. An always entertaining combination of more or less outlandish questions and straightforward answers. Dan also founded the It Gets Better Project with his husband. Click on the link if you are not familiar with it.

TED Talks Most of the TED talks are fine as podcasts, some are better viewed. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).

The Story Collider A lot like The Moth, but with personal stories about science. Diverse mix of story tellers.

Welcome to Night Vale  ...a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide. Totally surreal. You have to listen to it at night.
All of these podcasts can be found for free on iTunes.

Please let me know if you listen to any of them and feel free to share your favorites!