Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rising Birds

Here are three recent monoprints. Monoprints are one of a kind handmade prints, while other kinds of prints are typically made in editions.

I really like the varied textures that are possible with monoprints!

Rising I, monoprint, 8 x 10"

Rising II, monoprint, 8 x 10"

Rising III, monoprint, 8 x 10"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


This print is based on a large sunflower we had growing in our backyard a few years ago. Just as the seeds were starting to ripen, our neighbor, the happy squirrel living in the tallest tree behind our house, managed to make off with all the seeds overnight. So in honor of ingenious critters everywhere, I made this print.

Sunflower monotype, 8 x 11"
The image was created using soy based Akua inks in colors approximating the three colors used in any computer monitor or TV screen - cyan, magenta, and yellow. No other colors were added. I started with a plate inked in yellow. Then I added a layer of magenta, removing the ink where I wanted the print to be yellow or green. Lastly, I added a cool blue color, first very lightly and then a bit darker, each time removing the color where I didn't want blue in the mix. The layers of color were added to the paper by pressing the paper against the inked plate.

With all the colors overlapping, the result, in theory at least, should be black. But since the colors used were not exactly the CMY colors, and since the darker colors were applied with some texture showing, the resulting mix of all the colors is fairly dark, but definitely not black.

CMY were the only colors used for the sunflower print

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Laundry Day

In figure drawing class, we sometimes had a rather elaborate setup. This one was fun to draw.

Laundry day, charcoal, 2014, 30 x 22"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Lately, I have been working on more abstract looking paintings and prints, so it was nice to go through some of my figurative drawings from last year when I was cleaning up my studio. This drawing was done in class over a couple of days.

Even though it is not my goal as an artist to paint traditional nudes, there really is nothing like learning to draw and paint by observing human beings. To become a better artist, I could definitely use more figure drawing practice.

Resting, charcoal, 22 x 30"

Sunday, May 10, 2015


To learn how to draw in perspective, or foreshortening, to learn proportions, for looking at what is actually observed instead of preconceptions, for learning about composition, and how to use dark and light in an image, figure drawing really is incredibly helpful.

Here are some of my attempts at learning the basics of foreshortening in figure drawing class. The more extreme the perspective, the more interesting to draw!

foreshortening, charcoal sketch, 2014, 18 x 24"

foreshortening, charcoal sketch, 2014, 18 x 24"

foreshortening, charcoal sketch, 2014, 24 x 18"

foreshortening, charcoal sketch, 2014, 24 x 18"

Friday, May 8, 2015

In Defense of Mankind

Visiting the Met in New York last year, I was impressed with all the medieval armor. Or possibly rather obsessed.... I wanted to spend all my time there, admiring the workmanship and beauty of the various kinds of arms and armor. It really struck me how much talent and time and energy was devoted to war games. As far as I can tell, the main thing that has changed in contemporary times is not the intense devotion to this pursuit, but the drastic decrease in aesthetic concerns.

So this woodcut is my homage to the devotion of mankind to the pursuit of ever more effective tools of war. I am not sure where it will end, so I will end with a quite by Albert Einstein:

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

In Defense of Mankind, woodcut, 20 x 16" image size

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dripping Color

Spent most of the day cleaning my little studio so I can at least walk across it without risking injury. And I came across a large stack of old drawings. These two are from a figure drawing class about a year ago. We used charcoal and a couple of acrylic colors, one warm and one cool. To me, the pieces are somewhere between drawings and simple paintings.

charcoal and acrylics, 2014, 24 x 18"

charcoal and acrylics, 2014, 24 x 18"

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"