Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Snowy Day and a bowl of potatoes

A snow day for our daughter yesterday meant the studio was closed for usual business. An artsy opportunity to spend some time with Lucy lead to making potato prints with her. I'll post our communal results later next month!

I've been researching sandhill cranes a bit lately, and love their gangly forms. Here's a couple of poses in flight, rendered in potato- a delightful medium!

There is some technique to this. I use a combination of paring knife and x-acto blades to whittle the potato (a great big Baker used here!) I carved around an initial sketch, excavating around the outline. Best to use real printer's ink and brayers to smooth the ink onto the surface. Also find your smoothest toothed watercolor paper for the actual print-making. The potato's starchy make-up creates interesting surface textures. One potato, two potatoes, three cranes, four...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Illustration, Scrambled

Next comes the tweaking of the content, making small changes to reflect details...I work in tissue paper and old-school pencil and literally cut and paste changes at these early sketch stages.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Illustration, over easy

Today I'm working on a little pro-bono piece to help mark a 20th anniversary for a local non-profit, the Agape Cafe. The Agape Cafe serves a free breakfast every Wednesday morning to those who come hungry to the Old Brick Episcopal Chaplaincy in Iowa City. The meal is served restaurant style, where you can order from a menu of breakfast favorites. Eggs are cooked in as many ways as can be imagined ("Endless eggs...", as one patron dreamily described them). Buttery toast, steaming oatmeal, home fries, crispy bacon, and sausage are all classic staples.

My illustration will ring the top of a bistro style mug. Here's a few pencil sketches so far. I was inspired to tell the story of a typical morning in vignettes; cooks in the kitchen, linens being spread on the tables, bustling waiters with plates of pancakes, patrons anticipating the delicious meal served with dignity and a caring smile. It all adds up to a special place that gives many a pretty good start to the day.

To learn more about the Agape Cafe, please go to:é-breakfast-and-all-you-want-it-served-heaping-helping-dignity

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Quote on a Bright January Day

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.   Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

What goes up, must come down

Christmas tree and holiday trim all came down yesterday. Always a harder, thankless process!

I'm still finding colored pencil work uplifting right now. Any type of free-hand sketching "greases the skids" for further creative work.  This is of a dear little wooden shoe with candy cane nest and white pine sprig. I loved studying the way the wood carver shaved the wood. Simple and loving.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The guests have all gone home and Christmas 2012 a pleasant, glittering memory. My colored pencil tin literally called to me today. I rooted myself to the dining table and reconnected life with art again. Not the most sophisticated composition, nor the most accurate circumferences, but I was very happy sketching away, restoring my relationship with shape and color.

What else will come forth this year? I hope it is all as honest as this amaryllis.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Have a sweet, bright, creative one!

 The Chagall windows at the Chicago Art Institute

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