Thursday, July 12, 2018

Starting a New Print--"Shells"

I've been working on an idea for a new reductive block print. I love the ocean, and the native shells that wash up on the beaches. I want to use a limited palette of colors as well, so I worked up a composition that incorporates mussels, small clam shells, and a heart-shaped rock.

This is the drawing that I created on a sheet of tracing paper. I used the tracing paper for the pencil drawing, so that I could easily transfer the image onto the block by flipping it over, and rubbing the back with a spoon. The size of the drawing and the block is 6"x 18".

After transferring the image to the "soft-cut" block, I outlined the shells with a permanent marker. so that the drawing won't rub off during the printing process. The image on the block is reversed from the original drawing, so that it will look like the original after it is printed.

I plan on using the natural colors of the shells---brown, gray, blue, and cream. The paper is Rives Lightweight white (more like an off-white), and the ink is Akua intaglio. The ink works very well for relief printing, and can be cleaned with Dawn detergent and water. I've placed the block in its template, taped down the "pins" for registration, and taped the "tabs" onto each sheet of the printing paper. There will be 12 prints made from the block using this technique.

Stay tuned for further progress.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Summer Vacation

I've been finding some fun things to do now that school is out for the summer. A quick trip to Maine, and a day on the beach with a friend, inspired me to paint on some flat rocks that I collected there.

Here's the beach, and a massive piece of driftwood, bigger than myself.

Mermaids have been one of my themes this year, so I tried to fit my drawings onto the shapes of the rocks.

When I'm done, I'll put a coat of varnish on them.

After a recent rainstorm, I took some pictures of my back yard. The colors of the clearing sky and the misty atmosphere made everything look very lush.

I've been having too much fun to work on a new block print, but hopefully in my next post I'll have something new to show.

Monday, June 18, 2018


The school year is ending, and I'm looking forward to summer break! We've been having such lovely weather the last couple weeks, and I'm ready to get out there and enjoy it!  Wiley seems to like it too.

It's nice to see flowers blooming in the yard, and house wrens in the birdhouse. The parent wrens are swooping in and out of the birdhouse, and you can hear the little nestlings chirping to be fed.

The irises have been adding a pop of color here and there, and the day lilies are starting to open.

My daughter took a picture of the sunset from one of the tall buildings in Manchester, and if you look very closely, the new moon is just coming out. The sky and the horizon make for a stunning contrast of complementary colors (the art teacher in me).

I've been very lax about posting on this blog, so hope to get back into it now that school is almost out. I'll be working on some new block prints, and will share my progress. Bye for now!

Monday, May 21, 2018


It took a while for Spring to arrive, but it's finally here, and we are enjoying all the gorgeous blooming trees and shrubs. New Hampshire's state flower is the Purple Lilac, and they come in all variations of purples. I took this picture while walking around town the other day.

Everything seems to be blooming at once, and our ornamental Cherry tree had a bounty of flowers on it this year.

Also the Azaleas

Last weekend, my group of fellow printmakers hung work at the Massabesic Audubon Center. We did another event two weeks ago in Brookline NH, which got us excited about showing our work. The new show will be up until June 23. It's a great place to visit for hiking and birdwatching---they even have a live video cam of the peregrine falcon nest in Manchester. While I was there, we saw one of the parents feeding the three babies. The parent had brought what looked like a small bird back to the nest, and ripped it apart, then stuffed bits down the eager babies' gullets. A little gruesome, but fascinating to watch.

My pieces in the show.

Tried to get this little sketch done in time for last week's Illustration Friday post "hairy" but didn't make it, so will post it here. Looking forward to a day at the beach, but not on a windy day like this!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Mad River Print

I had been working on the "Mad River, Waterville Valley, NH" print for a few months, and I finally finished it. I'm happy with it now, but I wasn't feeling sure that it would come out the way I wanted. I started with some intense colors in the first layers, which I liked, but I had to make some color decisions in the middle that deviated from the actual tones in my reference photos. I got some feedback from others in my printmaking class, and I'm satisfied with the final color scheme.

Setting up for the final layer

                                                           Registering the paper
                                                                Leaving them to dry

This weekend the printmaking class is showing our work at a venue in Brookline NH!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April Showers

Yay it's April! Must be Spring! Too bad there's a chance of snow this week, and nothing above 50 degrees in the near future. Of course I shouldn't be surprised as this happens every year. We get excited about warmer weather, and then disappointed when the cold weather hangs on longer than anyone wants. Tomorrow is Opening Day at Fenway Park in Boston, and our beloved Red Sox will be playing on a windy, sunny day with temperatures in the 40's. Go Sox!!

I have been working on a different mermaid print. For this print, I painted a black background with acrylic paint, inked up the plate with Speedball ink, and printed it over the black base. I added a variety of colors using Prismacolor colored pencils over the ink.

It's considered a monotype as each print will be a little different. I like experimenting with different techniques and color schemes.

A simple little Easter card

My faithful companion who likes to hang out on my desk while I'm working on projects.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mermaid Print

I've been working on a Mermaid print for a while, and the final layer of ink has been printed. I did an edition of twelve full-color images, a few variations, and a black and white series, upon which I will be adding watercolor paints. Below is the finished full-color version.

Mermaid Dreams (6" x 14")

I also played around this past week with some monoprints. I had a week off from school for February Vacation, that allowed me to experiment with some different ideas and materials. 


The lighting is not the best but you can see the Gelli plate in the center, and a few variations, as well as some stencils that I cut out to make designs. I used Golden Open brand acrylic paints as they are made to be slow drying, and usable for monoprinting.

Here is one variation created with the Golden Open paints. I'm not entirely pleased with any of these prints, but they are fun to work with. This experiment led me to try making individual printing strips that I carved to look like birch trees. Below are the tree trunks made from soft-cut blocks. They are easily cut apart with an X-acto knife. I used black Akua ink for this print.

                   I used a light weight rice paper and a wooden spoon to print my design.
3 Birches (7" x 12")

I like the graphic look of the print, but I plan on doing more experimenting with the image.

It is March, and the yard is almost free of snow. The blue jays, cardinals, titmice, gold finches, sparrows, crows, nuthatches, and woodpeckers are enjoying the seeds we have been putting out all winter. Of course the squirrels are finding their fair share. The days are lighter longer, but it is still technically winter, and there will probably be a few more snowstorms before it gives up!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Illustration Friday "Olympics"

New topic for IF --Olympics

Here's a peak below of the mermaid print that I'm working on!

Hand printing with Akua inks and Easy Cut block

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Illustration Friday "mythology"

Just a quick sketch for Illustration Friday. This week's word prompt is "mythology". Norse mythology came to mind, so I tried out this concept of kids in a play.

I'm home early today because of a snowstorm. We got to leave at noon, as the forecast calls for 6-10 inches overnight. There have been a lot of storms this winter so far---looking forward to Spring already!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Mermaid Print

I just started working on a new reduction block print. The topic is a little different from my usual subjects, which are often landscapes and birds. I like drawing mermaids, but I haven't tried a multi-colored print before. Here are the beginning steps of the process.

 First move the cat out of the way

 Tracing paper pattern is placed on the block and rubbed with a spoon

 The light image on the block needs to be outlined with a Sharpie marker

The block is ready for carving and printing.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Illustration Friday "The letter A"

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "The Letter A". I haven't been posting on IF consistently, but it is the NEW YEAR, so I'll try to get back on track.

                                                     A is for Avocado

The Eastern USA has been going through a long, terrible frigid weather spell. The temperature has been in the teens with below zero wind chill. Today it was 4 degrees F when I got up to go to my Saturday morning yoga class. Surprisingly, the class was packed! I imagine everyone is getting cabin fever, and can't stand being inside for one more day. On Thursday, there was a nor'easter that dropped a foot of new snow in most of New England. Lots of flooding on the coast, and anything that wasn't cleared away in now encased in frozen ice and snow. We are pretty tough here, but I'm looking forward to the milder weather forecasted for later next week. Weather in the 30s and 40s sounds pretty balmy at this point!

We love to feed and watch the birds that come to our yard. A partial list of birds include, blue jays, chickadees, juncos, cardinals, gold finches, white-throated sparrows, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, red bellied woodpeckers, downy and hairy woodpeckers, mockingbirds, crows, Carolina wrens, and mourning doves. Of course the squirrels are in the mix too.

This is a red-bellied woodpecker. You would think it would be called a red-headed woodpecker, but that name was already taken, and this guy has a bit of light red on the lower belly.

Hope everyone is staying warm and cozy!