Let’s start with my fine art. Two of my collagraphs are now on exhibit at The Walsingham Gallery, an award-winning art gallery in Newburyport, MA! I am so honored to be listed as one of their “Emerging Artists!” I had the artwork framed by a wonderful local framer, whose wife happens to be a fantastic artist as well. I highly recommend Connor Summers Gallery! Here are some photos of the work while I was choosing frames and then when they were finished and in plastic wrap.
I realize I haven’t done any kind of update on my award-winning children’s picture book! I will just share some of the highlights, but encourage you to check out the press & reviews page of the book’s site for all of the updates. To start, here is the books synopsis:
The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is written in haiku and illustrated in watercolors. You are invited to come adventuring with Piratess Tilly, her rescued best friend, a koala named Yuki, and her band of international orphaned brothers. As budding naturalists, they are all too eager for their expedition to the Galápagos Islands! While documenting flora and fauna, they spot baby giant tortoises being kidnapped . . . by pirates! How do Tilly, Yuki and the brothers save the tortoises?
Just last week we received our first children’s picture book award! We won a gold medal for the Moonbeam Spirit Award in Exploration, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award! This is such an honor and we are so excited.
I am also pleased to share that after a successful donation of books, Piratess Tilly is now available for purchase through the Galápagos Conservancy, where all of the proceeds go to their many conservation programs!
And for the finale of this whirlwind update~ I have finished writing the second book and Karen Watson is beginning the artwork. This second story takes place on Easter Island and is due out in the summer of 2016!
This August I went through a bit of a rut. I felt my writing had become blocked and a specific writing project had me feeling disappointed and upset (more on that soon!). Much has progressed since then!
I am incredibly excited to share photos of my fine art prints, framed and on exhibit at a fabulous boutique, Lynn Stoller Collection, in Westhampton Beach, NY (the Hamptons).
I will never forget when I pulled these two separate collagraphs off of the press. I showed a printmaking instructor, who was there managing the studio, and her response was, “what a world you are creating.” I loved that idea! It has stayed with me ever since. She was right too.
A portion of my mile and half walk to Parsons School of Design (part of my alma mater, The New School in New York City) in Union Square was through Madison Square Park. I loved winding through this park, early Saturday mornings, schlepping my printmaking supplies, while listening to my music. Quite often I would cross paths with a very furry white dog. At first, I didn’t make much of it, as there is a little dog run in this park. But as I kept seeing this white dog and other similar white beasts, I found myself recalling a dream I had as a child:
A white wolf seemingly beckoned to me. It was not in a friendly, warm way. I remember clearly his fangs. Yet, I knew not to be fearful. He paced in front of our white garage, waiting for me to exit our house and follow him. I will never forget the white wolf.
And thus, I became inspired to create a wolf-like collagraph. It would be my second attempt at an organic, uniquely shaped collagraph plate (therefore not just a 9″x12″ rectangle, for instance) The first unusual collagraph plate was my cut out tree (see below. More on that another time!).
I felt incredibly excited to work on my idea. One night, shorty after falling asleep, I lightly stirred, partially awaking with the vision of adding a wing to the wolf. I rolled over, embracing the winged wolf and eventually fell back to seep. I set out as soon as I could to begin creating these collagraph plates.
As seen in these two photos, my first impression of “Fox in Flight” went fine enough. He was actually a bit difficult to ink. I used various sized wood blocks, wrapped with masking tape (sticky side up) to help keep him in place as I both inked and wiped him. Unlike inking and wiping a “heavy” zinc or copper plate, my collagraph plates are rather light therefore, without mounting them, I wouldn’t have been able to prepare them for the press. The process itself of inking and wiping the plate always felt invigorating and very personal. I often felt as though I was truly bonding with the plate, learning how much ink to smooth on and which areas would need extra attention while wiping the ink. It was quite meditative and I always appreciated my instructor playing Classical music in the background.
I was happy with the initial impression, but felt he needed some reworking. I trekked home with the fresh impression and my plates, to tackle adding more textures to my wolf inspired beast.
I realize this piece was based on my calling from a white wolf, yet I’d named it “Fox in Flight.” Well, he just ended up looking more like a fox. Looking back, maybe it was disrespectful of me, but I now feel it only gives me the opportunity to make more wolf inspired art. Because I do very much still feel a need to do just that.
This collagraph seemed befitting for Valentine’s Day! It’s based on my beloved Abyssinian cat, Fuzzbie.
I particularly love her profile, which inspired me to create a collagraph. After weeding through the 100 or so photos of her, I finally chose one (see below).
I emailed it to a local Staples Copy & Print Shop to be printed quite large. I taped tracing paper over it to transfer her image to the black matboard I used as the base for my collagraph plate. I proceeded to very carefully cut the image out using both a box cutter and scissors. Once her profile emerged, I cut out a heart!
From this point forward, I delved into my assortment of textured decorative papers and scraps to strategically and thoughtfully paste them all over Fuzzbie’s cut out image. Once I felt pleased, I moved onto the “tiny” heart.
When they were finished, I painted them with a layer of Gesso to protect the paper and matboard. This was always a trial as I had to lay paper towels all over our tiny kitchen counter (we lived in New York City at that time!). I was also always a bit impatient with this step, mainly because I was excited to print and because it was late at night!
Early the next morning, I’d take the dried plates to the rooftop to spray them with Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating, the last step in protecting them. Leaving them upstairs to dry, gave me the perfect amount of time to have breakfast and prepare for the day. Then, I’d gather the plates and supplies to walk the mile and a half to Parsons School of Design for my studio time.
Initially I arranged the plates to coincide (therefore the heart plate was cut smaller than the opening), but unfortunately I misplaced the heart at the studio… I have only one impression of Fuzzbie with her heart (see below).
Both versions, with and without the heart, have qualities I like. I may in fact prefer “her” with the stark negative space in place of her heart. I feel it makes the heart stand out that much more! Which do you prefer?
When I someday have access to a printmaking press, I’d like to print just the body of my fox-wolf-dog collagraph (see above) in white ink on dark paper (I have yet to do that). I’d next print my set of wing collagraphs (as used in my bat-owl-cat collagraph, see below) in a vibrant color on white paper.
I then envision pinning the wings above my fox-wolf-dog in such a way the wings can be physically moved – to truly give this pseudomythical creature flight.
I am justnow deciding to relax about the progress of this project and space ~ this presentation of my art and artistic projects. Nothing need be “written in stone” (and how can it truly be in this digital era?!) This website and blog will undoubtedly morph and transform alongside my art, interests and creative endeavors. As I write, I am just now deciding to applaud that idea and allow it to untangle my perfectionism tendencies. This is in fact quite liberating and beautiful. With these nerves now being soothed, I present “Labyrinth,” a collagraph I created and printed in 2011.
In a quiet, calm, internally serene and focused moment, I sometimes feel a tug from the recesses of my mind and a whispering from deep within. Images of pseudomythical creatures peer out, raising their heads and presenting to me their would be figures. I reminisce about Native American Totem Poles from my upbringing in Seattle. Memories from childhood of their grand, carved figures pull me towards my collection of textured decorative papers. Various animals from my nightly dreams and daily life call to me to create my own pseudomythical creatures – to birth another being for their world.