Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Happy New Beginning to All

The Upside Down House: Quilted and Appliqued

I wanted to share this gift I received, handmade by my sister--a quilted and appliqued version of the Upside Down House! (grafikmuse logo) :) Isn't she clever...

Winding down 2008

.. we are winding down from holiday merrymaking. The holidays feel like a long train, long coming, pulling into the station of home, then away...waving, waving....another train is coming ... 2009

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday

We are busy getting ready for a birthday party for the twins,
Gabrielle and Jenna, now turning of my favorite pictures of them:)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Linocuts in Illustrator

Here is the holiday card image, 2-color, (Old White Pine) after playing around with it in Illustrator...
Next I want to try the same design but with a #1 or #2 speedball linocut tip for a finer line. This was done with a #3. I still like the original image...even tho it is not in these colors, for its simplicity. Great snow today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sveta's "Sunny" Cat: Gouache

I just acquired Sveta's "Sunny" cat gouache painting! I love it! To read more about Sveta see my earlier post here.
I love how the cat's face is so on it to see it bigger.

Linocuts in Progress

Printing of holiday white pine cards continues.There are 2 designs. I think I like them. They are really simple. There is something to be said for using wood instead of linoleum or rubber... The block does not fall apart! I got an edition of 25 of one design before a piece of the design came off on the brayer. No delicate designs allowed with this stuff. This gives all new meaning to "limited edition".
I may try scanning it and doing something with it in Illustrator....hmmm

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Linocut: White Pine

Working on my holiday card--linocut with some variations of white pine. (The big one I walk under all the time on my walks). Would be better as a woodcut but don't have wood at the moment. I was really inspired by looking at Ukranian artist, Jacques Hnizdovsky's woodcuts and etchings. An amazing artist....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

IF: Rambunctious

Have you ever reeled in a rambunctious salmon?
(Repost of a watercolor from the sketchbook for IF)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

(n)ice day

After the little birds' morning feeding frenzy, squirrels descended.
Squirrels, trees, branches and birds are figuring into my sketches. Looking at all this biology makes me think of Charley Harper. A copy of his Golden Book of Biology from 1961 is for sale on Ebay for over $300. He died in 2007. I just bought some of his chidren's books for presents here
There is a great interview and illustrator tutorial with Eleanor Grosch (a Charley Harper fan) over at Grain Edit, Print Magazine chose her as one of their picks for New Visual Artists of 2008. Her shop is here . GrainEdit is one of my new favorite RSS feeds. Reindeer garden sculpture by Julie Dermansky

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mav's Letterpress

Today I received Mav's exquisite letterpress 2009 calendar. It is very simple in its design. Her online shop will be closing on December 17. You can read more about Mav and her interests and other projects here. She works out of her small studio in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Catalogs

Most of the catalogs we receive these days go in the recycle bin. I held onto the Patagonia catalog though because I thought the cover image and design was so striking. I was making stamps later in the day and couldn't resist adding a bit of color and well...sentiment.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Speaking of Birds and Blogs

Just recieved The Illustrator in America 1860-2000. This colossal will be great winter reading in preparation for Hartford.

Also...I was checking out the Woodson Museum's ( of "Birds in Art" fame) website and came across this great exhibition of illustrated letters by artists. Also, in a brilliant stroke of museum PR genius ( or most likely the AAM) the staff, (curators, exhibition designers, and educators) have started a new blog ( like the Lab of O) to let folks know and understand all the behind the scenes stuff that goes on in museums. Imagine that...I love the idea and think blogs should be mandatory for ALL museums or at least included in the accreditation guidelines:) I think it is probably a national trend now and I hope it continues. Having worked in a museum for 10 years, I think this kind of PR can go a long way to improving communication between the institution and the general public. And I think this particular blog is a good model. So there's my rant (of sorts)....

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum (Wausau, Wisconsin)

More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art
Saturday, Nov 15, 2008 to Jan 18, 2009
A handwritten letter is a welcome surprise in this hurried electronic era. An illustrated letter, filled with masterful drawings, comical cartoons, or whimsical doodles, is even more remarkable, expressing the writer/artist’s undeniable sense of creativity, intimacy, and purpose. In 60 examples of epistolary art, More Than Words offers art lovers an unprecedented window into the passions, heartbreaks, business affairs, and travels of some of the most revered artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Alexander Calder, Thomas Eakins, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, and many others.

Click on the link below to view one from this exhibition. There are more on the museum's site.
Paul Bransom

Monday, December 8, 2008

Drawing at Lab of O

A fun day... Here are photos from the Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY and some of the Fingerlake Chapter's members of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI), drawing. During lunch we watched a beautiful (live) red-tailed hawk sitting atop the tallest (dead) tree through an elegant Zeiss optical angled spotting scope (staff member told me they go for around $1500!) The telescopes are stationed strategically in the lobby by the pond, the feeders and other places around the Lab of O. I also stopped in at WildBirds Unlimited (gift shop) and got some Christmas Seed Blend for my backyard visitors.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Birds: Real and Imagined

Tomorrow is another day of drawing at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you like birds or are even just curious about what the Lab does, visit their site or new blog called Round Robin here.
There are great photos and stories about birds and the hysterical birders who follow them around.(I think I qualify).
These are some stories the one about the hawk in Southwest Texas that landed on a live wire, burst into flames and landed in a vineyard setting the grapes on fire. And it's more common than you think. Thousands of hawks die each year this way. It gets better... a new wine label called "Burning Hawk" is then born ( I like the label...looks a lot like like the Smoking Loon really) and ten percent of total sales before Thanksgiving went directly to raptor-protection causes.
The room where we will be drawing is really cool. I'll take more photos this time to share with you. Also, you may want to visit their new online Holiday store here for the birdlover in your life.

Cedar Waxwing, Watercolor/Sketchbook
Wooden bird from my collection is by Murray Eisnor of Nova Scotia. He is represented by Lyle Elder and you can see more Folk and Outsider artists here

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Print Gocco

Done with my print gocco silkscreening machine. It is amazing how much detail you can get.
I am still experimenting with 2 and more colors. It's fun, small scale silkscreening without all the mess of traditional silkscreening. I got mine here. A video called "the Printing of Sia's Village" for you too:) It shows part of the process. There are many other videos about print gocco on YouTube, so if you are interested, go there.

UPDATE: Here is a better link to purchase but I think they are sold out of the PG-5. It is still a good resource for supplies

IF: Similar

Botanical Illustration/Watercolor: Tulipa, Ice Follies (Triumph Tulip)

These tulips look similar, but no two Ice Follies tulips are exactly alike. These painted last spring. I love watching them bloom outside my front door. Unfortunately the deer do too:(

"The first tulips were brought to Europe from Turkey in the mid-1500s. In the early 1600s, however, they were still rare - mostly found in university botanical gardens. It was at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, where some locals, desperate to get their hands on the rare flowers, climbed the wall of the botanical garden, stole some tulip bulbs and began cultivating them for sale. Thus began the wild ride that became Tulipmania. The tulips that "drove men mad" were multicolored flowers with distinctive mottled streaks, and no two were alike. During Tulipmania, these bulbs were traded as futures, sold sometimes hundreds of times over a single winter, while the bulbs were still in the ground. Traders earned as much as $60,000 a month in today's money."

from Capper's On the Garden Path:

Friday, December 5, 2008

cat compositions

A few cat moments. I like that once in awhile I can catch Jack and Bella in the act of being elegant.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Watercolor: Less is more

A fictional landscape done very quickly with just a few washes. Sometimes, with watercolor, I think less is more. I love the late watercolor landscapes of Cezanne. Your eye just fills in the blank spaces and completes the picture. There is a Cezanne exhibit coming to the Philadelphia Museum of Art next February. What a nice gift that would be! Tickets are on sale now for what has been described as a "once in a generation opportunity".

Just received an update from Helen Hiebert about her new film. I watched the trailer (link below)and it is wonderful (if you like papermaking, that is:) Even if you don't, it's pretty cool.

Hello Friends,

I’m pleased to announce that my film, Water Paper Time, is now available
on-line through You can watch a trailer and purchase a DVD at:

Please note that there are two versions: for home use and for educational
use. The only difference at this point is the price. In the near future,
you will also be able to download the film instead of acquiring a DVD (if
you are interested in this, inquire at Filmbaby - it is in their hands now).

Have a lovely, peaceful, and joyful holiday season!

Helen Hiebert

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dark-eyed junco

There were dark-eyed juncos on the ground around the feeder today, looking for scraps from the chickadees, and others. They are really a dark bluish grey and they look so stark against the snowy ground. Snow is coming. This done in Illustrator