October 5, 2021
Working in my studio, preparing for the Studio ARTour this weekend. I’m enjoying playing around with indigo leaves, dyes, and a paste I made that can be used as watercolor or printmaking ink. It’s a gorgeous deep blue. The piece of silk cloth was used to strain the pigment sediment, and I love how it looks. Sometimes the by-products are as beautiful as the products. In the background is a lithograph of me, made by my college printmaking teacher, John Rock, at Oregon State University in 1973. It’s a treasure.
June 1, 2021
Spending two weeks in a quarantine hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. That’s what’s required to visit my son, his wife, and my grandkids. It’s been a long year and this is a long time to be alone in a hotel room half way around the world, yet only a ten minute walk from their apartment. To pass the time the first week, I invoked my mantra:
Art Saves Lives
Having spontaneously grabbed some paper and fabric, thread, a few beads, and a stash of tea as I packed for this trip, it occurred to me once here that I could try dying with turmeric tea. That led to trying hibiscus flowers, chamomile flowers, and butterfly pea flowers which were a discovery of great delight to me on my first visit to Thailand in 2017.
Here is the result. These I submitted today to a juried exhibit at a Portland, OR gallery, along with “Indigo & Coffee Surfacing Maybe” below.
I also used coffee to dye some tea bag paper and art paper to create a couple more pieces. The indigo piece I made at home with cold water bath indigo powder dye, and set it against a coffee dyed background here.
This has been great fun, and nothing I set out to do. It just happened. Week two will bring something else. Maybe art, maybe not.
I’m a printmaker by training and love to draw. But I also love to mess around, to go to my studio and make stuff using whatever inspiration, materials, or explorations are appealing to my imagination and moment. Since last year I’ve gotten intrigued with growing indigo and using the fresh or powdered leaves to dye fabric and paper. Here are a few recent examples.
A friend, Eva MacLowry, and I have been making ‘art cards’ for over a decade. These are small 5 X 4 inch cards with designs made from paper I’ve hand painted, and attached with thread and small beads. Here are a few examples, although each card is unique and no two are ever alike.
Here are a few examples of my other work. The first two, “Transcription” and “She Flies Free” were done as part of the “We Are Water” exhibits in Northfield, MN this summer. “WAW” was a statewide event during the entire year of 2019 offering education, art, performance, and interactive activities to help people connect with the important role of water in our live.
There’s lots of corn here in southeastern Minnesota, corn and soybean fields as far as the eye can see. I missed the visual variety of Oregon so much during my first year that I decided I had to make peace with the corn, and did several drawings of a stock laid out on my drawing table.
The following images are based on some gorgeous flower mandalas I saw in Phuket, Thailand at a resort which were made fresh each day in huge clay pots filled with water.
One of my favorite pieces, created on a plate that had previously been marked with acid which I worked with to develop an image. It was a fun and challenging task to not begin with a “clean slate” is it were, and to pull out an image.
Another of my favorites done long ago. I remember sitting on the front steps of the Art Department at Oregon State University on a beautiful spring day and carving this partly from the visual of a nearby cherry tree, partly with my imagination leading.
My dad and I stayed here for a couple nights when I was a teenager. A magical place on Lake Superior with no electricity, and plenty of outdoor adventure.