Monday, February 28, 2011

Mt. Hood

this is an amazing Christmas cactus that will NOT quit blooming!

It's been a snowy weekend.  Starting with last Thursday and Friday when it dumped 6inches in Olympia and canceled work and schools all around town.  So I got a chance to stay home and help my husband rearrange his plants in my studio.  (We constantly butt heads about the plants in the studio, if he had his way it would be a green house not a studio, haha, I might be exaggerating)
Snow in our back yard (and a deep fryer for those random turkeys and chickens)
studio plants
On Friday we headed to Portland to escape the snow for a day and visit friends.  On Saturday our friends and us piled into a car and went to find more snow in the Hood River/White Salmon Gorge area.  We stayed at the Inn at White Salmon and went on an exciting snowshoe adventure with dangerous Dave up on Mt. Hood.  It was my first snowshoeing experience and was such a pleasure to have an enjoyable guide.  That and the old school bus converted with giant 4x wheels was a feeling of safety traveling snow and ice packed roads.

One of the friends who came with us is a photographer and took some great shots of the frozen water falls and fresh powder.  When I get some of those pics I’ll have to post. 
No art to report for this last weekend, just some recreational fun with my husband and our good friends.

There is a little cafe/coffee shop called Ground where we ate breakfast in White Salmon.  This was hanging from the ceiling and I fell in love with it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dandelion Block

I have three different blocks/plates in process right now. 

The dandelion I stared last night as a quick whim.  I love the start I got on it and I’ll finish it up tonight.

I had my brother make me a couple of bench hooks way back when.  They are the most useful tool when it comes to carving.

I was also able to get my drawing transferred to the big block.  This is the same drawing that I kept on doing re-draws on; the same drawing that got me thinking about how I think about art.

I probably should not have come to my day job today.  The snow is piling up without looking like it’s gonna stop, and I have a little two wheel drive.  I should have stayed home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Art as Business

I have recently come to a decision.  I have decided to pursue my art as a business.  I don’t think I consciously made this decision.  I made choices towards this decision but never said it out loud let alone thought too long on it. 

In my life whenever the idea of pursuing my art more professionally came up all I could hear was my mother’s voice of negativity.  Words like stability, income, resources, time, and reality would pop in my head.  And then I would promptly dismiss the idea of my art as a business with excuses such as; not enough time, too many other hobbies, not good enough, or not enough space or resources.  I have recently begun to ignore these voices in my head.  Since doing this I have found myself effortlessly embracing the idea of my art as a business. 

Subconsciously I have begun to view my art activities in a new light.  I’ve been spending more time and energy in the studio without feeling guilty of abandoning my other hobbies or neglecting my relationships.    If anything I feel justified at spending extra time in the studio; for the future of my husband and me, and whatever family we may have in the future.  I have somehow rearranged my priorities without even realizing it.

It was just yesterday, as I was re-doing, yet again, a drawing I have for a block I want to carve, that this subject dawned on me.  Usually I would be satisfied with the first drawing and wing it through the carving process, but I found myself wanting to map out every single detail of the drawing so I could carve a perfect block the first time round.  I realized my work ethic was being redirected to my art.  It was then that all this effort I’ve been putting into art revealed its true purpose to me.  I have stopped thinking about art as just a hobby. 

Everything I do in the studio feels like it has more purpose.  My sketching feels like research and practice.  My redrawing doesn’t feel like I’m wasting time.  My experiments make me feel better about processes I’m pursuing.  It all feels like work, but work I’m really happy to do.  It also makes me feel angry about all the time wasted in not pursuing art as a business.

I have always been a diligent worker; ask anyone who has worked beside me.  But now I get to be a diligent worker in my preferred field, art.  I still work my day job, which makes me work even harder and longer hours in the studio.  The more practice I get with drawing, sketching, craft nights, artist field trips, experimental techniques, blogging, markets, teaching, pricing, printing, editing, ect.; the closer I am to my art as a business.  The closer I am to being the person I use to day dream I would be.

This is the re-drawing I was working on when this train of thought struck me like freight.
I spent the rest of the evening thinking about all the choices I have made lately and how they reflect in
this decision I have subconsciously made.
Even at the end of the night I sat down to do a quick sketch and it reflected this choice and the path ahead.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Craft Night Success!

Felting Craft Night was this last Saturday.  Check out my Craft Night Page for great pictures and perhaps an idea for your next craft night.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Easel Clocks

Years ago someone gave me a small kid’s acrylic set for Christmas.  It came with a tiny easel, a couple tiny canvases, and small tubes of kid grade acrylic paint.  There were a few brushes included and a little tote bag.  Needles to say this little kit sat around my studio collecting dust.  I thought about giving it to one of my nieces but never got to it.  When I started making clocks I began using all sorts of materials that I had been collecting, including this random kit.
This clock is sitting in a box somewhere

I never sold the full size clock pictured above.  Everyone thinks it’s cute, including me, but not cute enough to put on a wall.  It has become one of my seconds and I might try to get rid of it at the artist garage sale this year.

The cheep brushes that came with the little kit were what I used on the first Artist Pallet Clock.  It was a great stumble upon move and now I collect all the cheep brushes I find just for these clocks.
One of my favorite designs

Then I decided to make a clock out of the mini easel.  What I created, I fell in love with.  And so did many others, but I’ve only had the one prototype that I put up at shows for advertising.  I have recently come across more easels and am now in the process of creating these cute desktop clocks.  I am excited about this new line and have some treasure ideas for designs. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I’m in the middle of several projects right now.  I've got new lighting for the studio that has not been hung.  I have an internet cord that has to be run under the house.  I have a block print that needs one more color.  I have all the material I need to build a registration box.  I have a dry point plate that I’m almost done with but sits idle on my bench.  As always I have about a dozen clocks in various stages of completion.  And I have a craft night this weekend to prepare for.

On top of all this I have been preparing the studio for a new piece of equipment.  I have invested in a die cutter for various applications I will be playing with in the future.  I’m very excited about it and the machine arrived two days ago.  I spent Tuesday night getting my computer up to date with software and connecting it to the machine.  All to no avail!  The machine was DOA!  Dead On Arrival!!
The dead piece of machinery and my late night dinner.

As frustrating as this all is I have to give a big Kudos to the customer support.  His name is Chad and he has been helpful from the first time I called as a potential customer with tons of questions.
I had to get up at 5am yesterday to get him on the phone since he is located in Florida.  The kicker is, when I got up in the morning and turned the machine on, IT WORKED!  But I called anyways because I wanted to know why it wasn’t working the night before.

I talked to Chad for quite awhile yesterday morning about other technical questions I had and about blades.  He had told me that if the machine acted up again AT ALL to call him right away and he would send me a brand new one, even though I had purchased a refurbished machine.  And guess what, it acted up while I was on the phone with him!

So I have it all packed up and it sits waiting for the FedEx carrier to pick it up.  My plans are not foiled, just delayed for a week.  At least I have the software now so I can get a jump start on the learning curve.   

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kayaking Puppy

Feb 15th 2011
Last night while I cooked a five star dinner, my husband cleaned the bathroom.  After dinner I took a hot bath in a clean tub.  I can’t remember the last time I took a bath.  I think I tried once at the apartment I lived in but it was very uncomfortable in a tub with a slider door.  Prior to that, I must have been a kid.
It was so nice to have a soak.  I was even waited upon, my favorite drink brought right to me J
Towards the end of my soak Sailor pup couldn’t take it anymore and decided he was joining me.  I didn’t stop him because ultimately we need a water dog if he is going kayaking with us.  Of course we will get him a life jacket, especially around here when we kayak in the Puget Sound.  
We had started to train our last puppy to kayak with us.  He was doing really well but then fate stepped in and his distemper surfaced.  We got some great pics to remember him by, his name was Wicket.

It’s good that our current puppy Sailor Jerry is becoming fond of the water.  Except that after he’s done he is the most frantic and hyper dog trying to dry himself off.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Art Walk Story and Line-Up

Arts Walk is getting closer and I thought I'd share the origin of my Art Walk tradition.

For a day job I work in an Asphalt Rotomill Construction office.  We are a subcontractor who grinds up asphalt for road repair, maintenance and new construction. 
In the winter time it tends to be slow, this affords me time to do projects around the office and research.  One year I even learned how to use Dreamweaver and built the company’s web site.

I work directly with the owners.  They are supper nice fellows who love water sports just like me.  They work hard and play harder, I call them ‘The Boys’.  They are brothers a few years apart.  They bought the road grinding company from their parents many years ago and it has always been a small office.

The Boys also own a couple of building in the downtown area of Olympia.  There is one storefront in one of the buildings that has been vacant for many years.  I list the for rent properties on Craigslist and on the websites, but for the most part it has stayed vacant.
A large, much appreciated work bonus is the use of this storefront for Olympia’s Art Walk twice a year. 

The use of this space has turned me into a gallery curator of sorts.  At first I was just doing two dimensional art works and keeping the other artist involved mostly fine art also.  Since I have branched out into functional artwork and crafts I have began to reach out to more artists of the same.

This spring I have a great line up.  ************

It starts with my good friend Niki Bilodeau who is doing some beautiful etched glass.  She does Pyrex bowls, pint glasses and beautiful artful bottles.  She made personalized toasting glasses for Bryan and me at our wedding.  Much love Niki.

Rashel Inderbitzen will be showing with us also.  She will be featuring decoupage and embellished boxes of all sizes and use.  Her boxes are all upcycled and vary from recipe boxes, wine boxes, jewelry boxes, keepsake boxes and more.

Next up is Carrie Abbey-Franzen who will be featuring handmade beaded jewelry.  I bought a necklace form her back when we had botany together at South Puget Sound Community College.  I am very glad that we have reconnected and become friends since then!  Carrie will also have her beautiful nature photography at spring arts walk. 

Brenna Woslum will be showing with us also.  From what I understand Brenna spins her own wool, dyes her own wool and then knits it into some beautiful warm accessories.  I am involved in a craft exchange with Brenna and this excites me.

Hallie Torrey will be joining us for Spring Arts Walk also.  I have been admiring Hallie’s watercolors on her Etsy page for quite some time.  She has beautiful whimsical paintings.  I’ve even used some of her items in a Treasury.  When I found out I’d be doing Arts Walk again I contacted her with an invitation to join us.  I met with Hallie in person down at the Spar, because sometimes this whole “online relationship” just doesn’t cut the cheese.  I was thrilled to meet Hallie and I think it’s a beginning to great things. 

I met Kaisa Williams and her honey Jordan Blaylock in the same fashion.  I love their vintage items on Etsy and have also used them in a Treasury.   For Arts Walk I’m interested in their spectacular handmade book safes and the adorable jewelry.  I was happy to meet with them just this weekend over coffee down at Baddorf.  I have made a great choice inviting them to join us and look forward to working with them.  I do want to give them a giant public “THANK YOU” for their generous gift.  : )   it made my month!!

There is one more artist who is considering showing with us.  She is unsure if she will be able to commit and follow through.  I am doing everything in my power to persuade her without being the pushy pesky person that I’m so good at being sometimes.    

I think we have a GREAT line-up.  We could use one more visual artist, or acoustic performer, or perhaps a craft station.   These are all ideas to consider.  Hmmmm…

Big News with a Little Trouble

I’m getting a Klik-n-kut Maxx!!  I’m pretty excited.  It’s suppose to get here on Tuesday.  I spent the weekend trying to get an old mac up to date to run this contraption.

I learned a lot this weekend playing with that mac, but what it really boils down to is you can’t run any parallel type program on a mac that doesn’t have an Intel processor.  Arghhhh!

So I’m on the search for a new computer.  In the mean time I will steal my husband’s PC he uses for gaming and put it in the studio.  We will see how well this goes over. 

Aside from playing with computers, I have been doing a little hand coloring of prints.  I think I like the hand colored edition better than the reduction edition.  I still plan on printing one more color in the edition, just have not gotten to it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clock Experiments

For the last week or so I have not been making any clocks. 

Instead I’ve been printing and organizing.  The organizing is almost done but I still have printing to do.  I hope to print one more color on the linoleum block this weekend.  I also hope to do some hand coloring with that block.  The dry point I’m still carving.  I hope to print that next week.

What I have been doing for my clocks is experimenting.  My goal is to be able to screen-print onto the records, painted or not.  These are the pictures from my first experiment. 

I’d say it was successful but still needs some tweaking.  I'm a little out of practice with this kind of printing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Help Emilee Gossiaux

I have set up a donation with a worthy cause.  There is a girl whose story is sad but grand, and there are people working very hard to help her.  Read about her story here.

I have decided to help in my own small way.  Check out her Etsy shop page where a few of my works are for sale with all proceeds going to her support.

Dry Point from Sketch -A-Day

Spring is just around the corner and that means so is Arts Walk.  I have a bunch of clocks ready to show but I want to have a handful of prints also.  I have one block that I’ve almost completed.  I posted it previously but have since decided to print one more color.
Right now I am working on a dry point plate.  What I’m doing is etching on a piece of plexi glass.  I’m using a sharp metal tool to copy the image.  It is a process that builds muscle in the hands.  I will then rub ink on the plexi and into the scratched lines.  The more burrs my etching created, the more ink it will hold.  So I rub the ink into my lines with tarlatan, a cheese cloth like fabric but much more durable, and then I rub the ink off the plate.  I can rub selectively, choosing where I want ink to stay and where I want to clean it off to make my lines really pop. 
Plexi Glass secured to notebook
Sketch I'm working from

Using a sharp metal tool to scratch my image into the surface.
The more burrs my scratching creates the more ink it will hold.

Here you can see the beginning of my etching.
The drawing I came up with last night just sketching around in my notebook.  It is my sketch of the day today, and is turning into my print of the week.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done any dry point printing and I am looking forward to this.  
Below are a few examples.  These are pretty old, I hope to have vast improvement this time around.

This was a quickie I did when I was sitting around watching my brother play one day.
This is a 24x16"? dry point I did back in 2002?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Studio Reorganizing

I spent the weekend reorganizing the studio. My ultimate goal is to put another small desk in with a computer.  The computer will allow me in studio photo editing, and the ability to hook up to a die cutter.  I will eventually find a scanner to hook up also so I can scan my drawings in and produce stencils.  Oh what a time saver that will be. 

I’m still researching die cutters.  I definitely want a computerized one.  I’m too much of a computer geek and a control freak to depend on designs others have made.  I have it narrowed down, now I’m just considering size and prices.

In-between reorganizing I was able to do some good sketching and throw a Super Bowl get together.  We had some delicious foods!  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Melting Chocolate Cake

When my husband and I went on our Honey Moon, this was one of the deserts we splurged on.  Ohhhh goodness I think I'm gonna have to make my own after finding the article below.

Carnival cruises' warm chocolate melting cake 'secret' recipe revealed

  • July 22nd, 2009 11:41 pm ET

The World Famous Carnival Cruise Lines' Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (Photo courtesy of
Carnival Cruise Lines)
Those of you who have been on a Carnival cruise recently are probably very aware of how divine the chocolate melting cake is for dessert. For those who haven't been on a Carnival cruise, you can now enjoy this classic dessert in your very own home.
The chocolate melting cake used to be either a special order or only served on certain nights on the cruise. The dessert became so popular because of its richness and delicious taste that Carnival has now put it on the menu for dinner every night. Your Charlotte Cruise Ships Examiner has also been known to order two or three of these beauties after a nice dinner, and rightfully so. Once you taste it, you are instantly hooked.
The chocolate melting cake is also vegetarian friendly. As a vegetarian myself, I appreciate this because I can eat it without remorse. But vegans should beware: the melting cake does include eggs and butter. That being said, you can use egg substitute and butter substitute, however, from personal experience, it is not nearly as "good".
According to the new Carnival newsletter, The Funville Times, the recipe for the chocolate melting cake is as follows:
  • 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 7 eggs, divided use
  • 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of flour
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter and cool for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix four eggs with sugar. Whisk. Then add flour and whisk. Add the remaining three eggs and add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour this entire mixture into individual ramekins. Bake until just done, about 15-20 minutes (interior will be melting). Serve with vanilla ice cream.



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Olympia Arts Walk

Spring Arts Walk is closer than you think!

I'm beginning to recruit for Spring Arts Walk.  I've done this in the past and it always turns out to be such a blast. Here are a few pictures of past Art Walks.  If you are in the Olympia area and want to participate please contact me.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine Crafting Night

Last year I started to feel disconnected from the ladies in my life I call friends.  So I took it upon myself to make sure we got together every now and then.  I began to have a pedicure night once a month.  Now this will come as a surprise to those who know me well.  Before last year I had never had my toes or my fingers done up, but I discovered it was a fun activity to do with the girls. 

So I would make food, kick the guys out and have a night with the gals.

With Valentines coming up, I wanted to do something cheesy, fun and crafty.  So we had a Valentine craft night. 

I don't know why this wont load normal

The girls were amazed by my collection of papers and supplies.  I have been collecting craft and art supplies since I was a child.  And my four years working at a fine art store added depth to my collection that amazed even those who already knew my collection.  Then when Carrie showed up with her giant book of scrap booking paper she got for only $2 the collection of crafts was complete.

Everyone had such a blast.  I wish I would have taken pictures the actual night.  I think my favorite was Ruby’s leg card.  Oh it was sexy, I wonder if her honey is going to be the lucky recipient of that card?  Our puppy Sailor had a great time eating every colorful scrap that hit the ground.  Confetti poop anyone? 

We all agreed that this was much more fun than painting our toes.  Although it creates a little more work for me, I agree, and am already scheming up more craft night ideas.  Any ideas you might have?

Next time I’ll remember to take lots pictures.  

The Picasso Exhibit

On Sunday January 16th Bryan and I went to see the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, SAM. 

I was never a Picasso fanatic.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been a fanatic about any one artist since I was in high school.  And that artist was Dali.  I was a fan because he painted things that were not there very realistically.  It was the beginning of my artist career.  I still appreciate Dali’s work and what it influenced me to do, but I’m no fanatic.  I do have a Dali book that a friend way back when gifted to me when he discovered my fascination, it sits on a shelf, battered from my back pack but untouched for years.
Back to Picasso.  I’ve seen his work in my Art History books, and all over the art world.  I remember seeing him in a wheel chair cutting out bird like designs and covering a wall with them.  I was a little impressed but I never thought twice about him or his work.

Actually that’s a lie, there is one painting he did that was in my Art History book that I was draw towards.  It is Artist's Sonthe Artist’s Son.  The reason I was drawn to it is that it is unfinished.  The face so porcelain like and the clothes so colorful, but the rest of it is sketchy and unfinished.  I saw this piece in person at this show in Seattle, and that same feeling hit me all over again but this time there was at least recognition there.
I had a friend in high school who gifted me an unfinished painting.  I was displeased with him too.  Why would you present an unfinished piece?  I look back at that piece and am grateful that he at least gave me something.

There were some pieces I like a lot and was impressed by, especially some of the historical ones where he depicted the invasion and destruction of his home.  I think that was the story at least?

I never gave any artist deep thought unless I learned about the person’s life and tribulations.  This happened with Gustav Klimt, Georia O’Kieff, and Mattisse.  I learned about their life, read books written about them, wrote reports about them, and then became interested in their work.  So the more I’m learning about Picasso’s life the more I’m interested in his work.

I went to the show, I looked at his work, and now I’m reading a book about his life.  I’m doing this backwards, I should have read the book first, but the show snuck up on me and I bought tickets at the last minute so my appreciation was not there. 
What I do know is I would hate to have my random sketches from my notebooks on display.  Sketches that were warm ups, or studies, or just for fun, nothing I’m particularly proud of, on display.  I have instructed my loved ones that by some freak accident I get that famous, they are not allowed to show any work that I did not show myself.  Unless it’s going to make them a crap ton of money that they would not already have.

After I am done reading my Picasso book I will have to revisit this subject.  As of right now only a few chapters in my first impression is what a lucky little badger, he gets a painter for a father that indulges his creative whims and his lack of discipline.

Did anyone else see the show who is already a huge Picasso fan?

My Ultimate Distraction in the Studio

I mentioned in my latest Etsy Treasury my puppy.  Well here he is.  His name is Sailor Jerry Henn.  He is four months old.
And the Treasury I mentioned him in is a tribute to the last few days of being sick with a head cold.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pretty Penny Tools

Over the years I have collected a few toys that have made life a little easier.  I am willing to give classes with these tools.  The first is the Jack Richeson Baby Press, another is my mat cutter.
I have a couple others, but those are the ones I'm willing to teach on.  I am hoping to add another pretty penny tool to my collection soon.  Stay tuned.

Start to Finish - Reduction Linoleum Print

I took a week off of work in January to carve and print a block.  It went well.  I ended up with 24 prints of which possibly 16 are clean and usable. 

I have a baby press by Jack Richeson I picked up many years ago for a pretty penny.  It was well worth it.  Although I still struggle with registration it makes the printing process so much faster.

I use to hand press each print which resulted in uneven pressure and ink distribution.  Now my prints are pretty uniform in the ink distribution, as long as I am meticulous with applying ink evenly.    

This print was a drawing I did a year ago and then put away.  The original plan for the drawing was to paint with acrylic on canvas but I never got around to it.  Last month I got an incredible urge to carve a block.  I found this drawing, and the rest is history.

It has been many years since I’ve done a reduction print.  In fact “The Rhythm that Moves” was the last reduction print I did in 2005. 

I have yet to give a name to the print I just did.  It took me most of the working hours of the week I took off work.  I love carving, but it sure does make my neck hurt. 

This print measures 9x12 and is carved on mounted linoleum.  I printed on BFK Rives 250 paper.  Quality paper makes the world of difference.