Friday, October 27, 2006

Stalled out


I am stuck in between projects and I'm not really sure what to do with myself. I have a feeling that it might be time to return to the canvas with all of my new found techniques. Another part of me wants to keep doing print blocks, but I have no end project in mind and dozens of homeless print blocks seem like a really bad idea.

And then there's the whole winter's-coming-feel-the-need-to-hibernate rather than create, not to mention that my studio gets really cold (I shut the air vent when I'm in there to redistribute the heat to the portions of the house that need it more), and I'm really good at making excuses.

And I haven't heard anything from the folks at the women's hospital, so I'm guessing that fell through.

Here's to things looking up--because I refuse to face the other option.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's an uphill struggle

I currently can't get blogger to upload any of my photos, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that I'm producing work.

It's a slow process when the only time I can get is when A.D. goes down for a nap, and I am currently suffering from my own exhaustion, but I figure a smidge of work in a smidge of time is better than no work at all, right?

I need only to procure the proper type of tape and then I can mail off my Art-o-mat application. It's not big bucks, but it is something and given that we just had to drop $1400 to fix the breaks on my car every little bit helps.

Yar. So that's the update from the land of Kara. Wave your flags and send up a cheer--I could use the enthusiasm.

Monday, October 02, 2006

hard labor, no doubt

This is 4 hours of carving. 4 hours after which your harnds are cramped and your fingers achy. I can't imagine doing wood cuts, which go even slower and are more persnickety. But in the end, you wind up with a print block that you can use until it falls apart.

Here's a sketchbook page with the finished print, finished block and a print from another block I did.

And now that I've finished these blocks, I have to dig through my sketchbook and figure out why it was I felt the need to do them in the first place.
My brain has been scattered of late--thank heaven for post-its!

And now? Lunch!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today is Thursday

With a moo-moo here!

Oh. Sorry. We just got back from the pick-yr-own-orchard and that Old Macdonald is awfully popular around our house (what with a nearly 2 year old running about).

The above image is part of the illustration with the aforementioned accordion book. I thought I was going to be able to sit down and stitch it all together yesterday, but I had thank you cards to write (aah, etiquette) instead.

Today the plan is to stitch together as much as I can, prime up some new work surfaces, and root around in some Shakespeare for another piece that I'm doing.

A while back I applied to have my work put in the new Women's Hospital that is being built downtown, and I have made the first cut! At this point there is still the very real possibility that nothing more will come of it, but I am fairly proud of myself at the moment. (hip hip hooray!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

more pictures!

This is the illustration for the end of the story, when the boy flies through his window and lands in his own bed.

It was taken on my studio desk, so ignore anything happening outside of the yellow plane.

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while--I was in Virginia, visiting with family and friends and all of my photos were here (in Illinois). I am currently working on stitching together a small accordion book to go with another illustration, and I have two more works percolating in the sketchbook. One is inspired by a friend who should chuck his day job and do what he loves, and the other is inpired by my bird-like nesting instincts. It is that time of year, after all.
I have found myself frequenting the fabric store of late. I am not much for sewing--I have all the requisite pieces for a skirt waiting to meet the machine sitting in my studio. They've been waiting since February, so clearly it's a top priority. I'm not really sure what-all I'm going to be doing with all of the bits of fabric that I have amassed. I have hazy plans for a quilt based on trains for Adrian, and a quilt for a friend who's expecting a baby in the spring, as well as some hand made baby booties. I am planning more projects than there are hours to finish them, but I'm sure that I'll find the time. I learned how to crochet last winter and I have a half-finished hat for Aaron...I've been stiching and tearing out the same six inches for months now, and I stubbornly refuse to give us this losing battle.
I am a very tactile person, as well as someone who is in love with color. I think that is what draws me to fabric. I haven't the patience to be a fabric artist, but I think that I could probably incorporate scraps here and there into my 2-D work.
Presently, it's all part of fufilling the need to amass, catagorize, and store away.

Monday, September 11, 2006

With pictures!

(this is the illustration that started the whole crazy look-it-moves! nonsense that sucked me into a world of non-stop innovation)

And really, I'm quite pleased with my own cleverness. I've never attempted illustrations that are interactive and dynamic, like this one is.
I may never go back.

Today I finished all of the little 2-inch squares that I'm going to sew into an accordion-style book to affix to one of the illustrations. I've never made a book before, let alone one that is 2 inches high and 16 inches long. I'm pretty excited about it and I think I should be able to pull it off. (only time will tell)

This whole project has done for me exactly what I hoped: it got me into the studio, combined my love of art with my love of the written word, has provided ample opportunities to try new techniques, as well as inspiring future projects. Not to mention kept me in the proper work-is-art, art-as-work schedule, which I will need in the coming months. (Chaos is planning on paying us a visit--more on that as deatils become available)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fooled you!

Hahaha. You thought I was dead. No, not dead, just um...overwhelmed? Yeah, that's the thingy--overwhelmed. Have to prep for going-out-of-townness that will occur soon, as well as warm up the house sitter to cats. Probably should have asked first if there was a cat aversion issue, but whatever.

Also, drowning in a sea of my own cleverness. That whole elephant story illustration doodah has turned into the project that would not end. It slides, it wobbles, it pops up and it accordions. Or, it will once I get everything re-attached. Tomorrow, if you're nice and tell me how pretty I am, I might show you pictures.

And lastly: so. damned. tired. I know that I made a promise (to myself, but still, a promise) that this site wouldn't be a place where I talk about baby/family but the two overlap the art and it's hard to avoid. The baby-related comment: a new facet of the PMS post-childbirth is exhaustion. The kind of crazy first trimester exhaustion where all you want to do is lie really really still and ooze into the couch. It's hard to work when you're this exhausted and know that naps are only a two hour reprieve in the ongoing pinball-like insanity of toddlerdom. AND NO I AM NOT PREGNANT, THANK YOU FOR ASKING.
And the mess! Oh the mess in the studio created by tiny curious hands.
Thank gods he's not a monkey.
That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I don't know what these flowers are, but I sure do enjoy looking at them.
I survived my birthday (and the massive quantities of alcohol that I foolishly consumed), and have been back in the studio.
Doing what, you ask? Mainly facing my fears. I have sucked it up and sucked it in, and I have restarted illustrations for the elephant story. I hope to have the first of three illustrated by the time I see K and Fuz in September--but don't hold your breaths. What pushed me to it, you ask?
I watched Mirrormask. It was like being inside the work of Dave McKean.
The plot was really good, but by the end your brain wanted to crawl out your ears and hide somewhere dark and quiet. By which I mean: EVERYTHING MOVES ALL THE TIME.
I really like his art in a 2-D format, but I'm not built to handle it in movie form. When I read the elephant story, the images were like something from McKean's work: ephemeral, a little out of focus, with lots of layers. I guess the ambition of portraying his world in the media of film made me realize that I can handle the task before me.
Another helpful hint:
If it sucks, you can always start over.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Norway Maple

Norway Maple. 11.5 inches by 11.5 inches. Paper, block print, glass beads, cork, vellum tag, netting, grommits, norway maple seed pod.

Call it assemblage, call it mixed media, call it whatever. This is the first time I've used grommits on paper and I have to say that I'm a definate fan.
The whole shebang is mounted on black cardstock, and at some point in the nebulous future I'll go and get it framed. But for now I'm doing tutorials out of volume seven of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. I should have something to show for it next week.
I love that magazine. It's a summary of just about everything I've wanted to learn how to do.

This weekend we're having 4 houseguests...all of whom are going to be coerced into celebrating my birthday. Which is Saturday.
(Hooray for me)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Something new

Here's a shot of a work that I just finished. I'm trying out new techniques, using multiple prints, overlapping and embellishment.

Yesterday I had to run out a buy more glue at the craft store and came across a magazine that I am in love with: Cloth, Paper, Scissors.
It's focus is collage/mixed media. And it is full of helpful tutorials, interesting ideas, and artist interviews.
Newly inspired, I'm back in the studio.
Hooray for art!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

busy, busy!

I swear that there is zero rhyme or reason to how my images get uploaded to blogger. I will try to make sense of this mish-mash for you anyway, because I like you.
Up first! I have been busy designing invites again. The above is what made the final cut for the invite--it's based off of a brooch by Georges Fouquet (1921). So while I am extremely talented and a joy to be around, I just thought you should know that I didn't come up with that on my own. As one art teacher once told me: no artist creates in a bubble. I believe it, I practice it, and I try to give credit where credit is due.
Next! This is one of my sketchbook pages, containing six (that's right SIX) new prints that I have cut. They are (L-R, Top-Bottom): An Ash branch, a Gingko leaf, an Ashleaf Maple Leaf, a honey bee, a Maple leaf, and a Norway Maple seed pod.
All of these things will be finding homes in larger works over the coming months. I feel that I'm really on the cusp of something big--something combining printmaking, painting, embroidery, embellishing, and text. I have a feeling there will be a few moments of "what was I thinking? this is terrible!" before I get to that sublime place where everything just works.
This is another print that I was doing for the invites, but I loved it so much that I absconded with it and now it's making cameo appearances in a number of larger works. It's probably what's going to tie the whole series together: crescent goes for a stroll.

Now it's back to the studio for me!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Here's a less-than-stellar shot of the second work that I've done for those dudes.
Step one: measure out a square. Subdivide into dimensions resembling a polaroid photo.
Step two: divide image field into three sections: sky, water, sand.
Step three: lay down paper for sand.
Step four: lay down paper for water.
Step five: lay down two fish-scale prints. One in black and one in turquoise.
Step six: lay down map of Virginia 1607-1627.

Step seven: pour glass of chianti and call it a day.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Here is the postcard I made for the postcard show at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. My mother suggested I enter the show, and so I did. Or, rather, will. The above measures 4 5/8" by 5" and is what I call an altered print. Step one: make print block/print with block. Step two: mess with said print.
Here I have taken a fish scale print and embellished with foil, glass beads, and colored pencil. I really like colored prints on black paper. They pop. And they lend themselves to many mess-with-it-ness possibilities (Okay, I'm having trouble with this word. I've misspelled it twice).
So, yay for art.
Also, what do you think are the limitations for this form art? Certainly in the realm of pricing, but also in terms of novelty? Is it possible to overdo the genre?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

proof is in the pudding.

I am an art dork.
I just sent an email that reads: the map (of VA) what i am currently printing on transparent vellum is dated 1607-1624.
It's a reproduction of an original and i have to say that i really dig the style.

I dig the style?
It's a map.
Might as well just wear a sandwich board: Bona fide art dork.

Pictures to come.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Layers, layer, layers

here are more layers.
will explain at later date.
must go to studio.
procrastination must end.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

it's the process, really.

Here they are, in all their glory: Layers 4 and 5.

Layer 4 being prints of leaves, created from blocks I carved based off of actual leaves I had pressed & dried. You just can't beat nature when it comes to design. I printed on to a sheet of tissue paper. Completely unorthodox, but I love the transparency and inconsistencies tissue paper provides. I have attached these using matte medium, which also give the edges a smudgy quality. In all, I dig it.

Layer 5 is the same print block, but done on a paint chip. I can't walk by a paint chip stand without wistfully looking at the variety of colors. Maybe I'll just get myself a paint chip stand of my very own to sit in front of for hours. Although you can't tell here, I've perforated the edges of the paint chip in anticipation of stiching around the edges.

And usually I wouldn't think of having my margins showing, but alas, this unfinished work isn't matted (b/c it is unfinished) In the margins as you can see (peeking around the paint chip) that I make notes to myself, test colors, etc. It's kind of like walking around with your pants tucked into your undies, but there you have it.

Next installment: more layers!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

double secret probation

I'm doing some pro-bono commissioned work for some dudes, but part of the agreement is that I can't tell you what the project is. Nondisclosure and all that. However, there was no mention of keeping the artwork a secret, and I figure I can show you the process if not the actual completed work itself.
So here is layers one, two, and three of the above piece. We'll call it Work 1. It starts with a measured space on bristol board (10" x 10") Which was then divided into 3 sections to replicate a film negative. You with me so far? Good.
Then (after measurements were taken, and things were evenly spaced) The "holes" were filled in with grey marker, and the surround with watercolor pencil--that becomes important later.
Next, I adhered a sheet of yellow tissue paper to the middle section. I then reproduced portions of a topographic map of the Blue Ridge Mountains using colored pencil and watercolor pencil.
I applied a thin layer of acrylic matte medium over the drawing.
Then I sectioned off the rectangle at the bottom left corner, using colored pencil. And finally I drew the outlines of leaves in colored pencil.

Stay tuned for layers 4 and 5!

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I have been terribly lax about updating you, dear blog and I apologize. I was in Virginia then I was sick then I was uninspired (and thusly not being arty at all) and now my cup, she overfloweth.
So, what's new with you?
I am helping my dear friend Karlee design some wedding invites--and this-a-here was a print that was kind-of-but-not-really related to that. I am all about the printing of late. I like the process, and I like the endless possibilites you have with your very own, one-of-a-kind stamp.
This was the finished print from the above sketch. Not to toot my own horn, but dude--toot toot--check how close the print and sketch are to each other. YEARS of practice and experimenting to get to that point--mostly because I refuse to pay for carbon paper. Why pay for paper that I can only use once? When a heavy hand with an 8B graphite works just as well? I'm no art-dummy.
And the curvy-carvy block herself. I could never be a professional printer because I could never bring myself to destroy a block. That's like throwing a baby in trash--makes no sense no matter how you look at it.

So yeah, I've been busy and neglectful and I'm sorry. I'll try to mend my ways

Monday, February 27, 2006

Oreid, detail.

(Detail) Oreid. 14 inches x 17 inches. Paint, colored pencil, block print, paper.

You'll notice how I'm here instead of in my studio...oh the internet! Truly, you are my kryptonite!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oreid, detail.

(Detail) Oreid. 14 inches x 17 inches. Paint, colored pencil, block print, paper.

Monday, February 20, 2006


(Detail) Oreid. 14 inches x 17 inches. Paint, colored pencil, block print, paper.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


(Detail) Oreid. 14 inches x 17 inches. Paint, colored pencil, block print, paper.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Oreid. 14 inches x 17 inches. Paint, paper, block print.

Holy moly. I thought I would never finish this one. I got to the half-way point and completely lost my motivation. I guess buckets of travel and house guests aren't the most conducive to getting work done. Still, one tries.

Now on to the elephant story!

And three deliciously empty canvases what are calling my name....

Thursday, February 02, 2006

the ebb and flow

In the interest of showing you exactly what has been taking so long and how I put these collages together, I present you with the following (in no particular order)

My sketchbook plays a role in all of my work--even though I am limited for table space. I use the book to lay out ideas, designs, notes, keep track of how many hours I spend working on each piece. The above photo is a print that I did from a block I designed and carved for the current work.This is the block I just finished carving yesterday, and printing today. I don't have images of the prints yet. I know it looks like linoleum, but it's actually that easy-carve stuff. I hate carving linoleum, as I usually wind up slicing my hands to ribbons when I do so. You should know that I use water based inks b/c the solvents for oil based inks eats up the fakey linoleum.
This is the page out of my sketchbook that has the designs for the blocks. I was unsure if I'd be able to finesse all the small spaces on the design on the right but I managed to ninja my way through it.

Here's the other completed block. I like to carve away the medium in a way that mimics the design. I think it gives the work a sense of harmony.

So that's what I've been doing there. Now all I have to do is cut-and-paste the prints into the assigned spaces on the grid, and then I can move on to the next step (more assemblage), and then the final step (paint). And then I can work on the 5 other projects I have lined up...

I went to the fabric store today and came home with a bag of goodies!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

this-a-here is my work (Oreid) in progress around January 10, the day my brother came to visit.

Then we went to Arlington for 8 days and now I'm back working on it. I am currently charging up the digital camera and once she's all done I'll be able to upload what-all I've been doing...

What have I been doing, you ask? Well, I've been creating block prints to be included in this-a-here work. If you'll recall Dryads is where the whole block-printing first appeared and I'm afraid that I'm getting seriously carried away with it. So much so that I'm contemplating buying a small hand press because I'm not so good with the brayer. Things tend to be a little more smudgy than I like them. So now I'm all geared up to be a printing fool, but I also have to start on sketches for the wicked cool story that Kathleen wrote. I also have to finish the piece I'm working on now and hire a baby wrangler because I can't muster the energy at the end of the day to do all of this even though I'm super excited about it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

(Detail) Dryads. 14inches x 17inches. PAint, colored pencil, block print, paper, dried leaves. $150.00 USD Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006

(detail) Dryads. 14inches x 17inches.Paint, (Detail) Dryads. 14inches x 17inches. Paint, colored pencil, block print, paper, dried leaves. $150.00 US.
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dryads, guest beds, and bookshelves.

We got enough sun yesterday that I was able to photograph the finished work, Dryads.
However, now my brother is visiting and my studio also happens to be the guest bedroom and is overfull with inflatable sleeping arrangements. So my current piece will have to wait until I can figure a way around that. Also, I will be traveling to Arlington, VA in a few short days to visit with my parents and friends who still live on the East Coast. So there's another chunk of time out of the studio.
In other news, after I finish the current piece I am working on, I will be collaborating with a friend on a children's book. The opportunity really excites me, although I'm not sure why she's outsourcing the illustration as she is a talented artist in her own right. I hope to be going to the National Zoo to do some sketches in preparation for the book.
I also have some plans for painting on the horizon. I'm hoping to amass a large enough body of work by the end of March that I'll be able to start submitting my work to juried shows. It's been 2 years since I've shown my work--what with being pregnant and then occupied with baby. I was really hoping to be further along with this whole art-career by now, but sometimes I get sidetracked. But now I have a plan! And a studio, kind of.
The room I was working in was full of boxes of books. We went out and got two bookshelves, which allowed me to get my desk under the window with the good light and empty out 5 boxes. There are still 6 boxes full of books, plus a box with shoes, a box with knicknacks (including my college diploma), and a box full of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas decorations. That room should be the illustration for the dangers of marriage between book-lovers. Also, I've named the room: Eloise, the guest-studio.
So there you have it.
Now, buy my work because I need money for art supplies!
Before I go--should I get a spot on Ebay? Or some other commerce-inducing engine? Thoughts? Feelings?

Dryads. 14 inches x 17 inches. Paint, colored pencil, block print, paper, dried leaves. $150.00 US. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Patience, my pets!

I haven't forgotten you! The weather here has been gloomy and overcast and our digital camera is not so good with the pictures in the gloom. So I will shortly be providing you with pictures of my latest work: Dryads.
I've also just grided up my newest piece, and will be filling in the intimidating blank surface over the coming 2 weeks. Working around house guests and going out of town.