Friday, June 29, 2012

Our Possum Hotel

Joe and I returned from our trip to check on my stepfather (who is doing well, thank you) to find our house had gone through a big change. It had become home to quite a few orphaned baby possums.

Sophie isn't copping to it, but we know he is guilty. This is not the first time.

We figure they made their entrances through the cat door with gentle nudges from their host. Then Sophie led the way to his food tray, and it was party-hardy for the time we were gone.

Sophie loves possums, big or small.

We like possums, too, but outside is close enough.

The survivors are back in the yard now. Two didn't make it (guess how we figured that out!) and their bodies have now received a proper burial.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in Pasadena

Had a great visit recently to Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena with my friend Roger O'Leary Archer. We were there to see the exhibit of woodblock prints by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. The show is terrific.

A view of the inner courtyard at the Museum.

Moon: Ichikawa Sansho as Kezori Kuemon, 1890
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

 His work is full of innovative patterning and unique compositions that mix realism with abstraction. 


Friday, June 15, 2012

The Return of Ms. Chickie

I've been cleaning and organizing my studio in preparation for new projects and in a flat file drawer, I found an old friend! Meet Ms. Chickie, a linoleum cut print I made a few years ago to demonstrate what can be done with chine-colle, the process of adding extra pieces of paper during the printing process for visual effect.

Here is Ms. Chickie au naturel, printed with black ink on white paper.

Here is Ms. Chickie dressed in her finest.

To create this version, I cut a shape to match her body from patterned brown and gold rice paper, added paste to the back of it and put it glue side up on top of the inked linoleum block on the press bed. After carefully registering the white paper on top, I ran it all through the press. The printing process transfers the ink from the plate to the paper and seals the cut-out in place at the same time. This process is called chine-colle, a French term.

Here is Ms. Chickie dressed in her finest and out on the town.

This lino print includes a second chine-colle piece along the bottom. Also, before inking the block, I cut away quite a few of Ms. Chickie's feathers so the nice design of the added paper is more visible. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


I'm off to swim at the Silverado Pool. It's been closed for locker room repairs so I'm excited to see the new digs. In this picture, my tote is the aqua one. The red one belongs to my friend Cynthia and Loren's is in the background. New friends I've met at the pool: Ellie, Penny, and Bob. There are others I chat with but don't yet know names. We listen to loud music via Pandora as we do our laps - terrific!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What is Yellow All Over and No Longer Re(a)d?

Look what arrived on our doorstep this week: the newest version of The Yellow Pages.

A relic, really. Who uses the Yellow Pages anymore? Google searches are so much easier and more informative. Off to the recycling bin you go, Yellow Pages. I wonder if we'll even see you next year.

Actually, individual sheets from The Yellow Pages are pretty handy to printmakers. In the final stage of inking a zinc or copper plate for printing, we often use a crisp sheet from the Yellow Pages to wipe clean the final bit of surface ink if we don't want "plate tone." So, it is nice to have a ready supply of Yellow Page sheets in the studio.

But, with several books sitting in a cabinet, I've got a lifetime supply in my studio already. And, at school, our intaglio classroom is stocked with at least fifteen books accumulated over the years. At about a thousand sheets per book, I think we are set for a very, very long time.

You are nearing the end of your era, Yellow Pages. Thanks and goodbye!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Love These Inspiring Illustrations from Today's NYTimes

These terrific images are by the French comics artist and illustrator, Blexbolex,who studied screenprinting at the School of Fine Arts in Angouleme, France. In 2009, he received a prize for “Best Book Design of the World” for his L'Imagier des gens (2008) at the Book Fair of Leipzig.

The articles these illustrations accompanied were each about how seemingly unrelated early work experiences influenced the direction or philosophy of the author. Very interesting and insightful.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Cat in Paris

Here is a gorgeous image from the French animated movie, "A Cat in Paris." Can't wait to see the whole thing, which received an Oscar nomination in the Animated Feature Film category this year. It is now for the first time in theaters in the U.S. with an English speaking cast including Marcia Gay harden, Anjelica Huston and Matthew Modine.

Friday, June 1, 2012

All Dressed Up and Ready to Party

 Two weeks ago, the courtyard looked disheveled, overly weedy, and bleak. I thought it might never come around. But it did! Fresh pots of color, bright new pillows, and some elbow grease did the trick. 

The view from the back door.

A perfect spot for reading

My studio porch

The glider at the other end of my studio porch