Texture is a big deal for me these days. I built these pebbles from various kinds of acrylic goo.

It has been a time of experiments -- but of squeezing art-making into the early morning hours, the evenings and the weekends. Part of me can't wait until winter, to spend cosy nights making lichen quilts like the little sample above, or printing with and without ink as below --

I've had access to a printing press again for the last little while, and although my first few attempts have been more about acquainting myself with the quirks of another Vandercook than about really printing anything much, I am proofing with intent, and pleased with some of the results. I am planning to print a large series with this pebble pattern (from a large linoleum block) in various shades of rose and gray.

And... in the spirit of "waste not want not" I made these little notebooks with my first proofs from the pebble block.



Well, it has been a busy summer(not that it is over, but it is passing quickly). In May, I had several abstract pieces in this year's 'Pierscape', part of the Whitney Pier Festival of the Arts. At the end of May, I moved from Sydney to Kentville, Nova Scotia to be closer to our future farm. This meant that June was very busy with digging and planting a new garden. But, I was also busy making several new textured (and in some cases, tex-tiled) pieces for a show coming up at the Cape Breton University Art Gallery, opening next Friday (Aug. 13th) and running 'til October 3rd.

After a couple of winter months of total exhaustion, and feeling convinced that I would never paint again (I'm so melodramatic...) I decided that I would try working with my obsessions, instead of against them. If all I want to do is paint, sew and emboss lichens and pebbles, then why not? Isn't that my prerogative as an artist? This decision has been incredibly fruitful, yielding all kinds of weird and unexpected work.

This 18" x 36" "painting" of apothecia (lichen 'fruiting cups') includes forms sewn & built from linen fibres, collapsed half-silk cocoons, and some embroidery.

The black piece has sewn cup forms made of carbonized bamboo fibre, which are filled with
glossy black acrylic medium. I love the matte and glossy blacks together. The white piece is also sculptural, with forms that I built up with modelling paste and other media... it was a bit like icing a cake (especially when I was squeezing medium out of a bag). I am really enjoying making forms that cast shadows.

This 12" x 12" lichen composition involved a lot of layering, and some scraping down through media. The oil pastels combined with the acrylics give things a satisfying glow.

This is one of two Glace Bay rock paintings included in the CBU show. They've got layers and layers of a honey-tinted medium that give wonderful depth to the image. If only I could capture that in the photo...

And finally, yesterday I was at the Chester Art Fair. Hundreds of people came by to see all kinds of artworks, including my letterpress work, paintings, cards, and handmade journals like these. I think a good time was had by all.


Books and Broadsides

This is my book 'Song of Salmon'; a hand bound, illustrated accordian book, printed at the Penland School of Crafts in a (very) limited edition. It was set in Bembo type, and printed on damp St. Armand paper with a #4 Vandercook proofing press (named Buddy) and a whole lotta love. I am completing the binding at home in Cape Breton. A limited number of copies will be available for sale soon.

Open the embossed cover and peek inside....

Each stanza faces a two-colour reduction linoleum cut.

All I can say is that this kind of photography is not my strength!
Better pictures coming soon.

With the accordian fold extended, you get an idea of how all the images work together to show
the salmon on their journey.

Here are the blocks, carved for the first colour (posed for style!).
Below are five broadsides I made from the poem and images - each stanza
with its corresponding illustration. Printed in editions of 12, copies are
available for sale.



A detail from the first 2 panels of a 6 panel work-in-progress - the first piece from a new collection. Stay tuned for rhythmic treescapes and the contemplative "pauses" of ocean horizons.