Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ten By Ten

I have finally started a new reduction relief print. The new print will be 11 colors.  I tried to get it down to 10 but felt I needed that one more color. I am one of those printmakers who decide it all in advance and do all my color separations on paper before I begin cutting.  The project is to be a commemorative piece to honor the 10 year anniversary of the Arizona Print Group.  The print dimensions are to be 10 x 10 inches in an edition of 3.  Two will be assembled into books for showing potential galleries the type and quality of our work.  One will be used for exhibition purposes.  My plan is to make two small editions from the same plates, varying perhaps the color of the swimsuit...?  I am printing one set on kozo and one set on Rives BFK.  The image here on kozo will be a bleed print and not for the book.
The second color went down yesterday.  Here it is shown on Rives.  My lighting was terrible and my battery almost dead so the color isn't great on these.  The kozo is a bright white paper and the colors are actually brighter and different than the ones on the creamier Rives.  It looks the opposite in the photos but that's just my bad lighting.  

This project is due January 10th and I am going away for a week.  Then I will be having a very special house guest January 5th so I am running out of time...and in my hurry I cut away an essential part of the face.  I have to admit I have never made such a bad mistake.  I have a couple options in mind to salvage my print but in the meantime I have let it go for now.  Breathe deep and enjoy Christmas.  I am confidant I will save it in the end and I will share with you how it goes.

Thank you for following my blogposts and commenting as you have.  It is another layer of support and nurturing of artists to artists that is inspiring and fun and loving.  

Happy holidays to you and safe travels.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Last Night at Five15 Arts Gallery

The five new members of the Five15 Arts Gallery have a group show exhibiting this month.  We are Brendan Ore, Marc Marlowe, Marlys Kubicek, Sarah O'Donoghue and myself.  Last night was the Third Friday Reception and the turnout was great.  It is wonderful seeing our friends and collectors come by to see what's new and support our new venture in this cooperative gallery.  It was also fun meeting Sarah O'Donoghue who drove up from Tucson last night.  She's our newest member and will be showing her work exclusively in December.  It was also nice to hang with Brendan and get to know him a little better.  He drove in from Yuma for the evening. 

Mike O'Connor and Catherine Ruane
Marlys Kubicek, Doug Kirkman, Sarah Kriehn, Rosalie Kirkman

I will at the gallery from 1:00 to 5:00 today, if you want to stop by or hang out for awhile.  It's a beautiful day for art viewing!
Brendan Ore and parents

Sarah O'Donoghue and Matt

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

January - March Printmaking Classes


It is time to register for classes at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.  I am teaching Solarplate Etching and Reduction Linocut, 8 week sessions.  If you have always wanted to try something new, solarplate may be the right choice for you!  If you have trouble getting your prints to register correctly or can't think backwards, then reduction linocut is the class for you.  Either way, no matter your skill level, you will learn something new.  For more information click here.  You may skip the login and just click on Printmaking, to see the details for each class.  Call me if you have any questions or problems registering.  602 750 3845.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Arizona Print Group Reception

Last night was the First Friday Reception for the "Trinity" themed exhibition at the Olney Gallery.  The weather in Phoenix has finally turned cooler and people were out and about celebrating this turn of events.  It was another opportunity for the Arizona Print Group members in attendance to spread the word about printmaking and explain our processes and media to appreciate viewers.  And it was wonderful to see old and new friends coming by to see our new works.

The Olney Gallery is an exceptionally nice space, run by the nicest people.  They also throw two receptions each month so if you didn't make it last night, come by on Friday October 21st for our Third Friday reception.  We would love to show you what we've been doing!  The hours are 6-9:30 pm and the location is Central and Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix.

I am putting more images of the art from last night up on my flickr site.  See what all the fuss is about...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Exhibitions Coming and Going

John Armstrong's Monoprints 
Yesterday, Marlys and I attended the opening reception for John Armstrong's exhibition at the Peoria City Hall Art Gallery.  It was wonderful to see his prints on display and listen to him talk about his process and techniques.  Printmakers do share all their secrets!  If you have a chance to go, it is tricky to find - the gallery is IN City Hall.  Here is a link to the Gallery.  The work will be up until October 26th.

Kathryn Polk
This afternoon Marlys and I are driving to Tucson and back for the opening of Kathryn and Andy Polk's exhibition at the Davis Dominguez Gallery.   Andy's paintings look amazing on the gallery website and I can't wait to see them in person.  There is no substitute for seeing art in person.  Kathryn's lithos and drawings are also on display.  Her work is so full of humor and thought.  I can always relate to her point of view and admire her commitment to lithography.

The 1070 Print Exchange in which I participated has been accepted into the The Border Project:  Soundscapes, Landscapes and Lifescapes Exhibit.  The prints will be on display at the University of Arizona Art Museum from November 17, 2011 to March 11, 2012.
The exhibit will be held in conjunction with the University of Arizona Border Research Group Symposium, December 2-3, 2011.  Both events focus on the relations among arts, culture, politics and history in the US/Mexico borderlands.
Rossitza Todorova's SB 1070 print
Rossitza Todorova is the curator of the print exchange.  She started the project when she was living in Reno, NV and now is getting her masters in drawing from ASU.  Marlys Kubicek and Kathryn and Andy Polk also have prints in the print exchange.  You can see all the images here on Facebook.  But remember there is no substitute for seeing them in person!

The Arizona Print Group exhibition "Trinity" opens Friday at the Trinity Cathedral Olney Gallery, at Central in Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix.  There will be two receptions - this Friday and Third Friday 6-9pm.  Stop by either one to say hello and see some wonderful and diverse examples of contemporary printmaking!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

Having participated in the exhibition "Discrepancy:  living between war and peace" now showing at the Napa Valley Museum, and having done so much research on the people who fell from the World Trade Center, I feel very connected to all that is being done to mark the anniversary.  I just watched (on dvr) a special pre-game celebration of the 2001 Baseball World Series before tonight's Diamondbacks game with almost the entire team coming back to our ballpark.  Our old pitchers, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, threw out the first pitch.  It seems like the antithesis to all the pain and sadness, to remember how happy and surprised we were to win such an impossible feat at such an emotional time.
 As good as those memories are, it is still so sad.  The sadness is staying with me because I learned recently that our soldiers who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, don't understand how much the American people support and respect them.  My sister, Nancy Willis, who conceived and curated the exhibition, took a group of veterans from the Pathway Home program through the show where they could see how all the artists expressed their individual points of view about the events of that time.   Pathway Home is one of the rare places where soldiers coming home the war can go to get help with post traumatic stress.  One of the therapeutic art projects in the program is the creation of masks, where they paint what they feel people see of them on the outside and what they feel about themselves on the inside.  Some of the masks were hung in an installation as part of the Discrepancy exhibition.  There were quotes from the men on  the walls near where the masks were hung.  It was a very moving display.  Some of the veterans came anonymously to the opening, to see how their masks were viewed, how people reacted to them.   This is what Nancy later wrote about the private viewing she shared with the veterans from the program.

One of the most recurring comments from them was, they didn't think people actually cared. so this had a big impact on them. THat people would stop and read, and look. They felt seen and heard.  It is a BIG issue. Whether it is the mliitary environment, home, work or community, they are taught to tough it out and deal. not ask for help or show vulnerability.  They acknowledged that serves a soldier well for the job he is asked to do, but what about when they come back? For those with "invisible injuries"  like PTSD, they have little release, or tools to let go or expose their feelings. It is equated with weakness.  
One of the vets said to me, "when I walked around the room and read the artists statement, I understood, that we are not so far apart. We feel the same way. " and that was BIG revelation for him. Others agreed.  They said, they were a little anxious about what they were going to find when they came in. They expected something more political or divisive because that is what they see everywhere else. 
Before they left, I headed back to the masks to the one guy who had a mask in the show but hadn't said anything. I said, "what do you think?". he extended his hand, and said "Thank you, ma'am for doing this.  I really didn't think people cared.".   He said low morale is one of the leading causes of death when they are over there. I think they see the divisive left/right nature of the media as overall non support. As we walked out, he told me he had been in Iraq for 2 1/2 years. He told me the exact date of when he went in and when he got out, as if each day was counted and lasted an eternity. He said, he lost so many friends who were married with families.He said, " I only have my parents. they had wives and kids. it just isn't right.  I would trade my place today with any one of them if I could. ". I got a glimpse and only a glimpse of how it is different for each one of them. Collective injury, but specific personal trauma. 
There is something so wrong with a country that asks the men and women who volunteer, to fight for our country but ignore their needs and the damage that they endure, when they come home.  We just aren't doing enough.   Here is a link to the Pathway Home website.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Little Relief - The Opening

Last night was the opening reception for the exhibition Marlys and I put together of all 6 x 8 inch reduction relief prints.  Wil McNabb Jewelry Studio changes out the art every month and puts on a nice little spread for First Friday's Artwalk.  Sue Alpern is responsible for the art at Wil's and has a great eye when it comes to hanging the shows.  Marlys and Sue laid it all out Thursday night and did the hanging Friday morning.  Diana Hartley, Marlys and I framed all 22 pieces earlier in the week and they looked great with uniform frames and sizes.

I have been teaching workshops in Nevada, California and Arizona and invited some of my "students" to submit prints for this show.  My students have ranged from the inexperienced to MFA's in printmaking.  I love how some people will learn a process and then just run with it. 

And people responded to the work.  It is accessible and eyecatching.  They are all curious about how it is made and impressed when they learn how challenging it can be.  David Williams, the printmaking teacher at Northern Arizona University, was impressed.  He said he would send his students to see the show because they are covering this medium in one of his classes. 

Here is a link to see more photos from the opening.

People kept pouring in, driven out of the heat of the desert to the high country cooler weather.  We came up on Thursday, late afternoon, and immediately felt happy to step out of the car.  After the show was laid out, we headed to Charleys for Burgers and Tiramisu with Marlys and Roger and Sue and Wil.

David and Julie
Friday was a lazy morning and then we headed for a wonderful lunch at Josephine's with Marlys and Roger, Diana and Mike and David and Julie.  Julie's prints were on the walls of the dining room we were in and David's prints were in the room next door.  It felt perfect.  And the fried green tomato sandwich was to die for.  After lunch we ended up back at David and Julie's where they graciously let us oooh and ahhh over all the prints on their walls as well as the work they have recently completed.  Julie's reduction woodcuts are inspirational and David's etchings are often weird but funny and poignant - but all masterful.  David and Julie are more of a draw for me than the cooler weather.  It is great to be able to talk about technical problems or new materials with such experienced printmakers.   (And they have a great dog named June!)

It's been a great little escape but now we must head back south.  Time to hit the studio for more art making!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


D. Hartley, "Faith"
M. Becker, "The Falcon"

M. Burruel, "Rest"
M. Farley, "Shades"
R. Todorova "Buildings in the Desert"

W. Willis, "Swimmers/Grey II"

Looking for a little relief from the Phoenix heat?

Head North this weekend for First Friday Art Walk in downtown Flagstaff...where you can also view "A Little Relief" at Wil McNabb Fine Jewelry (#14 on the map).

Curated by Marlys Kubicek and myself, it is “a collective show of reduction relief prints featuring artists from Arizona, California and Nevada:  Miles Becker, Kimberley Boege, Manuel R. Burruel, Alondra Contreras, Meghan Farley, Susan Hartenhoff, Diana Hartley, Marlys Kubicek, Rossitza Todorova and moi.  On view until October 4th. All prints are 6"x8" or 8"x6"…just the Little Relief you’ve been looking for.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

REGISTRATION is now open!

I am teaching two PRINTMAKING classes this Fall at the Phoenix Center for the Arts:

8 Saturdays
9 AM to 12 PM
September 17 – November 12
Forget linoleum!  Discover new and wonderful relief printmaking surfaces:  Gomuban, Borco Board and Sintra.  They cut easier than traditional lino and each have their charm.  Explore these new materials and expand your mark-making tool box.

6 Mondays
10 AM to 2 PM
September 19 to October 24
Turn those photos into artistic masterpieces!  Learn how take a photo you have taken and turn it into a fine art etching.  You will learn the solarplate process and how to put the artist's "hand" into your image. 

Here is a link to register for my classes.
1202 N. Third St. Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 262-4627

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fall Printmaking Classes at the Phoenix Center for the Arts


I am teaching two PRINTMAKING classes this Fall at the Phoenix Center for the Arts:

8 Saturdays
9 AM to 12 PM
September 17 – November 12
Forget linoleum!  Discover new and wonderful relief printmaking surfaces:  Gomuban, Borco Board and Sintra.  They cut easier than traditional lino and each have their charm.  Explore these new materials and expand your mark-making tool box.

6 Mondays
10 AM to 2 PM
September 19 to October 24
Turn those photos into artistic masterpieces!  Learn how take a photo you have taken and turn it into a fine art etching.  You will learn the solarplate process and how to put the artist's "hand" into your image. 

I haven’t seen the catalog yet but both classes should be under or at $200.  Online registration is not yet available but I will post when it is ready.

1202 N. Third St. Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 262-4627

Saturday, August 6, 2011

DISCREPANCY: living between war and peace Opening


What a night is was!  The show looked amazing.  Elegant.  Powerful.  Beautiful.  There were artist statements with the work, so the intention and heart of the artist was clear.  And the crowd responded.  My print, Ten, One Thousand, about the people who fell from the World Trade Center on 9/11, really touched people.  More than that really.  Strangers and friends came up to me to tell me how moved they were.  Some came to me crying after having just seen it.  I cried with them.  It is a feeling like no other to move people, to share the intent.  They understood.  They knew.  And they appreciated it.  It was a very emotional evening. 

The entire show was cohesive.  Every artist had a personal point of view of what it meant to live between war and peace and how it tied back to their regular artist practices.  The curator, my sister Nancy Willis, had a vision, born out of her own work, trying to reconcile living in the beautiful Napa Valley with images of conflict from the news.  She invited artists to create work that looked specifically at the rituals of daily life in relation to three events, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The work varied in media, size and dimension but it all tied into Nancy’s vision.  People noticed.  One woman remarked that she hadn’t expected it to be so strong.  “This is BIG!” 
Nancy and Wendy Willis
From her Curator’s Statement Nancy said, “I believe in the power of art to make a difference in people’s lives.  In a climate that seems propelled by divisiveness, art can be a powerful tool to remind us that we are all human and there is always more below the surface of what we see.”  I saw this to be true last night.  One woman told me she would be forever changed because of my print.  You just can’t ask for anything more than that.

The Napa Valley Museum just posted 59 photos from the reception last night on their Facebook page.  I will be uploading photos to my Flickr page later of more empty museum shots, some reception images and close ups of each piece.

Friends Born of the Internet

I was just explaining to my husband how I became friends with Candace Nicol.  We were lucky to spend a couple hours with her yesterday at her studio, Oxboo Press in Reno, NV.  My excuse for visiting was to see the 2.5 x 2.5 Print Exchange Exhibition. 
2.5 x 2.5 Print Exchange Exhibition
I first saw her work on Inkteraction, not so very long after it started.  I loved her prints and wrote comments about them.  She then, checked out my work and liked what she saw too...and an internet relationship was born.  I followed her work and one day Kathryn Polk in Tucson invited me to participate in Candace's project "6 Sides to Every Story" where 6 artists each carved one side of a cube based on a topic from the news. (100 cubes were sent out.)  I was thrilled to be "playing with the big kids" even though I hadn't done a woodcut in 30 years.
Candace Nicol, 6 Sides to Every Story in background
Then I was invited by Candace to participate in a print exchange - "Naughty, Taboo, Just Plain Wrong" - the title alone reflects on joy and fun she often puts into her printmaking practice.   She was going to exhibit the print exchange during Nada Dada Motel (where downtown motel rooms are turned into gallery spaces for a weekend) - and I decided I wanted to see it!  She invited me to teach a 2 day linocut workshop and again I said yes.   I finally met her face to face!  I had never taught before but have many times since.  So she has inspired me to grow just by inviting me to participate in stuff.
Yesterday we plotted a plan to bring her to Phoenix (it will be her first time!) and I am looking forward to sharing some AZ print time and hospitality with her.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seeing Stars

What do Deborah Oropallo, Hung Liu, Lewis de Soto, Eleanor Coppola, Sibylle Szaggars and I all have in common?  We are among the 24 artists invited to participate in the exhibition "Discrepancy:  living between war and peace" which will open Friday, August 5th at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountsville, CA.  I am pinching myself for being included in a show with them.  Plus other California artists I have met during my frequent visits to the Napa Valley - Sharon Anderson, Helen Wilson, Rob Keller, Sue Bradford, Anne Trinca and Alondra Contreras.  I am so excited by this opportunity.  Curated by Nancy Willis, the call asked artists:

to create a visual response to the discrepancy between being emotionally         connected/disconnected to events from which they are geographically distanced.   It is an opportunity for artists that typically do not address political and/or emotionally charged events directly in their work to investigate these events on a personal level that will ultimately be part of a public dialogue. In particular, we are looking to present a view of daily life from the territory between war and peace... Discrepancy is centered on three major events; the World Trade Center bombings and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

 Not my typical work, no.  But a challenge that immediately got my juices going.  I considered the wars and the events of September 11th and imagined what I would want to say about them.  

Ten, One Thousand
Ten, One Thousand
In the end I felt the most connected to my memory from the World Trade Center of people falling from the buildings.  After discussing it with Nancy, who encouraged me to search for information on the internet, I discovered many of the images that were censored in the US of the people who fell or jumped.  It was a difficult but important period for me, the researching the images, the stories and the facts of what happened that day.  And in the end my print seeks to recognize their bravery and bring light to their story.   At least two hundred people jumped or fell that day.  Less than a dozen fell from the South Tower which was hit second and stood for  56 minutes.  The North Tower, hit first, stood for 102 minutes.  People fell from all 4 sides, from right after the plane hit to just as the tower was falling.  No one survived from the floors where people jumped.  No one could save them.  It was a lack of oxygen and extreme heat that drove them to the windows.  

It is hard to read about the conditions and not put yourself in their position.  Observers have stated that those who chose to jump were silent as they fell. The fall lasted 10 seconds.  Not fast enough to cause unconsiousness in the fall.  I have such a fear of high, open spaces that I can't imagine making this choice.   Skydivers have told me that 10 seconds is a long time but it seems a short time when that is all that is left.  They died instantly.  People in the South Tower seeing people jumping from the North Tower immediately began evacuating.  Before the second plane hit 1400 had already left the building.  So in the end they saved many lives by their act of courage.  And as one blogger put it, they chose to die by wind, not by fire.

DISCREPANCY:  living between war and peace
Also included in the exhibition will be artwork made by military personnel in a therapeutic program after returning home of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Pathway Home facility is located near the VA Home in Yountville.  From their website:   "The Pathway Program is a Residential Recovery program specifically created for, and dedicated to serve, our Nation’s “New Warriors”—those of any age who have served our Nation’s Global War on Terror in areas of the world such as Afghanistan and Iraq."
Another innovative aspect of the exhibition will be art writers, who will view the installed exhibit and write essays to help put in cultural and art historical context the work presented in Discrepancy.

I am honored to be in this exhibition and hope you will have a chance to see it.  The show has been extended to October 30th. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turtle Reef

I heard there was a new sea turtle exhibit at Sea World so I HAD to check it out.  After we were inside the park we learned it didn't open until June 18th!  I was so disappointed.  When we walked by the barricaded entrance we noticed a sign saying there was a preview of the exhibit - and it was opening in an hour!  Yay!  As you may know, I LOVE turtles so I was thrilled with the beautiful (but fake) coral filled tanks in which the turtles swim.  They were quite active and mostly small but they packed lots of personality and happily swam by the windows, seemingly as curious about us as we were them.

The exhibit was still under construction, parts were blocked off but I was just happy to be in the right spot at the right time.

You will be seeing some of these little guys appearing in my artwork one day...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MCASD Jennifer Steinkamp

The highlight of all the art we saw today at both locations of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, was the video animation "Madame Curie" by Jennifer Steinkamp in the Farrell Gallery.  The work was inspired by her research into the effects of atomic explosions on nature.  Sounds heavy but the video installation was magical.  Flowering branches blowing in the wind in the huge gallery space was awe inspiring. 

In between Museum visits we stopped by La Jolla Cove to listen to barking sea lions and watch a young woman boogie boarding.  The weather was a perfectly sunny 70 degrees...sigh.  

We finished off a great day with dear friends Terry and Marlene and an unusual dinner at Rei do Gado, Brazilian Steak House in the Gaslamp District.  With a wood marker on your table you indicate with the green side up, that you want more meat and over time, men with skewers of 16 different types of meat come by and slice off a piece for you.  We had beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon, chicken and cheese, pork loin, turkey, hump of brahma bull (Steve and Terry only) and one or two others.  There is a great salad and vegetable bar too.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate our 23 wedding anniversary. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Short Trip - San Diego

San Diego from Harbor Island

Anthony's, San Diego Bay
San Diego feels like home to us. We are back for a visit and already we are more relaxed. The desert looked particularly brown and unattractive this time. That's hard for this desert lover to say. I usually see the beauty in it. But this trip seemed different. I was amazed to see the border fence so close to the dunes just past Yuma - never realized how close Mexico is to Interstate 8. Then as we were coming out of El Centro we saw this haze ahead. We couldn't tell if it was moisture or smog or what and then as we entered it - duh!!! It was smoke from a wildfire south of Jacumba in the mountains. The news here in San Diego isn't even covering it since it pales to the Willow fire in AZ. Scary and sad, no matter where the fires are. 

So sighting the beautiful San Diego Bay as we headed south on Interstate 5 made us very happy. We checked into the downtown hotel and headed back out to Anthony's for dinner. After dinner I tried out my new low light camera and I must admit, the pics look pretty good to me.