On a road trip to Eugene I noticed brown hawks perched like sentinels on the surrounding fence posts. The birds repeated every couple of mile or so, and were low enough that I could see their faces peering around. Since I know nothing of bird lifestyles, I wondered if the hawks have always been so prominent along our highways and I just never paid attention, or if this was some special time for the birds to be willing to come so close to us.
Later, D and I got to attend an Audubon Society bird talk at a campground, and I felt a little closer to understanding the birds around us. I was proud that D quickly identified the Great Horned Owl (I couldn't get a good shot, but here is a Northern Spotted Owl that was found wounded in the Mt. Hood forest...)
D also identified the Peregrine Falcon, probably from lots of unchecked tv time watching Wild Kratts.
Personally, I fell in love with the American Kestral, because it is so itty bitty and it has beautiful red and blue feathers.
As part of my research of common local flora and fauna, I started sketching and researching the birds that I see and hear of the most in the Northwest. They of course migrate all over - we had herons in Florida - but just recently I came upon a heron in the water while kayaking, and it was a perfect moment of stillness.
Lately I've been researching the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. It was one of my end-of-summer goals, after spending the past season in kayaks, running through sand dunes, and hiking through the falls. I chose plants that I see often, including some that I've spied in our own backyard and thought "I should know what that is!" So it's been great to finally have the time to sit down and research.
The finished linocuts are available as blank cards in my Etsy shop here.
I visit my local library pretty much every other day. It started when I was young, only pausing for the 11 years that I worked in a bookstore. Since having a kid and quitting the bookstore, my visits picked up again full force. I'm thankful to have the freedom again to venture beyond the board books, although I still spend the majority of my visits in the picture book aisles, even though D has moved beyond this territory into superhero reader books.
D reading an old favorite, Iggy Peck Architect
So it was probably more for me and less for him that I scooped up Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey...
The cover draws you into the cozy world of the Bluebird, hovering over serene landscapes. As we follow the story, we are pulled into Bluebird's quest to find a missing friend. I love the layering of yellowed paper, scotch tape lines, and other paper bits to create the dimensions of the world below a circling bluebird. We move over vast open spaces edged in detailed pencil drawings. The trees are dotted with heart-shaped leaves and the greenery is edged in scalloped fences - little details that you notice when you visit the book again and again after finishing the story.
This time of year, when the sun starts to set a little bit earlier, and the chill of the night creeps into daylight hours, I can't help but feel nostalgic and a little weepy, remembering old friends. This story perfectly captures that confusing sting of loss, and it serves as a sweet reminder that in the end, we can always keep our friends near, one way or another.
I had to take a social media vacation. I might still be at the luau. I told myself I wouldn't jump back on the blog wagon again unless I intended to stick out the whole ride, so that's my word, whatever its worth.
There's quite a bit to catch up on. Let's start with the newest cards I've worked on the past year (Eek - a year! Blogging babysteps here.) These cards are created with a combination of letterpress type and hand printed linocuts. I would love to spend more time delving into the process, but later. For now, here's the finished project:
The ink is still drying on these ones:
If you didn't catch me the past summer at various street fairs in Portland, one nook and cranny that you can find my cards currently is:
The City Reader, a very cool newstand in the D Street building on Division:
There are so many gems if you brave the construction on SE Division. More to follow...
Fresh new prints pulled! You can find them in person before anyone else at the Love Print show at Redux Gallery, curated by our favorite champion of local artwork Greg Pitters of Hungry Eyeball. A handful of other phenomenal artists are featured so do check it out! Food and libations this First Friday Feb 1 from 6:30 to 9 pm. Come and say hi and experience the eclectic wares of Redux boutique.
Here's a sneak peek of some of my new prints:
Did you know that I am a crazy nut who still tears my paper, carves and inks the blocks, and pulls the prints individually by hand? This year I am making a bigger effort to print limited editions by hand and handing over the printing duties to local commercial printers. That means more time I can spend designing and illustrating new fresh prints in the future. My New Years resolution for 2013 is... FOCUS!
Before I sign off, dear readers, help complete this sentence:
Here are some new things that I made the last week for the Letterpress Fair this past Saturday. Hand painted signs using letterpress type specimens.
I take special requests!
The Fair was held at ADX this year and was a huge success thanks to their partnership with Design Week Portland, which brought many non-letterpress design nerds our way, curious about how exactly we do things "the old-fashioned way" (pssst... I would GLADLY exchange some letterpress demos for someone to show me their Cintiq drawing tablet... any offers???) Anyways thanks to all of y'all that turned up, listened to us ramble, and supported your local letterpress community. It was a real success thanks to Em Space and ADX.