Paint and Stamps

I had a great time at the reception for the Printmaking Show at Gerrard Art Space where I met some of the other artists and saw some excellent prints. After that and before going to Montreal for a sweltering!!! but great week, I finished a piece I’ve been working on that’s a continuation of the old and new theme.

In this one, I painted loosely with acryl gouache in bright colours–another experiment with the new colours and paint I’m learning to use. I had  intended to glue parts of an old print to the board, but that didn’t feel quite right for this one. Instead I took several old stamps I’d made years ago, slathered them with the paint and printed them randomly on the gesso board itself.  I liked the unknown aspect of this–I realized that parts of the stamps would not show up or would blur and was interested in seeing what textures they’d create. I first used this process in another piece I’m still working on and want to do more of this in the future.

This painting/print is unlike anything I’ve done. It reminded me of a fantasy forest and looks to me like a design for wallpaper or fabric. Here’s the whole piece and a close up to show some of the stamped images.

Printmaking Show

The Printmaking Show at GAS–Gerrard Art Space–in Toronto that I’ll be in begins this week. If you’re in the area, do drop in. I’ll be at the reception Thursday night the 28th from 6 – 8. Click here for more information.



Detail from The Search linocut.

Good News

I learned yesterday that at least one of the three prints I submitted to BIMPE X–the Biennial Miniature Print Exhibition–has been accepted for the show. The organizers received over 700 prints from 300 artists. Around half were selected by the jury. The show will open in late September in Vancouver, BC.

I’m interested in seeing which of my prints were selected. I’ve talked about the process in several posts. Changes is the most recent one.

Here’s the prints I submitted:

Old and New

Here’s my most recent work. Following the work I showed in my previous post, I looked through some linocuts I’d made in the early 1970’s. The  one you see below is part of a larger print I made by carving free style with only two shapes in mind–the round and the long ones. I have another large chunk of the original print that I plan on using in my next piece.

I cut the 12 inch square piece of linocut in 3 inch squares to be able to adhere them neatly to a gesso board. That left interesting spaces here and there where the sides did not line up exactly. I then began painting using acryl gouache without a preconceived plan. I decided to paint some of the seams with marks that, for me, symbolized sewing on cloth or stitching skin together, leaving scars, of which I have several. I enjoyed the process of making this piece–it involved times of slow thought and consideration as well as ones of trial and error and intuition.  The piece reminds me of a landscape or garden.

Dream Linocut–The Search

I’m going to enter four linocuts into another exhibit at Gerrard Art Space in Toronto. It’ll be from the end of June into the first 2 weeks of July. One of the prints I’ve taken to my local framer is the one below. I carved it in the 1990s and for some reason that I can’t now recall I only printed a rough copy on newsprint. So, I’ve gone back to the lino block and have printed it on Japanese paper.

The image came from a dream I had in which my childhood dog–Cedar, a beagle, was missing and I was searching for him indoors and out. Here he is in an old photo.

The Birds of 1988

Spring is here and flowers are coming into bud wildly. The scillas have gone, but redbuds are just appearing and yesterday I saw cherry blossoms and their devotees in Trinity Bellwoods Park–a downtown west end park. Spring also means the return of birds and their songs. I hear cardinals, robins and sparrows daily. Last week I heard a chickadee and the other day–mourning doves. On the weekend, I also saw a tern with a bright orange beak at the Brickworks in Toronto.

Cherry blossoms 2018

Cherry blossoms 2018 2

Last month, I found a list I’d made in an old journal from May 1988. The list was of some of the birds I had seen on a trip to the countryside in Massachusetts and Virginia in the U.S. I don’t keep lists of birds, but I was so thrilled at the large variety that I saw during that spring migration, that I wrote them all down.  The list also brings me some sadness because I hear less birdsong on my trips to the Ontario countryside than I used to. And in the city, I am aware of losses from previous years when I used to hear more bluejays and nighthawks that have all but disappeared.

2 birds

Above is a linocut I made in the 1980s.

And here is my list from almost 30 years ago–May 12, 1988:

  • Mallards, male and female
  • 2 killdeer
  • tree swallow
  • male downy or hairy woodpecker
  • another woodpecker with red brown crest drooping downward as it cling to tree–brownish body from afar
  • white-breasted nuthatch
  • brown creeper
  • yellow warbler
  • hood warblers–male and female
  • common yellowthroat
  • yellow throated warbler
  • chestnut-sided warbler
  • gold-winged warbler
  • northern oriole–male and female
  • robins
  • rufous -sided towhee
  • blackburnian warbler
  • cardinal
  • rose-breasted grosbeak
  • purple finch
  • house finch
  • scarlet tanagers
  • mockingbirds
  • gray catbird
  • kingbirds
  • black-capped chickadee
  • titmouse
  • bluejays
  • solitary vireo–unafraid!
  • doves
  • gray-cheeked thrush
  • swainson’s thrush
  • ovenbird
  • worm-eating warblers
  • brown-headed cowbird–possibly female
  • whited throated sparrow
  • song sparrows
  • black and white warbler
  • starlings
  • red winged blackbirds

bluejay feathers

Alas, this bluejay had recently died, but I was struck by his beauty and took a photo of his feathers.

Flowers and Frames

As you may have heard, it’s been a hard week in Toronto what with a man driving a van onto a busy sidewalk and killing and injuring many people. I don’t live in the neighbourhood this happened in, but this horrendous crime has affected people around the city.  I’ve been looking for solace and have taken some from spring flowers and birds. Scilla flowers are one of my favourites. Here’s some from a garden in the neighbourhood.

Scilla 2018

Something else has helped me this week–I’ve begun taking care of my work. For years, I’ve promised myself to get a selection of my work framed and I’ve finally begun doing so. Here’s 3 linocuts I brought home from the framer this week. The frames and mats vastly improve the look of the prints.

This first linocut is one I called The Printmaker. I made it in 1973 and it’s based on myself in my workroom, carving at the table with my cat at the back and prints hung up to dry on the cloth on the wall.

framed printmaker

This next linocut is not of anyone I knew. I have always been interested in faces and wanted to carve a portrait using many marks from different gouges. I was inspired by the  works of wood engravers I’d been studying. I carved and printed her in 1984.

framed Portrait

This last print is one I thought I’d lost, but I found it 4 years ago. It’s a colour linocut from 1974. I called it At Peace and thought of the figure as meditating.

Framed Yoga

The prints span 11 years and also span my different names, from a previous married name, to a hyphenated previous married name to my birth name–none of which are my present name, but all of which referred to me at different times. See my About page for a little more on this.