Aspects of the Heart

Here are the 4 block prints I’ve made for the upcoming heart show at Gerrard Art Space in Toronto. The gallery has called for submissions of up to four pieces which got me thinking about the four chambers of the heart. This led me to the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Though I made these prints as a series with the birds, mammals, trees and clouds making different appearances, it wasn’t until I completed all 4 that I saw they could be characters in a story. The Hearts of Fire print in particular brings to mind children’s books.

I enjoyed the process of making these prints. Only the Hearts of Air turned out to my liking after the first proof and I made no corrections to what I had already carved. With Hearts of Earth, I made a few changes after taking a rough proof. But with the other two–water and fire–I carved three renditions of each until I was happy with them. In each case, they ended up with very different designs than those I began with.

Hearts of Earth:

hearts of earth

Hearts of Air:

hearts of air

Hearts of Fire:

hearts of fire

Hearts of Water:

hearts of water

The Sun The Sun

I’ve been carving 4 block prints that I’ll be entering into a show in Toronto. When they’re done, I’ll post them here. But, in the meantime, here’s a photo I took on December 28th while on the streetcar. There was an unusual occurrence–the sun came out after a generally very grey autumn and early winter! Happy New Year one and all.

And, the sun was out today as well….

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.

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.

Before and After the Ice Storm

On my walks around my neighbourhood in Toronto, I notice small sights and sounds. Around ten days ago, and before last weekend’s ice storm, I came upon these soggy leaves in a garden. The long white and grey leaf looked very much like a wing to me. I had to look closely at first to see what it was.

 leaf wing

Then, this past Tuesday, when the ice was starting to recede and people had done some cleaning up, I saw these small branches and twigs. Someone had beautifully bundled them and they looked to me like part of an art installation.

After the ice storm 1

And, a little further on I saw leaves of bulbs, dried grasses and twigs through the ice in someone’s garden. I liked the contrast of the plants with the white ice.

After the ice storm

As for what catches my ear these days–the birds are singing away. I noticed their return a few weeks ago. Not that some didn’t overwinter, but the increase in song was very apparent. I heard my first robin’s spring song last week. And I’ve been hearing cardinals, red winged blackbirds and the many house sparrows that accompany my walks year round.

On the art front, my block prints are finally dry and I’m about to pack them up and submit them to BIMPE. I’ll be sending them to Vancouver on Monday. Then I’ll be able to turn my attention to other projects.

The Must See Kimonos of Itchiku Kubota

Some of the most beautiful works of art I’ve ever seen are now on display at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. Itchiku Kubota created the 41 kimonos in this show between 1976 and 2003, when he died at the age of 86. If you live in or near Toronto, this show is on until May 13th. The kimonos combine many elements–embroidery, ink drawing, resist and tie dying–to create the scenes that often travel across several kimonos, creating panoramas of nature and the cosmos. The kimonos are of different seasons and parts of the universe–so some are very brightly coloured and others, more muted. Here’s some photos I took at this excellent exhibit.