Sunday, July 27, 2014

Educators Week at Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine

Next in line in the "catch up" posts is this past week's great adventure at Hog Island's Educators Week.

I've been privileged to be an instructor on the island for five years now. It's one of my favorite places, staffed by some of my favorite people, and visited by some of the most dedicated educators you'll ever meet.

I take very few photos during camp... our schedules are chock-a-block and I just never think of it. But here are a few highlights from some of my sessions, at least, in no particular order:

Arrival: We had a full house this week... about 60 educator/campers.
Everyone's just starting to make friends and find their feet the first night.

How can you not get comfortable with a view like this?

Making journals in the Queen Mary lab on the only rainy morning of the week.

Chatting and making found object weavings in the shade on our all-day island hike.

View of camp from the narrows.

Summiting on the cross-island trail. Elevation? 98 feet. ;-)

Intertidal exploration

Internet sensations, the Hog Island osprey nest (with three soon-to-fledge youngsters)
can be watched online at There are puffin and guillemot cams to
be found there, too. Just sayin'.

Workshop participant Sue takes time out to make a journal entry.

The most spectacular naturalist I know, Ted Gilman (left), celebrated
his 40th anniversary with Audubon during camp. Yay, Ted. Love you.

Yep. It's pretty hard to take island life.
Lots of other things happened, too, of course... including a boat tour to Eastern Egg Rock to see puffins, a pond exploration, bird workshops, photography workshops, astronomy, geology, nocturnal marine creatures... but I don't have photos! (And did I mention the lobster feast on the last night of camp?) You'll just have to join us next year and take your own.

If you are an educator or know an educator, check out the program website. Registration for 2015 will probably begin some time in October, and scholarship opportunities and applications will ramp up about then, too. Maine in the summer... what's not to love?

"Wind-Wave-Wing" at the Project Puffin Visitor Center

I'm still in Maine (!!!), but headed home soon. I've got a day off today so thought it might be time to catch up a little.

Okay. I had a day off yesterday, too... but I went sailing instead of blog posting. I hope you understand. :-)

On Wednesday, July 16, we enjoyed a little reception and I gave a short presentation about reduction printing in conjunction with my show, "Wind-Wave-Wing" at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine.

As an added bonus, I was delighted to have friends and colleagues Jim Coe, Cindy House, Karen Scharff, Bob Petty, and Chuck Remington attending from (get this) New York, New Hampshire, Montana, and Washington DC. Bob and I have worked together on projects for the National Audubon Society for probably ten years and this was the first time we met in person! Such a delight.

The show continues through the end of October, so if you're in the area, please stop on by!

Addendum: Forgot to mention that on Saturday, July 19th I gave a half-day beginning linocut workshop in conjunction with the PPVC and the Farnsworth Museum. Thanks so much to all of my workshop participants and to the staff of both the museum and the PPVC. It was a fun day!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Linos at the Ladies....

Twenty-four hours until departure for Maine... and The Mother of All To-do Lists* is hanging tough. Actually, I've just about reached the limit of what can be done before I go... the rest will have to wait until I return.. in August!

Meanwhile, a dozen linocuts are now gracing the walls of the excellent Laughing Ladies Restaurant here in Salida. Fantastic food AND nice art? How can you go wrong? Show hangs through September 3rd. Tell Jeff and Margy I sent you. ;-)

And last night I received an email that said "bring more art," since linos are winging their way to new homes from the Project Puffin Visitor Center show! Yikes. My suitcase is already packed to overflowing!

Added to that quandary... one of the pieces that needs to be replaced is a tiny (4 x 6 inches) black-and-white image... the complete edition of which I didn't have time to pull before the work was due in Rockland in May. Oops. So guess what I did today?

Yep. I pulled some prints. Three cheers for cobalt drier! It's nasty stuff, and I try to avoid it, but sometimes you just have to resort to chemistry to get the job done. Should be ready to trim up and add to the suitcase in the morning. And, hey! That item wasn't even on The Mother List.

I'm traveling with the full gamut of technology this trip, so will hopefully be able to do a post or two from the coast. That is if I can drag myself away from the water long enough!

(*The Mother of All To-do Lists: Life got so complicated this summer that my exhibition-and-workshop-related to-do list became a spreadsheet. Seventy-five actions on the list since June 1... and that's only the prep items. Actually teaching the workshops and attending the exhibitions is a whole 'nuther list entirely. Wrong, I say. Just. Wrong.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Wind-Wave-Wing" at the Project Puffin Visitor Center

I returned home this afternoon from a couple of (great) workshops (with fantastic participants, thank you all!) at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival... And I'm out the door and headed east again in a few short days. It's July, so it must be Maine!

First up... I'll be presenting a short program about reduction linocuts at the reception for my exhibition "Wind-Wave-Wing" at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine. Next Wednesday, July 16, 5:00-7:00pm. If you're in the neighborhood I'd love to see you!

Saturday, July 19, I'll be offering a half-day introductory linocut workshop in conjunction with both the PPVC and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. As of today there were only two spots left... registration information is here.

And of course the annual Educator's Week at Hog Island Audubon Camp begins Sunday, July 20. Whew! Gonna be a great and busy time.

"Gaining Ground," reduction linocut, 9" x 6"
Currently on exhibit at the Project Puffin Visitor Center

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fieldwork Friday on Sunday, or, How I Spent my July 4th (Yes, there's a sketch in here.)

Tomorrow I am off to lead workshops at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, and three days after I return I head to Maine for two weeks. (Three days after I get back from Maine I leave again, but that's August, so we're ignoring it for now.)

Prep for all these workshops and travel is at a fever pitch, so when a friend suggested we "go do something" for the holiday I was a bit reluctant. But once we decided the "something" would be a visit to the Orient Mine to witness the nightly egress of 250,000 free-tailed bats... well... What prep? Do I have prep to do?

View to the southwest from the trail to the Orient Mine
The mine is in the San Luis Valley, the trailhead just over an hour from Salida. We were in and out of rain showers during our ascent to "the bat cave," but the cool temps made the steepish climb a lot easier!

The air smelled of sage and the scrub oaks were thick with towhees. Why the heck did I even hesitate about getting out here?

Almost there!
Just at dusk the sun made a crazy-intense appearance below the cloud layer. A long streak of golden glow sliced across the valley. Spectacular.

Can you say "future linocut"?
But then the bats!

We'd been sitting outside the mine for probably 45 minutes, watching naught but swallows and swifts and then suddenly the sky was full of bats. From time to time the flow over our heads and down the hillside was so intense and fast that it was like a summer rainshower... but of bats instead of raindrops.

I didn't get much for photos... nothing that would suggest the feeling of the spectacle, but...

This one's emiggenable so you can see the bats a wee bit better. Not much.
Best shot of the bunch.
I did, of course, say this was a Fieldwork Friday post... and yes, I did make a little sketch of the "Glory Hole," the main route the bats take out of the collapsed mine.

It was full dark by the time we made it back to the truck... but the adventure wasn't over even then! On the drive out via rocky backroad we flushed a couple of common nighthawks and probably six or seven common poorwills... the red reflections of their eyes in our headlights alerting us to their presence long before we saw the birds themselves.

No fireworks, parades, or loud parties for us... but I think we had the best July 4th ever.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Salida ArtWalk, and other mysteries

It's that time again.... Out of the studio and on to the street. Or in to the woods. Or out on the ocean. Or some combination of all of the above.

It's ArtWalk weekend here in Salida... My linos and I will be hanging out Saturday night at cultureclash gallery, so come on out and say hello.

And the Month of Crazy looms:

July 8-10: I'll be offering field sketching and illustrated journal classes at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. The western slope has had lots of water this year, so the flower show should be spectacular!

July 11: Linocuts grace the walls at the awesome Laughing Ladies Restaurant here in Salida. Through August.

July 16: Opening reception (and probably a little gallery talk) at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine... where all those seabird linos are featured for the summer.

July 19: Introduction to linocut workshop, "Seabirds in Relief," at the PPVC and Farnsworth Museum, Rockland.

July 20-25: I'll be on staff for "Sharing Nature: An Educator's Week" at Hog Island Audubon Camp, Bremen, Maine.

August 1-3: Crested Butte Arts Festival.

Ooph. I'm tired already, but it's gonna be fun! Hope to catch up with some of you along the way....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Linocut in Progress: The subtle finish

The last phase of the sunset linocut was trickier than I expected. I wanted one final transparent color to add a little more contrast to the sky and a subtle suggestion of additional shapes in the mountains.

My first attempt was WAY too dark... It overpowered the entire image. (Even with wet ink glare in the middle, sorry.) Thankfully the test was made on a print that had torn and already been rejected. (You can see the big ol' hole halfway up on the right side.)

Oops. That color is TOO DARK.

So. Plan B. I scrubbed off the block, the roller, and the inking slab and added a ton more transparent base to the blue I started with. The good news about that bad color was that it showed me I didn't really like the shapes I had left in the sky, either... So I went back and did a lot more carving of small, energetic strokes in the clouds.
Sunset linocut, Step... 7? I think.
I'm happy with the sky now, but that same color applied in the mountains didn't really show at all, except as a shiny patch. So one more attempt to mix a transparent purple-blue that will be subtle in the lower half of the image.
Sunset linocut, Step 8, final
The last color looks a little more contrasty in this image than it does in real life, but I suspect that's a limitation of the camera phone. (It seems to struggle with blues.) When everything's dry enough that I can take the piece outside in good light I'll get a proper shot and share it.

At any rate, glad that's finished and able to dry for a couple of days now. I'm headed to the Front Range yet again tomorrow... to deliver sold work to the Governor's Show, and to a collector, and to teach a little workshop for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory's "On the Wing" youth camp. Back on Wednesday and ready to tackle the next set of tasks for this busy summer.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Catching up, moving on

The problem with going out of town to participate in an art festival (for me) is the amount of time it takes to get re-organized when I get home!

I am pleased to say that last weekend's ASLD Summer Art Market event in Denver went really well... and would have likely been even better had the skies not opened up and poured rain and hail starting mid-day Sunday. There were even tornado warnings! Ugh.

But lots of linos found new homes, and I got to see friends I hadn't seen in ages. Ten or twelve years, in some cases! The response to my work was fantastic, which always feels good. Many visitors recognized "Coot du Jour" from its tenure as Best in Show at the League's Pressing Issues/Mo'Print exhibition this past spring, and I had a chance to enlighten lots of folks about the process of reduction printing.  In all a worthwhile endeavor.

Today will be the first time I get back into the studio to finish the sunset linocut. To get myself back in the proper headspace I went straight to work in pajamas this morning... drawing carving notes on the block. It's ready for tools, now... and my plan (!) is to accomplish all the carving today and finish printing tomorrow.

The rest of a busy summer looms on the horizon. I'll be on the road for almost all of July, so studio time will be practically non-existent. (sigh)  But hey... there will be plenty of workshop and exhibition reports to share... and hopefully some fieldwork done along the way.