Prairie Spring by Willa Cather

“Prairie Spring” – Text by Willa Cather. White ink and metal pen on paste-painted paper ground. Framed to 14 in x 18 in.

This piece, “Prairie Spring”, is currently on display in “The Horse” exhibition at the Ryniker-Morrison Gallery of the Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT. The text is a Willa Cather poem of the same name.

I have arrived … in the Letter Arts Review

The back cover of the current issue of Letter Arts Review

I’m so pleased to have been selected for inclusion in the annual juried review issue of the Letter Arts ReviewAnd to be included as a tile on the page cover (top right)!

I realize that although I have posted a process image of the piece , I never did post a final image. Here it is, shown below. I’m also honored to have “Fragment” included “Formation,” a juried exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers which will travel to Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia in the coming year.

“Fragment” – poem by Amy Lowell. Paper mosaic cut from a single piece of paste-painted paper.

Opening night at The Artists’ Shop in Missoula

I had a wonderful time Friday night at the opening of my solo show in Missoula. I took these photos just before the opening began. It’s a good thing I did because, although I thought I’d get some more photos later, I forgot all about it once people began arriving. It doesn’t matter much; my photography skills can only be described as underwhelming.

It was gratifying to see it all come together so well. Thanks so much to Ann Franke and my husband Ed for helping to hang the show. Actually, I think the better characterization is that I helped them hang the show!

Entrance to The Artists’ Shop, 127 N. Higgins, Missoula, Montana.
So nice to see my name up on the wall! Two Mady poems, an artist book entitled “Letters Inspire I”, plus guest book, etc.


A few of the Mady poems. There are 15 Mady poems in the show.
An artist book plus a piece entitled “So Long, Darcy: Fact-Checking Jane Austen”.
Three circular pieces.

A sneak preview of a couple of pieces in the solo show in Missoula

A solo show of my work opens on Friday at The Artists’ Shop in Missoula. I’m almost ready. Here are a couple of things to see in the show:

Presidential Premonishment

Gouache and a #6 Mitchell nib, lettered to fill a 12″ circle on soft-pressed Fabriano Artistico. I began doing this style of whatever-it-is in high school, long before I discovered calligraphy. The text come from 32 speeches by US presidents 1-44. I have found it a comfort to ruminate on the words of our previous US presidents, from Washington to Obama.

I’ve done several circular pieces for the show, including the paper mosaic, Fragments,  that I posted about earlier.  It was finally completed last week. 

There’s Plenty of Room in my Garden, by Madeleine Y. Gomez

Many pieces in the show are the originals of work I did for a commissioned book of poetry. I re-did this one, this time without regard to the center gutter. You’ll probably have to click on the image to read the list of words that make up the stems of most of the flowers. Size is 12″ square.

Solo show at the Artists’ Shop in Missoula

I know I’ve been quiet. I’ve been keeping my head down and getting the work done. In between, I made a quick trip to Chicago to take a bookbinding workshop on forwarding basics with Karen Hanmer. What an excellent teacher! I’ll post more on that … when I get a little more done.

The show runs September 1 – 30.

A show of my work opens on Friday, September 1, at the Artists’ Shop in MIssoula. It’s been a long time since I had a solo show, and I had partially forgotten all the work that goes into one.

I’ll be showing 14 pieces from the book that poet Madeleine Gomez  commissioned. I’ll also have some newer broadsides and books.  Lately I’ve been into circular designs (see one example below).  I’ve become enamored of texture, specifically textures formed by our alphabet, and the circular format. I’ve always liked the square format; a circle shares properties of a square but is more dynamic, moving the eye.

Ready to work. That tall skinny box houses the framing chops, while the two large flat boxes propped against the wall hold mat board and foam core. A portfolio of some finished pieces, some cut-up foam core, and a few pieces of Plexi lie on the corner of the work table. (That frame on the floor is for a print we bought in Cuba. While all the framing stuff is out, I’d better get that done too.)
I’m accumulating off-cuts of mat board and foam core. When I’m finished framing I’ll probably cut them down to standard frame sizes for storage.
In progress: A stack of mat sandwiches shows progress; 3 originals and another portfolio of finished work await mats and back.

Orders for framing supplies – mat board, foam core, framing chops, Plexiglas – had been arriving for the past week. In preparation, I assembled a matting/framing station in the basement TV room: work table on cinder blocks on towels, cutting mat, mat knives, 4-foot metal ruler, Logan mat cutter and knife, empty trash can, and so on. Last night I started. I queued up some “Father Brown” mysteries, which I’d never watched before, and got to work. A mere 4 hours later, I had 12 finished mat sandwiches awaiting the construction of their frames, plus hole-less mats and foam-core backs for 6 more pieces. Not bad for an evening’s work, given how long it’s been since I did much framing. And the Father Brown mysteries were quite enjoyable.

In progress: paste-painted paper mosaic fills the counters of the text to the poem “Fragment,” by Amy Lowell. On watercolor paper.

About a month ago I though it would be a good idea to do this Amy Lowell poem as a paper mosaic. It’s looking more and more as though this piece may be finished in time for the show.


At The Met

To continue the account of my recent art feast …

The day after I went to the Grolier Club, The Frick, and The Morgan, Ed and I visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This time, for a change, we took a tour of the highlights of the museum. It was interesting enough, but afterwards we wandered, and some things particularly caught my eye.

Gallery 690 displays a rotating selection of The Met’s prints and drawings. We made it a point to visit this gallery to enjoy the etchings by Rembrandt and Castiglione that were on view. The costume studies by Leon Bakst were also incredible.

I was interested to see examples of the graphic design of Erwin Puchinger, an Austrian who designed for Viennese newpapers and periodicals at the beginning of the 20th century. According to the information provided by The Met, this design for a certificate of Viennese citizenship shows his early exposure to the English book illustrations of the Arts and Crafts movement, its four allegorical figures are reminiscent of Pre-Raphaelite, and the decorative borders show Moorish influences.

This framed piece shows the black-and-white design of a book cover with notes indicating color and adjustments, as well as the 3-color-printed piece on blue cloth. Puchinger was chair of the manual graphics design department of the Viennese Graphic Design School  and this was 1913 publication honored the school’s 25th anniversary.

You can see images of everything on display in Gallery 690 here. Take a look at Leon Bakst’s illustrations!

Baltimore and book arts

Through a post in the Book-Arts-L listserv, I recently discovered that something interesting things have been going on in Baltimore regarding artist books. This article in HUB, the Johns Hopkins magazine, describes an interesting class, “Paper Museums: Exhibiting Artists’ Books at the Baltimore Museum of Art”, which led to an exhibit from the collection of artists’ books at the Baltimore Museum of Art. This exhibit, entitled Off the Shelf: Modern and Contemporary Artists’ Books, opens tomorrow, and I wish I could see it.

Many of the books are collaborations between authors and artists –between Guillaume Apollinaaire and Raoul Dufy, between Stephen King and Barbara Kruger, between Joan Miró and Paul Élard. This article has more detailed information about the pieces in the exhibit. Unfortunately, there is no catalog. I asked.


At the MONA in Tasmania

On a recent trip to Australia, I visited the best ever museum: the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), up the river from Hobart, Tasmania. What a ride! And I’m not talking about the ferry we took from Hobart’s Sullivan Cove to the MONA — although that was a great way to start the journey.

Here are a couple of photos of one of my favorite installations, entitled “”.

Untitled installation at the MONA
Untitled installation at the MONA


A closer look at the untitled installation
A closer look at the untitled installation

I was aware of so many simultaneous reactions to this room full of blank white books — undergoing a kind of vertigo of meaning while critiquing a loose headband; contemplating the horror of a zombie library while wondering at the artist’s control in not making a mark in any of the books or shelves or tables; imagining the impact of one red dot while wondering at the impulse to find meaning even in this blank room; acknowledging the urge to make a mark somewhere while mulling over various criticisms of the blank book made within the artist book community; remembering a cartoon from my childhood in which all the musical notes came loose from the staves and fell off the page; thinking about invisible ink, the perils of magnetic media …

And that was just one work of art on the three subterranean floors of the MONA. We stayed all afternoon and didn’t see everything — not even close.

Here were some of the highlights for me:

  • Kryptos” by Brigita Ozolins— winding corridors upon whose walls were a binary code translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh, with ancient cuneiform artifacts  set into the walls at intervals;
  • Pulse” by Rafael Lozano Hemmer — a row of incandescent bulbs (imported from China because the are illegal to buy in Australia), each one blinking at the heart rate of a visitor who stepped up to the monitor and recorded his or her pulse — and then you turn the corner into a room full of the bulbs;
  • “When My Heart Stops Beating” by Patrick Hall — open each of the floor-to-ceiling drawers to read text and hear a recorded “I love you”; it’s indescribable, you just have to be there, but here’s an article about it;
  • A collection of Henry Darger‘s drawings

I could go on. And have, much to the boredom of my friends.

And when it all got to be too much, a bounce on the trampoline outside was the perfect break.

Two accepted in juried show

Remember the juried show I blogged about in February? Well, two of my three submissions were accepted. The one I was finishing up just in time for submission didn’t make it. (I realize why, but I would have enjoyed the irony: The last time I submitted artwork to this juried show was about 20 years ago, and the piece that was accepted was based on the same quotation about topsoil.)

This piece was accepted:

And this book was accepted (here’s one page view and few thumbnails of other page views):

I’m very pleased. Calculating from the information given in the acceptance letter, 2/3 of artists who submitted work had their work accepted, and only 1/4 of accepted artists had 2 pieces accepted. But who’s counting, eh?

Anybody planning to enter anything in the Letter Arts Review “Review 2007” juried show? I’ve never entered anything, but many years I’ve planned to. I’m planning to this year, too 🙂

But at the moment I’m immersed in Loeffler’s Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola and Piano. I blithely agreed to play the piano part for an oboist’s spring jury and recital next month. After I’d looked at this 42-page behemoth a little more carefully I had a minor crisis of confidence as to whether I could actually play the thing. This is a first — the crisis of confidence, I mean, as far as playing the piano is concerned. But I’m feeling better about it, after several hours’ practice, and some time with the score at the gym. I’ve discovered that it takes a little more than 35 minutes to get through the whole 42 pages twice with the iPod set to a 2-track playlist — depending on which elliptical machine I’m using. Evidently all the elliptical machines don’t count time exactly the same. Who knew?