2008, I hardly knew ye

Time rushes past. As a child I remember waiting an eternity until dinnertime. Now, days, weeks and years go by faster than the blink of an eye. 2008 was a good year.

I started my art career in earnst. January I started this blog to record my artistic endeavors and made my Etsy shop debut.

February I joined the Kishwaukee Valley Art League and showed in the Egyptian Theatre show.

I started trying out linocut prints in March and did a few swaps.

April brought a commission for NIU Alumni office to create a pen and ink of Altgeld Hall.

In May we celebrated my husband's 49th birthday. The oddesy of watching a baby bird, Heini, grow up was documented on my flickr. I also came in second for the DeKalb County Corn Fest Logo Contest. The winner came from Minnesota - I still don't get it.

I was blessed to be able to rent my very first art studio downtown and will never forget my time there with it's wonderful windows and checkered floor tile. A Door County vacation in the middle of June was just what we needed. The water was still a bit cold, but our friends Robyn and Matt and Al and Elinor came up at the same time which made it an extra special time. I still remember Elinor singing while Al played the guitar under a star-filled night while we toasted marshmallows and tried to pop corn over an open fire. The J-man started working at his first job at an equestrian center. On the way back home we stopped by Andre-Kohler State Park and vowed to come back in 2009.

I turned 41 in July. With the help of my studio I was able to paint a Huskie for the Huskies On Parade . I also worked up my courage and entered the Rockford Midwestern Show. I wasn't accepted, but just entering let me know that I was gaining self-confidence in my work. Uncle John celebrated his 90th birthday with a huge picnic at his farm.

August. My baby turned 15, started shaving, got a job, and is now *officially* taller than I am. I hosted a pin party at the studio and was learning more and more about print making. My family went to the Sandwich Fair together and had taffy, elephant ears, you name it. We played our favorite game: the mouse game. J. returned to school entering into his Sophomore year.

In September
two of my prints were accepted into the F.U.E.L. Grand Small Works Show in Philadelphia. My confidence is gaining new heights! Then I was juried into and won an honorable mention in the Norris Cultural Arts Vicinity Show for my print entitled "Cave Point Park.".

October continued with many blessings when two prints were accepted into "Knock: Door County's Cultural Arts Magazine. One was for the Autumn, 2008 publication while the other will be in the Winter,2009 issue. I changed studio locations and so artwork productivity trickled down during this time.

November was set aside for preparation for my very first solo show. It was entitled "Organic Narrative" and was held at the DeKalb Area Women's Center. Many, many thanks to everyone who attended. The show was held concurrently with my best friend, Robyn Wells' show: I Couldn't Be More Me. Right after Thanksgiving, we took a family trip to the Christkindlemarket. I didn't know the spiced wine would be quite so, umm, ur... toasty.

December I set up Organic Narrative, went full throttle on Facebook, took down the show. Celebrated Christmas with my family and my family's family. It really was a wonderful year. All except the last week when my boss told all of us that we need to cut hours and cut pay in order to stay afloat. I keep saying it. I have the best job in the world and work with the kindest people in the world. Let's pray that this is a temporary setback and 2009 will bring many more blessings into our home.

Say, "Goodnight," Gracie.


Idea for a new print

Idea for a new print, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

There are three raccoons that come onto our roof almost every night. I was afraid at first that they were making their home somewhere in the roof or chimney, but they aren't. (whew!) It is just their regular route from the trees, across the powerlines, onto our maple tree, onto the roof and down the drainpipe to our back yard. Sometimes they will roll the grass up in the summertime trying to get to the grubs. They eat the raspberries and chitter at night to wake me up. When I go to the window I see them trying their hardest to get back into the tree by pulling several branches together until they flip up into the tree and scramble away. These sketches show a bit of the planned print about them.


Christmas, 2008

Herrmann Home, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

2008 was a pretty dang good year up until this last week. I've had a bit of a dry spell as far as my art goes. I haven't completed anything besides this illustration to be used as a gift. At work I've had one day removed from my schedule AND a pay cut on top of that.So, I'll be ramping up the artwork to make ends meet. First on the list is to become an Art-o-Mat artist using my prints. Second is to visit the fused glass store again and maybe learn stained glass techniques. The prints and glass would then be used to fuel my Etsy store. Spring is right around the corner, right?


Organic Narrative Preview

Organic Narrative Preview, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The show is set. I still have to make a handbook, but everything is up and ready to go. Whew! That feels better. Now I can start on some new work.


National Small Print Exhibition - Kenosh, WI

Well, I didn't make it in to the exhibition. It would seem a bit odd if I had gotten in because I've only made like five blocks in my whole life. I have so much to learn about the process and history. I love waiting weeks for the results, the feeling of getting the judges' envelope in the mail - crossing my fingers and thinking happy thoughts. Sometimes opening the envelope leaves me elated, sometimes not so much. It's like playing the lottery. On better news: Al DID get a piece in the show! CONGRATULATIONS to Al!!!! YAY! You have been accepted into a NATIONAL show!

I picked up my work from the Norris Cultural Center today. I'll be sending off the pieces accepted for the Grand Small Works show in Philadelphia and I'm still preparing for the December show. I didn't have time to prepare anything for the KVAL Egyptian Show, but I wouldn't want to show duplicates for the DAWC show anyway. That is why there haven't been many photos or updated works lately. I don't want to spoil the surprise. If any of you can come, I would enjoy seeing you there!


Redo... Depression

Redo... Depression, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This was created previously, but was done quickly and not on a good paper; so I'm redoing it. You can see where I used a grid to transfer my original.

New Studio: New Work Area

Studio: Work Area, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Well, I'm all moved in to my new studio space and started work on the December show. I've got quite a few other shows lined up and am mulling over some new ideas for prints. In the meantime there is plenty to keep me busy. Today I received in the mail my EIN, so after I file with my county clerk, it will be official and PEJNOLAN STUDIOS will be open for business. I'm staying up late trying to figure out how federal and state taxes work, what forms I need to fill out (and when). I'm also seeing how the Small Business Administration might be able to help me answer all my administrative and tax questions. Nerves are a good thing - they make me work everything out so I will do a good job.!


Organic Narrative Art Card

Organic Narrative Art Card, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Well, I've sent it to the printer. If there are any mistakes on it, please don't tell me. I just couldn't take it. 500 are on order, if you would like one, just send me your address and I'll mail one out to you when they arrive! Or, better yet, come to the artist reception December 7th, 2-4pm at the DeKalb Area Women's Center and pick up a card there. I'm getting nervous again. It's been almost a full month since I've worked on anything due to the studio move. I don't even have a work area set up yet. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Here is some of my thinking behind the card design:
I'm billing the show as "Organic Narrative: The artist’s life experience shown symbolically through acrylic, metalwork, and print making." Organic not only refers to my bio-morphic style, but my mind as well. The muted, earthy colors are my preferred palette. The border on the front of the card mimics a book which goes back to the narrative quality of my pieces. I hope this is a good show.

Earlier this week was awful. The angry-angst-y me prevailed. Like my boss said. I just don't like Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Now that Friday is here I'm happy-go-lucky-me once again.

Another note: Pirates vs. Ninjas tonight downtown at 5:30 - be there or be square.

Uploaded by pejnolan on 24 Oct 08, 3.35PM CDT.
spacer image



Two of my prints have been accepted into the F.U.E.L. Grand Small Works Show in Philadelphia for the show in December. The first is Man Child and the second is Cave Point Park

The F.U.E.L. Collection -- housed in a neoclassical building that was the former home of the Seamen’s Church Institute & the location of MTV’s Real World Philadelphia -- invites artists working in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, or collage to submit works no larger than 20 x 20 inches for the Grand Small Works Show, taking place in December 2008.

For this exhibition, F.U.E.L. will attempt to fit 1,000 small works in one show, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local charities. Entry is by digital images. To apply, submit jpgs along with first and last name, e-mail, web site (if applicable), phone, location, titles of work/s, medium, and price range to submit@fuelcollection.com.

The deadline for submissions is on the 30th of October, so there is still time to enter!


IF - Sugary

IF - Sugary, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I haven't done Illustration Friday in ages! This week's work was "sugary." To me that means sickingly sweet. A five year old would love this, though. Some of the ideas were borrowed from the rules of cuteness at Cute Overload: Large eyes, large head, wet eyes and noses, proportionally small body, multiples, etc.

I haven't worked at the studio once since finishing the last Huskie on Parade. I really need to pack up and move. Darkness is creeping in sooner now that it is Autumn and the cool, dark weather makes me so sleepy - not to mention that I have a cold. Things will pick up. I guess now is a period to rest before the next surge of creative energy. I have to accept that I need these times to fill my tank so to speak.

heh-heh... just looking at the illustration again... it makes me gag it is so sweet.



Today I wrote my 30 day notice to the landlord for my studio. I'm a bit sad about it. I had such a good energy going there. It was my first leap of faith - that I could (and would) work more on my art. I look back in the 4 months I was there and the tremendous amount of quality work completed. That makes my heart happy. It's just saying goodbye that hurts. The natural lighting was superb and the black and white tiles were cool. I enjoyed watching people look up from the street and point while I was working. The scent of the Thai Pavilion across the was yummy. I got a cool table and bookshelf out of the deal, at least. I have until the 25th to move out.

There will still be a studio for me. Actually it will be closer, it's in the basement of my brother's new home. This time I'll have an area walled off just for me! There is a work sink - the better to clean my brushes with. I hope the good energy that I built up will transfer over to the new place. I'll be creating items for my upcoming shows and juried exhibitions, so I'm praying it will work out.

Everything is going so well in my life right now. I guess I'm just afraid that any change will disrupt that balance. I'll admit it: I fear change. I'll just have to pull myself up from the bootstraps, put on a happy face and go for it with the same determination I had at the first studio. There is so much in the world to be fearful of - especially of what MIGHT happen. The thought makes my mind race and makes it difficult to sleep. Not just the studio, but war, the economy, the house we live in, food and gas costs... everything. Even after years knowing that I have no control, I still cling to the belief (however minute) that I do. Letting go and letting God is much easier said than lived.


I was accepted! AND was awarded an Honorable Mention!

'm so excited! One of my linocut prints entitled "Cave Point Park" which I printed with water based black ink on ochre Mulberry paper was accepted into the "Vicinity" show in St. Charles, Illinois! I was even more excited when they told me I was awarded an honorable mention! It isn't a monetary award, but that doesn't matter at all to me. There are artists there who have decades of experience (some of them taught me in college way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). So, I'm am so pleased that I'm starting to hold my own against against a wider range than my immediate area. If you can go to the show, check it out!

Exhibit Opens: Saturday, October 4

Reception & Awards: Sunday, October 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Exhibit Closes: Saturday, November 15


Burning the candle at both ends

WARNING: This is similar to the litany of Job:
I've been so busy at work that I work late, then I come home, make dinner, go straight to the studio and work until late into the night. Come home, pay bills, get some family responsibility stuff done, arrgh! (Insert scream here.)I need two extra days in the week to get everything completed. I'm not really complaining, though. I guess I thrive on living life this way, but it does tire me out and I miss my family when I'm not at home. I ate lunch at a local mom and pop restaurant with my husband. I kind of forgot about the time and took a really long lunch. He is tired too and thinks he's coming down with something. Yesterday the car broke down - I think it is a U-joint which sounds really expensive. So all the hard work I've been putting in at the studio to officially start my own business and purchase some nifty new tools will probably go into fixing the stupid car. I've been finishing up the Huskies on Parade, working on the December show at the DAWC, creating and submitting work to other juried shows, there's just alot going on right now. I sure hope that all this work pays off down the road.


Lambs from the fair

Lambs from the fair, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Here I've inked the block to view my progress so far. I let the tengucho paper and nori dry thuroughly - overnight - before carving and it is adherely to the lino block really well. I purchased new X-actos so it cuts instead of tears. I still have to cut out the straw, then I'll be ready to print. It is one of the blocks I'll be using for the DAWC show. To be honest, I though it might sell well around Christmas because of the stable look.



Lop Eared Rabbit, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The fair was a great place to get reference shots of different animals. I wish I had the couage to take photos of all the characters there too. One old man had such a kind, wrinkled face with bright sparkling eyes and wore a cowboy hat. He was so happy to be at the fair! He was following his wife who had a hard-life look about her. They were complete opposites. Another young guy was dressed as Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean. His long dark hair was a tangle of small braids, dread locks, and red hankerchieves. There were piercings and tatoos everywhere and he wore uberwide black denim pants with skulls and crossbones painted on towards to bottom. To top it off he was drunk as a skunk which made his eyes glisten and his body sway as he spoke. There were the hard core FFA members with plaid shirts, cowboy hats & boots, and straight backs. There were adorable little girls with brown curls reaching out to win their first stuffed animal prize. Spoiled girls crying that they didn't want to buy that, they wanted to buy this. People watching is a wonderful pastime.


Solo Show in December!

Solo Show in December, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

It's marked in the books! Keep the date open. Robayre and I will have concurrent solo shows in the twin galleries at the DeKalb Area Women's Center this December with an Artist's Reception on Sunday, December 7th from 2-4 p.m. Hope to see you there!Remember way back when *shimmering lights fade into memory* I said my new year's goal was to have a show in a gallery? Well, baby, this is it! I just squeaked in just under the "year's up" deadline.

And now for something completely different...
Does somone or something just annoy the heck out of you and you just can't stay away, so you're subjected to the same torture repeatedly? There is a particular person who just pops up from behind me, literally making me jump, and engages me in the most awkward conversations. The next time I see them, I try to keep my distance. I momentarily am sidetracked and *POOF* there they are - RIGHT IN MY FACE. Do they have some sort of super stealth power or the ability to stop time? I heard the military is perfecting a cloaking device... huh.


"Man-Child" - B&W

"Man-Child" - B&W, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I am beginning to understand the neccesity of good quality materials when making a print. My technique, I think, is improving as well. This last set of prints I noticed the ink was just right when it was rolled with light pressure yet stuck to the glass as if there was a vaccuum. A little ink goes a long way. Before I tried to slop a bunch on. Now I understand that I don't have to forcebly roll the ink on the block, gentle pressure is enough. Plus, I'm less likely to put ink smudges on the areas of white space. This paper is amazing. Sometimes the hemp fibers fall off and attach themselves to the block. I have to keep an eye for this and pick the fibers off, but is is worth it. The paper soaks the ink in without feathering. I'm left with a crispness I didn't see in the kitakata - although I love that paper, too, but for different reasons. Black ink on white Kinwahi paper.
Available at my shop.

*** Kinwahi paper is Machinemade in Japan of 100% manila hemp. These translucent sheets are embedded with short straight fibers. One side of the sheet is very smooth and ideal for lithography, monoprinting, wood cut, and linoleum cut printing. Although called a white paper, these sheets have a slight buff/eggshell color to them.


Oh, you just wait!

Today I shirked my familial duties and was at the studio all day. It felt wonderful and I accomplished so much! I have all my print submissions finished and they are ready to send off. Afterwards, invited Robayre and Onnonayume over to make felt pins. Onnonayume couldn't make it today, but we'll get together again this week for another pin party. So, Robayre and I went shopping for art supplies and stopped by a pet store. We saw Russian box turtles, THE most adorable little puppies, lizards, kittens, goldfish. Walking out, half of me felt warm and fuzzy and half felt sad that I was leaving the little things behind. It's a good thing that I have the best little dog in the world at home or I would have been tempted. I can't wait to show you the pin and prints. Unfortunately I left my camera at home. Robayre has the photos on her camera and I'll post them as soon as I can. In the meantime, peace to you.


Why do you blog?

Rosa Murillo asked why people blog. It must have struck a chord with me. Here was my answer:
The question you raise is one that I just took for granted. I started blogging because I'm from a small midwestern town in the United States.

I've met creative people from all over the world. It not only expands my horizons, but my concern for individuals far, far away. If a contact lives in a country where political unrest is reported on the news, it becomes more than just a story about some country way over on the other side of the world. It becomes personal. That is a good thing. We're all part of this world together.

Blogging also introduces me to like-minded people. Growing up I felt so different. I didn't have that drive to "fit in" like everyone else seemed to. I wanted to think for myself and try new things. Lo and behold, there are other people in the world who what the same thing. They just were not in my immediate area.

Lastly, I think I blog so I can look back and remember where I've come from, what I've done. I've always imagined that when I get old, I would make a book of each and every blog or Flickr page. I would read and re-read my whole life. I'd be able to share it with others who didn't know me way back in the day... like my caregivers, or grandchildren. Maybe I would have Alzheimer's. I could read my life over just like in the movie "The Notebook."

Man-Child hand-lifted linocut

Man-Child hand-lifted linocut, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

It is such a thrill to cut the linework for a linocut, but never actually seeing what the result will be. That is until I ink it for the first time and it comes to life. It is working like crazy, hoping and imagining, wanting and praying, investing a bit of yourself; then seeing it in the real world for the first time - THAT is an awesome, albeight fleeting, moment. After that initial high, I get to make prints. Each one has unique characteristics. Pulling the paper off each time gives another momentary rush of excitement.


Man-Child, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The trees are changing color and some dry, dead leaves were in our yard today. The cicadas are singing. Nights are cooling down. Winter: I can't hardly stand to type, let alone, say the word. Regardless, it is coming just around the corner. Bur first there will be honey-crisp apples, cider doughnuts, the county fair, pumpkin-carving, the corn stalk maze, and golden trees with firey red neighbors. Autumn.

This is an artist proof of my latest linocut entitled, "Man-Child." It -shows a between time in life. My son and I are both in the midst of a tween time: he is going through adolesence, I'm going through mid life. Funny that we should be going through 'tween times together.

There are areas that I'll continue to work on, but I wanted to share this with everyone. It is my fourth block ever and I finally am getting closer to they way I want to work with pattern and texture. It is definitely not my brother's style. It seems whenever I try a new technique it takes some time before I feel comfortable enough to do my own work in my own style. I usually use someone else's art as inspiration first, then I become more at ease and actually begin creating. Despite finding areas to rework, I'm really pleased with this. P. purchased a new brayer and Dick Blick ink for my birthday - both made printing so much easier! Great buys! Thanks P.!

Tonight, 1:30am, Grace started barking at the raccoons on our rooftop. Good dog. Thank you for protecting our family from those crazy, rabid raccoons. You did your job. Now I can't sleep. I wan't to so badly. Nope! Wide awake!


New project

New project, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Banner day! My goal at the beginning of this year was to have a show in a gallery and today I received a phone call from the DeKalb Area Women's Group to have a solo show in December. That month is great because they also have their annual fine art fair for the holiday which equals higher visability. It is a great start and more people will see what I do. I was so excited that after dinner (enchiladas, yum!) I went over to the studio and started another linocut. I've been thinking about it for awhile, so I knew just how to begin. Before leaving for the night, I made a rubbing to see where I was at. So far, I'm happy with the result. I'm slowly learning more about technique and the actual printing process. Listening to my brother talk, I realize how many mistakes I'm making. That is a positive thing, though, because that means I'm improving and gettin' all educational-i-ma-tized 'bout me faults.

Dakokichi - even when I don't look like I'm listening, I am. Thanks.


Huskies On Parade: Completion

Where to begin when the project is already completed? (View the documentation here.The time has flown by in a haze of Mountain Dew and sleeplessness and thanks to Robayre and Onnanoyume the project is finished...dated and signed...on time. The night it was done, I felt like crying. How can a person grow so attached to an inanimate object? But, in the morning, I was excited to see how the client would receive it. All morning at work people were talking about it congratulating me on a job well done and that made me feel pretty durn good, but a little embarrassed by the attention. I am proud. It was hard work and I am happy with the results. This is the largest project I've taken on since, well, since forever. All the stress in coming out as a migraine tonight. Was it worth it? Oh, yeah, baby - was it ever. Well, ON TO THE NEXT PROJECT! CHARGE!


Phase 4: adding copper tape leading

I really enjoy how it makes the piece shine, but I'm torn between leaving the copper as is or using a patina to make it green or black. I wouldn't have to worry about oxidation if I left it because it will eventually be covered by an automotive clear coat. What do you think?

Uploaded by pejnolan on 6 Aug 08, 7.26AM CDT.


Introducnig Sogen!

Introducig Sogen!, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

My niece who is in grade school was staying with my mom over the weekend. When I stopped for a visit, she handed me the most extraordinary handbag with a matching mini bag! I thought my mom had helped her, but No! she had made it entirely herself and had made my mother one as well! Along with her other aunt, we came up with a company name and are going to give it a go on Etsy. Maybe she could raise money to go to college! It was so cute how she had a business plan and everything. This is just an idea for a label - Ms. Sogen hasn't seen it yet.


Huskies on Parade: Stage 3

So, today was good and bad. I woke up early for once and took a shower before J. woke up - that's good. Because of that I had time to go into the studio before work and worked a bit more on my Lady's Slipper block. Also good. I made it to work on time. (really good!).
Here's the bad part:
For lunch I went to my doctor and she told me: good cholesterol=low, bad cholesterol=high, triglycerides=way high, cholesterol=high; liver enzymes=high (all this while taking a cholesterol lowering drug). The proverbial nail? WEIGHT! Argh! I guess I gained 10 pounds in the last three months. No wonder I feel so tired.
From here on out these will be my personal rules: Soda only one time a week. One portion is plenty. Don't eat until I'm full, eat until I'm satisfied. Don't confuse being thirsty with being hungry. Don't eat because there is nothing else to do. 3 meals a day and no grazing. Eat out less often. More vegetables.
This should make a difference, I hope.
Tonight I tried taking a yoga class and was disgusted at how little I am actaully able to move. However, I could tell where I can improve and that is the first step. Tuesday nights at 6:30p.m. $9/session. Want to come?


Huskies on Parade - Stage Two

Huskies on Parade - Stage Two, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Before I started at the studio today, I stopped by a stained glass art shop and found copper foil tape. Sudden inspiration... The black leading lines will BE leading! That takes care of trying to make the eges of the leading look so precise. YAY!

Lady's Slipper 1st proof

Lady's Slipper 1st proof, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This is just to see where I'm at. I've plenty to work on, but overall I really like this. Today I blissfully worked away at the studio for four hours. The only reason I came back is because I knew I had been gone a long time. I could have stayed all night working. This was one project and the Huskies on Parade was the other. It is fun to see people looking up from the street and watch the progress of the Huskie as I work. I keep thinking that this is good advertising, not only for the Huskies on Parade, but for my work in general. Maybe someone will think - Who is \this person? Word of mouth is great - especially in a small town.


Huskies on Parade has begun!

Huskies on Parade has begun, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Tonight I transferred my design to the large Huskie using a ruler, compass, angle, and artist's tape. Man I hope this turns out.

As with everything I worry and worry until my worrier is spent. I've come to realize that if I plan, work slowly & deliberately and take care with every step then I can't really go wrong because it is the best I can do and no one can ask for any more than my personal best. I can't chase after perfection - that is impossible. I can only try to achieve excellence.

So, my plan is to carefully transfer to both the large and small Huskie first. Then I plan to pull the tape off and paint the interior shapes, leaving a small gap where the painted leading will be. Again I'll be working on both Huskies at the same time to keep consistency in color. After the main colors have been placed, I'll create shadows and highlights to give it depth. Next the multicolored glaze will be placed over the entire dog. Then the leading will be painted and finally I'll put a coat of sealer on after it dries well just to protect it during transportation. The
Huskies on Parade will take care of the final autobody clearcoat.

I doubt that anyone is all that interested in learning EXACTLY how I'm planning to do this. This post is more for me, I guess, so I will have a guide to go by. But, hey, if you notice anything amiss in this process - please, please let me know about it.


Rockford Midwestern Show

I entered the Rockford Midwestern Art Show awhile back and was not accepted. My brother had one of his pieces accepted and I was very happy for him, but I have to admit I was disappointed that I didn't get in. Now, after the reception, the juror's statement came out in a booklet. Here are some of Robert McCauley, Professor Emeritus, Rockford College quotes:

"This year’s crop (using the regional vernacular) of entries was only Midwestern in a kind of modest approach to size and a less-than-ambitious conceptual risk-taking. (“How long are you willing to stay at point number one?” –J. Beuys) The only really bad pieces were not bad because they tried too hard; they were bad because they were bad art, or more to the point, not good enough to be called 'art.'"

"My condolences (but not apologies) to those not accepted for this exhibition."
"Painting came in strong, varied, and schizophrenic if not anxious, with a smaller but impressive showing by photography. As is always the case with regional competitions, sculpture was an embarrassment. Is it too physically demanding to make sculpture, too complex to think in the third dimension, or just too much work to photograph and transport? Gravity wins by default."
Thank goodness this is America. Not only is he entitled to have an opinion, he is free to express that educated opinion however he wishes. However, on a personal level it is very depressing for me to hear that my artwork was not accepted into the show because it wasn't good enough to be called art.

Despite my personal feelings about some of his outright hostile statements regarding the Midwest, regional art and the show as a whole; I feel sorry for this guy. I read how he grew up in Washington state, how he continues to show in the Pacific Northwest, how his work shows the pristine landscapes and animals of the west coast, and how is is stuck in Illinois at a small college. He must be a very unhappy, dissatisfied person. Unfulfilled dreams temper a person's soul.

So, to Mr. Robery McCauley, Professor Emeritus, Rockford College I say: I'm sorry we as a Midwestern people let you down with our humble, unintellectual, Puritan, self-conscious, conservative, mainstream, and safe Midwestern, regional ways.


Studio time

I want to get to the studio and continue working on my Lady's Slipper print! Today the Huskies from Huskies on Parade were supposed to arrived, but my sponsor had family in town and couldn't pick it up until tomorrow. So, I guess I'll have a paying reason to go tomorrow night.

I'm having kind of a conundrum concerning having a studio. It means all my art stuff is somewhere else and I can't just sketch ideas at home. I have a more blocked allotted of time and that is terrific to actually work on my projects when I'm fully awake. I do get more done - when I can get to it. I've rationalized that I'm staying at home the last few nights to work on my banners for this blog and my Etsy but really it's just an excuse. If I want to succeed, I have to put my work into this. What is next? I have to call the local Women's group. They said they might want me for a show. I'm frightened. I'll just have to use that fear energy to work up the courage to call.


Self Portrait in sketch book

Self Portrait in sketch book, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This is a self portrait I did today in my sketchbook after reading about Van Gough's drawings. I tried not to have the linework symetrical on either side of the face. It looks a bit like muscles. The patterning I find interesting, but next time I'd like to see some variance in the line weight to show light better.

Lady's Slipper woodblock (in progress)

I got so much more done today in the studio than I thought I would. That makes it a productive day. YAY! The next door neightbor was playing his drums - it was awesome. If you know the movie "That Thing You Do"? Remember the drum solo the lead character drums in the studio? It was like that. I sat there thinking to myself how cool is this: I doing my artwork in an art studio listening to another artist play his music. Then I thought that if it was the 50's I would be wearing all black with a berret snapping my fingers. I'm such nerd.


Jellyfish swimming over DeKalb

Jellyfish swimming over DeKalb, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The sculpture isn't finished yet, but it's getting closer!

Cracked Walnut

Cracked Walnut, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I just found this mini-painting used as an exercise when I took a University class back in 2002. I did four, but the instructor took two of them to use as examples. This one wasn't as good as the others, but I still like the rich browns. Looking back at this makes me realize I can paint if I put my mind to it.

Uploaded by pejnolan on 7 Jul 08, 8.36PM CDT.


Copper jellyfish parts

Copper jellyfish parts, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Finally, I got into the studio at 7:30 tonight. I was all ready to work on my Yellow Lady's Slipper print, but my heart just wasn't into it so I worked on the copper jellyfish instead. That is one of the nice things about working with very different media: I can always just switch gears and keep things interesting. This camera phone photo, as usual, is just horrible. This weekend was the "Art at Ellwood" show. My brother, dakokichidekalb , was there. View some of his booth at his Flickr .


Vector Lady's Slipper

Vector Lady's Slipper, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This is another study for my future lino print of the Lady's Slipper that E. and I found at The Ridges in Bailey's Harbor while on vacation. This study was done as a vector file on the computer. So far, this is my third study. One was drawn "freehand," one used the photo as template and this one was created as a vector. It is pretty cool how each technique has made me look at the flower in a different way. The freestyle drawing made my lines flow and curl in alternating thin and thick linework. The template method focused on the volume and form of the flower while the vector showed me the underlying structure - especially in the twists and turns of the long flower petals. I have to stop myself from buying a block so I'll take the time to study it before cutting aimlessly away.
© 2008 Erin Nolan


Yellow Lady Slipper Pen & Ink

Yellow Lady Slipper Pen & Ink, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The flower itself doesn't look as delicate as I want, but that's ok. I'll just do it again. Maybe I'll take out some of the extraneous background stuff: too busy.

Uploaded by pejnolan on 29 Jun 08, 8.16PM CDT.


Doc Martens Boot Contest

Here is my entry for the Doc Martens boot competition, 2008. My entry is entitled "Sunfish" Please, please, please go to this link and VOTE for me! Why should my design win? Because organic design and fun, bright colors make this boot equally great for some hardcore, survivalist hiker in the outback or a wild, street-wise punk in the city: it\'s fun to wear as well as practical!


Cave Point Park - Found Art - Vacation

Cave Point Park - Found Art, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Vacation was the best, but way too short. A few things learned: 1. mid-June is too cold to go swimming in Door County, 2. if you're going on vacation, stay at least a week otherwise it's too rushed. Some of my favorite memories of this year's visit to Door County:

Walking along Cana Island's shore with my husband. Wearing my Crocs, not having to worry about getting my shoes wet, or hurting my feet.

Yelling at the seagulls to stop mocking me with their chatter (this is just for fun because no one else is around to hear me.)

Looking at the inumerable stars from horizon to horizon while watching a multi-colored campfire and listening to the gentle guitar playing of my brother and his wife as my son drifted off to sleep snuggled into his sleeping bag beside me.

Picking up stones at Algoma beach - just a few - and feeling their sun-warmed smoothness against my face.

Running down a sand dune at Kohler-Andreas state park.

Finding minnows and clams on the sandy shore of Kangaroo Lake and looking for them together with my son at Nicolet Bay.

Looking at all the unusual flowers, trees and mushrooms at The Ridges. Finding a morel! Teasing that I was going to pick something.

Soaking in the colors of Lake Michigan as it crashed into the stone at Cave Point park. Leaving my "cave point" linocut print attached to the same tree as its subject.

Listening to the sand squeak beneath my feet at Whitefish Dunes.

Cooking a good meal for my family over an open campfire and then roasting marshmallows for dessert.

Looking at some buff biker dude sitting on a picnic table with a scruffy beard, black shirt and sunglasses. Being afraid to walk down that path, then realizing IT WAS MY BROTHER!

Glazing pottery with my best friend in the world, talking, laughing, not feeling rushed.

Just everything...

The colors + the wind + the waves = the perfect place to be: Cave point park. This is where I left my found art print. I know I'm not supposed to, but I pretended just to be taking random photos as different people stopped and read the note outloud. There was a young honeymooning couple, a family with three small children, a gaggle of old ladies - everyone read the note, but none took the print. I was a bit sad that I couldn't see who took it home. I returned two days later and someone had taken the print. I knew it hadn't just blown away in the storm because the pushpins were still in the tree, but in different positions than where I left them originally. I hope someone is enjoying the print! Learn more about Cave Point Park here.


"Cave Point Park" Print

"Cave Point Park" Print, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This is my sophomore attempt at block printing. I used linoleum because wood hurt my hands too much. The linoleum doesn't have as much character as wood, but I am high on the knowledge that I can make this over and over again. I never really have to "give it away." The plan is to take some prints up to Door County with us and pin the prints to the tree as found art. Whoever walks by at the right time wins a print (while I watch and pretend I don't know anything about it. Hee-hee.)
The uncut block is shown here.



Birds of the air... fish of the sea... and all things that crawl upon the earth. Crows and carp aren't normally heralded as wonders of nature, but even the lowliest of creatures are a miracle deserving of our awe.

Boxed canvas / Acrylic showing top and one side.

Copyright 2008

Wood duck that almost was

Wood duck that almost was, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

As I walked Grace this morning, I came across an eggshell. That's odd, I thought, the lady that lives here doesn't normally leave trash in the yard. Then I noticed that although the egg was the same size as a chicken's egg, it was more rounded. It was slightly off-white, but not brown enough to be a brown egg, just a buttermilk tan. I looked around. I saw another egg, then another and another. A whole nest, maybe 5 or six eggs, were scattered about in various forms of disarray. Next, I saw it and it broke my heart. a single baby bird laid out on the sidewalk. I took its picture. I wanted to document the fact that this little thing was alive at one time, that it mattered. It wasn't a pleasant task. Not at all. At the time it seemed rather important. I think it was the wood duck drake and hen that I had seen earlier looking for a tree to nest in. Last year they had successfully hatched their eggs, but they were on the ground before they could fly and there is no water in our neighborhood to swim in. So, one by one they were picked off by stray cats. It is sad for them. I looked back at the sidewalk and noticed the weeds sprouting in the cracks. Somehow life seems to go on no matter the obstacle. Some things have it easier, some a tougher. Through it all, life goes on. As I am writing this, the very first June bug is buzzing on the window screen.


Altgeld Hall, NIU

Altgeld Hall, NIU, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This image is copyrighted. Please do not use it without the permission of the artist.
Pen and ink on Bristol board,
10" wide x 8" tall. Reference photo by: JS, 2007.
Better scan to come tomorrow - it's too late to try again.


"Fishing Trip"

"Fishing Trip", originally uploaded by pejnolan.
Double click on image to enlarge.

Acrylic, 20"w x 16"h.
copyright, 2008.


Child's Teapot

Child's Teapot, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Today was glorious. That is the only word for it. People everywhere were outside enjoying the day walking, biking, or doing yardwork. As I walked my dog, I passed a mother teaching her little boy how to ride a bike. Sweet memories of my little boy came to mind. Neighbors were outside talking lazily. I cleaned the dead leaves off the newly sprouting flowers. Delicious smells of grilling and burning wood periodically would come into my senses. The sun on my clothing was so warm, but the breeze was just slightly cool. Bugs aren't out in full force yet, so they were not a problem. It was lovely and perfect and every bit worth the cold winter wait. Ahhhhh. What a wonderful world.

I used the metal detector that I received for Christmas from my husband. I've been talking about wanting one for years and years. Today as I was digging around our back yard I found old square nails, new nails, a cigar band and a rock made of metal. When I was digging up yet another nail this little treasure popped up out of the earth. I've studied my home's history and there were never any little girls that lived here. It must have been a neighbor child's. I imagine a little girl out in the back yard with her dolls having a teaparty. There are no markings, but I can tell it is older because there are no seams in the porcelain. I can't wait to find more tidbits from history.


Homemade poundcake and fresh strawberries.

Some things, the best things, are simple and don't need alot of hype to make a person believe it is good... it is just good on its own.

As much as I loved the last presentation at my area artist league, I detested tonight's speaker. He was all about self-promotion. "Look what I did," "Look who I know," "here is my resume,"etc. While he obviously was an excellent marketer, the presentation was all about him and not about the art which really turned me off. I almost left half way through the meeting when I remembered my readings from Thich Nhat Hahn.

This artist has an MFA and for the life of me I do not see how in the world that could have happened. There was no structure to the work and is wasn't unstructured on purpose. It looked like outsider art - which isn't bad, in fact I love the primitive qualities of outsider art - however, this guy is supposed to have years of art education and theory. I asked the question about his eraser building up with charcoal and he answered with a hairbrained response: "just goooo with it." What the heck is that? He didn't know his materials, his reasoning, or anything! Yet he is making a living off his art AND he is teaching this line of (insert your own word here) to others.

The focus should be the art, not the artist. The artist should be able to speak about his or her work intellectually and should be able to explain their reasoning and thinking process. Just "going" with it doesn't cut it.

More and more it irks me when people talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. Talking about something doesn't get it done. Nike got it right: Just Do It. Do these people think we can't see through their rouse? Do they think we are dumb enough not to notice? (I would like to insert a political comment here, but have chosen the higher road.)

Just my opinion. So sez me.


Wake Up!

Michael Bennett just sent me a link to an amzaing improv group, Improv Everywhere. The basic premise is that they corregraph happenings unbeknownst to the group at large. The looks on the faces of the nonparticipants reminds me of animals at the zoo when a new toy has been placed in the cage: curious, interested - they notice something is out of the ordinary, but don't react right away. I wonder sometimes if we are stuck in our own patterns and habits to the point that our minds turn off and it isn't until something completely unusual occurs that we are snapped out of that fog and wake up. That is what art does is jolt us into thinking, being aware, and waking up to the world so that we may view it in another way.


It's Official - Prints Completed

All in one day I've tackled and completed several of my projects: I've "balanced" my checkbook - and yes those quotes are required - I paid my bills, made a good Easter dinner for my family, and I've finished the 8/8 block prints for Printer's Unite!'s Inky Sound Exchange. All in all a good day's work. I think I'll work on my jelly fish tonight.The tendrals are already complete, I just have to work on the glow-in-the-dark cap.

Sometimes I psych my self out. I want to work on something, but am so afraid I'll mess it up. I do my best work when I don't really care anymore. I tend to overthink things (gee, really?!?) Today was one of those devil may care types. So, I got a lot done. Back to work tomorrow, but the snow is almost melted again.

Boats on the Shore

Boats on the Shore, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I drew this in pen and ink with permission from one of my Flickr contacts, ET's Photo Home showing Bald Eagle Lake. I did it for my husband who likes this type of scene. It measures 5-inches across by 3.75-inches tall.


Copper Tree

Copper Tree, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I saw this artist online and was inspired to try and create my own wire tree. I didn't have any instructions, so as usual, I learned how to do it as I went. I want to make another and flip it upside-down with long corkscrew tendrils and make a Scupty clay dome out of transluscent and glow-in-the-dark clay to make a jellyfish. First stop: Gordon's Hardware for more copper wire. You can purchase this one at my Etsy shop.


Gardening: IF (Lavender Wreath)

Gardening: IF (Lavender Wreath), originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Illustration Friday

I'm dreaming of planting lavender in the garden this year. I've heard that it is hard to grow, but it seems to be doing well in my yard, so I'm going to put it everywhere. Gone will the be yarrow, balloon plant, white daisies and misc stuff that I put in my garden since I've moved in. Here are some hints: #1buy enough of one plant to make a "clump" then arrange these clumps with walkways between so weeding will be easy, #2 don't buy plants that say "grows like crazy," or "spreads easily" it will. Add you own gardening hints in the comments section.

Created original portion as a vector in Illustrator CS2, then manipulated it in Photoshop, COPYRIGHT, 2008.


Self-Portrait 03.10.08

Self-Portrait 03.10.08, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Just thought I would share this .025 rapidiograph pen and bristol board self portrait. I was trying out my new pen. It is 4.5" wide and 4.75" tall. Tomorrow I'll try to scan it so the detail is shown better. It reminds me of those color blind charts.


New curtains for the entryway

New curtains for the entryway, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I've been wanting to get new curtains for the entryway for quite some time. The old curtains were made by my husband's aunt Margaret over 40 years ago. While they were lovely, cottage-style, hand-stitched beauties, they were disintegrating. I've been redecorating our home's interior slowly into a craftsman style. These handmade linen curtains have that feel, and pays homage to my husband's aunt. I used ecru Irish linen and will embroider the craftsman motifs once the pattern arrives. I've admired this pattern (Vogue V7292) for years and finally went to purchase it, but it was discontinued! AHH! I went to the Vogue website and they were selling out of print patterns. Luckily, I found it on the last pattern on the last page. YAY! I ordered it like a flash. (The embroidery here is photoshopped.) I think they give the entryway a clean, tailored look. Hurray for productive days.