And the winner is....

Thank you to everyone who entered the ""Etsy Partnerships are Wonderful" Blog Giveaway!! I love meeting new friends. The winner was chosen by a highly scientific method: for this method I printed out names onto an of 8.5 x 11 sheet of 20# paper. The names were then cut into evenly sized long strips and folded kittywampus. A bowl made by the hands of potter, Michael J. Gesiakowski was placed on a flat surface (my sofa) and the papers were thrown up into the air. They helicoptered down. Those that landed in the bowl were tossed up once again and again until only a single piece hit its mark... for there can be only one. (Geek alert: Lord of the Rings reference.) Drumroll, please! The winner is... ahem... BARB! Congratulations, Barb! It's in the mail!


paper snowflakes and gingerbread men

paper snowflakes, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I did not go into the studio (yet again). Inspiration seems to have left me for the time being. Instead I went with my husband and son to cut our Christmas tree. It is late in the year to be buying a Christmas tree. The workers are the tree farm were building snowmen because they were a bit bored. Little snowmen 2 feet tall and a big snowman that may have been too ambitious. They were still trying to lift the middle section onto the base as we left. Three people were trying to work together and still having a hard time lifting it!

This year we chose a balsam and it fills the house with such a wonderful scent. After we brought it home, I did the lights and they decorated it with my collection of German glass ornaments. New additions for this year were a squirrel, an orance slice and an indigo bunting bird.

There are no presents under the tree yet. We plan on going shopping for gifts next weekend after payday.

When decorations were done we decorated gingerbread men together. My son ended up eating all his right away. He said he felt bad that his didn't look like mine, so he ate them instead. After that I made snowflakes. My husband even made one, but he wanted it on another window, not next to mine. Sorry guys! I didn't know I was so intimidating!


A Nice Sunday

This morning I went to breakfast with Paul and Jacob, then we went for a ride to Pottawatomie Woods/Kishwaukee River State Park in Kirkland, Illinois. It was really nice. The Kishwaukee river isn't rushed here and it winds shallowly through a forest. The wood is dormant , so it isn't much to see right now, but I want to go back there in the Spring or Summer to draw. I had no idea that a park was in Kirkland, so it was a nice surprise.

Afterwards, I finished up framing the prints for the 2010 Rockford Midwestern. They are ready to go! I'm nervous and excited and trying to downplay all of this. I don't want to get my hopes up, so I end up crushing those feelings and end up feeling pretty low. I don't know why I do that to myself, but it seems to be a part of my psyche.

When that much needed task was completed, I began the under painting of the painting I've been commissioned to do. The photo in the previous link was the burnt umber line drawing transfer. Sorry, but I won't have a photo of the monochrome layer until it has been completed. It is looking great except for the nose, but I'll get that figured out eventually. I'm using the Venetian, or Grisaille method to give it an old world look.

As I entered the house after returning home from the studio, I smelled a delicious roast cooking. My husband had made a dinner. How nice it was to come home to a good meal and leisurely eat it without rushing.

The final thing I did today was to balance my personal checkbook and update my business books. Such a productive day. I want weekends to be five days long and work weeks to be just two! I could get so much done! LOL.

Now it is bedtime, but there is no rest for the weary!

Just a friendly reminder... Sign up today for my Blog Giveaway! There is still time left!


BASIC lines and colors - Etsy Treasury

SchickiMickis Chose my "Winter Cardinal" print for her treasury. Thanks SchikiMickis!


Etsy Treasury: Winter Birds

Etsy Treasury: Winter Birds, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time tonight and scored an Etsy.com Treasury spot! I chose the theme "Winter Birds of Christmas." The subheading is "Learn from the joyful song of a bird which rejoices even admist the coldest winter." It took a really long time to put it together because I wanted it to look just right. I'm very pleased with the result. I hope you enjoy it! The treasury will be up for 2 days. Stop by and leave a comment if you have time!

Featured Etsyians include:
row one:
row two:
row three:
row four:


"Etsy Partnerships are Wonderful" Blog Giveaway!

Frame by DAcustomframes.etsy.com, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I knew I needed great environmental photos to fill out the descriptions in my Etsy shop, but I don't like just any old frame. I love quality, handcrafted frames. Unfortuneately I can't afford that many frames all at one time. I wrote to David Arnold who owns DAcustomframes on Etsy. I came across his shop while searching for just the right frames to exhibit with.

So, I had an idea – a reciprocation of sorts. I asked him if I might use his photos with my prints inserted in kind for a link to his shop in my description. I was so nervous asking. I was seriously afraid that I would be chewed out, but David contacted me within minutes of my convo saying he liked my work and he didn't mind at all! How sweet of him! He is listed in my shop announcement and a link is provided in each and every listing that I use his frames. So, I think it is a win-win situation!

David Arnold started DA custom frames in May of 2008 immediately following his graduation from the University of Georgia. He graduated with a bachelors degree from the Terry College of Business. His experience and interest with building and art is mainly attributed to his start in this industry in high school. David has five years experience in building for visual displays at the Atlanta Gift Mart showrooms (Appelman and Schauben) and for several mall grand openings throughout the United States. His building experience includes a variety of woodworking related projects.

His NEW picture frames are now on Trunkt, The Premier Directory of Creative Entrepreneurs - http://www.trunkt.org/DAcustomframes.com

You can also see his pictures on Flickr.com or read his blog about frames here.

So to celebrate I am giving away a print of my "Winter Cardinal" to one lucky person! YAY! It fits in with the holiday theme and would make a wonderful gift! To enter, just leave a comment now through Teusday, December 15th at 5pm Central Standard time. I'll hold a drawing at 5pm and announce the winner! I'll ship anywhere in the world, so don't be afraid to enter. Thanks for helping me celebrate!

The Fine Print: this is for one Winter Cardinal print only, the frame will not be included in this giveaway.


New Cricket Avatar and Banners

New Etsy Cricket Avatar, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I attended a virtual lab on Etsy and implemented many of the changes they suggested. Now I have a fresh new look for my Etsy Shop!

I've updated my blog and Facebook, and Flickr to correspond as well.


Prints by pejnolan at the DeKalb Clinic

My prints are now being shown at the DeKalb Clinic's Dermatology Department thanks to the Kishwaukee Valley Art League Traveling Exhibit.


Sketchbook baby

Sketchbook baby, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Just practicing with my new Caran D'Ache Supracolor watercolor pencils and thinking of Julie and Dacia who are having babies. I think of them all the time even though I don't really see either of them in person. They most likely know even know how much I pray for them and their baby's well-being! I'm so happy for them both! Life is precious and amazing! So, Julie and Dacia–if you are reading this–I'm excited for you!


KVAL - Caran D'Ache Workshop

KVAL - Caran D'Ache Workshop, originally uploaded by pejnolan

I completed this today during the Caran D'Ache workshop with Kristy Kutch. I haven't drawn from still life in forever and it felt really good. The products are so versitle. With regular colored pencil the technique is linear: you start at the bottom and build up layers from there. With the highly consentrated pigments found in Caran D'Ache watercolor pencils, museum sticks, and water-soluble crayons, you can lay color down, lift it up, move it around, blend - they really are amazing and the colors are so vibrant. I'm thinking about taking a 4 day workshop next September with Krist Kutch in Lake Geneva next year!


Looks like I will not be in the notBig Show


So, I didn't make it into the Logsdon 1909 Gallery's notBig show. Am I disappointed? Yeah, a little bit – but not too much. Actually, it is a more of a relief. I'm not ready mentally for Chicago yet. I have too much to learn and too much to figure out before I try out for another show in Chicago. It might be fun to go in and see the show though!

I walked to work this morning. It takes about half an hour at a brisk pace. It gave me time to slow down and think. I really enjoyed myself. Plus, it is a wonderful way to fit in exercise into my schedule! (Which I am sorely in need of.) The unfortuneate part is that I decided to start doing this in November, in Illinois. It was 44 degrees this morning which is quite warm for this time of year, but once the snow arrives it is going to make it more difficult to build this into my daily routine. As usual, I'll just do the best I can and leave it at that.

Today I sat down and made a schedule for myself. I should have enough time to get everything achomplished, but like my paycheck, I don't know where it all goes! So, I thought writing out a schedule would help. Now I have a set block of time for art, cleaning, family, food preparation, grocery shopping, work, walking the dog, etc. It is such a small thing to have done, but already I'm starting to feel better knowing that everything will have a time and place.

Thanksgiving is arriving next week here in the United States. I've seen many people on Facebook writing their daily gratitudes until Thanksgiving day. Their words are so positive. I just love reading them. Some, also, break my heart. A person I keep in contact with just miscarried. She was thankful for the amount of time she had shared with her baby and was happy in knowing that she would meet this person in heaven. Such faith! My troubles pale in comparison. She has helped me to reset my priorities. Living a life in gratitude has that effect. It humbles a person to find what is real.

Today, I am thankful for a warm home to live in. I'm thankful to be able to walk to work. I'm thankful to be able to "make do." So many more things. I could go on forever. Maybe its the fresh air talking!


Michael J. Gesiakowski, Potter

Michael J. Gesiakowski, Potter, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Michael Gesiakowski was giving a demonstration at Kishwaukee College. Lucky for us, his demonstration ended at 6pm and our class started at 6:30. He took the time to talk with us about his woodburning firing techniques.

One thing that Michael said was that each piece of pottery is like a recording of what happened in the kiln. The wood ash will swirl in and around the piece. In this way he can tell where it was placed in the kiln as well as which side was facing the fire. I thought how cool it was to have a 'recording' of a specific place and time. He said that pottery from 4,000 BC has been found. How awesome it is that a single moment in time was captured for all time - someone today could still decipher the clues left in place by a person just living his daily life 6,000 years ago!

I purchased this bowl of his which was made with Benzene clay – it was named after an ancient firing place – and a modern version of Hagi, a type of ancient Asian glaze. He said it takes 10 days to fire. They gradually raise the heat then keep it at 2100 (?) degrees for 3-4 days. It takes a week to cool enought to open the kiln. and it needs to be manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week so someone can add wood to the fire. The outside is unglazed, wood-fired bezene clay pottery, It is a rough dark orange-brown. This contrasts nicely with the interior hagi glaze which is silken and has the appearance of irridescence. It reminded me of an oyster shell. It also reminded me of myself: two completely different modes of thinking in one person: both sides beautiful in their own way. It also has Michael's signature slices cut off the sides which creates a polygonal shape outside, yet smooth curved inside... and the [MG] stamp.

He currently fires his work at Waubonsee College, but is applying for graduate school and is also entertaining an internship with a potter using the same techniques in Wisconsin. He doesn't have a website yet, but his work will be available for sale at the Waubonsee Holiday sale.

I could see the passion and energy when he spoke of this work. It was inspiring to see! I can't help but feel that I now have work from a future master potter!


Rockford Museum Acceptance Letter

Can you believe it? All three of my pieces were chosen for the Rockford Midwestern Biennial! (I'm swooning!) My work will actually be hung in a real museum! I just cannot believe it! You might remember my first attempt to enter this show didn't go quite as I had hoped. But that was when I was starting to get back into art after a decade and a half hiatus. It wouldn't have been right for me to have been accepted then: it wasn't my time.

Silly or no this was to be a litmus test showing me whether or not I should continue pushing as hard as I have been with printing. I guess the answer is, "YES!" Thanks, God, for giving me a sign as to what direction I should head in.

Now I am excited to make more woodblocks! I have one picture in mind, but I want to try Aquakolors to give it a softer look like Moku Hanga and this time I WILL match my registration! Forward Ho!

Thank you to Al who is my teacher and all the inspirational artists I've met online thru Printsy, Etsy, and Flickr - THANK YOU!

I am happy right now!

So, if you are in the Rockford Area on Friday, January 22, 2010; there is an artist reception from 6pm - 7:30pm with an awards presentation at 6:30pm. I would be thrilled to see you! The public opening is January 23rd with a gallery walk at 11am. To find out more information or for directions, please visit their website at rockfrodartmuseum.org.


My First Thrown Cylinder

My First Thrown Cylinder, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Mark the date: October 27, 2009. Not only is it my 19th wedding anniversary, it is the date I made my very first piece of thrown pottery. I was so nervous, but in a good way. It is the unknown. I like that feeling: frightened, anxious excitement.

I took the class though the local Kishwaukee Community Collage. It has excellent community classes for non-students. More people should take advantage of resources like this.

Michelle is a fantastic teacher, deliberate, yet attentive to your questions and very helpful. She seems like a person I could easily become friends with.

I'm certain this will not take over printmaking, but I am so glad I am trying it. It is so much easier than I imagined. Frequently I imagine the worst-case-scenerio. For example I have crazy thoughts like what if the clay is going around too fast and I end up flinging it across the room, hitting someone or knocking over something and breaking it! Everyone will snicker behind my back and wonder why I would be taking a class anyway. Because I'm such a visual person, I can see this scenario played out over and over in my head.

I'm taking it with my friends Connie, Elinor, Robyn, and a new friend Erica. So I really need not worry. They've all thrown before at one point or another and it was neat to sit back and watch them go! Their items are so wonderful. I said that we will all probably end up buying one another's work.

The next class is on Thursday and we will see if our pieces are dry enough to do the next step... I don't even know what that is... there goes the exciting anxious feeling again!

I love learning new things, don't you?


Winter Cardinal

Winter Cardinal, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

So this is the finished product. I still haven't quite figured out the art of using more than one block. I'll keep trying. My registration is horrible. If anyone has tips, I'll take them! This was handpainted from the back with watercolor in red and blue. Red Graphic Chemical In was brushed on top with a stiff stencil brush. It is available in my shop at a very reasonable price :-). I tried to make it look more "Snowy by giving the white branches a subtle blue bleed into the lower portions.

5" wide x 3.25" high. The key block is shown here. and the original sketch is shown here. It was flipped and cropped from the original sketch.


Is doing your passion work?

Above: key block for Winter Cardinal. I have to carve the red block, then I'll make a proof.
I went back to an early post where I made my very first block print. That was just April of 2008. I look where I have been since then. It has been a whirlwind. I am joyful and blessed that I have the opportunity to do what I feel so passionate about. But with having some measure of success, I am finding that I need to allow myself to say "no" a little bit more often. I'd really rather spend time with my family. I'd really rather do work that I initiate. I'd really rather have time just to "be" and not always "do." I need to set my priorities and reevaluate my goals. Where do I want my artwork to take me? What do I need vs what do I want and more importantly, what does God want of me? Do I want to lean towards commercial art and hire a licensing rep or do I want to try to find a gallery to promote my work? Would it be better to push forward and start an official business or would I be better to scale back and just do it for fun? The decision is more difficult that one might think.

I've been taking fewer walks simply because I do not have the time. What the heck?!? That is what my work is about - taking the time to notice the details of nature and listening to the messages it is trying to tell me.

I will finish all the projects I have in front of me. Then, beginning with Christmas, things will slow down again and I'll have a moment to ponder these things more clearly. In the meantime, I'm having a great deal of fun. Thank goodness I have a husband who only minds SOME of the time...


Cardinal sketch: flip&crop

Cardinal sketch: flip&crop, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Just thinking out loud:
Possible print for Christmas Cards? Red, black, navy on Goyu washi to get nice whites? Maybe Unryu washi - the strands of fiber to add interest? The bird looks more like a kingfisher because its head is too big, or is the tummy too big - maybe both? This drawing was flipped and cropped from the original to create a stronger composition. Print to come.


Trip: National Museum of Mexican Art; Chicago, Illinois

Purchased!, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The day didn't start off too well. I was literally 10 seconds late for the train. It was pulling out right as I drove into my parking space. Crap. The next train didn't leave for 2 hours. We thought we could get to another station and beat the train there, but that plan didn't work out either and we ended up driving anyway. Crap again.

Once we were there, the museum was wonderful and we just happend to arrive during the annual folk art festival where Jacobo and Maria Angeles were selling their work! I can't believe it! Last year at my solo show at the DeKalb Area Womens Center, Jay Paul Bell and Julie Kiefer-Bell said that my acrylics were similar to the artists of Oaxaca, Mexico. I thought that was strange because I was studying the work of Australian Aboriginals at the time. Now that I see the Angeles' work I completely understand the comparison. You can view his work at: http://tilcajete.org Michael and Elaine Bennett were there purchsing a large piece as well. They come every year specifically to purchase from this artist.

The Women of Jurarez exhibit was very powerful and elicited strong emotions including anger that this wasn't being reported in the mainstream news sources. This is a tragety for women everywhere. The artists definitely did their job to enlighten the viewers of the subject as well as making the viewer want to scream out at the injustice of it all. I am going to do some more research to see how I can help.

The second exhibit, Dia de los Muertos, was just plain fun! My favorite pieces were:
1. a life-sized paper mache sculpture showing an old lady skeleton wearing a huge red hat and crazy earrings between two laughing skeleton men. An adorable skeleton dog was wagging its tail at their feel. It just made me smile!

2. A print that was created with a steamroller. It was of a skeleton (of course). I wasn't allowed to take photos in that room.

3. An "alter" to a grandmother complete with her favorite coffee in her favoriate porcelain cup. A piece of cake, her favorite books and chair waiting for her. I guess Dia de los Muertes entices the spirits of the dead relatives to come home by leaving out their favorite items. It is like a homecoming.

After the museum, we took the pink line into Chicago and walked over to the XOCO, a new restaurant by Rick Bayless. We waited a long time, but the food was delicous! Chef Rick Bayless was there and we took photos. I hope we didn't break protocol, but what the heck?!? We decided that had we made the train on time, we most likely would not have see Chef Bayless or have been able to sit together. All things have a purpose. We laughed alot during dinner. It felt good to sit down and relax.

Then came the long drive home. Thank you to Nancy(!), Al, Elinor, Maria and Emely for making memories with me today!
"It is always an adventure."


Photography Field Trip: Architectural Tour of Chicago

My son's photography class took a field trip into Chicago for and Architectural photoshoot assignment, so my husband and I took off work to chaperone. I am "geographically challenged," so my group of kids stayed with my husband's. It worked out pretty good. He led while I made sure everyone was accounted for by counting from the back every few minutes.

It was a regular Chicago day: rainy, cold and windy; but it could have been much worse! At least it didn't snow! And the rain was just a drizzle. It never came to a pouring, soaking rain. The kids were wonderful, well-behaved and polite. My worst fear had been that my group of kids was going to be a bunch of BA's. We had just a few minutes at the end, so we treated them all to hot chocolate which we drank under "the bean" while everyone took last minute photos.

I took photos, too. This one was my favorite, I think. This is the reflection of the city buildings on the black marble tiles of the Millenium Park fountains. I liked how the lines of the marble tiles created perspective lines for the buildings. The photo is displayed upside down.


Honey Bees

Honey Bees, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

It is getting closer to how I imagined. I used sepia instead of black for the key block, white Goyu washi instead of natural Kitakata, and I darkened the yellow with a metallic copper which added a bit of shimmer. I also made another on tissue thin washi which has thicker lines in it. The washi is partially transparent. I placed some papers underneath it and it looked cool to have these blocked areas showing subtle differences in coloring. At the Norris Cultural Art Center's Vicinity show, an artist had created a collage painting on stretched canvas using only Japanese papers. I might take this semi-transparent print of mine and do a type of chine colle effect, layering colors from behind the print.

Today was so productive. I woke up; went to work; received a message from a designer from Massachusetts with a possible commison; set up another 2010 KVAL demonstrator; came home; made a good dinner of Mexican Posole, corn bread, and tres leches cake; did the dishes, went to the studio, made a sale on Etsy, posted my work, printed out mailing labels for the prints that sold (to be sent out tomorrow morning), blogged, and off to bed... all before 11:00pm!


Honey Bees

Honey Bees, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Well, here is the very first multi-color print. As of right now I officially hate it. I have no color control, it is just so flat. Using blocks like this gives me harsh, vivid colors with stark contrasts - NOT what I want at all.

I think I will try three things: #1 changing the red to a sepia, #2 just printing the yellow and black blocks, or #3 using the same blocks but with watercolor and Nori paste on damp paperfor a softer look.

I'm torn between adding this as one of the entries to the Rockford Midwestern (due this Friday) or not. I've spent so much time and effort into getting this prepared as an entry, but I just absolutely hate it. It doesn't reflect what I am trying to say. Dang it! I feel like I've wasted my time, my money on materials, and my effort. This is very disappointing.


honeybee key block proof

honeybee key block proof, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Once again this is intended as my first multi-block piece. This is the key block. Hopefully, the finished print will have black, yellow and red. I'm planning on having the red and yellow cross hatched to form a fourth color.

Trying to get it finished, scanned and burned to a cd by a week from today for the Rockford Midwestern biennial show. I've actually carved out the red block and will begin the yellow block tonight. That is further than I've gotten before. One baby step at a time.

This is so nerve wracking! I don't know how some of you do the reduction method of printmaking - I would just be a mess! I would be so afraid that something would be messed up early in and, as you know, once it has been removed from the block it is gone forever. Let me repeat that FOR-EV-ER!

Tonight I'll be framing the "Coy Pond" prints that sold at the Bliss Bead show. I went to Michaels to get my favorite frames called Wild Wood, the only problem was they are not wood anymore - they're plastic. What the heck?!? I thought the wooden version looked so nice with the prints. They have a wide 3 inches of wood and are very plain. They remind me of Craftsman frames. So, now I'll have to locate some more. Maybe I could learn to make them myself? Ohh... I just thought of something. What if I framed my block prints in a frame that is carved similar to what the block would look like? Then it could be oiled to heighten the detailing. There's a thought. Opps! I'm rambling... I'd better get back to work.


Cave Point Park 2" x 5"

Cave Point Park 2" x 5", originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I found this little print tucked away this past summer and forgotten... until today! I finished it and made a nice series on Unryu paper. I want to try this out with my new red water-based graphic chemical ink. For today, though, I just used the black ink that I was working with for another print. Oh, and I need to add my chop mark. As usual, I'm just excited and wanted to share it right away. I think I was reading about Van Gough's drawings when I started this piece and that shows through in the finished product.


Bliss Bead Reception

Bliss Bead Reception, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The reception at Bliss Beads was absolutely wonderful. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend! I was having such a good time, though, I forgot to take photos! DOH!


Fly on Pitcher Plant

Fly on Pitcher Plant, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

New print! 4"x4" sqr. Black water-based Graphic Chemical ink on natural kitakata heightened with water-color from reverse side. The photo reference was taken at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin. This print is about noticing the details and finding beauty in all things. Ever see the flash off the back of a bottlefly? it is the most brilliant blue-green hue.


Commission: United Church of Christ

UCC thumbnail sketch #1, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I've been commissioned to paint a 60" wide by 44.5" tall canvas for a church in the traditional style of Michaelangelo. Above shows the three thumbnails that I'm sending them to choose from.


Studio is ready to roll (again)

Studio is ready to roll, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Finally! The studio is clean and i can start working there again. I've been lazy after the summer art show season and had just piled everything in the center of the room only to pick it up and dash off to the next show. During that time, I brought supplies home as they were needed and worked there. Now everything is back in order and I can start printing the five new blocks I carved at home.


"Walk With Me"

"Walk With Me", originally uploaded by pejnolan.

You (yes, YOU!) are cordially invited to view the "Walk With Me" show featuring relief prints by Erin Nolan at Bliss Bead Studio and Gallery located at 161 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois.

The show runs from Monday, September 21 thru Saturday October 10, 2009 with an artist reception on Thursday, September 24th from six to eight in the evening. Hope to see you there!


Cana Island Lighthouse

Cana Island Lighthouse, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This isn't how it will print. Some of the sumi ink didn't stay on the surface as I brushed it across when I was trying to see where the raised areas were. I have to wait on doing a printer's proof. I promised myself that I would do all the carving for each new block of my Bliss Bead show before I start printing. The birch woodblock is approximately 4" wide x 6" tall. This is based on a reference photo I took at the Cana Island Lighthouse in Bailey's Harbor, Door County, Wisconsin. My grandparents lived in Bailey's Harbor on Kangaroo Lake for about 20 years.

half way there...

half way there..., originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This will be a two block print: black and a watercolor wash for contrast between the forground and background. I really need to work faster to have as many new works as I want for the Bliss Bead show. If anyone wants to purchase some Japanese woodblock tools because they just won the lottery and have nothing better to do with their windfall, I wouldn't complain. I'm trying out some birch instead of my usual linoeum. I like it in some respects, but not in others. It's good to try new things.
This tree was at Ellison Bay Bluff Headlands Park in Door County, Wisconsin.


Artist James Armstrong

I just found an artist in California whose name is James Armstrong. The Arts and Crafts style is one of his primary influences which is probably why I like his work so much. Take a peek at it online at the Just Looking Gallery. If you look closely, you might be able to see how he is using directional brushstrokes - especially viewable on the lower portion of the trunk on of the double-branched tree on the right. While some areas are more atmospheric, I like the strokes of individual color. I would like to create a print using these qualities. The directional strokes are also what I admire about Van Gough's drawings.

There is so much energy shown! It isn't studied or overworked. So fresh and lively!

I've been working on a few blocks. This time I'm trying out wood, specifically birch, instead of my usual linoleum. There has been some challenges already. It is really difficult to cut with the grain because it splinters and chips. I would have thought that to be the case if I went against the grain. I was wrong. I do like to hear the blade slice through the wood. It is a unique sound. The feel of the wood in my hands along with its scent is wonderful, too. It will be a little while more before I can post my new work. I've got an upcoming solo show at Bliss Beads in just four short weeks.


Halved Avacado

Halved Avacado, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Switching media helps me to reawaken my senses. It is easy to be lacksidasical and fall into a routine. I forget how to "see" the way an artist sees. This is a 5"x7"pan pastel painting. To learn more about pan pastels follow this link.


Second attempt at pan pastels

Second Attempt at pan pastels, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This was from a photo of a field in Door County across from Beantown Campground. I'm learning more about the colors and how to mix the pastels... I've a long, LONG way to go. This practise sheet is about a 5"x7" The thought process behing prints and pastels is exactly the opposite, so I think it will help keep my creative mind sharp.



HURRAY!, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I was honored with one of three merit awards for the Ellwood House Art Show! Whoop! Thanks to Al for this photo.


Duck On A Pond

Duck On A Pond, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Original Linocut by Erin Nolan
print size: 7" wide x 5" high
paper size: 10" wide x 8" high
Black water-based Graphic Chemical ink on ochre mulberry paper.

J. once again took the reference photo.
copyright, 2009.

New Block for Ellwood Show

New Block for Ellwood Show, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Trying to achieve the swirls and shadows in water is similar to my favorite: gnarled tree roots. in this case, the water is more important than the subject. I'll try printing it tonight when I get home from the ol' day job. This block is 5" x 7" J. once again took the reference photo.


First Finished Print

First Finished Print, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Hot off the block... on goyu paper hand colored with watercolors. The reference photo was taken at the Quad City Botanical Gardens in Rock Island, Illinois. Now I need to name it.


Still working with it... I'm getting closer

I think that instead of making the different blocks, I will just hand color each print individually with watercolor. Doing otherwise is just too overwhelming right now. I used J's grade school watercolors on this trial piece, so the colors are way too vivid. Either way I need to get this wrapped up so I can print more for the Ellwood House Art Show. With this humidity , it is going to take longer than usual to dry.



Proposed-color-blocks, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

After 4 hours of drawing and 14.5 hours of transfering and carvin...
I can't wait (as usual) so I scanned in the block and added the proposed colors digitally. I plan on blue, green, yellow and orange. This rendition looks more like a black velvet painting, but I'm hope when it is completed it will be as beautiful as I imagine. I'm hoping to have some finished for the Ellwood house show July 5th.


Stark & Nolan / Woodcut & Linocut: Booth #39

Well, I survived the Northern Illinois Art Show hosted by the Kishwaukee Valley Art League last weekend. It has taken until today to recoop.

The weather was just aweful Saturday, but we made it through. Sunday morning it looked like it was going to storm and we set up the tent in the rain, but by late morning the sky was just cloud covered and it ended up being a beautiful day.

There were several sales and a number commisions accepted. I met some great contacts like a writer for HandmadeNews.com which is an subsidary of Art Fire, a printmaking student from Kansas City, a painter whose work I've admired for about a year, a lady who had purchase original Japanese woodblock prints and brought them for Al to look at, and a person who is a freelance web-designer. All told, it was a success! Thank you to everyone who wished me well - you're good thoughts worked!


Caribou Coffee Art Show Booth

Caribou Coffee Art Show Booth, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I think it is a pretty good presentation for a first time out. Behind us, a few spaces down was a dagger / knife seller... yikes! (photo courtesy of Al Stark)


First Art Show

There is so much prep work! The closer it gets, the more exciting it is. I'm looking for a tent to use. I'll gladly accept any suggestions regarding brands. Also, if anyone has helpful hints about being in a show, please fill me in! My goal for the show is to sell, sell, sell(!), educate people about printmaking in general and make some new friends along the way.

Find pejnolan this summer at:
  • Saturday, May 30th - Caribou Coffee Crafts Sale: DeKalb, IL, 9am - 4pm
  • Saturday, June 6th - Northern Illinois Art Fair: DeKalb County Courthouse Lawn, Sycamore, IL, 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday, June 7th - Northern Illinois Art Fair: DeKalb County Courthouse Lawn, Sycamore, IL, 10am - 4pm
  • (Tentative) Saturday, June 27th - Greek Festival: Hopkins Park, DeKalb, IL (time TBA)


"singing frog"

"singing frog", originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I wanted this little guy to be camouflaging in with the background. The red "N" in the circle is from an initial stamp I bought years and years ago. J. took the reference photo: www.flickr.com/photos/pejnolan/3475730197/


Demonstrating cutting a linocut at KVAL

Demonstrating cutting a linocut, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Well, the KVAL Artist Demonstration that I've been preparing for months is now over. I was so worried about not having enough to fill the time that I wrote a 6 page outline and had enough material for two or three presentations. That was a good thing. I just hope I didn't sound too confusing by trying to cover too much in one sitting. I tried to talk about the history of the Eastern and Western woodblocks and how they led up to linocuts, the tools, and the technique that I use.

As usual, I worry myself into a fit days, weeks and months ahead of time. Worrying about what to talk about, how to convey the material and what to show. Then, on the actual day, I relax. I can't prepare any more, I can't learn any more and I can't do anything more. I can only do the best I can with what I've prepared.

My voice is naturally soft and doesn't carry well so that was my greatest challenge. I guess it got softer as the night wore on. I had encouraged everyone at the very beginning of the program to shout out if it was too quiet.

People genuinely seemed excited about trying linocuts when I spoke with them afterwards and that is the real goal of the art league: to get people excited about art. In that respect, I guess I did my job. A few even wanted me to do a workshop with them.

In the photo here, I had just slipped and almost cut my finger - just a nick, no blood, so it doesn't count! This after I had just told everyone that safety is primary and never get your fingers in the way of your cutting tools. I also told them never to wear white when printmaking... do as I say and not as I do, I guess. I've never gashed my hands - yet and I've not ruined a shirt either.

Thank you to Robyn Wellsfor taking photos.


KVAL to host linocut presentation May 7

Linoleum block printing will be the focus of the next Kishwaukee Valley Art League meeting, to be held at 7:30 p.m. May 7 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, on the corner of North Fourth and Locust streets in DeKalb. The guest demonstrator for the evening will be KVAL vice president Erin Nolan.

Nolan is a versatile artist who has worked with a variety of media, including glass fusing, acrylic painting, metal work and wood burning, but most of her current work and the subject of her KVAL program is linocut, or linoleum block printing.

Nolan says she has always enjoyed drawing and doing creative things, but that her formal art training began at Kishwaukee College and then for a year and a half at NIU. However, took a break from art for 18 years between then and 2007, when she took up painting for her own enjoyment.

Nolan became interested in relief printing while watching her brother create wood-block prints. She tried wood, but found that her hands weren’t strong enough, so she switched to linoleum block. In her KVAL demonstration, she plans to show the process by which she creates a linocut, from developing the idea to printing the block. She will also provide a brief history of the art form.

Nolan says she has the best job in the world, as described in a recent news release. She works full time as a graphic designer/illustrator/creative consultant at OC Imageworks, a large-format printer in DeKalb. She has put those skills to work for KVAL, redesigning the KVAL logo and recently designing a new brochure for the group.

Local residents might have seen Nolan’s work at her solo show, “Organic Narrative,” at the DeKalb Area Women’s Center last year. Although she has only been doing relief painting for about a year, she won an honorable mention at the “Vicinity 2008 Art Exhibit” at the Norris Cultural Art Center in St. Charles.

She was also selected as a featured artist at the Venus Envy show at the Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport, Iowa, and her work has been published in two consecutive issues of KNOCK, Door County’s literary arts magazine.

05.05.2009 DeKalb Daily Chronicle


Petshop Signing

Petshop Signing, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

One of my clients at work is a HUGE petshop. They have a pirate theme and want us to do all their new signing as original vector illustrations. I have to add the pistols, but am too excited about it so I posted it anyway. Yesterday, when I heard the amount of work they wanted done, I was a bit overwhelmed and almost went into a panic attack. Today I just tackled it and went to work. This is after about 4 solid hours of drawing, revising, redrawing. Tomorrow they will see the results and give the go ahead (hopefully). iStock flourishes were used to save time, but the rest is 100% hand drawn.


Final print of Boppy

Final print of Boppy, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

For the story behind this piece, click here.