My favorite things and me

My favorite things and me, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Over the course of the summer and autumn, I've collected various dried moonflower seedpods, berries, thistles, chestnuts and other nifty items such as cicada wings. As I find these treasures, I bring them home and place them safely on a wooden plate I have in my room. (Much to the horror of my husband. He says that I am like Bob, the stray cat, who brings home presents that no one wants to see. If I am honest, I would have to say that was true. Especially the time I brought home a dead garter snake so I could photograph it.)

In my own mind they were kept for inspiration. Each one has it's own unique texture. Some are sharp and quite painful to handle, but they are beautiful in their own way and I want to keep them around.

nature findingsGetting ready in the morning.

........ Bottom Layer....................... Top Layer........

Working in Photoshop, I layered a recent self-portrait I had taken with a photo of this plate of sundry items. The top layer's blending mode was set to "difference." The result is shown above.

Now my favorite things are a part of me and I, in turn, am a part of them. I'm really happy with the result and would maybe like to paint it in acrylic or watercolor or pastel.


A sneak peek

a sneak peek, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

Last weekend was the printmaking marathon. Saturday was spent getting all the materials organized, the frames ordered and paper purchased while Sunday I started printing at 7am and went to 10pm that night.

Towards the end of the night I was hand painting and signing the editions. I could tell I had stayed up too late and had begun to make some poor color choices, so I ended up going home rather than ruin any more prints.

Now, the weekend is here once again! (Well, almost.) This is the last weekend I'll have before the "cricket and sparrow" show at Kishwaukee College. Tomorrow night there are plans to go out to dinner and Sunday is the famous Steciak Chili cook-off, so Saturday will be another marathon of printmaking activities! YAY!

The photo above is a new print entitled "What A Tangled Web We Weave." It shows in perspective the branches of a tree as you look up from below. It is about how when I look to my future, trying to make it through seems impossible because of the shear mass. How on earth can I do all of this? I become overwhelmed.

However, if I just choose a path, am careful, and take it one step at a time; I am able to climb those branches right in front of me. By doing so, I come to realize over time that even those thin, far away branches will be there for me if I just keep climbing. I just need to work in the now and keep everything in perspective.

Nature teaches me quite a lot through simple observation.

the print developing as the baren is used

This photo shows another print developing under the baren…

When the "cricket & sparrow" show begins, I'll post more photos of the new blocks!


Artwork now at Plum Bottom Gallery!

Lady's Slipper II at Plum Bottom Pottery

"First, the work looks great in the gallery– even our colors seem to compliment each other. Also I sold your dragonfly woodblock today–so congratulations!"

Hearing those words from Chad at Plum Bottom Pottery just made my day! I enjoy how he arranged the color scheme of the ceramics, jewelry and prints to agree with one another. I'll be able to go back up there in December for Plum Bottom Pottery's Holiday Reception and I can't wait to see the arrangements in person.

Spring Cherry Blossoms at Plum Bottom Pottery Coy Pond at Plum Bottom Pottery

There hasn't been a lot of posts about my work because I'm keeping everything under wraps until after the "cricket & sparrow" show opens the first of November. I have 7 new blocks carved, but not yet printed. This week I'll be printing and then framing the following week. These pieces are even more about the texture and patterns found in nature and some are almost abstract. I can't wait to hear your reactions when I finally reveal them.


By Phil Cuthbert, master doll artist

Last weekend, I met some incredible artists at the Art Walk in Sycamore, Illinois to benefit the Art Attack School of Art.

I want to introduce you to the work of Sycamore, Illinois artist Phil Cuthbert. He is a Master Doll Artist. The level of detail he uses in his polymer clay sculputres is undeniable.

He told me that when he created a doll of Indiana Jones, he called the people who made the original whip for the movie and used the same leather that was used for the original whip. In the Native American doll below he used real porcupine quills, bear hair, and peace-pipe stone. They are incredible to look at! In the photo below he is working on Marty McFly for the third time. He said the first time he made it, it just wasn't right so he scratched that version. The second time it was perfect and he put it in the oven to bake, but then his wife mistakenly turned the heat up to 450F to bake a pizza without checking to see if it was already on. Whoops! That one was a gonner. So, here is the third version on top of his toolbox.


His work appears in museums and private collections throughout the country and he accepts commissons with prices ranging from $500-$200 depending on complexity. If you want to reach him his email is pcuthbert at comcast dot net.


Kishwaukee Valley Art League–October

4 color print by al stark, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

I am the president of the local Kishwaukee Valley Art League. It is a large group - about 50 - for our size town. In addition to that office I also am the Demonstration Coordinator. Funny, I just happen to know this really cool woodblock artist named Al Stark. Al was our presenter for our October meeting. He demonstrated his Moku Hanga technique by printing the 4-color chicken above. He also was kind enough to donate a framed print of his waxwings for the league's raffle - a $200 value!
al teaching mr. toth how to print
After his awesome demonstration, he allowed members to pull a print off of one of his blocks. In the photo above Mr. Toth is learning how to print using a baren. It is really wonderful to watch Al work. His eyes light up and he is full of life cracking jokes and completely at ease when the focus is on his art.

He will be having a show with me in November entitled "cricket and sparrow" at the Kishwaukee College Art Gallery with a reception on November 3rd, 5-7pm. If you want to view more of our work, please stop by!


Jim Meyer, Woodblock Prints

So, here I was wandering around Facebook and came across this woodblock print artist from Minnesota named Jim Meyer. I wish I could just grab a screenshot of one of his prints, but somehow I don't that that would be right despitre free use laws. Instead I'll give you an link and you HAVE to promise me you will go look at his work! Promise? Here is the link.

I'll wait while you parouse his site.
. . .

See! Loook at the subtly colored blocks. Look at the woodgrain he is capturing and the registration and clean lines. I want to learn moku hanga from THIS guy. Below is a statement from the artist:

My aim is to make art that reflects the mystery and beauty of the creation. Hand-printed woodblock prints are well suited for that purpose—they are organic, low-tech, and require the patience of the skilled manual arts. Visually, they tend to be honest and strong.

I’ve been working with woodblock prints for about twenty years, starting in commercial art—making illustrations for advertising, design, and publishing—and then showing in galleries.

(side note: Michael, he has shown at the Silverwood Gallery on Vashon Island back in 1997.)

I've contacted Spudnik Press on Hubbard Street in Chicago to ask if they would offer a moku hanga class and they said it might be possible this winter or spring! Awesome!