Recent work and works in progress

Title: "My Traveling Companion at the Ridges"
Artist: Erin K. Nolan
Edition: 24
Media: Relief print: woodblock, moku hanga
Year: April, 2014
Print dimensions: 10" x 8"
Paper dimensions: 14" x 12"
Ink: Akua Kolor
Washi: Kozoshi
© 2014 Erin K. Nolan d/b/a Pejnolan Studios

This little guy was at The Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey's Harbor, Door County Wisconsin. I was hiking the paths and suddenly came across this beautiful red squirrel. We both stopped what we were doing when we spotted one another. We considered each other, then slowly started going back to our activities—I started walking once again while he nibbled on a nut. Then he followed me along the fence line like a dog follows its master. Then he angrily chattered at me, trying to tell me something which I could not understand, and ran back into the deep boreal forest of the sanctuary. 

Title: "Cana Island in Winter"
Artist: Erin K. Nolan
Edition: 24
Media: Relief print: woodblock, moku hanga
print dimensions: 8x10
paper dimensions: 11x13
washi: kozoshi
Ink: Akua Kolor
Year: 2014
© 2014 Erin K. Nolan d/b/a Pejnolan Studios

 Proposed title: Indigo Bunting on Cana Island. It will be a multi-block print using tints and tones of phthalo blue, black, and phthalo green. Right now I'm doing color experiments and hope to have the finished prints done by July.

Finally, I've started to rework the koi fish that I had begun during illustration classes at NIU. The original was dimensional, so the texture from the previous painting is being used in the current one. I can't wait to see where this goes!

I'm considering taking the orange koi's tail and extending it to the bottom, under the white koi. The white line work that is there now would be the tail fin. I know that isn't the proper way to work, I ought to make sketches, then revise the sketches, then transfer the finished drawing, then start painting; but I want my paintings to be more unpremeditated. Woodblock prints take the technical, disciplined, and methodical route. My paintings fill the spontaneous, flowing, more intuitive needs that I have when creating artwork. It is a nice division.


Why spend time in nature?

Afton Prairie Park June 16, 2014
Evening Afton Prarie Park
"Nature is something within which we flourish,
so having it be more a part of our lives is critical,
especially when we live and work in built environments."
~ Richard Ryan, Professor of Psychology, University of Rochester.
June, 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology
Afton Prairie Park June 16, 2014
  “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
~ John Burroughs (1837-1921),
renowned naturalist and essayist 

Afton Prairie Park June 16, 2014

Being in nature bestows a sense of connectedness, meaning, and purpose. There is a sense of the chaotic order in the way nature works; the plants and animals are interconnected in a series of complex relationships. Everything coexists in nature without the necessity of outside intervention. It is a system that has existed successfully since the beginning of time, which provides a sense of structure, coherence, and reliability for those wise enough to use nature as a model for life.
"Why Nature Is Therapeutic"  CRC Health

Afton Prairie Park June 16, 2014
  “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you…
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
John Muir (1838-1914),
Preservationist and Sierra Club founder


Five Lies Answered

I just read this very heartening article entitled, "Five Lies That Could Be Ruining Your Career (And Your Life)" from Duct Tape Marketing. It resonated intimately with me. I encourage you to read it through and seriously consider the questions it poses, not with simple "sound bite" answers. Take just one of the questions and ruminate about it an entire day, or week, or year.

Without spoiling the article, here are the five lies we tell ourselves and my rather incomplete, bloggish responses:

  1. I haven’t found my passion / I don’t have a passion.
    1. Lie! My passion is art! Creating! Creation! Mindfulness!
  2. I can’t afford to leave the job I don’t like.
    1.  Well, I have to say I've had this feeling many times. In my 20s-30s I was crying almost everyday before going to work. It was ruining my well-being and grating away at my self-worth. I went because I needed to support my family and get bills paid. Being stuck in a job sucks. How many of us are walking zombies numbed by the everyday-ness of life? Years sail past like highway hypnosis. Next thing you know, you've wasted years and are filled with regret… Stop the insanity! Wake up! Start living the life you want!
  3. It’s too late to change direction now.
    1. False! Even though I know the direction I want to go, over time that changes, expands, grows and deepens. The "unattainable" goals I made for myself in 2006 were achieved and each year following my goals have broadened. Every new goal is a stepping stone for the next. We never know what is ahead of us! It is a true adventure in the making!
  4. Pursuing my own happiness is selfish. I have a family to think about.
    1. Hyperbole! Pursuing one's own happiness is selfish if that is the sole means and ends. If We are happy and our cup is full, we are better equipped to give—and give generously— to others.
  5. I hate my job now, but I will be happy as soon as I [get the promotion/finish the project/collect my bonus/get my degree].
    1.  Fiction! Dude, we are talking about a person who loves their job, went back to college at 45! The proverbial "grass is always greener" mentality takes hold only when a person is too busy or too overwhelmed to appreciate and be thankful for every blessing they have been given.
Change your story: Instead of "I'll be happy when....", replace with "I am happy now." Do it! Do it anyway!


GALLERY OPENING: PEACES Art Gallery & Adornments

PEACES Art Studio & Adornments  prepares for its opening!
[photo via PEACES Facebook]
I've been blessed to know Cheryl Voss for many years. We met while both supporting The Land Conservancy of McHenry County (TLC). Now she is starting her own nature-inspired brick & mortar store, PEACES Art Studio & Adornments,  in The Ice House Mall in Barrington, IL.  The soft opening is this Friday, June 7th, starting at 6:30 p.m..

The studio is an ever-changing and evolving gallery of local artists of various media, representing the celebration of life and wild nature. 
A sample of the work by Cheryl in her studio
[photo via  PEACES Facebook Events]
Cheryl welcomes featured artist and friend, Yvonne Beckway, whose art shows a strong love of and connection to the land. In additiona, there will be work by Mary O'Rourke Mariutto,Ruth FlettTamara McMillanMary Miller, jewelry artists Leanne EmeryLynda WallisNancy Schmitt-NeumanWill Slagel and more coming in all week (that's means me!).

Yvonne Beckway is the premiere featured artist at PEACES in Barrington, IL
[photo via PEACES Facebook Events]
Cheryl was an organizer and administrator for TLC and I was an artist in that organization's fundraiser, Art of the Land. It is a spectacular event over a two-day period beginning with Voice of the Land. Poets, music and video fill the Starline, a historic factory re-purposed as an elegant space in Harvard, Illinois, with the stories of nature and the people who appreciate it.

The following evening is Art of the Land. Once again the space is transformed. This time into a gallery filled with local nature-themed artists.

The following evening is Art of the Land. Once again the space is transformed. This time into a gallery filled with local nature-themed artists.

Now that she has her own gallery and studio space, nothing is gonna stop her! Congratulations, Cheryl, best of luck, and thanks for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of your new adventure!