Why Collage?

In our most recent session of collage making with Michelle Wilson at UC Berkeley Extension, we learned to make a simple accordion book to use as a substrate for a collage.    I decided to combine collage and paint across the entire eight span of pages.  My goals were to explore using images as texture and as a way to add complexity to an overall image.

I started by gluing assorted black and white or other neutral papers  across the entire surface.  After the pages dried, I applied a couple layers of gesso with a brayer both to tone it all down, and to add texture. I added some torn pages from a magazine showing a woman wearing sunglasses. Stepping back at the resulting shapes, I decided to add layers of watercolor, acrylic and black Noodler’s Bulletproof ink to create a mountainous landscape.

Collage book 7 3/4" x 58"
Collage book 7 3/4″ x 58″

Most of these papers are from a stash collected over the past couple years, the recognizable is a tattered Dürer print that I saved after using it for inspiration in a drawing class. Strangely, I’ve noticed that papers and images used in my collages, all seem to take on deep personal meaning as the collages come together.  I say strangely, because the papers were selected randomly or chosen for value (meaning relative lightness or darkness) rather than content.  And yet, it does mean something and expresses a search  for meaning and solace in spiritual connection.  In the days following the senseless shooting down of a passenger flight, nothing makes sense.  How can people minding their own business and going about their lives, and suddenly be gone?  How can I glue paper together when my heart is full of grief?

Collage book – detail




Mail Art Project

Postcard-swimmerI’m taking a collage class at UC Berkeley Extension with papermaker, printmaker, book and installation artist Michelle Wilson. We’re about 6 weeks into the class and have explored various techniques and media for creating collages with found imagery.

Postcard-giftsOne of my favorite assignments in the class so far was to create a piece of mail art inspired by fluxus artists, such as Ray Johnson, who included mail art in their work during the 1960’s and 70’s.

Postcard-congratsFor my project I decided to continue with ideas from the previous week where we used chance to determine which images to use or where to place them in the collage.  I thought it would be fun to send one to anyone in the class that wanted one.
Postcard-NetflixI started by collecting interesting postcards that I found at various art locations, like the art store or the reception desk at art galleries.   The postcards were of various sizes, so I cut them all down to 4″x6″ to make them all the same size and to keep postage to 34 cents each.
I painted both sides 12 cards by applying gesso with a bryer to both sides of the postcards.  After letting them dry, I selected images that were either in my leftover pile from previous collages done in class or from junk mail received that week.  I cut them to size and randomly adhered one to each card.  After all 12 had one image, I added another and continued until I felt like they were done.  I did this on both sides of the cards and decided which side was the front and which was the back.
On each postcard front, I added some black fluid acrylic, applied with the brayer. On the postcard backs, I gessoed these to give myself a textured, white writing surface for the address, stamp, and written message.

Postcard-Chocolate-xoxo I’ll be mailing these out in the next day or two.  It’ll be interesting to see what condition they’re in after working their way through the mail.  Postcard-but-it's-also-politics Postcard-4349Postcard-@@@@@Postcard-pumpsPostcard-BackPostcard back

Spring ’14 Public Exhibition


Inexorable: Spring 2014 Public Education Exhibition, Juried by Conrad M. Meyer

Two of my prints combining linocut and silk screening techniques learned in this spring at San Francicso Art Institute and Chrysalis Studios will be in this show.  If you get a chance, swing by and catch this show. I’ll be at the closing reception on June 7, 4-6 pm at San Francisco Art Institute.  Here’s a link to the official announcement.

Spring 2014 Invitation

June 2-7, 2014

Open 9AM-5PM Daily
Closing Reception: Saturday, June 7, 4-6PM

Diego Rivera Gallery
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

“The works in this exhibition look at elapsed time through a still moment that illustrates the inexorable decay and future equilibrium of existence. For every single moment in time, more follow ad infinitum, and the result—although open to interpretation as positive or negative—cannot be controlled and or predicted. These varied works, created during the spring semester by Public Exhibition students, offer a glance into this stretching of time.”

Andrew Ajemian, Dave Berger, Amy Cella, Jim Cota, Steven Cox, Elizabeth Demakos, Chris Dyer, Eddie FitzGerald, Judith James, Jeffrey Kerrin, Sam Manera, Nikki Nolan, Nicole Puller, Priscilla Read, Kimberly Rowe, Rony Sagy, Ann Simms, Emma Sparer, Jade Zabrowski

About the Juror:
Conrad M. Meyers II is an artist and educator who creates fictive biological puzzles that include video, sculpture, and sound-based installations.  His installations have been shown most recently at Vanity Projects in New York, Krowswork in Oakland, and Queens Nails Projects in San Francisco. He works professionally in custom design, fabrication, architecture, and construction and has ten years of experience teaching and supporting 3D spatial design software. He has a degrees in Architecture and Sculpture and received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in Sculpture in 2008.  In 2011, he cofounded Aggregate Space, an Oakland gallery, screening facility, fabrication shop, and design studio.  In addition to being the director of the gallery, Mr. Meyers curates their film series and conducts lectures on film history and its popular cultural significance.

A Keen Print

It was a busy week, and I didn’t have time to do any homework for my printmaking class.  I usually do my carving at home, so I can spend most of my in-class time using the press.  As I was getting ready to head over to the class at Chrysalis Studio in SF, I grabbed my supplies and was thinking of what I could do in class without too much effort.  One of my goals for this session in Luminous Linocuts was to create a two plate lino cut print.  I thought I would just have to draw “something” quickly in class and carve two plates. I suddenly remembered my sketchbook and thought that I must have a recent drawing that I could translate into a print.  So I flipped through the sketchbook and decided to tackle this shoe drawing that I did earlier this month.

KeenKatie Gilmartin helped me analyze the drawing and determine what to put in each plate. I decided to put the upper part of the shoe and insole on one plate and the lower part of the shoe (including part of the insole) on another.  The insole part would overlap, helping with registration and creating an area where the two colors would overlap.  Katie showed me how to register the images so they would be perfectly aligned when I printed the two plates on one piece of paper.

Keen-Plate-2I reversed the drawing using the light table, then carved like a mad woman.  I was able to carve the two 4″ x 6″ plates and make one print (and one ghost print) by the end of the three hour class.  Somehow, during carving, I got the “N” in Keen backwards!!!Keen-Plate-1 Our two colors that evening were orange and raspberry, so I used orange on the lower plate and raspberry on the other.  There were only five minutes remaining in classs, and everyone had some last minute printing to do.  Very exciting moment when my print came off the press, perfectly aligned!!! Here’s the resulting two color print.

keen-shoeHere it is in a second colorway – printed 21May2014 on white paper


Daily Drawing Practice

My-Green-HillsI have gotten back to my practice of carrying around a sketchbook and drawing daily.  I took an online course Sketchbook Skool over the past several weeks to help myself get going again and to learn from artists known for their sketchbook journals.


Each week we had a new instructor -Danny Gregory, Koosje Koene, Tommy KaneRoz Stendahl, Prashant Miranda, and Jane Lafazio – video and written instruction, and a private facebook page to share our drawings and observations about drawing. 


I found the class inspiring and challenging.  Each instructor gave us different techniques and ideas to try.

Beach-DreamsOne new idea for me was to draw directly with pen in my sketchbook (no preliminary pencil drawing), no tearing out “bad” pages, no quitting when I make a mistake – but keep going forward and finding a way to “make it work”.

Waterford-owl Orchid-PlantThese sample pages were all done with ink pen and water color.  Some have additional colored pencil.  This seemed to be my favorite combination of portable drawing tools.


Northern California Inspirations

I am thrilled that an image from my quilt Rain Dance is featured on the postcard for the SAQA Regional Show  Northern California Inspirations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  I haven’t had a chance to see the show, but I hear it is beautiful.

Northern CA Inspirations

From left to right, images on the postcard front are by artists Kathy Grady, Denise Oyama Miller, Wendi Bucey, Ann Sanderson, Priscilla Read, and Giny Dixon.

I’m looking forward to seeing the show at the SAQA Regional Meeting on Wednesday, May 14 from 11AM-2PM at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum.  The program will include gallery talks by selected artists about their work and inspiration.

Our reception will be on Sunday June 8, 2014 3-5 PM at the museum where we will have light refreshments and hear a panel discussion regarding the 48 quilts from Quilt National `13 also featured at the museum.  Fiber Talks! tickets available are here; the reception is open to all museum visitors.

Visitors are welcome at both events. To learn more about the show, click this link. 

Two new prints

A few weeks ago I completed a silk screening class at San Francisco Art Institute with artist Jonathan Palmer.  I was inspired by some of his prints where he combined silk screening and relief printing and decided to create my own series using these techniques.  I posted about it here.

I created three related prints with a background nest-like structure, plus bird elements, such as feathers, wings, and birds. Then I printed linocut body parts over this.  The project is still in progress, but I’ve completed all the prints and machine quilting for two of the pieces. I did some experimenting with the stitching and found that adding some thin batting added depth and texture.  Without that, the stitching didn’t seem to add much.  After completing the quilting, I mounted the pieces onto 18″ x 24″ stretcher bars.

18″ x 24″


Read_-Cor-ValuesCor Values
18″ x 24″

SkullsSkull Prints
Need to dry about 6 weeks.

Silkscreen meets Lino

Several months ago I created this linocut of a heart.  The photo below shows my initial sketches, the carved linoleum, and the print on paper and on fabric.  I wanted to take it further, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it.

Final-Crit---HeartsI’m currently enrolled in a six week silkscreen printing class at San Francisco Art Institute with artist Jonathan Palmer.  The class has just three other students, so we have plenty of time to get help with the techniques that all take time to learn.  I am intrigued with the idea of combining silkscreen images with some of my  linocuts.  The heart lino seemed like a good starting point for exploring this.  Here are some photos of my first project where I silkscreened a hand drawn nest-like background and some wings, then printed the heart over it.  I’m pleased with the result.



Rain Dance

Here’s an update on the printed piece started during a quilting retreat in Healdsburg.   I finished it today and titled it Rain Dance.

I was inspired to create a California themed linoleum block print on a background pieced from yellow and white scraps (more here).  The colors and silhouetted dry seedpods represent our current too dry weather in California.  I accented the printed background texture with metallic threads to represent rain.  RainDance

Rain Dance 24″ x 20″

RainDanceDetailRain Dance (Detail)

Update: Mar 13, 2014 – This piece will be included in Northern California Inspirations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts  from May 6 – July 16, 2014.

WWII Nurses

I just learned that my quilt, WWII Nurses, has been accepted as part of the WWII Home Front Quilt Challenge that will be shown at a special exhibit at the Voices in Cloth quit show.   The quilts will also be displayed on an online exhibit and other Bay Area venues. The quilts in this exhibit honor civilian efforts on the home front during WWII and will help promote the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, located in Richmond, California.


WWII Nurses, 24″ x 16″, Hand Quilted, 2014

For this little 24″ x 16″ quilt, I superimposed this photo of my mom (lower left) with her nurse friends over the image of a US flag, then printed it onto fabric and added a border and hand quilting.