Urban Paint Sketches


Inspired by the amazingly talented work of Missy H. Dunaway.  Wow!  Her travel journals make me want to run out and paint!  Actually, that's exactly what lead to my little sketch above.  I was struggling with my mini urban sketch paintings.  Watercolor was too light.  Gouache was too chalky.  Acrylic was too heavy.  Her work is done using acrylic ink.  I have a pretty limited selection but i gave it a try.  Nice.  I took some acrylic paints and just added Golden Airbrush Medium to loosen them up....voila!  Instant ink!  I love it's opacity.  This painting began with just a dark blue wash. 

Check out some of Missy Dunaway's work...I am really in awe.


Color Studies

I spent years mixing my printing inks using Pantone formulas.  Initially perplexed by color...particularly achieving the exact color that a client chose on my pantone deck was torture!  I know many printers eyeball it but I am a perfectionist at heart.  It was not only important to get it right, but to get it right every time.  I invested in a small jewelers scale and following the pantone formula, nailed it every time!  ah, relief.  

Ok so now here I am, eyeballing it again.  However this time (or at least for now anyway) it's all good.  Back to basics.  I decided to devote some time on just playing around.  Color...understanding the subtle differences and the results of mixing this with that and that with this.   Paint application...what mark does each brush make?  Which ones appeal to me?  What are my preferences in terms of heavy, light, wet, dry etc?   Composition and form...what the hell do I do? 

Most important goal:  No pressure.  Just do it.  Everyday.  


Delicious Paint

When I began this journey last year, I was so curious to see what would happen.  I knew my commercial printing days were well behind me!  No more custom weddings or mitzvahs or long nights struggling over color or registration!  But where do you start when it's time to start again?  

I am forever bursting with curiosity...almost to a fault.
I have always been that way.  Funny when you realize how little you change.  Love watching my kids, all the while taking mental notes on their likes and dislikes or what they seem to naturally gravitate towards or for that matter, what they run away from!  What will follow them into adulthood?

Well my insatiable curiosity keeps me busy.  However, the challenge then becomes settling into something...really digging my teeth into something for long enough to actually get the hang of it.  This curiosity definitely makes me a little schizophrenic at times but instead of fighting it, I've decided to go with it and see what actually happens when for once I get out of my own way.

There are surely certain mediums that are particularly delicious.  Paint is one of them.  It's been a long time since I've painted.  (I don't really count my painting class last year that ended in tears.)  There is a very specific quality of painting that I respond to.  It is obvious in my 400+ pins on Pinterest that I love abstracts. Love.  But not all abstracts are pin-worthy.  The choice of color, choice of marks, quality of stroke...all come together creating a beautiful delicious balance.  I am incredibly fascinated by them.  How does the artist do it?  What made them make this mark and place it right here?  Did they know it would create this beautiful tension?  And that little touch of color peeking through from layers below.  Was that planned?  And this bold gorgeous dry brush mark that clearly had only one chance to look that good!  They seem so simple, so random and spontaneious, yet perfectly placed.  The very fact that you can create whatever mark you want, wherever you want it, makes every mark sort of count!  I don't think it's possible to know exactly what you want your piece to look like beforehand.  A mark is made.  Based on that mark, another mark is made.  And so this goes on.  In the end, each choice is made based on the one before it, somehow culminating into one piece incorporating both choice and chance.


Press Painting


I have made a conscious effort to avoid printmaking during the early stages of this journey of mine.  

Me and my presses have already spent a good many years together ... whether I was printing wedding invitations for others, creating art for myself (a rare occasion) or introducing my children to the world of printmaking.  With little time left in my day to actually explore the handfuls of other mediums that pique my endless curiosity, I knew I needed to give them a little attention now before they ended up back on the back-burner.  I had a feeling that once I opened the door to printmaking again,  they may never have a chance.  I believe my instincts were right.

I came across some old monotype prints I had made some time back and knew I could not hold off any longer.  Not to mention my beautiful presses sitting there so lonely and all my inks calling my name...the floodgates are now open and I am in heaven!  

I refer to this new beloved technique as Press Painting.  Quite fitting I think.  I use wood based magnesium plates from Owosso Graphic Arts.  I apply either rubber, oil or etching ink, layer by layer with a brayer, pulling a print each time.  Slowly, slowly, the painting takes shape.  The layers of ink are so sheer that it takes countless runs to develop its depth.  I get so lost in the process, I have no idea how many times the paper actually passes through the press.  I guess it doesn't really matter, does it?  All I know is that I could do this all day long!


100 Day Challenge . Day 2

100 Days of Hand Lettering    .   100 Days of Making Marks

I chose the word "Home" today not only because it is one of my most favorite places to be, but because I recently discovered something very important.  I have come to learn what to look for while on these journeys I take.  This is my second artful journey and while the first one was quite confusing and intimidating...this one is different.  I pride myself on my insatiable appetite to learn and create.  I've always been this way.  But when on a quest, one is in search of the ultimate.  Isn't one?  Or something significant all the same.  I am always out there trying new mediums and experimenting with new techniques...of course I must also buy all necessary supplies or equipment because, you know, this could be the one!  (Actually I do have a little bit of problem when it comes to supplies.  A little obsessed.  I know i am not alone.  You know who you are :)  So anyway...my point being that for all the new things I try, I always look for that sign...kinda like the sign when you find "The One".  You just know.  And similar to "The One", I find that I suddenly can't get enough and how I long to be together again.  I am also overcome with this unusual sense of comfort, which seems odd since we really just met.  

And then I realize..."Ah, I'm home."  



I Want To Play!

I stumbled across this 100 Day Project Challenge on Instagram.  Started by Elle Luna, this awesome challenge gives anyone a perfect opportunity to take a dream, a goal, a forgotten project and commit to it for 100 days.  The beauty of this project is that  it is not about the finished piece but the process.  This is a perfect project to work through my new beginning!  

Find out more details at The Great Discontent Magazine!


It was back in February that I discovered the endless learning possibilities over at Skillshare and was reminded of my age old fascination with calligraphy.  I took my first online class, Intro to Modern Calligraphy with Molly Jacques and was immediately obsessed!  Since then, I have been working on my brush lettering also...wow, much harder, but finally getting the hang of it.  You know where you belong when you have that insatiable feeling the second you begin something new.  That is how my letterpress career began 15 years ago as well!   I knew I was home.  

Since my hand-lettering skills surely need some help, I would like Hand Lettering to be one of my two 100 day challenges.  Only a word or two...something inspiring or thoughtful for that day.   #100daysofHandLettering


Now for my second challenge.  Having recently been re-aquainted with my nib pens, I have found myself drawn (haha) to pen and ink drawings over (or under) watercolor.  There is just something so beautiful about the varying lines that only a nib pen can create and the scratchy sound and feel of the nib on paper that I really respond to.  I am mesmerized by it.  So my second 100 day challenges is Mark Making.  #100daysofMarkMaking

I look forward to the next 100 days together with my new favorite passions!




My Studio

This is my favorite place to be.  I have been in my new space for awhile now but have to admit, it took me some time to adjust.  I've had my own letterpress printshop for a long time but it was never part of my home.  It was always separate.  I thought I preferred it that way.  When we moved in, I found myself hovering around my kitchen after the kids went to school...hmmmm, stalling, perhaps?  Perhaps.  Needless to say, I put on a few pounds!    

I recall way back when, well before the days of husbands and kids, I had had enough of the city and needed out!  I picked my single self up and moved out to the suburbs.  Everyone thought I was insane.  How the heck am I going to meet someone out in the sticks? Sorry, going off topic...that is a different conversation!   Anyway...I bought myself a little place which was still 3x larger than my cozy urban apartment, and was in heaven.  However, I recall my first days...I puttered around the downstairs and seemed to have a hard time venturing past the square footage I was used to living in.  I clearly needed time to adjust.

Alas, I am now in here, my new studio that is, making a mess and feeling at home.  I crave the time and cherish every moment!  But where do you start when you want to begin again?  I guess you start at the beginning!  

My world for the past 15 years has been letterpress, so it makes sense for me to avoid that for the time being.  Any form of printmaking has to wait.  There are way too many areas to explore that deserve their time off the back burner.  

With no real agenda, each day,  I do my best to push aside my fear of failure, not to mention, my fear of a blank page, and just start making stuff.  I come into my studio with the simple goal to make something.  Intrigued by a process or medium?  Great, try it.   I know this will help flush out my many curiosities and cravings.  Allowing me to say, "Next!" or if I am lucky say, "Whoa this is cool!  Where can I go from here?"  Sometimes there are no words at all and I just feel at home.  That's a good day.  That's a good goal.  Great...now I know what to look for.

 I am in love with paper.  I have spent years holding onto stack upon stack of scraps from my many wedding projects.  Ask my incredibly patient husband.  He will confirm this.  I was convinced I would use them somewhere, someday.  But for years, I could never find the time.  Once the kids came into the picture, my life was all about completing my deadlines and then taking care of my family.  So this is truly a treat!  The girls are bigger now and can be more independent.  The studio now is not just for me but for us.  And whether they are with me doing a project or just doing their homework...they are with me.  And that is surely the best part of my day.




Making Me

So here I am again.  Facing that crossroad.  How nice to see it again!  However, unlike other times here, I am not completely confused.  I believe we are all meant to pursue many things in our lifetime.  A lifetime is an awfully long time.  

So here I am again.  Now it's time for me to come face to face with my many loves and see who is the best fit.  Maybe none will be.  Maybe all will be.  Maybe it is a marriage of all the many crazy things I love to do.  How liberating.  I don't have to decide.

This time it's not, "What do I do now?".  It's "What do I do first?"  

I have an insatiable curiosity.  I always have.  I must make things.  I have finally learned that it doesn't really matter what I make.  I just have to make something.  I see it so clearly now.  

Make something and be happy.  Yeah, that's it.

And so my journey begins...