Thursday, December 18, 2008


8" X 10" Pen-and-Ink

Here's another Japanese Tanka for my latest commission:


Youngster and oldster
The so, so serious pup
The sincere grown up
The brows of both deep-furrowed
Asking how best to love you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Rose

8" X 10" pen and ink

". . . that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet"

-- Romeo and Juliet

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moku Hanga

I had a blast at the Moku Hanga workshop that I attended last weekend at the Zea Mays Printmaking Studio in Florence, Massachusetts. I learned so much about this traditional Japanese method of woodblock printing. Two days were not nearly enough to assimilate and practice all the new techniques. My head is spinning with ideas and I can't wait to get the additional tools that I need to continue printing multi-colored woodblocks.

Here is Annie Bissett, our guru, demonstrating how to mix inks. There were nine participants in the workshop, all fabulous artists, all fun to work with, all inspirational. The studio was spacious and full of light. We each had our own work table and plenty of elbow room. Annie was a constant source of wisdom.

Here I am carving one of my four blocks for the four colors in my print -- yellow, red, blue, and black.

Now I'm inking the first block in yellow.

I carved Kento marks in the corner and bottom edge of each of my four woodblocks to help me place the paper just so on each block.

Finally, I rubbed the back of the paper with a baren to press the ink from the woodblock into the paper. And, Voila!

Here's my first Moku Hanga wooblock print. Not the undisputed masterpiece that I had intended to create, but a start. I hope there will be many more to come.

For more photos of the workshop, check out Annie Bissett's wonderful blog, woodblockdreams.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Portrait and a Tanka

8" X 10" pen-and-ink
The Monsignor’s dog
is a black-and-white cocker--
saintly and sinful--
his eyes lifted to heaven,
in his thoughts he's digging holes.

I've taken up Tanka, a Japanese style of poetry, similar to Haiku, but with five lines in each poem, and 5/7/5/7/7 beats in each line. Actually, Tom signed me up for his Tanka group, but I am having fun writing Tankas for each portrait I draw. Maybe I'll start combining portraits with poetry on my greeting cards.

I'm off to my Japanese Block Printing workshop this weekend in Florence, Massachusetts. Stay tuned for my first woodblock print in COLOR!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What a Week!

On Sunday my brother Brian came for a five-day visit from California. In the 26 years since I moved from California to New England, Brian has never visited me at my house, so it was a momentous occasion!

Here we are in our blaze orange (the month of November is deer-hunting season in Maine), standing in front of Tom's "Dow Jones Industrial Wood Pile." By the way, Tom had one personal essay published this week and another accepted for publication!

On Monday I took down my month-long show at the Blue Hill Co-op: Community Market and Cafe. I called it "Faces from the Farm." It included 12 original pen-and-ink drawings and seven woodblock prints -- all farm animals (well, except for the black bear). I got tons of good feedback on the exhibit and sold eight pieces -- a personal best for me!

Later that day I delivered two new portraits. I love Scout's sweet sense of yearning (I understand that he's quite the moocher of treats!) and King's goofy dignity.

10" X 8" pen and ink

7" X 5" pen and ink


This is a woodblock print by my favorite Moku Hanga artisit, Annie Bissett. I'll be taking a course with Annie at the end of this month to learn how to create woodblock prints in COLOR!

On Thursday I attended the opening of "Noah's Ark Revisited: Part II," a multi-artist, multi-media exhibit of living creatures at the Deer Isle Artists' Association. I have three woodblock prints in the show.

If I look worn out in this picture, I am! Brian left Friday morning and I'll get back to my drawing board this week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don't Mess with Me!

Mittens (Mitty)
10" X 8" pen and ink

Friday, October 24, 2008

from a Quaker newsletter in Australia

Inner Peace

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

. . . Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Angel Andrew

8" X 10" pen and ink

Andrew is quite the character. He is half Lhasa, half Poodle, and he was rescued from a Maine animal shelter. He lives on a farm and hangs out with horses, a donkey, cats, chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits and the occasional skunk and raccoon. Although he's over 15 years old, he loves going on walks with visitors, digging in the couch, spinning in circles, and riding in the car in his very own booster seat. He also makes a great lap warmer. His "Aunt" says, "He looks like and angel, which, in his quirky way, he is!" Andrew can be a little devil as well. When he knows his "Mom" is planning to cut his nails, he hides the clippers so that she can't find them. I think this pose captures both sides of his personality. I love his soulful angel eyes and his fierce show of devil teeth.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Steady Gaze & Doggie Secrets

8" X 10" pen and ink

Miles is quite the cool cat, don't you think? How about that mesmerizing stare?

Mitzi & Rosie

7" X 5" pen and ink


Mitzi has got a delicious secret that she's sharing with Rosie. Both terriers, Mitzi is a Parson Jack Russell and Rosie is an Airdale. Don't you wonder what Mitzi's whispering?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PenPets Goes Political!

I’ve been pretty quiet about my political beliefs for most of my adult life, but the current economy and Sarah Palin have pushed me over the edge. Here’s my PenPets Political Pronouncement. Please excuse the histrionics, but we’ve gotta be strong to combat the barracuda!

I ordered ten of these t-shirts last week and they arrived yesterday. They’ve all been snatched up and I’m poised to place another order tonight. They should come in 7 days (by 10/17 I hope). Would you like to order one or more for yourself and your like-minded friends and family members?

Here are the details: The t shirts are white, 100% cotton, and preshrunk. They come in 5 sizes: S, M, L, XL, and XXL. The shapely sow is a black pen-and-ink drawing; the text is in lipstick red! I’m selling them for $15 apiece. The cost of Priority Mail will be $5 for 1-2 shirts and $10 for 3 or more.

Time is of the essence! Election Day is 4 weeks from yesterday (November 4th). If I order the shirts now, you should get yours by the 3rd week in October. That gives you one week to wear it to bits!

Please email me ( ASAP if you’d like a t shirt and what size you’d like. I will bill you later.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back from British Columbia

We’re back from our ten-day cruise aboard Irving’s trawler, Irandar, in British Columbia. We’re full of great memories of sea and scenery and sea creatures—Dall porpoises surfing our bow, sea lions roaring on the rocks, sea otters diving for shell fish, birds in abundance. Here are a few pictures to share with you.

Once we arrived in Seattle (Brooksville to Boston to Phoenix to Seattle) we flew in this tiny seaplane all the way up the east coast of Vancouver Island to Port McNeill.

A scene from the seaplane’s window. Later we boated over this same stretch of water.

Irandar in Frances Bay, which is Irving, the captain’s, favorite harbor in Desolation Sound.

Tom and Leslie on Newcastle Island across from Nanaimo.

Leslie at the helm of Irandar.

Tom and Irving pouring libations to a successful trip once we arrived in La Conner, Washington, Irandar’s home port. Notice my woodcut goose hanging next to Tom.

I have lots to share with you in the next few days about my "Dog Days 2009" calendar and my "Faces from the Farm" exhibit at the Blue Hill Co-op Cafe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

British Columbia & New Commissions

We set off tomorrow for our annual two-week cruise in British Columbia with our friend Irving on his wonderful trawler Irandar. This year we set off from the top of Vancouver Island and cruise down through the Broughtons, Desolation Sound, and the San Juans to Seattle. I can't wait! The company is great, the boat commodious, the food fabulous, the scenery spectacular, and the wildlife plentiful -- Orca and Humpbacked Whales, dolphins, bears, sea otters, Great Blue Herons by the hundreds! What more could we want?

I have lots of commissions awaiting me when I get home, not the least of which is a woodcut of Pete, a two-year-old Newfoundland, who, at 115 lbs. is still not full grown! He'll put on another 15 lbs. before he's through. He's a real sweetheart and who wouldn't fall in love with that face! I hope I do his good looks justice!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Two HOT Dogs on a Stick

Maddie & Poppy
8" X 10" pen and ink

I saw a lot of tandem sporting events at the Beijing Olympics -- synchronized swimming and diving, beach volleyball, tennis doubles, and my favorite tandem event of all -- the equestrian events. But no tandem stick fetching! Too bad! I know that Maddie and Poppy would have annialated the competition with their brilliant teamwork, spot-on timing, flawless form, and steely grips. They'd have brought home the GOLD for Hilary! What a couple of hotties!

Thanks Anne for the fabulous photo!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another Lovely Aussie

8" X 10" pen & ink

Sadie, a tri-colored Australian Sheep Dog, lived 14 years with Sarah and George in Portland, Oregon. She was their only dog and their constant companion. The three of them hiked trails all over the Northwest, from the forests of Mount Hood to the beaches of Oregon and Washington. Sadie’s last trip to the coast was captured in this shot of her on Manzanita Beach in Oregon. There was a sizable celebration for Sadie’s 14th birthday that included champagne for her human family and friends, and doggie treat bags for her four legged pals. Sadie had a large following of devoted fans who felt she possessed a special personality that endeared them to her in a steadfast way. George and Sarah's grief has been deep. They hiked to Sadie’s favorite spots to scatter her ashes.

Thanks Alyson for this moving tribute to Sadie. Some of these stories just break my heart!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blue Hill Fair

The Blue Hill Fair is in town this weekend – scene of Charlotte’s triumph and Wilbur’s fame in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Remember that “TERRIFIC,” “RADIANT,” and finally “HUMBLE” pig? There were plenty of descendants of Wilbur there this year as well as a diverse cast of furry and feathered characters. I was there, too, snapping photos of everything on four feet – 110 shots on my little Nikon CoolPix! Here is a sneak preview of what you may see in pen-and-ink or woodblock prints down the line.






Highland Calf


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two Aussies

Trystyn & Grytham
8" X 10" pen & ink

Here's a new commission I've just finished. Grytham is a gorgeous tri-colored Australian Sheep Dog. I drew him alone last year. Now he has a side-kick -- Trystan. They look like they'll be quite the dynamic duo!


8" X 10" pen & ink


I had a birthday this week (We won't talk about that!) and Tom gave me a print of Holly Meade's wonderful woodblock fox. Kinsey gave me this great T-shirt to match. Holly is a woodblock print artist who lives in our next-door town, Sedgwick. She carves fabulous animals that I just love! Her fox will be an inspiration to me in my own woodblock carving.

The Christmas commissions are already starting to come in so stay tuned for more dog and cat portraits. I'm also designing next year's Dog Days Calendar -- maybe two! Don't know when I'll get back to my carving.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rehab & Retail

Kinsey in Recovery

Lots to blog about this morning. First things first. Kinsey’s home! She has nine ghastly looking stitches in her little leg (and that’s just on the outside!) and is feeling a bit fragile, but she’s eating up all the attention she’s getting, as well as the scrambled eggs – her favorite! We gave her a good three-quarters of our bed last night (as opposed to her usual half) and she slept soundly. This morning she’s here in my studio with me, soaking up the sun through the French doors and keeping her eye on the bird feeders outside. At least she can bark at marauding squirrels, if not chase them! Thank all of you for the good juju you’ve been sending her way!

My second Farmers’ Market was outdoors this week. It didn’t pour rain till the last ten minutes. Here’s my little display, including the beautiful racks Tom's made for my cards and matted prints, and the spectacular dahlias my neighbor Ed Black contributed. They sold like hotcakes! Every last one of them!

I wish I could say the same for my cards, books, and prints – I could have paid the vet bill out of my proceeds! – but I did better than I did last week and I'm still quite encouraged by this new adventure in marketing. I grabbed this original pen-and-ink drawing on the way out the door and it was the first item I sold yesterday.

Cormorants on #2 Bell
5" X 7" Pen-and-Ink
When I returned home from the market, I had a new PenPets commission on my email from someone who had just picked up one of my fliers that morning. Speaking of which, here’s a recent commission for all you cat lovers:

5" x 7" pen-and-ink
Arlo is a cool, calico cat from California, and “he” is really a “she,” even though she was named after Arlo Guthrie.

Finally I’m experimenting on one of my best customers. Thea recently sent me a photo of her beloved Sugar, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, to draw. However, the image of the dog was so small in the photograph that I didn’t think I could see enough detail to make a really good drawing out of it, so I carved Sugar in linoleum instead. I made her quite small, because Thea really only wants greeting cards. I’ve hand-rubbed this one to send to Thea. If she likes the linocut, I’ll hand-rub a boxed-set of cards for her. It’s more labor intensive than slapping my drawings on my Copystar and pressing the "print" button, but I do like the process.


3.75" X 5" linocut


Wew! That's enough for one day! Thanks for putting up with me and all my blogging.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger
10" X 13" woodcut

Here's Arnie! The first of my trio of hogs from Bagaduce Farm. I pulled five prints of him this morning, using my new water-soluble ink from Graphic Chemical & Ink Company in Chicago, a new roll of Japanese mulberry paper, a new German brayer (a roller used to spred the ink on the woodblock), a new Japanese bamboo-covered baren (a disk used to press the paper onto the inked woodblock), and an old sheet of glass that Tom raided from a picture frame to roll the ink out on (instead of a paper plate).

I'm quite pleased with all my new tools, but I still have lots of questions about how to use them. Take the paper, for instance. Should I cut or tear it? Which side of the paper should I print on--the smooth or the rough? How do I center the paper over the woodblock so that the margins are even? I tried a little bit of everything this morning. I ended up folding and then tearing the paper along the edge of a countertop. And I ended up using the rough side more than the smooth side of the paper. I still haven't mastered centering the paper over the woodblock. (You may have noticed that Arnie looks a little cock-eyed.) Perhaps that comes with practice. I'm sure to get that! Martha Stewart and Hillary Clinton await my carving tools, my woodblocks, my ink, and my paper. So, I'll be back!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Knee Surgery #2

Kinsey's feeling a bit sad. Yesterday she ruptured her left cruciate ligament running on wet grass. Two years ago she ruptured her right cruciate ligament chasing squirrels off the deck. The vet confirmed our suspicions this afternoon and Kinsey is scheduled for surgery first thing Monday morning. It won't be fun for any of us. Meanwhile she's confined to bed rest and, in true queenly fashion, is making the most of it.
"A sip of water?"
"Yes, please. Just a sip."
"A bit of chicken?"
"How about two bits!"
"A green bean from the garden?"
"I could eat one or two."
"A bowl of kibble?"
"Not while I'm convalescing, thank you very much."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My First Farmers' Market!

New this year, the Brooksville Farmers' Market is the place to be on Tuesday mornings from 9:00-11:00. There you'll find fresh, organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, flowers, goat cheese, blueberry muffins, whole grain bread, pork sausages, wooden spoons, jewelry, soap, live music, and NOW PenPets greeting cards, calendars, and books! Yep! I've attended my first farmers' market and it was lots of fun! Usually it's held outdoors, but this morning it was inside our Community Center due to the downpour. Tom made me a lovely pine rack to display my cards and I took 20 different images of farm animals -- all fresh, organic, and mostly local! I also had my "Dog Days Birthday Calendars" and my children's book, "How to Catch a Lobster" for sale, and I gave away lots of bookmarks and brochures. I had a steady stream of customers for two solid hours, lots of positive comments about my work, and lots of sales! So I'll be there again next Tuesday. I hope the sun will be shining by then!