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!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three "Little" Pigs!

Saturday morning I visited Bagaduce Farm right here in Brooksville where the Deborah and Spencer Evans raise English Large Black & Tamworth pigs. Deborah sells bacon, ham, sausage, and chops at the Brooksville, Stonington, and Blue Hill Farmers' Markets. These three are her breeding stock. Aren't they a hoot! Martha Stewart (left) and Hillary Clinton (right) are English Large Black sows, famous for their EARS! Arnold Schwazenegger (middle) is a Tamworth/ Landrace boar.

I'm going to carve each one into his/her own 10" X 13" birch plywood slab. A triptych of sorts. Stay tuned for "little" pig #1!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Puccini the Poodle

8" X 10" pen-and-ink

Here is a commission I just finished yesterday. Puccini, or "Cini" for short, is a gorgeous apricot Standard Poodle. Doesn't he have the sweetest, most wistful look on his face? He suffered quite a bit as a pup at the hands of an irresponsible breeder. He had parasites, pancreatic problems, and digestive issues. When he was three months old he looked more like he was six weeks old. However, his is a happy story. Now he not only has a good home, but good health and great looks as well. I think he’s a real hunk! Can't you just hear Madame Butterfly singing his praises?