a change


As regular readers know, we are still adjusting and fine tuning aspects of this new blog redesign. The latest thing, which I have reluctantly agreed to because of the spam volumes, is that now commenters will need to register. I hope it won’t be too difficult for anyone (took me a bit to figure out**), but once it is done, you will not need to do it again. Hopefully this will work better for me and block the unfriendly visitors but not the friendly ones, including yours truly who kept being sent to the spam bin! Please let me know if you have any problems.

This gave me the perfect excuse to put up another drawing, this one a loner amongst the human figures and faces. A change of scenery if you will.

I must add my thanks again and always to both my son-in-law J for all the hours of work he does on the technical side behind the blog, and has done from the day he started me blogging, and to daughter Elisa for this beautiful redesign. Both have busy careers, so I am grateful they take such good care of mom’s blog!

** A tip for those having trouble registering, do go to “Not a member? Sign Up!”. That’s what I missed initially, such a dodo with online forms.

portrait studies



It’s a slow but enriching process to go through rolls of one’s old drawings, long ignored, poorly stored and in need of photo documentation. I am finding many from 1982 and 1983, years in which I attended some excellent life-drawing classes as an audit student at a local college – just because I missed and craved it but didn’t need the credit. Above are some ‘head studies’ as they were called. Below are smaller studies in pencil with a note on each: ‘perspective head study’. Can you see the faint diagonal lines on the first one below?



more drawings




I am continuing to go through some rolls of old life drawings and document a few of them. The one on the top here was rolled next to the first drawing I showed yesterday and seems to be of the same model. The lower two drawings are from a roll which does have a date: September 1983.

The light in my studio is not as bright as I wish with our rainy and cloudy days at present so there are strange shadows here and there, some revealing the curves in the paper from being rolled up for so long, even streaks from light exposure coming in at the end of the roll. Though I tried to fix them as best as I could, I rather like the aged look, even if these are not such professional photos.

I know, I should wait for better light conditions but I’m eager to carry on with the tidying and organizing before I lose interest. There are decisions to be made – which to keep, which to discard, and how to store these more safely. Hmm, I do have some new large tubes with end caps and some acid free liner paper to wrap them in. No room in the flat files, sorry, those are reserved for my prints.


studio update


As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have been reorganizing and cleaning my small home studio to make room for a very large set of used flat files which I’d finally found after years of searching. What a job! Though not finished, the studio is looking much better and my editions have a clean, flat, accessible home, except for one over-sized edition which is staying in its porfolio for now. Though the file cabinet is too high as a working surface, it provides much-needed space to spread out my papers, such as many print proofs, thus leaving the table top free to work on.

It was interesting to revisit my older work as I was organizing them into the drawers. I have now made a start at some of the many rolls of life-drawings on newsprint, stashed in tall boxes in a former bedroom/storage room. Most of these were done in the 70’s and early 80’s when I attended various life-drawing workshops. Drawing and especially life drawing was my favourite class back in art school where we had two days a week of it (you don’t see that anymore in most art schools). What I’ve kept of those are probably somewhere in the bowels of the crawlspace under the house. Being newsprint, these are yellowed, fragile, torn and hard to unroll flat, but I am going to try to photo document some of the better ones. Here is the first, a fairly quick though imperfect study:


Inspiration hit me a couple of days ago, from admiring my clean studio, the pile of proofs and from Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkin’s blog. Clive frequently makes wonderful maquettes for his various projects which he so generously shows readers. Recently he put out a call for readers to make their own and submit them to him to feature on May 1st. I have never made any and had no plans to start at this time, but the other day, Clive’s post on artist Jodi le Bigre’s stunning maquette must have left a deep impression on me, for lo! I suddenly started cutting up some of my collagraph proofs to create the figure below. It is not a maquette for the paper is too light and I had no appropriate fastenings, but I had fun! I’m not sure what will happen to this creature, maybe it will become a maquette yet, though of course too late for Clive.


Added May 4th: As I wrote later, my maquette in other poses made it into the five-part online exhibition of maquettry hosted by Clive Hicks-Jenkins on his Artlog!

twelfth night


inkjet print, frottage and drawing with conte 19.5 x 19.5 cm

Happy Twelfth Night!

Related: Twelfth Day post of 2006

today’s work/play


Some readers were curious about the etching I used to make the rubbing yesterday. Here is the deeply etched copperplate, about 12.5 x 28 cm. You may have seen it before though I could not find more than a small section of it.

The etching was originally created for the Meta-morphosis VII group of prints and used again in Nexus Blue IV.


Still inspired to play some more with rubbings and drawings, I did several more today with this copperplate, above and below are the best two. I think I like yesterday’s better – beginner’s luck!


not a doodle


inkjet print, frottage and drawing with conte 19.5 x 28.5 cm.

I love how inspiration can come from something seemingly half-mindless like a doodle, as I wrote about previously. Just posting about them and reading your comments set me thinking again about the stack of proofs (test prints) on my studio table that I have not wished to discard even as they take up precious work space. I sometimes cut some up for cards and sometimes think of using parts in collages (but haven’t).

This morning, still in pj’s and a cup of coffee in hand, I felt the urge to do another rubbing and drawing from a deeply etched copperplate onto a section of an inkjet proof. Here it is in all its imperfections but I’m pleased enough to show it off. I hope to do more, maybe it will even become a little series. A good start for the new year!





Surely everybody doodles, at least sometimes? I often do. The top one was one done with pencil on some scrap paper a few weeks ago, absent-mindedly at first as the act of doodling usually is, then consciously as I became enamored by the results. Actually it is a rubbing or ‘frottage’ of a piece of rusted metal that happened to be nearby.

Excited at other possibilities I then went into the studio for better paper and a sanguine conte crayon to do the second one, then charcoal for the third. I think one of these just might appear in another digital collage piece one day, so doodling can be a good thing, rather like sketching out ideas, some even absentmindedly generated.

I am looking forward to getting back to my artmaking soon. Again, Happy New Year, all!

Added Jan.2nd: I just remembered a piece that I had posted almost seven years ago, a fully developed work using the rubbing technique as well as drawing: Veils Suite: Triptych. I should find some others I’ve done…

little sketchbook


As some of you know, we visited Montreal last June and met in person long-time online friend Beth and her husband. I’ve been wanting to show this special and beautiful gift Beth gave me, a little sketchbook about 10 x 12 cm. (4″ x 4.75″) that she skillfully crafted. I treasure it and think of Beth every time I look at it. Today, better late than never, I did my first little sketch into it.


Inspired by an image I saw somewhere a few years ago of a prehistoric rock carving in Roughting Linn in Northumberland, UK, I’d done a quick pen doodle on scrap paper and later taped it into my larger working sketchbook/notebook. As I contemplated doing a series of rock art images in Beth’s book, I remembered that image. I used graphite aquarelle pencils, a black aquarelle stick and a damp little paintbrush – what fun!

Leonardo da Vinci Drawings


This is a week late but I cannot let it go by without expressing my excitement, astonishment and feelings of being newly inspired by the greatest Renaissance man.

Days before the exhibition was to end, my husband and I made it to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man. We thought we were avoiding the crowds during the Olympics but we were surprised to be standing in a long line snaking quite a ways outside, for this was the ‘by donation’ night, always popular but even more so with this exhibition!

From the VAG’s website, in case this page should go down soon:

One of the most important of Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic and scientific investigations of the human body was conducted for a planned treatise on anatomy. To accomplish this, Leonardo appears to have worked with a scientist from the University of Pavia to participate in dissections of corpses, which were rarely performed at the time. These direct observations by Leonardo resulted in an exceptional body of work that remains, to this day, one of the greatest triumphs of drawing and scientific inquiry.

Leonardo’s group of drawings, referred to as the Anatomical Manuscript A, concentrates on the structures of the body and the movements of musculature. Shown for the first time as a complete group in this exhibition, Manuscript A encompasses thirty-four of Leonardo’s pen and ink anatomical drawings on eighteen sheets of paper, rendered during the winter of 1510-1511. Included are the first known accurate depictions of the spinal column and two magisterial sheets depicting the musculature of the lower legs and feet. The works are graciously loaned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from The Royal Collection, Windsor.

Leonardo’s ink drawings are small, incredibly fine and detailed with even tinier handwriting in mirror image on letter sized paper. Many viewers had magnifying glasses! Some of the studies had been enlarged onto wall posters with translations from Italian to English and with commentary to add to our understanding. A woman, standing next to me as we studied one of the originals, said that she was a medical worker and had studied anatomy and dissection and expressed awe at the incredible accuracy of most of the drawings.

We were incredulous to learn that not long after these drawings had been finished, they were virtually locked up for centuries instead of benefitting the medical students they had been intended for. They were not published until the end of the 19th century. I’m not sure how they ended up in England’s royal collection.

I was completely in thrall of these fine drawings, as I have always loved drawings the most of all media, and Leonardo da Vinci’s are right at the top of my favourites! I’ll never forget the drawings by him which I saw in the Uffici Gallery in Florence many years ago, coming on them quite by accident on my way out, like the icing on the cake!

Of course, I just had to buy the excellent hard cover book accompanying this exhibition! The above image is a scanned detail from the cover overleaf, since no photos were allowed in the gallery.

Here are links to some articles which also have a few images:

Leonardo da Vinci Drawings Coming to the Vancouver Art Gallery

Leonardo da Vinci gets under the skin in Vancouver exhibit (Click on “story” then “photos”)

In conjunction with this exhibition was another called Visceral Bodies (still on until the 16th of May), consisting of works by a number of contemporary artists from different parts of the world. Again, from the VAG site:

Many of the works in Visceral Bodies comment on issues of identity, pathology and normality. Refuting the modernist image of science as an unquestioned source of progress, Visceral Bodies presents a variety of reflections on how the human form can be understood and represented, especially given the ambiguities and provocations of the genetic age.

Most of these were fascinating, some a bit too gruesome but I could identify with the issues. I wish VAG’s website listed all the artists names, for I can’t remember them all and did not wish to buy another catalogue. This exhibition seems to have been overshadowed by Leonardo’s work even in the media, but here is one excellent review of both these exhibitions, with some images as well, written far better than I could do.