this February


Oh my, we are already entering the last week of February. This is a month of anniversaries and birthdays at Chez Rathje. First of the month saw the 12th anniversary of this blog, now limping along in its old age. Then there was one of those Big 0 birthdays for yours truly (also limping along, heh), alongside Valentine’s/Friendship Day, for which I received a big beautiful bouquet of deep red roses from my sweetheart. His birthday by the way is coming up soon as well. Here are the first of the roses to wither, still too gorgeous to discard and thus captured into memory.

In the garden, the snowdrops finished a while ago, the crocuses came out early, one pot of hellebores is in bloom and the mini daffodils and pale pink camellia are opening up. We have had a mild winter with no snow at sea level though lots on the mountains. Having grown up in Winnipeg, I still marvel at this early spring on the westcoast!

Related: see some photos from February 2013

socks by Lucy




Pardon the long silence here for I have been busy with spring — much work in the garden, much work cleaning cobwebs indoors now revealed by increased sunshine giving proof of my lazy housekeeping. Having visitors is also an incentive.

I am also late in sharing my delight in a wondrous gift from THE artist of the knitting needles – Lucy of Box Elder. A little while ago, she had requested my foot dimensions so she could make me some warm slipper socks. It was like Christmas over again when opening the mail package for these are like those worn by the Finnish Santa and his elves. Red hearts are a beloved symbol in Finnish crafts, and red is my favourite colour often mixed with black, both in our home decor and my own wardrobe. Note the lovely craftmanship in the felted wool sole with silicone heart shapes for non-slippage!

My feet and I thank you, dearest Lucy, for this wondrous gift!

gallery update

Head-Study-III (web)

Head Study III (1989) – monotype on Arches Cover paper, 34 x 28 cm. (13″ x 11″)

I am thrilled to announce that my gallery aka website is at last updated and online!

Longtime readers may recall that this blog was transferred from the Movable Type platform to WordPress back in the fall of 2013. Meanwhile my Gallery sat dormant as I did not wish to continue adding more images of my work as it too would be switched. At last my super designer daughter Erika found some time from her own business to custom design my site within WordPress. Still based on the previous ‘look’ which I liked so much, this is easier for me to use. Also, it is now viewable on today’s popular smaller devices. Thanks, Erika!

More printworks, especially some of my older pieces, will continue to appear on the site as I slowly go through my files, so please do visit from time to time by going to the Gallery link on the left top of this page. Of course many of you readers may have seen most of my work on the blog under Printworks, though the images are very small compared to my now larger images. The blog has notes about processes and the ideas behind certain works which may still be of interest.

creative play




A few weeks ago I was doing a bit of a tidy-up of my stacks of print proofs in my studio. I tried to be ruthless and throw out what I was sure I could not reuse in some fashion, such as in mixed media collage work. What I did save, I sometimes tore or cut into pieces, selecting favourite sections with interesting textures, colours or that certain ‘something’. Today I felt inspired to have a look at one small pile which came from a very large collagraph trial print. At some point years ago I had painted and made marks over it. I scanned them and chose my favourites to post here. I love the torn irregular edges which make them look like cloth, more so here than in real life, which is interesting.

And it is already February! Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of this blog. I cannot believe how the years have flown, a sign of getting older I know. I still enjoy having this place for my work, scribblings, and wonderful conversations with so many friends around the world. Thank you all!

Cards from Christmases Past


Christmas 1999


Christmas 2000


Christmas 2001

I am going through the stash of my own designed and printed extra cards from past Christmases to choose from for this year’s mailings. (Because I cannot print new ones this year). I find a few from pre-blog days which I’ve not shown before and thought to add a little bit of early holiday spirit and colour to these pages. I hope you enjoy them. Now back to those letters!

goodbye Joe & Heidi


Joe Hyam, 20.9.1933 – 10.3.2014 and Heidi Rudloff Bush, 28.6.1938 – 22.12.2013

Saddened by the passing of Heidi just before Christmas, then Joe Hyam of Now’s the Time so soon after his wife, I have been without words. Many others have written about them and their friendship more eloquently than I ever could and I nod to them – please see links below.

I delved into our UK 2009 travel photos and found a precious few of our wonderful but short visit to Tunbridge Wells. Joe is well-known I think for being rather camera shy but Fred sneaked this quick shot in his beloved study just before we headed out for a walk in the town. (I tried to remove my image but it only spoiled the background.) I wrote back then about goodbyes, preferring the less final näkemiin or auf wiedersehn. It truly is now a goodbye while that day is even more precious a memory.

Lucy of Box Elder, a most eloquent and prolific writer, friend and collaborator with Joe on Compasses wrote these:
– a hauntingly beautiful poem on the loss of Heidi
– how she met Joe thanks to onions and about her scheme to go to Joe’s memorial
– about the trip and the memorial, along with links to others

Roderick Robinson of Tone Deaf, who has known Joe for decades, wrote several times:
– the first notice that I saw about Joe’s passing, a tribute to their long friendship, and more
– the day of the memorial
– He and his wife also attended Heidi’s memorial but I was unable to find the link about it. If Robbie reads this, perhaps he’ll send it in a comment below.

The Crow wrote a touching goodbye which reflects so well the amazing connections and friendships that come through this blogging medium and which I also feel deeply.

Added May 3, 2014: Joe’s brother Ken aka Lucas of Pomesonpoets has written a poignantly beautiful poem: A Ballad for Joe and Heidi.

ten years


Happy 10th Birthday to my dear blog!

You are my artist’s diary, sketchbook, photo album, scrapbook and catch-all of impressions and inspirations.

You have been the medium for making many amazing friends and connections around this globe for which I’m deeply thankful.

Ten years is a short time in a human’s life, but long in this technology. How long will this last, I wonder?

Happy New Year 2014


In these last hours of the old year, like Janus I look back and look forward. The days slowly begin to lengthen. It is a good time to express my gratitude and thanks for this past year’s conversations with all of you dear friends and readers. I hope we have many more in the New Year of 2014.

I always hold hopes for a fairer and better world for everyone and hopes for a greener Earth.

I wish you all a New Year of happiness, good health, inspiration and abundant creativity!

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta! Allen ein frohes Neues Jahr! Bonne année!







Cold moonlit nights, bright days with barely warming sunshine. The frost is growing fur!

I have posted numerous similar photos of frost (fractals, flowers, ferns, and maybe even fur) over the years. This has become extremely evident to me as I laboriously go over each post (over 1800!) fixing missing line breaks and inbound links that were damaged in this blog’s recent transition to WordPress. Am I so self-absorbed that I keep linking back to my own previous posts? Well, not this time.

in transition


This seems to be a month of transitions.

A major one is the sudden decision to switch this blog over to another platform. I’ve been working with Movable Type for almost 10 years but they have recently announced that they have now removed the free licenses and will have only a commercial offering. My son-in-law/tech support moved quickly to switch this to WordPress – he takes good care of the family blogs! I am always slow in adapting to technical changes though I’ve had lots of help from designer daughter Erika (thank you!). I’m finally ready to go live at WordPress, though there are still some tweaks to be done. So welcome back, dear readers, I have missed you! I hope there will be no commenting or other problems but do let me know if there are.

Other distractions, transitions in themselves, that have slowed me down are a granddaughter’s 13th birthday yesterday with all our family here for the weekend. Yes, that explains the card above and it is a special and happy event for us all.

Fall is of course a transitional season and October has been the most glorious month, with only a couple of stormy rainy days early on. The colours are exceptionally brilliant, the weather warm. We have admittedly had about a week of overnight fog which usually burns away in the morning but sometimes lingers all day. I rather like the effects. Fall gardening means we have planted a new garden area where our hedge had to be removed next to the new neighbour’s new home construction and dividing wall. We have brought indoors some tender plants including red bell peppers, we’re pruning, pulling out ivy and weeds, mulching, planting bulbs… still more to do as time, weather, sore backs and knees allow.


Finally, my art making, always quiet anyway over summer, is still in transition this fall for I am very sad that the print studio where I worked for many years has been shut down. It’s a major adjustment for me to work alone in my small home studio. I will be writing more about this later.