Dancing Owl-Woman
recycled printmaking elements

Please visit a most wonderful, magical and unique collection of maquettes by a diverse group of artists presented as a five-part online exhibition by Clive Hicks-Jenkins on his Artlog!

I am so pleased to be included at almost the last minute in part five. Go see!

Do visit part one, part two, part three, part four. Thank you, Clive!

Here’s my earlier post about my sudden inspiration to try making a maquette for the first time and the encouraging comments to join the maquette exhibition, especially from Clive.

I like that Clive calls this my ‘owl-woman resurrection’. That’s because I cut up (‘cannibalised’ is the word Clive used) prints that were proofs from ARKEO #4 and Silent Messengers: Writing-on-Stone I.

Here’s also a post about the making of the trial proofs for the latter piece, should you be interested.

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!

Mauricio Lasansky

Mauricio Lasansky: da Vinci 1987 from LasanskyArt

Visiting wood s lot a couple of days ago, two powerful and familiar prints caught my eye immediately for I recognized them as the work of Mauricio Lasansky, even before seeing the name below each. Then I see that he has died this week at the remarkable age of 97 after an amazing life as an artist printmaker.

Lasansky was born in Argentina, and later emigrated to the USA where eventually, in 1945, he became professor (later emeritus) of art and art history at the University of Iowa, where he established a highly respected program in printmaking. He was a very highly skilled graphic artist who used numerous techniques and plates to create his huge prints.

As a printmaker, I’ve been a long time admirer of Lasansky’s work and certainly was influenced by his excellent drawing and graphic style. Some decades ago now, I enjoyed a fantastic monograph about him borrowed from a library; I’ve forgotten the name and must now look for it again. I still remember how very searing, disturbing, and haunting his work is as it dealt with so much of the worst of human conditions. Sadly, I’ve never seen any of his work in person.

Here are two obituaries: a family one in his hometown paper in Iowa and a professional one in the New York Times. To learn more about his art and achievements and see a catalogue of his work, visit his extensive website.

I have mentioned his name in two posts long ago, one regarding Original Prints vs. Reproductions, and one linking to PrintFreak, who wrote about him. I don’t know why I have not written more about this powerful artist before, perhaps because words are not enough.

Wayne Eastcott: Systems


Another exhibition coming up very soon, by another artist friend and a mentor.Internationally known printmaker Wayne Eastcott will be showing his latest work at the Bellevue Gallery in West Vancouver. This new series, called Systems: New Works on Metal and Paper, explores:
the relationships between nature and technology and how they interact and form the human condition and environment. The surfaces of these works are developed by various combinations of digital silkscreen and hand painted stenciled enamel as well as pigments of mica and metallic dusts applied to either paper or riveted aluminum.

I’ve had glimpses of some his work in progress and it looks exciting. You may view some of Wayne’s earlier works as well as the collaboration Interconnection on the Bellevue Gallery pages.

A few related posts from the archives:
Interconnection: Eastcott / Suzuki
visiting Interconnection
Wayne Eastcott & Michiko Suzuki
Wayne Eastcott exhibition

Urban Imprints


Friend and fellow-artist Olga Campbell has an exhibition up at the Havana Gallery. If you are in the Vancouver area I recommend a visit to see her always exciting work. I am sorry to have missed the opening but look forward to seeing it myself very soon.

From the archives, about some of Olga’s past shows plus her book:
Whispers Across Time
Triumph of the Human Spirit
Graffiti Alphabet, the book

ADDED Monday, March 26th, 2012: We went to see this exhibition this afternoon – it is wonderful! I love the sculptures of feet and hands and some heads. The prints on canvas look like paintings, my favourite is ‘Luminescence’, with a circle and lovely textures and colours.

gallery day

On Saturday, we went with friends to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see a couple of the exhibitions, one historical and one contemporary. We enjoyed both very much.

Lights Out! Canadian painting from the 1960’s

As the country celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1967, modernist painting was strong in all regions of the country, but debates between the merits of figuration and abstraction were abundant. The important centres of activity, such as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, London, Regina and Vancouver, each contributed to the national dialogue in a distinct fashion. (VAG)

This was very interesting for us for we were all young adults in our university years during that decade. A large board at the beginning of the exhibition displayed the dramatic political and cultural events that occurred in each year of that decade had us reminiscing quite a while. Where were you when President Kennedy was shot, or when the first man landed on the moon? It was especially wonderful for me revisit these works and to be transported back to art school days where we studied them, and were influenced by them, and whose styles we experimented with. One of them in fact, Kenneth Lochhead was one of our professors. (I wrote about his passing here).

No photos are allowed in the gallery, so I wish I could have found more images online to share here, just the above from the VAG site. Here is one review.

The second exhibition: Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture

Skeena Reece Raven: On the Colonial Fleet, 2010 photo: Sebastian Kriete (Captured from the cover of Glance, VAG members’ newletter issue 28)

Beat Nation reflects a generation of artists who juxtapose urban youth culture with Aboriginal identity in entirely innovative and unexpected ways. Using hip hop and other forms of popular culture, artists create surprising new cultural hybrids–in painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video–that reflect the changing demographics of Aboriginal people today.(VAG)

We found this one very exciting and impressive. It is wonderful to see so many (27) young urban First Nations artists from around North America taking their traditional forms into new contemporary ways of expression. Many are very well educated, even teaching in universities. Brian Jungen, whose international career took off after a major solo exhibition at the VAG six years ago (and I had written about), was naturally well represented with his Nike masks.

Please visit the VAG site and these links for more:
Ariane c design Many good photos here
• A review at Vancouver Sun and one image and video
• Review at the Georgia
The Beat, Aboriginal Art on Canada’s Pacific Coast is a interesting new-to-me newsletter that I’m going to follow.

Added March 14th: An excellent review of Lights Out! Canadian painting from the 1960’s by Robin Laurence in the Straight.

Winter Stories 2011



Since Christmas 2003, our granddaughter Lael, now eleven, and later joined by her six- year old sister Niamh, have told the most delightful winter stories to share as holiday greetings with family and friends around the world. It’s a real family tradition and collaboration: Mommy collects and scans their drawings then Daddy animates them and puts them on the girls’ website.

And each year since I started blogging, I’ve taken up the tradition of proudly sharing it here. Please visit this year’s two stories at That Person’s Winter Stories. Do move the cursor around, and be patient if the second one may slow down a bit halfway through, it’s worth it. The earlier stories may be found on the site as well, if you haven’t seen them. Enjoy! Happy holidays!

the beauty of pollination


A friend sent me the link to this exquisitely beautiful time lapse video.

At the end I learned that it comes from a TED talks presentation by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg:

Pollination: it’s vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film “Wings of Life,” inspired by the vanishing of one of nature’s primary pollinators, the honeybee.

Enjoy his short but beautiful and inspiring talk and video.

(The photo above is mine.)

my architect cousin


Seppo Mykrä has designed projects such as the Hotel Oscar expansion shown in the background, where hands were even wrung.
captured from Warkauden Lehti

Very occasionally I browse the online newspaper from Varkaus, Finland, the city where I was born and where most of my father’s family came from and where many of my cousins still live. Imagine my stunned surprise last night when I was checking it out and found a photo and article about my cousin Seppo Mykrä. He has been the city’s architect for 40 years and now has an exhibition of photographs of some of his hundreds of designs in that city.

Here’s my translation of the article:
by Rauno Ylönen 4.8.2011
Architect Seppo Mykrä’s touch is strongly reflected in the city of Varkaus and its streetscape. 70-year-old Mykrä has designed hundreds of buildings for Varkaus in the past 40 years.

Some of these are on display as photographs in the Unknown Creator exhibition at the Varkaus library starting this Wednesday. The exhibition is divided into three parts: industrial buildings, residential buildings and public buildings.

Photography and exhibition design has been carried out by Seppo Mykrä’s granddaughter, Emma Luukkala, a student at the Tampere Art High School. We are still making the book of these photographs, Luukkala says.
Read more in Warkauden magazine on Thursday.

Unknown Creator – an exhibition of Seppo Mykrä’s architecture in Varkaus from 1972-2011 at the Varkaus library exhibition room August 31st.

Can you tell how proud I am of my cousin, who is my late father’s late sister’s son? I deeply wish I could be there to see this exhibition and all his lovely family and home. The last time we met was in 2002.

Now, just a few words about the curious name Varkaus or Warkaus about which we are often teased:

Oddly enough, ‘Varkaus’ translates to ‘theft’, even though it is not the reason for giving that name to the city. In old Finnish, the same word also meant strait, and this city is located in the lake district […] on straits between two parts of Lake Saimaa.

I’ve heard many different explanations for the name but this one is new to me and does make the most sense.

And, oh, I just remembered that it’s my father’s birthday today (as well as being special for a few others in our family). If he were alive he would be 91 years old, and very very proud of his nephew!

an artist’s garden


About a week ago I wrote about some garden art we’d installed to hold up some flowering plants. One commenter in that post mentioned Derek Jarman’s garden in Kent, England, including a link to wonderful photos of it as well as mentioning Jarman’s book. I was immediately captivated.

A few days later, a package arrived at our door, containing the book Derek Jarman’s Garden! It’s a lovely surprise gift by that commenter, J, who is our son-in-law, presently working in England (our daughter and their two girls are visiting here). I knew artist, filmmaker and writer Derek Jarman was a hero of J’s just from seeing his large collection of that artist’s books and films.

I didn’t know that gardening was a life-long passion of Jarman’s and that he spent the last years of his short life building this unique garden at his cottage on the shingle beach of Dungeness, next to a nuclear power plant. He kept a journal about the experience, while photographer Howard Sooley captured rich images of him and the garden, even assisting in plantings. Jarman hunted and carried back many stones, weathered wood pieces and rusty objects from his walks on the shore and created magical installations amongst the plants and shingle. Jarman’s partner Keith Collins wrote a lovely preface and assisted in the publication, done after Jarman’s death.

Only a few hours after receiving the book, and it being a very rainy day, I was drawn into this little beauty, absolutely swept in and loving the photos and the writing, finishing it at bedtime with a happy glow. Here is one of many many favourite passages from Jarman’s writing:

At first, people thought I was building a garden for magical purposes – a white witch out to get the nuclear power station. It did have magic – the magic of surprise, the treasure hunt. A garden IS the treasure hunt, the plants the paperchase.

I invest my stones with the power of those at Avebury. I have read all the mystical books about ley-lines and circles – I built the circles with this in mind. The circles make the garden perfect – in winter they take over from the flowers. There was magic and hard work in finding the coloured stones for the front: white, difficult: grey, less so; red, very rare.

I was amazed at how much beauty was achieved in such a harsh environment. By no means can I compare myself to such a wonderful gardener (as well as writer and artist). I think the lush rainforest of our Pacific Northwest area is one huge garden of its own, in the midst of which we try to make our own little mark, our little piece of paradise on earth. This book has inspired me to look at my garden in a slightly different way, encouraging me to continue to add more personal touches after installing the rust pieces mentioned earlier. I unearthed some forgotten artifacts in the garden shed, like these rusty old garden tools and Greek goat bells, very modest things to add to the various stones and rocks from beaches here and there. Time for more beach and junkyard combing, methinks!

Thank you so much for this inspiring book, J, I will treaure it!

Oh, and isn’t it interesting that this conversation started with the other son-in-law making the wonderful rust garden supports, with daughter Elisa‘s suggestion? I am lucky.


Later: J sent me some excellent links for further reading and viewing if you are interested:

article by Howard Sooley
Howard Sooley’s website
more writing at the Guardian
a “letter” from Tilda Swinton, the actress, and good friend of Jarman’s mentioned a few times in the book

Plus, I forgot to add this article about the Dungeness area