A New Long Blog

Dreary day today. Lee is sweeping leaves in the background near the apartment while we wait for our Thursday lunch company.  She came full of sensible ideas like, I may want to add another day for having a caregiver come so I can get some reading done, sew up my new fabrics, finish a short story…..and more.  I never think of these things on my own anymore. And she is the only one I have to talk to in person to bounce around ideas. Tomorrow I will make some inquiries as to additional time scheduling.

In the mail yesterday, another friend sent what was a calendar with each month having different marks. So inspiring and thoughtful to have him think of me and my marks book. Such great ideas for filling spaces.

And another friend in Australia sent me an image of Scottie Wilson’s work. He was likely the first to start the outsider art movement with his art. Collected by Picasso and others. I see and understand his compulsion to fill spaces with marks and he is definitely worth looking up on Google.

I wonder if Gory was influenced by Wilson. What I also like is how he tentatively adds color to the marked sections. I don’t like colored pencils because they are somewhat garish but I do remember buying some that were greyed down with graphite I think ,,,..might start using those slowly, very slowly. They would be easy to add to my pen collection. Better than messy watercolors on my lap.

Anyway here are the drawings in the marks book since I left the little girl on the rock.

She peeks out the window.

Sees this.

And the dragon continues for a few more pages.

How fun is that…turn the short page over and the back leg lines up with the front leg.

I have no idea what to draw next. Maybe she sees more out the window…maybe an endless line of little kids…maybe another animal….maybe something else altogether.

Another friend sent me this image in messenger. It is a woodblock print by Jan Mankes, a Dutch painter who only lived to be thirty years old…tuberculosis.  His work is stunning and worth a look up on Google. This particular image is full of the necessary repetitive marks to make a convincing background for the raven.

His paintings are just as captivating.

And now on to something totally different. On our conference calls with our kids and friend, Marla, each Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, are also about having a drink together. Our daughter’s partner made the suggestion of flavoring vodka for our Bloody Marys..one of the drinks of choice Sunday morning. So I took a bottle of vodka and shared it across several one pint bottles.

Left to right are bay leaf, rosemary, orange rind, and bacon fat. Sunday morning while they are showing off their Bloody Mary concoctions with olives, cheese, bacon, etc., I will be having my bacon fat infused vodka in my own drink of V8, dill pickle juice, celery seed, Worcestershire, tabasco, and pickled asparagus. Lee will be staying with V8. For those not aware, V8 is a highly seasoned tomato juice.

Right now Lee is napping and I am having a scotch. Dinner will be pasta and something yet to be determined.

If I am going to sew, I will need to move the sewing machine, iron and ironing board over to the apartment. Easily done. The fabrics, notions, material and threads go over as well. Then I can stop wondering when I am ever going to get to those lovely linens.

All twenty books have been sent to Australia and this morning four were sent out to California, St. Louis and Georgia. Six left for family and friends. It feels good to have the thoughts in words on pages and in the hands of those who were so encouraging.

More later…

Friday Again!!

Eight Trusting the Tether Line poetry books heading to Australia. Another box will be mailed there next week. It is taking me longer to stitch the signatures…finger cramps from holding things together while I try to use black thread on black paper. But I am progressing!

And the marks sketchbook continues.

This nest took quite a bit of time but worked.

I like how the short page illustrations play off the longer ones behind.

The start of a bamboo forest…or so I thought.

This is how it ended this morning. I am wondering about doing a story in six pages of just drawings that fill the entire page. There are so many pages left in this book. I am still thinking about it and wondering if Gory-like drawings would not be the better way to do it. Dots are just nuts to fill a page. My eyes blur after a bit. I also had to put the heron in water because I started marking out the head too low on the page. Working directly with pen makes you think creatively when mistakes are made.

And finally I think Ellie’s story will end soon…3,000 words is about enough and I figured out the ending. Three o’clock in the morning is the figuring hour.

It was always better to think of the things she might do than look back on the things she’d already done. Those things were over. Ellie had moved on. It may not have always been in a straight line but she stepped away from her yesterdays with hardly a glance back……..

Til later


Suddenly It Is Days Later!

Clear blue skies and frigid weather today.  I came over here to the apartment to work on the piercing of pages and thinking I would bind some of the several books I am sending off to Australia…but I forgot scissors and the covers need trimmed on the board shear in the studio. So that job is put off until Monday when I get better prepared. But so far fifteen books of two signatures each have been pierced.

The 32 lb paper feels luscious. And I like the fine tether line throughout.

Every day I do marks in the book with black ink. For some reason I forgot to photograph the page after the stacked stones using the stippling method….I will show that page next time. But in doing that page and working on a stacked stone fence, I thought of Shel Silverstein. He had such bold black ink marks for his illustrations but something about the stippling of a stone wall reminded me of his work. I shall have to dig out my Silverstein children’s books and see. Anyway I turned that page and decided to just do different stones.

This type of work takes so much time. And I find that working off my lap is not the best way to do it. The slight bounce of the pen on pages makes it more of a short, although very short, line. These stones all look “furry”.

When I was doing wood engravings on hard maple boards I used this stippling technique with moderate success. The finely grained wood block did not bounce because of course it was on a table. The stippling tool could make nice clean pecks into the hard wood. In that case I was creating light with each mark whereas in this marks book I am creating the dark. A very fine point would be best and done on a solid surface. I may tire of this tediousness sooner than I thought.

Here is this morning’s leaf.

On the reverse side of that leaf is another one that I returned to the more bold line work…I will show that one later. So it seems to me now that I prefer the fine lines used like Edward Gorey did.  And I think that is because it seems closer to graphite which is what I am more used to. The stippling might work more like graphite illustration if I had a very fine point. Rapidograph pens are about the only ones they say work best this way…held perpendicular to the page. All other fine points do not like the pouncing up and down. They are made to be used at an angle. Of course there is always the fine dip pens but I would need to work over a table. I will keep going…but I am sensing some boredom creeping in.

Since all the pens sent to me are primarily waterproof, I might just start adding color….maybe.

And today over here at the apartment I worked on two more pages of the fairy book. Only the final two left to go.

I have not figured out what to do with the printed leaf marks on the folded up angled bottoms yet….maybe a whole long row of flowers.

Once I finish the fairy book I have two more from Lorraine down under that have contact prints in them as well. I might be more adventurous and use black pen in the next.

Ellie of my short story is still waiting in the garden for me to get her moving again. I don’t like to spend too much time with these characters that I make up. I think they have a private life that I am not supposed to be snooping into. I wouldn’t want someone following me around to see what I do next, so why would they? I like to think of them as an overheard conversation in a diner. Just enough exposure to make them real and somehow familiar. I don’t think I will follow her into the next day that she has planned. I think whatever she wants to resolve will be done before she goes to bed.

I like her. I would not mind sharing some of her mediocre vegetable soup if invited. Or maybe I could just lean up against a door jamb and watch for awhile. If I do that then I can take it all in, how the house smells, how she slightly wheezes when she bends over, how the mustard and catsup bottles are always on the table with mismatched salt and pepper shakers and the chipped butter plate, how she, like me, does not bother to comb her hair.

I think I hear her calling and now I have to wait until Monday….

Til later…

Trying to Just Keep Focused on Better Times

I have a bottle of champagne ready for the inauguration next week, but dread the days leading up to it. How could we possibly have bred that many willfully ignorant insurrectionists! And so many grifting politicians who manage to keep them that way. Decency surely will return….I am hoping anyway. Time will tell.

I still get away over here to the apartment to write. Ellie’s kitchen story is coming along. Just not that fast. The printer and I see the written word, paper and the “feel” of things differently. He says that I am an artist/poet and he is a printer, so of course we would not have the same vision. I have ordered the cover papers and hope to have him do the printing of the sheets that I will then fold into signatures and bind. And then with luck and effort end up with a stack of Trusting the Tether Line poetry books. I will post that stack when I get that far.

In the meantime, the daily marks book continues.

Even though a marketer says that a pen is fine line, doesn’t mean that it is. A .5 is definitely NOT a .05, which is what I was hoping for. Is it too much to ask to find a .05 black artist pen? Apparently so. I will continue to look.

I wish I knew what Edward Gorey used. Maybe his drawings were done much larger than what I see in illustration books and cards and I just think he had very fine pointed pens. It just seems hard to get those mid tones when the line is too thick to create shaded areas of small parallel lines.

Anyway, this is good practice for whenever I get back to relief printmaking.

It is three o’clock and I am going to have a glass of wine before having to go back to the house. I will drink to the friends in Australia who have had to cancel the textile conferences due to limiting crowds and border closings in the rise of Covid. It will make the next time they gather all the more special.

I’ll have a double!

Til later.