Sunday, June 10, 2012

Triceratops on stage

I built this little stage for the next little book. A triceratops wandered across it when I wasn't looking.

Friday, May 18, 2012


That linocut I was working on a couple of blog posts ago? It's finished.


I am thrilled to have my artwork accompany the many fine essays in the latest issue of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.

From the Brevity site:

"For more than a decade now, Brevity has published well-known and emerging writers working in the extremely brief (750 words or less) essay form, along with craft essays and book reviews. Though still committed to the mission of publishing new writers, Brevity has enjoyed an embarrassment of recent riches, including the work of two Pulitzer prize finalists, numerous NEA fellows, Pushcart winners, Best American authors, and writers from India, Egypt, Ireland, Spain, Malaysia, and Japan. Authors published in Brevity include Sherman Alexie, Lia Purpura, Terese Svoboda, John Calderazzo, Steven Barthelme, Mark Yakich, Ander Monson, Caitlin Horrocks, Jon Pineda, Brenda Miller, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Robin Hemley, Lee Martin, Rebecca McClanahan, Robin Behn, Abby Frucht, Barbara Hurd, Bret Lott, Ira Sukrungruang, Rigoberto González, Judith Kitchen, Michael Martone, and Diana Hume George.

Work from Brevity has been anthologized and reprinted in venues including Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Utne Reader, the Short Takes anthology, the Best Creative Nonfiction anthology from W.W. Norton, and many recent writing textbooks."

Surf on over to Brevity and spend some time with these short, marvelous essays (and check out the artwork, too).

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Vulcan juggling lava

My 6 year old daughter Rachel created this animation of her character Vulcan the volcano, juggling his piece of lava.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Work in Progress - a linocut for "Our Rarer Monsters"

I'm currently working on the seventh linocut of a series of eight that will be published in a book of poetry by Noel Sloboda later this year. The book will be "Our Rarer Monsters", and I've been posting the linocuts and some various related images over on flickr. Here's the first little doodle, drawn on the manuscript while reading the poems and thinking about the kinds of images I wanted to make:
Then there were some thumbnail sketches in the sketchbook - here's an excerpt from that particular exploration with the pen:
And here's the initial drawing that I worked up on the block, before I made the first cut:
As I've been working on these prints I've been scanning the blocks. I've found this to be useful as a way of deciding where to go next with the gouge. I can take the scan in photoshop, heighten the contrast to get a sense of the final black and white look of the linocut, and reverse the image to see the mirror image composition that will be the actual finished print. That reversal can have big effects on a composition, so it's helpful to have some sense of what's going to happen.
But I realized that the scans themselves were becoming kind of beautiful as images on their own, both for the contrast between the carved mark and the drawn mark, and because the surface gets so heavily worked as I draw and erase and redraw, looking for both the correct value and, often more critically, the direction of the cut that I want to make next. I tend to work very slowly and sneak up on the image, and try to avoid settling in to a pattern when I cut. I really want to draw with the gouge.
So, I post these hybrid images as a sort of "behind-the-scenes" look at how the linocuts happen. It's a different species of drawing than what I do in my sketchbook. Some of the marks are describing value, and some are shorthand marks recording decisions about which direction my next cut should take - which of the possible cross-contours my gouge will follow. The last image above is the current state of the block - plenty of opportunities left to screw it up. Stay tuned to see if it survives.