In the bookstacks

“S is for Salmon” comes out today…. officially to be found all around in indie book stores and library shelves and of course online. Boy does it take a long time to get to this point, but it feels lovely to hold the finished product in my hand and see it going out to a new generation of little naturalists/artists/superheroes.

IMG_2911IMG_2918And as is the way of publishing,  we are already deep in the next project coming 2015. It might be titled “Through the locks”. It might have a small naturalist/explorer/ninja fighter for a main character, and this might become the idea for the cover……stay tuned, and see you in the book stacks.

Click here to buy signed copies of “S is for Salmon” from me via Etsy, or shop your local indie book store.

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There and back again

puertocitos wtrclrThree months on the road, and in the sea…. a huge expanse of freedom. The desert had been wet and was in bloom. The winds were strong and sent us back to the beach to explore many a day, but we covered 6,000 miles by oars and wind and chevy van. And none of it was black and white.

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These images are notebook sketches made with watercolor and ink along the way.

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At home now the color sneaking into my life continues despite the grey weather. “S is for Salmon” comes out next week in full color! Signed copies can be pre-ordered now HERE.

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A rolling stone

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Bands get to go on tour, usually stay-at home moms, sadly, do not. Usually…

But how can one refill that well of inspiration, look at the dilemmas of life from an objective distance, and reconnect with beau and babe in a not-so-9-5 kind of way?

Just pack up and go. Anyway. In spite of all excuses, and fussing about not enough time… (thats really the crux, we never know how much time we will have, right).

Not that there wasnt a year of planning and angling and giant piles of anchors and spare tires and expired safety flares growing in the garage. But now there is a tiny green boat hitched up behind an unpredictable old van and piles have been pummeled into drybags and an artkit has been made for the road. So work can continue as inspiration flows with the miles, land and sea-miles. They say there is no sky like a mexican sky, so perhaps I will use colors, like prickly pear skin and the burnt orange of desert rocks. Cortez blue and Saguaro green to fill up the well.

*The images in this post are a set that is packed in the depths of the van to be dropped off in Truckee, CA at Riverside Studios, a wonderful shop/gallery that carries my work. Both are 16″x20″.

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Summer slips to fall

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Silver lining  17″x5″

Every year the fall comes and I get itchy, antsy for the crispness in the air and for new adventures and change. When I was young, Maine’s Common Ground Fair marked the change with bluebird days and annual sighting of my blacksmith friend Zack, (who still exists, see his wonderful workHERE) then dockside departure preparations for sailing ships, and  winter work seasons in the sun or even southern hemisphere….

Now its the first day of preschool.

But im still itchy, expecting that change to come that will somehow re-arrange complicated life into a new and clearer path.

In the meantime, standing by…. i am preparing,

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Sneak peek of Emergency Preparedness Poster Series, coming soon to an Island near you.

It has also been a summer of love in the studio, with a bunch of commissions for anniversary gifts and wedding Kettubah. here are some snippets, and best wishes to all the happy couples.

Sadly, this summer has also seen the passing of loved partners and changing of longtime loves. It is an imperative reminder to me that we can never be prepared to loose someone, so instead  may we have and hold and love so sweetly, making the most of whatever time we get to share.

 

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on the books

Last year I bought a 1969 chevy van.  It is so great, it has its own corny, sexy, song.

It was bought to haul around the region my large pieces of framed artwork.   6 feet of glass, times many such pieces, quickly overwhelms even a stationwagon. Not to mention installation  projects and 50 gallon drums to fill with message bottles.

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This year, big art pieces….not so much.  As my path with this art-work thing goes on its winding way, all roads lead to books, and illustrations,and less 6 foot sheets of glass (for the moment). Luckily the van has another purpose and is gearing up to haul my small family and our tiny boat to Baja for an expedition in the Sea of Cortez this winter.

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Currently on the docket are illustrations for a collection of sailing stories and thoughts from the smiling guru on simple living Teresa Carey. I am also working on the mock-ups for a Northwest childrens’ adventure story. Already on their way to print are “S is for Salmon”, made hanychartw_word1Angelstaircase1from the Salmon and Salal Alphabet project images, and a cameo illustration in an upcoming book from Ivars.

Perfect work to be done with nothing but a pencilcase and travel-size drawing board as the summer unfolds and we trundle around in that van full of food, bikes,  running shoes and playing gear instead of frames.

         Sometimes life fits into the space it has. Like Goldfish.

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Dear Lake #6 from Urban Lakes install.

2013

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“Untouched” 24″x18″

For this year i am thinking that i want to make more things for myself and my loved ones, there will be plenty of art,  but i want more banana breads, and jars of jam, and hand stitched curtains, and superman insignia silkscreened on everything my son owns.  I want to turn off the internet, (wasnt blogging intended to be done at a cafe?)  read more books, plant a not so improbable garden, and listen to all the stories my mom can tell me.

Resilience and Revelry  are what im thinking of this year. …. and maybe running, ive been doing lots of running.

 

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12 miles today and more to come thanks to some lovely inspiration tangled up in an art contract. This year I will make a series of images for each of Rainshadow Runnings’  trail races and ultramarathons.  As we started to go back and forth to make it all happen I began to think that maybe it was a little bit of fate that they contacted me, and really what excercise do i have time for if not running?  No, crazy gear, no pool schedules to wrestle with, and as it happens the dog needs to get walked and the kid needs to get to school anyway. So ive been running, recently in the rain, and along the Truckee river during a trip to set up a show at Riverside Studios, and over Christmas in frozen midwest cornfields reminiscent of the movie “Winters Bone”.

It is clearing my head, and letting fresh ideas flow….

So the running part is not my resolution, its the making space in life, so that these new  ideas and old ideals can  grow.

Happy new year.

 

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“Along Highway 139″  18″x24″

 

Whalefall

(Sketchbook entry fall 2011)

“the waiting hungry multitudes

Setting up to brainstorm for the Whalefall exhibit… sand + water + fish + ocean environment + waves, surface + all the feeders +  depth  +  tiny shrunken cups from the deep  ocean  +  waves  + currents  + barnacles + whaleships  +  research boats  +  bahamian banks babies +  sounds +  other whales +  beach belly rubs  +  alaska spy hops  + in the distance far offshore  +  blow  +  orcas from jakes boat + finbacks in the wake coming home on Halcyon +  up through the Westwards steel hull,  then in the water as we swam +     and then the thought  of oceans depth and falling……. to the sea floor,  and a soul that fell and we tried to raise it, but never really did ,  stayed there in that deep blue sea. Probably sheparded off by whalesong  to a different strange place  that I dont know how to tell my son about.  The thought that maybe this is part of my connection to the idea of a whalefall, this story in my heart— it sat so heavy on my chest that a giant sigh came out and the tears ran and throat choked up in a way that doesnt happen when i just tell the story. We are looking so hard for connections these days, social network, webs and share buttons, and they are in everything we do and say and feel.   Already our own web of history and sights and sounds.  Im thankful to be in a life where i get to play these thoughts out to new realizations, to take a simple word and work with what it does to me and make it tell my story for me.  Let that story and its pictures out. More sighs are here, Ely is waiting for stories to be read. All this in an empty shop window. Wow.”

So one night I was sitting in the mountain cabin  ( this is not the sad story)  and listening to  a podcast from Radiolab about loops and one segment, one word really, caught my attention. Whalefall- when a whale dies in the water and falls to the sea-floor, (along the way providing food and nutrients for a whole world of creatures for a very long time after its death).  I had never heard this or even thought about the possibility and was drawn like a moth to the ipod and listened to the segment with notebook in hand oddly captured by it. Months go by and I keep thinking about it and why it struck me so. Then an opportunity for an art installation in an empty storefront comes up and I decide i will try and work with this idea somehow. From there it becomes a rather Butoh-esque thing as product is set a side and making art for process sake takes over. The notebook entry quoted above comes in here.  Now a year later the installation is up  at One Main Street in downtown Auburn, and it is a pile of ideas and things and images that have come along and connected the dots from here to there, most will walk by and say “huh”.  One group of boys said “is that supposed to be art”  to themselves outside as i was finishing up the install.  Its not really pretty, has its moments, but it is the traces of me figuring out how a piece of my mind works and  seeing the ripples of one day    15 years ago in so many things that i am doing now.  I should say thanks to the Auburn Empty Storefronts people for giving me space and resources to do this thing.  It does remind me a lot of my work as a Butoh dancer,  pretty naked and pretty out there, mind wide and running, with  an audience who are wondering what it is they are supposed to be seeing.  I guess thats the real question, what will all thats come befor help them to see?IMGP2804The exhibit will be up in downtown Auburn till Christmas, and if anyone knows a sciencey, or whaley, or conservationy, or marine biologisty friend who might want to use the “whalefall” image at the top of the post, let me know. I would love it to live on.