Saturday, August 1, 2015

Experiencing Emptiness

I had the privilege of traveling to Western Nebraska and exhibiting at a lovely gallery located in Grant Nebraska. This trip renewed an appreciation and love of the prairie grasses.

Vast  landscapes and rolling vistas.

Few trees.

This batik is one of my  favorites.  In my opinion it most closely captures the untamed fields and prairies' unique beauty.  I attempted to recreate the never ending vistas using  repetitive patterns, shape and color temperature.

I am acutely aware that I could never accurately capture the beauty and subtle variations in colors and patterns as nature does.  I only try to render an impression of the experience.

My family spent a few days camping in this unlikely wilderness. The isolation, the absence of trees and vegetation enhanced the vastness and sense of emptiness. There was no loneliness, only the sense of emptiness that continuously captured my full attention.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Traveler

The Traveler
 Batik dyes, wax resist on cotton paper.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve contributed to this blog.  It started as a quasi-webpage – before I had a webpage - but much has happened this last year with awards and exhibits. 

This blog is traveling  a different direction in the same way that creative energy leads us different destinations.  This blog is an exploration of this journey into art and what it means to be an artist from an outsider’s point of view. I’m sure I will change my mind and my perception and my opinion with each blog as I am far from an expert in anything.  Each post is where I am at the given moment and where I am at that moment is exactly where I should be… as we all are.

I'll start this new year and this new blog direction with a theory about what makes an artist.  

 I believe that creative people have tapped into an inner place. If they haven't found it, they are on a determined quest to find that place they know exists.  It’s a similar place for all creatives.  Talent is  a need to express creative energy more than it is an ability to do something others can’t.  It’s an outflow of that inward flow. It is the current of life. It’s a cup that runneth over. It’s the ‘as above so below’. It may flow through art, music, parenting, teaching, cooking, writing but it all comes from the same source and it is best expressed when it has a clear path in order to flow.   When you experience that creative energy, there is an instinctive need to develop and perfect skills that allow for an affective outflow of that life current. Some call it the universal force others call it a consciousness; I call it the Holy Spirit.  I truly believe that talent is nothing more than desire to perfect skills in order to be an affective conduit of that endless creative energy. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Pattern.  Friday Illustration word.

After moving deeper into the prairie plane states, I became fascinated with the indigenous wild prairie grasses.  We've been here a year and it's given us the opportunity to watch the spectacular display as prairie grasses change from season to season, flowering and seeding and then turning to their rich golds and red colors.. Each species is unique in it's beauty and individually important to the ecology.

I'm  attempting to capture their overlooked beauty in batik.    Recently I was invited to show this exhibit at the Crane Trust National Center and the Bone Creek National Agrarian Museum of Art.  I will be working with conservation groups to using this exhibit to bring awareness of the fragile ecosystem.

The first exhibit will be in March and April, 2014.  Here is sneak peek

With this flowering Side Oat Gama, I tried to capture the gentle pattern and rolling ostinato dance of the reds and greens.. . 

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Refrain.  Illustration Friday's word.  These two children are showing little restrain or refrain from what their curiosity is encouraging.

As an artist I'm experimenting using batik as an illustration medium. Traditionally batik  is created on a textile such as cotton or silk. This piece was created using batik dyes on heavy weight watercolor paper.

The first step was to apply molten wax to areas that were to stay white and blue batik dye was washed  across the whole image.   Next the blue sky was preserved using wax as a resist and the remaining image was washed in yellow batik dye.  As in traditional batik, the green colors were created when the yellow was washed over the blue.   The green areas were preserved under molten wax.  Additional color combinations are created with additional dye washes.  In the end the wax is removed.

The steps to these batiks are similar to  old printing methods where each color is added in layers.  It gives these illustrations a traditional woodblock feel.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


When the Platte River finds it's way to Nebraska plains, it winds its way along the shallow landscape.  The River is wide but only inches deep.  Having loose sand and no clear banks it changes it's path often.  When the river flooded in Colorado this September, it took several weeks for the water to find it's way west.  As it does every couple of years, the flooding is vast.  It's not dangerous, it simply makes it's way out of the shallow banks and fills the wetlands for miles. It is a beautiful sight this time of year.

Monday, September 16, 2013



Friday Illustration Word "Totem".

Totem: "  an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also :  a usually carved or painted representation of such an object"

This storybook character has a revealing view of her totem. She is realizing that from this vantage point, high above these monstrous characters, safe in a tower and across the water, she can see that these fearsome grunting, noisy intimidating monsters are in reality harmless  and very human characters. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013


This batik was created in response to Illustration Friday's challenge word, 'hidden'.  It begs to tell a story and I'm not sure what the story is yet.   Maybe two young sisters assigned to gather berries only to be distracted by some unseen secret adventure hidden deep in the forest.  Maybe it is two friends who  have stumble across a  hidden treasure or discovered  enchanting magic in the forest.  Maybe two young princesses hiding from a menacing witch or dark fairy. What ever the story is, these girls are certainly in for an adventure.