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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

An Experiment in the Batik Process

To me the lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome
 than the most luxurious Persian rug - Helen Keller.

I haven't blogged in a while.  I am fortunate to say I've been busy with galleries, exhibits and batik workshops.

This "Summer Field" batik is an example of some recent experimenting I have been doing with the batik technique. This latest batik was created using the same process as batiks on cotton but instead of a creating it on textile, I used a heavy weight watercolor paper.  The colors are created with batik dyes and each layer is washed across the whole of the batik to create the new color similar to the cotton batik dye bath.

In this piece I never used green pigment.  I prefer to let the principals of color theory do their work. The green was created after the initial blue dye wash.  The blue was protected with a layer of wax and then I applied a wash of yellow dye to the whole batik.  The yellow wash interacted with the blue creating the green.  Additional washes of blues and yellows were applied to create the warm and cool greens.  Finally the warm earthy brown was created using a light wash of red over the existing greens.  Because red and green are opposite on the color wheel, they mix to create neutrals. More washes, more colors and in the end the wax is removed.  

As I develop this style and technique I'm realizing that what I love about this process is it takes me back to my illustration and printing days. Before computers each color plate was created separately and the ink was applied in the printing process.  In fact, someone recently mistakenly believed this piece to be a block print and I can see why they would as block prints are certainly reminiscent of printing methods.  I think if I hadn't discovered batik, my medium of choice would be block prints.

I am continuing to enjoy the process as much as the end result.