Rust Paper

Yesterday, my friend Pam Wright taught three of us how to rust paper.  We’re all puppies at heart when it comes to messing around with art materials and this experience did not disappoint!

So first there’s the murky mess:  one tub each of really, really strong tea, iron mordant solution, and scary caustic soda solution.

I love the blue sky reflected in the mordant

Out of murky mess came loveliness.


We tried to be scientific about our experiments, to remember the order in which we dipped the papers so that we’d know how we got certain results, but to no avail.  It was just too exciting to watch the changes taking place before our eyes and any wits we had we used to keep our fingers out of the caustic soda.





What a glorious day.

Thank you, Pam!










Artist Books on the Move

It’s becoming a tradition.  Book Arts come alive every summer in Salem NY.  And this year, lucky me, I’m going to be part of it all!  I’m delighted beyond measure.

Last week I drove up to Salem NY to visit Ed Hutchins who, along with Ruth Sauer of North Main Gallery, is busy envisioning and organizing this year’s events.

Visit Ed’s website for a peek inside last year’s catalog pictured here.

While you are visiting, be sure to check out Ed’s artist books.  I am a HUGE fan.

Shaping Landscape

In her recent talk at SUNY New Paltz, J Morgan Puett recounted an early memory about making art. As a very young child, she would observe the landscape framed by her bedroom window, then run outside to make changes in the scene, which endearingly included spreading glue on leaves and sprinkling them with sparkles.  Then she would come back inside to judge the composition framed by the window. It’s interesting how that early impulse to arrange and frame still functions in her complex work.

It put me in mind of Frederick Church who had an entire lake dug on his property, Olana, to mirror the Hudson River so he could enjoy a more satisfying landscape composition.

One of my early art memories is watching the fields and stands of trees roll by outside the frame of the car window on family Sunday drives to the country.  I would puzzle about how I could paint the textures and patterns I saw. I still make  mental notes as references for painting.  I love to enter the imaginary landscapes that grow under my brush (or whatever tool I’m using), to feel how standing in that scene  would engage all my senses, how it would nourish me.

Here is a watercolor from a series of landscapes painted last summer as part of a search for a new painting medium to replace acrylics, (but that’s another story.)