Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wanted to take a moment and send out our wishes for a wonderful Christmas to every one out there!

We hope you can be with friends and family, take some time away from the distractions of your busy lives, and truly enjoy your time this season!

God Bless and Merry Christmas...


(Image is "Frost In The Oaks" - oil on mounted canvas - 12X16)

Saturday, December 20, 2008


The Winter Solstice comes tomorrow (Sunday the 21st) and now it definitely looks and feels the part even more than my last post. We've had around 15-16 inches of snow this past week and now the NWesters are bucking up and it's feeling like we're in it for the long haul!

Yesterday after blowing out the drives and paths (3 hours worth) I was walking some mail down to the box and a flock of Canada Geese at least a half mile long (I kid not!) came over the farm at that height you hear the wing beats...it was totally cool! I felt you could hold a conversation with them - they were so low and the air so still. The birds weren't in their characteristic "V" but one long string until near the very end they began to break off into a couple separate formations. I usually think of Canada Geese as autumn birds...but hey it was still autumn yesterday after all.

I've done Canada Geese in my work before but not in winter settings. Most of my winter work, whether photography or artwork, has served as Christmas card material over the past 40 some years. In early years I did pen and ink, transparent wash, or lino cuts for cards, but gradually graduated to serigraphs (silkscreen prints), photographs and paintings.

I should have opted for a photograph this year because my time has been too tied up, but I got this ...well, for a lack of a better word "idea", that I thought would make a nice winter painting so started one about 2 weeks ago. It wasn't till I was about half way through the piece that Georgie said to me something about how close to the "deadline" I was working. I pondered her warning and then realized, good grief - Christmas was somehow sneaking up on me! How did this happen?!

The Black-capped Chickadee header for this blog was a simpler "illustrative" card from 1984. I believe it was a ink/wash drawing. I did many more ink drawings than any other medium early on, in fact my first "sale" in the early 60's was an ink drawing.

The next year's design got a little more involved, it was a 6 color serigraph. One thing about silk screening is the "error factor" when you have miss-registrations, ink "accidents", and mixed colors running out before they were supposed to. On this piece I ran out of the two rabbit colors (the highlight base and the top color) before I wanted, so I had a lot of prints with no rabbit - just tree!

In recent years, I've done a few more color pencil pieces but I think the first one to be done specifically for a Christmas card design was this one done in 2001 (titled "Winter in Iowa"). I really enjoy color pencil work but have not done many recently...it's a time thing...dang time!

Yesterday I finished printing, writing, and sending out the last of my Christmas cards for the year. "Time" really got in my face this year...I'll have to start this process around Halloween next year maybe?

Keep warm out there!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Before the Solstice

I think the eastern 2/3's of the country is thinking the solstice must have come and gone already...we're definitely in the "winter" mode for the duration now!

Our hearts go out to the eastern part of the country that are still feeling the effects of the ice storm last week - many still do not have their electricity...that'd be disastrous here as our heat is electric...pipes would freeze and break the first 24 hours!

We got to 10 below this morning, which isn't so unusual for NW Iowa, it just came so quickly that we feel the affects more I think. The 35-40 mph winds and snow maybe helped it sting a bit more too. I hope we're up to it but they're telling us 4-6 inches of snow and colder still tomorrow.

I used to really get into winter...didn't phase me one iota. That changes with the years; get ready for it if you're a kid!

I do enjoy one thing about winter still though. The visual sense of it is quite engaging. As I blogged last year around this time, I have done my own Christmas cards since the mid 1960's. I am still at it, and maybe if I can find some time around here I'll post some more past examples. But time is the enemy right now...after all I'm working on the 2008 Christmas card as we speak. Maybe I'll show it around a day or two before Christmas - after all I don't want to spoil it for anyone that is on my mailing list!

The real solstice is this coming Sunday (21st); keep warm out there!