Category: Links

Fun with butterflies and milkweed leaves

Last year at the Monarch Festival, when volunteers and I guided guests to print common milkweed leaves in honor of Monarch butterflies, the temperature reached 94 degrees. This year the high temperature is expected to reach 74 along with light winds. Nevertheless, along with 350 sheets of paper and plenty of Akua ink, rocks are packed to hold down our piles of paper. I look forward to seeing you amidst the butterflies as you print a common milkweed leaf near the east shore of Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis, MN.

Resource blog for artists

As a subscriber to the magazine “Professional Artist,” I receive emails from the publication. I’m glad I paid attention to tonight’s email as I was taken to a blog post entitled “10 Facts You May Wish You Learned in Art School.” Having not attended art school, I was especially interested! Well, the info in the article and its links was pertinent and helpful. The blogger is Renée Phillips, “founder and director of Manhattan Arts International. She is known as “The Artrepreneur Coach.” I encourage you to pursue this resource.

Linden, hydrangea, and prairie smoke leaves.

Blooms Day 2014

What an uplifting event this was—so well organized and welcoming—hosted by Metro Blooms. Throngs of gardeners purchased trays of the hearty variety of perennials, annuals, and vegetables provided by Glacial Ridge Growers, and swarms of dedicated, conscientious volunteers circulated nonstop, fulfilling all sorts of tasks.

I was happy for fruitful conversations with gardeners and fellow exhibitors, the sale of some of my note cards, and the opportunity to let you know about classes I’ll be teaching this summer at the Edina Art Center. (Look for the classes listed in the “Related Arts” category.) I look forward to seeing you in class—or in the garden.

Gardening with native plants

It’s from my neighbor, Marie, that I first heard about gardening with native plants. That was more than 20 years ago. Marie, and her late husband, Bud, carried a pail and gardening shovel in the trunk of their car. When they encountered a plot of land that was being developed, they leaped into action, digging up and rescuing the native plants they discovered on the site.

You’ll notice that I’m not mentioning Marie’s and Bud’s last name as their activity may be interpreted as trespassing, but their intent was to save plants that grow—and thrive—in our climate and conditions; plants that send deep roots into the soil and provide nectar and seeds that support our local bees, butterflies, and birds.

Two other generous neighbors—Erlinda and Bob—have also kindly shared plants with me. I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of the plants, and admire their diversity and determination. And because I now grow many native plants, I’m able to notice and print the fleeting blossoms and leaves of the spring ephemerals at this time of year.

By looking up information online or in books such as Stan Tekiela’s Wildflowers of Minnesota Field Guide, I’ve learned more about native plant families, habitats, and their Latin names that I now place on the back of the note cards I reproduce from the original prints of the plants.

In addition to the generosity of neighbors, the best sources with which I’m familiar for purchasing native plants are local native plant nurseries. Twelve of them will convene this Saturday, June 1, 2013, at the Landscape Revival, a market and expo that is sponsored by local conservation groups and agencies. I’m looking forward to participating in this event by demonstrating nature printing and having note cards and prints available to purchase. I hope to see you there. Read more in Kim Palmer’s informative article, “Building Buzz,” in today’s StarTribune.

Wild Ones annual conference

Are you familiar with Wild Ones? It’s a “national, not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization” founded in Milwaukee, WI, in 1979. There are 50 chapters in 13 states—six in Minnesota, including two in the Twin Cities area—that are devoted to native plants and natural landscapes.

The Design With Nature Annual Conference takes place Saturday, March 1, 2013, at the Plymouth Creek Center in Plymouth, MN. Four excellent speakers will make presentations throughout the day. In between the seminars, I will be among a dozen exhibitors as I show and have for sale prints and note cards of native plants. I look forward to seeing you there.

Conference speakers

Darrel Morrison, landscape architect, educator, and author—a pioneer in using native plant communities as models for the design of gardens and landscapes

Dawn Pape, environmental educator, author, and photographer

Bonnie Harper-Lore, restoration ecologist, educator, and author

Diane Hilscher, landscape architect and ecologist

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Fresh Art Studio Tour

Thank you if you stopped by Flaming Fire Art Studio, site #12, during the Fresh Art studio tour last weekend to view our artwork, eat cookies, and visit. We really appreciate your interest, and you. The weather was just right for a fire, hot drinks, and conversation about Kaye’s fanciful, colorful ceramics; Juli’s hand-felted, dyed, and constructed jackets; and my nature prints and notecards. Thank you for your sincere, sparkling comments and questions.

This is the inactive blog I warned you about and that was listed on my handout. You’ve inspired me to get back to it, and to show some work. I thank you for this.

Kaye, Juli, and I will be among ten artists at Lisa Lardy’s not-to-be-missed 6th-Annual Art Boutique on Saturday, November 10, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. at 4901-11th Ave. So. in Minneapolis. Pack your vehicle with a friend or four, stop by the boutique, then have lunch at Pepito’sTown Hall TapTurtle Bread Co., or 3 Tiers—all nearby. We look forward to seeing you!

Kaye Luetke’s ceramics shown in her studio near Maiden Rock, WI.

Juli Henriksen (left), Juli Jackets, with some of her creative jackets and vests.

Here I am shown with a few notecards and a tablecloth woven from a print of elm leaves.

Kaye, shown with pieces made by students who take classes from her in her inspiring studio. Kaye is wearing a Juli Jacket.

Vocabulary word: Risible (pronounced rizible)—comical, amusing, silly, able to provoke laughter

Participating in the Women’s Art Festival

More than 125 women artists showed their appealing work at the Midtown YWCA in south Minneapolis.

Thank you if you attended yesterday’s 19th-annual Women’s Art Festival. A special thanks if you stopped by to visit or purchase one—or 36—of my note cards! I really appreciate it and am so grateful when someone is aware of the beauty of nature.

Sharing nature printing at a demo

I had such fun demonstrating nature printing last night during an open house at what will become, following renovations, the new permanent home for the White Bear Center for the Arts (WBCA). The staff, board of directors, volunteers, members, and community are collaborating with great vision, energy, and generosity to enable more people to “…celebrate the joys of art”—one of the goals of WBCA.

Guests were so interested in the shapes and patterns that were created by the inked leaves, observing beauty they hadn’t really seen before. Danielle Cézanne, WBCA education director, and I hope to offer a nature printing class in winter or spring 2012, so please watch class listings.

The Nature Printing Society (NPS) is the best source for information about printing plants, and fish, shells, insects, and many other natural specimens. And the book I recommend was co-authored by my teacher, Sonja Larsen, and John Doughty, both of whom are lifetime members of the NPS.

In response to the terrific questions that were raised in our conversations last night, a few responses are below.

Yes, I make numerous prints from the same leaf—until I’m no longer happy with the prints. Some leaves are tender; many are quite durable, particularly tree leaves.

The supplies used in the demo were all from Wet Paint, where I purchase all of my supplies, which, by the way are minimal and affordable.

• Speedball water-soluble block printing inks (You may also use oil-based inks or paints. Oil-based media can be cleaned with vegetable oil rather than solvents.)

• Speedball soft-rubber brayer (used to apply ink to the leaf)

• Paper: Sumi-E from a pad or Masa that comes in a flat sheet measuring 21×31 inches (dampen the paper and print on the top, or smoother side, of the sheet)

• Freezer paper, or a piece of quilter’s mylar (12×18 inches from Joann), Plexiglas, or window glass for a palette

I will be demonstrating nature printing the weekend of Oct. 7-9, 2011, as a guest artist at site #12 at the Fresh Art tour in colorful, scenic western Wisconsin where leaf color will be glorious. I hope to see you there!

Printing a maple leaf

Excited about acrylic paints

I attended a free 2-hour seminar last Sunday at the White Bear Center for the Arts on using acrylic paints, gels, mediums, etc. The terrific instructor, Bonnie Cutts, was a “working artist”, a consultant trained & paid by Golden Artists Colors, Inc. The company has a lot of info on their website, including videos, for learning how to use their products.

I don’t intend to become a painter (I’ve got enough distractions & diversions already!), but the creative possibilities with acrylic media are inviting & intriguing. One can tint the acrylic medium to create subtle, colorful built-up layers; fasten materials to a collage; make an acrylic skin and print on it with an inkjet printer; and much more!

On the way home, I stopped at Wet Paint to get some papers for the upcoming nature printing class at White Bear Center for the Arts Sat., Sept. 25. As I was telling Langen, one of the knowledgeable, personable members of the Wet Paint staff about the uplifting experience I’d just had, Langen told me that all of the Golden products are on sale at a 40% discount through the end of September!! Naturally I purchased some and plan to test them for printing leaves, intending to work acrylics into the class curriculum. Isn’t life exciting?!

Inspiring new book

I can barely sit still. Just delivered was a book I ordered in May that I purchased with “doubloons” given to me by friends, Lotus & Edward.

The name of the book is: Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint.

The color photos are very appealing & illustrative of processes and materials.

Some (but not all) of the information covered in various chapters covers: natural dyes—a context, collecting plants, equipment & a place to work, harvesting & storing plants for dyeing, preparing to dye, mordants, processing plant dyes, eucalyptus dyes (the author lives in South Australia), beyond eucalyptus, special effects, resists, solar dyeing, disposal of wastes, further readings, and websites.

Who knows how much overlap there is with botanical specimens in Minnesota, but I’m eager to try. Our garden may evolve from growing plants to print and attract bees and butterflies to adding plants from which I can make natural dyes. I’ll keep you informed!

I must be productive until the end of the day when I may sit on the porch and gaze through this magical book.

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