I had to share what Lisa Tsang came up with in our workshop on Sunday...so perfect! She created an origami "pussy hat" to place on the head of her kokeshi block print! Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa!
Yesterday I taught a block printing workshop at the Seattle Daniel Smith store and the 10 very engaged and committed students created some delightful prints--I was very pleased at how well the materials worked and to see the students able to complete their creations in one short day. It was a very impressive group of artists! Thanks to each of you for joining me! I will look forward to teaching this workshop again on Sunday, March 5th. You can register by calling (206) 223-9599. Here you can see how the prints looked in color and in black and white.
I've been preparing for block printing workshops at Daniel Smith by creating new prints. This one is not one of the newest, but I thought I would post it before winter slipped away, as it a celebration of winter. It's going to be released next summer as a 2017 holiday card by Pomegranate Communications. It will be the cover of a boxed set; in coming days I will share other new print images. We've added an additional workshop date at Daniel Smith because the first block printing workshop filled; last Saturday we had a great time at the block printing demonstration--thanks to everyone who came. I'll be teaching tomorrow at the Seattle store (that workshop filled, though there is a waitlist and you can always join it, as people do cancel at the last minute), and we've added one more workshop for Sunday, March 5. You can register by calling the store at (206) 223-9599.
Earlier this week I visited a friend who lives up in the Skagit Valley and she took me to some of her favorite winter spots for observing birds. We saw American kestrels, short-eared owls, Northern harriers, swans and snow geese and lots of bald eagles, both mature and juvenile. The sun was beautiful and I took many photos, though they could not do justice to an an owl in flight, or a flock of snow geese in flight high above glimmering in the angled light like a necklace of diamonds. One of the best things about winter in the northern latitudes is that the light is beautiful at all times of day! The photo shows a short-eared owl hunting by day, which surprised me the first time I saw it a couple of years ago. Perched in a tree they do not look very large at all, but their wing span is very impressive in flight.
Next Saturday I'll be offering a demonstration at the Seattle Daniel Smith store from 11am to 12:30pm on block printing with oil-based inks and watercolor. This is the method I use to create the calendars and cards published by Pomegranate Communications. I always enjoy meeting people at these demonstrations--I learn something every time. We scheduled a workshop for January 22nd, which is now full, so we added another session for the waiting list and other interested participants: that one will take place on Sunday, March 5th. The time is 10:30 to 4:30, and the cost is $100. Please email if you have any questions, or call Daniel Smith at (206) 223-9599. I'm having alot of fun preparing for this demo, with a couple of new prints under way: some ancient cedars and a long-billed dowitcher. The print pictured here is a white-faced ibis, a remarkable bird that I saw last May at the Klamath Wildlife Refuge. Hope to see you at the demo!
Over the holidays I received a very special book as a gift: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. He worked as a forester in Germany for many years and now manages a private woodland where he is trying to restore a native beech forest. A native forest is a very different thing than a managed forest. I've learned so much from this book. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that in forests trees exist as a community. Stronger members of that community support the weaker members. Underground root systems aided by fungi help trees share nutrients, water and other things not totally understood as yet. He opens the book by describing some stones he found in a beech forest, then realized after scraping them that they were not stones after all but living trees--the remains of giants felled several hundred years ago, and they were being sustained by the above-ground trees around them. Every chapter in the book elucidates some mystery of trees, and in an engaging way--perhaps there is a bit of anthropomorphism, but how else to understand another species? That has never bothered me when applied to animals, and it works for me on trees, too. Anyone who has ever stood in an ancient forest has experienced that place almost as a personality. It feels like nothing else--I am thinking of the giant sequoia groves in California, the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, Thunder Creek Trail in the North Cascades and big aspen groves in the west.