Archive for March, 2016


Untitled because I don’t know what to call it. It may not even be finished.
The background is an old album cover — I’m thinking maybe even the late 1950s.


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Nature on Stamps


Too interesting not to post, a postage stamp from Belarus. Do you think the furry guy is a shrew?

A little research tells me that this is one of a set of four stamps issued in 2014 acknowledging Naliboki Pushcha. From the Web site of the postal authority of Belarus:

“Naliboki Pushcha is one of the largest forests of Belarus. [The forest] is of great importance as a unique object of biological and landscape diversity. Now on its territory there are 30 species of plants, 12 species of invertebrates, 3 species of fish, 3 species of amphibians and reptiles, 29 species of birds and 4 species of mammals listed in the Red Book of Belarus and the International Red Data Book.”
Here is the full set, very handsome.
[Naliboki Pushcha, type ]
Mail art and the World Wide Web are both astounding, no?

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… turn out to be kind of green. (Or orange.) To be fair, the bottom layer of this postcard was originally grass green. It was a piece of handmade paste paper I found at the Scrap Exchange. I gave it a coat of inexpensive yellow acrylic paint, which yellowed it up some. I was also struck by how un-yellow my so-called yellow markers are. They have picked up colors from materials I applied them to, apparently.
The scanner is seeing more yellow than I do. Maybe I’m fretting for nothing. Entry #1 for a yellow postcard project. Once I saw the yellow tie, the rest was destiny.

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What happens when you work in black and white for a while ….
Acrylic paint on cereal box, beer bottle label, science textbook cut-out (snail eggs), magazine image, packing tape, gel pen and oil pastel. And green plastic tape. Quick into the mailbox.

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I had a mind to do something in black and white, so I started making marks on a big piece of printmaking paper. Using a black dye-based ink pad, I stamped with the lid of a prescription bottle, some plastic mesh and several commercial stamps. I cut out and pasted on some half-inch circles from two different illustrations in an art magazine. Midway, I pasted on some fragments of white paper that didn’t change the tone much but did change the absorption of the ink.I dipped a Q-tip in India ink and dabbed and swiped with it. I made dots with a fine-point marker and loops with a Sharpie. I added some words and word fragments.

I’m not sure the surface rhythm and or the contrast is vital enough to make the results visually interesting. However it was a lot of fun to experiment.


If I owe you a postcard, you may see one of these in your mailbox soon. I have five more.

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On the afore-mentioned trip to Nicaragua, at the afore-mentioned craft market, I bought a set of red and black beads. The sliding knot that is intended to adjust the length of the strand has fused somehow, so I can’t fit the beads over my head. They’ll have to serve some other purpose, to be determined. In the meanwhile, I scanned them and fooled around a bit.

The original is a little creepy. The altered version is less so, I think.
Nic-red-beads  Nic-red-beads-wb

Click on the image to get a good look at it.

I got some useful practice in replacing the color in a background, banishing a lot of the scanner-gray. Then I splashed around with some other tools and had a real good time, all before breakfast!

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A Week in Nicaragua

I’ve been away from the art desk for a trip to the mountains of Nicaragua, a long way out of my comfort zone and deep into a new beauty zone. I didn’t take a camera, determined not to substitute picture-taking for looking and seeing. Now I wish I had.

My art-making skills were overwhelmed. I took comfort in making a few rubbings, which require only the ability to hold your paper firmly. I am so happy to see my art desk again and to find out how I can commemorate the trip with the few sketches and the handful of ephemera I brought home.

We visited a rural mountain town under the auspices of the Sister Communities of San Ramon Nicaragua and went to a pop-up artisan market there. This little painting, 6 by 9 inches, is idealized tourist art. The homes in San Ramon are stucco over cement, there is no lake shore, and the mountains are blue-brown and rounded. However, the stars in the sky are a realistic rendition of our experience higher up in the mountains four days earlier.


To see stars like you haven’t seen ’em since you were a kid, try a visit to Finca Esperanza Verde, an ecolodge and coffee plantation a long way from city lights. This is part of the Sister Communities ecotour package,  or a person can also visit it independently.

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