Ink Travels

 My graduate professor, mentor and friend Sydney Cross retired after 33 years at Clemson University. Two recent graduate students, Adrienne and Laken, organized a print exchange in her honor.  They coordinated with Clemson's gallery director Denise to contact past printmaking grads to participate.  The portfolio, titled 'Ink Travels,' is comprised of 34 prints based upon something Syd taught us.  She was surprised during her retirement party by an exhibition of the portfolio at the Center for Visual Arts in Greenville, SC.  The show is up through June 26th.

I knew my cat Clementine would be a major part of the print.  It was my first semester as a graduate printmaking student in Clemson and Syd had found this tiny kitten alone on the side of the road.  Her cat Missy wasn't having any part of this little ball of fur, so she gave her to me.  I'd come home from long days in the studio to find her curled up inside one of my shoes-the stress of a thesis never affected her.  Clementine is now ten years old and living the life of leisure.  As I continued to plan my print image, I thought of all the ways that Syd taught, inspired and encouraged me by advice and example.  She taught me so much both artistically and personally.  For her, I am forever grateful.  There are symbols of the places I've been and lived within the print; snow for Ohio, cactus for Texas, the weathervane represents my international travels during grad school.  My Nolan tabletop press fits the MDF perfectly, as it is almost type high.  The MDF block was locked into place with letterpress furniture and 1 x 2" scraps.  I printed six colors in five runs using stencils.  From Me To You is an edition of 34 bleed prints on Stonehenge paper-below are images of the process.

Thrifted filing racks are my makeshift drying racks, and are easily stacked and stored when not in use.  The colors are a subtle nod to my alma mater, Clemson University (purple and orange). I print reductively, using one block for all the colors.  After each color was printed on all thirty-four sheets, I carved away the areas that I wanted to remain that color.  Anything left in relief received the next layer and became more defined.  The palette was 25% color, 25% white & 50% transparent base.  Gamblin inks are my favorite to use-the colors are vibrant and now that Jerry's Art-A-Rama is open, I can buy them locally.  I was concerned that mixing etching and relief inks might cause some problems, but printing went smoothly.  You can see that each print has holes at the top-these are for registration, to line up the paper with the block the same way each time.  When the editioning was finished, I cut the top inch off each print, which was signed and numbered on the back.
    From Me to You, ed. 34, 11 x 14"


Cheyenne, pet portrait commission

This portrait was commissioned as a graduation gift for my cousin-in-law, Kate. Her family dog, Cheyenne, was drawn using a grid to maintain proportions & the key lines transferred to cradle board (3/4" deep stretcher with a birch veneer).  After painting the first portrait in turquoise for her, I made another with a blue background for her parents.  Once both paintings were almost finished, I painted them side by side, mimicking my brushstrokes and color layers to make them look as similar as possible.  Order your own portrait here.

Cheyenne, 8 x 8" acrylic on cradle board


Idea to Image: Family Portrait Series

Images from my studio of the mini family portrait series I created, especially for mine and Steven's exhibition at Rey Garza Real Estate.  These canvases are gallery wrapped (1" deep), ranging in size from 6 x 6" to 12 x 12".  The backgrounds were built up in layers of both opaque and transparent colors using alternative stencil techniques.  The budgie drawings have been in my sketchbook for about a year, waiting on the right project.  Finally, on Mother's Day (with a deadline looming), I realized how to incorporate the images.  Inspired by our friends that recently welcomed new additions, I arranged families of birds within the colorful, patterned scenes.  Contact me for details on commissioning your own 'family portrait.'


Neighborhood, by Steven Bower

'Neighorhood,' Steven's new woodworking & photography series.  
These pieces were on display last weekend during our popup gallery exhibit at Rey Garza Real Estate.  He built the boxes from pine and birdhouses from sheets of basswood. Each little birdhouse was made from 7 cut pieces that were then drilled, glued, painted and mounted on dowels within the boxes he designed. A barnwood finish was created on several of the works by layering blue, gray and white paint, then sanding the surfaces.                                           




Exhibition at Rey Garza Real Estate

Rey Garza Real Estate in San Antonio invited my husband Steven and I to put together an art exhibition on May 16th.I organized several additional artists to fill the space and transformed their offices into a popup exhibition for the day. We filled the first room with our recent painting, woodworking and photography.  Exhibiting in the second room was local artist Rikkianne Van Kirk alongside my advanced painting students from the Alicia Trevino Lopez Center.  Thank you so much to Camille, Rey & Terri for welcoming us into the area and promoting local art!  This would not have been possible without their support. The office, a beautiful historic home on the corner of N. Zarzamora, is located in the Deco District.  This past year, it was a stop for the 8th Annual On & Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tours.

Pictured above are my advanced painting students with their artwork. Celia (left) sold her artwork during the exhibition!  She began painting about four years ago, after receiving art supplies as a gift for her birthday. 

Steven and I worked hard in the weeks leading up to the exhibition.  We both created new series of works specifically for the show.  'Family Portraits' is a collection of small paintings (12 x 12") using alternative stencil techniques. They can be seen in the photo above, to the right.  Steven constructed what seemed like an endless amount of miniature birdhouses for his woodworking and photography series, titled 'Neighborhood.'

While we were dating back in South Carolina, we had two collaborative exhibitions.   Wonders and Blunders was curated and shown by Teresa Roche at the Art & Light Gallery as well as the Village Studios and Gallery in West Greenville.  It was fun to work together again toward a creative goal, this time around as husband and wife.

It was a beautiful day-the rain held out and we were able to have seating outdoors.  Rey and his team cooked up some delicious food and turned the backyard into a relaxing gathering spot.  Thank you to all of our friends and neighbors who came out to see the show.  We enjoyed being surrounded by such good energy.  A special congratulations to Cora and Camden, who were introduced to the world of art exhibitions last Saturday!