I am all thumbs, particularly in this realm of the tidy, the methodical, and the technique obsessed. I’ve been making prints on and off for a decade, and for the life of me I still cannot make a proper edition in any print media. Over this time, I have developed techniques and designed images to avoid fussy (soul crushing) registration, and tidiness. I have a bend-don’t-break attitude toward studio rules. Among studio mates at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design “Open Edition” class this has been dubbed “Cowboy Print'n”.
Some of these monoprints are as abstract as I have come in regular work. I toss the prints on the floor, mix ‘em, match ‘em, and turn some on their head. It’s a kind of picture play I have never enjoyed before. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did making them.
This neighborhood has been my home for the better part of a half century, about 30 million minutes. In the past few years I have begun to see it with fresh eyes, like the pre-teen who conquered the neighborhood with his friends, and ruled the backyard forest that is now the city's nature center.
Over the past few years my wife has transformed our modest suburban lot into an aviary with a collection bird feeders she has carefully curated. The silver maple out front has become a neighborhood for the birds and small mammals, occasionally attracting raptors and coyotes. The view from our bay window has been transformed. Lines of flight redefine boundaries, drawing me to places I haven't been since childhood, and to new lands and lines of thought. I can spend hours on my doorstep studio and at Westwood Hills Nature Center, drawing, enjoying the play of neighbors & nature, the echoes of childhood adventures, and the dance of marks they inspire.
MINNEHAHA CREEK, ink & digital, 20x16"
SUMAC, ink & digital, 20x16"
THREE DEER, ink & digital, 24x12"
FRONTYARD MASHUP, ink & digital, 40x8.5"
FRONTYARD AVIARY, ink & digital, 10x10"
FRONTYARD AVIARY, ink & digital, 20x16"
LURIE'S HOUSE, ink & digital, 20x16"
SWEEP, ink, 24x12"
FRONTYARD CAMP, ink & digital, 22x8.5”
BIRD CROWD, mixed media, 48x36"
GEESE of LORING PARK, mixed media, 24x24"
LORING PARK EVENT, ink in Moleskine sketchbook, 33x212"
PIGEON BEACH, mixed media, 12x15"
NORTH SIDE, ink & acrylic, 12x12"
FOUR VIEWS, ink & acrylic, 24x24"
LICHEN, ink & acrylic, 12x12"
CASCADE_EAST BANK, ink & acrylic, 24x18"
North Shore, Minnesota is a thin line between a monstrous inland sea and a boundless, dark pine forest. Pick your peril. Face east, and face the serpent. Turn west, and face the dragon. Lessons of art history come to life, Renaissance paintings of St. George and the dragon, and Dark Aged illuminations of uncharted territory. The shape of these stories is painted in lichen across rocks and timber, there for the Leonardo in each of us.
Grand Marais and other North Shore settlements are variegated blooms of lichen smiling northward, clinging to a big dumb rock. Lichen thrive on clean moist air, and tough surfaces. I have never seen people so happy to work so hard to live in a place.
SPRING IN GRAND MARAIS, ink & acrylic collage, 19.5x12.5"
CASCADE MOUTH, ink, 9x12"
State Park WINTER
My wife and I take a holiday hiatus each winter to nest for most of a week in a camper cabin at Jay Cooke State Park. Very few people think this is a good idea, so solitude reigns. By day we march around the snowscape with our cameras, capturing big game inspiration. Later, back in the cabin, or in the lodge, we spread out our supplies and make pictures. The lodge offers a mighty fireplace and endless wood to keep us toasty while we drink and draw on a couple picnic tables.
There is a river of stout brew, the St. Louis River, pushing through the park in stark contrast to the white snowscape. Basalt ridges peak like the backbone of a great hibernating dragon. Stand still, close your eyes, and feel for the creature’s slow, deep breath beneath your feet.
CHICKADEES, ink & digital, 12x8"
CRITTER, ink & digital, 12x8"
EASTBANK_2, ink & digital, 20x16"
EASTBANK_1, ink & digital, 16x12"
WESTBANK_1, ink & digital, 20x16"
PINE PUFFERY, digital, 20x8.5"
HAND FED (from WINTERBOOK_1), ink, screenprint, digital, 9x9"
EAGLE, ink & gouache, 12x9"
WINTER RHYTHM, ink & gouache, 18x12"`
WINTER SERPENTINE, ink & gouache, 18x12"
FLUTTER, ink & gouache, 16x12"
TRIBUTARY, ink & gouache & digital, 20x16"
WESTBANK_2, ink & digital, 16x20"
State Park SUMMER
Jay Cooke State Park has been my favorite muse for a few years. The park’s dramatic terrain makes it easy to play with the conventions of traditional landscape painting. Once in the park, the horizon disappears giving gravity permission to roam. Dark, angular, outsized rocks may be tossed across the composition like giant basalt dice. The St. Louis River muscles, swirls, sprays, meanders and pools, inspiring any manner of power and pace in a picture. The forest, like most Minnesota forests, twitches and sways to the rhythm of the day, offering endless, varied northland texture.
Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in Waite Park is another wonder worth a visit. Bring a $5 cash entry fee and a swim suit. Remember, cash.
7 DRAWINGS IN ONE, ink, 24x18"
QUARRY_1, ink, 22x30"
CASCADE, ink, 12x24"
JAY COOKE STATE PARK, ink, 24x12"
DAM LITTER, ink, 24x12"
EDDY, ink, 24x12"
CANTO_1, ink, 12x9"
CANTO_1, ink, 12x9"
CANTO_1, ink, 12x9"
RIGHT TO LEFT, ink & acrylic, 18x8"
Almost every piece of artwork on this site begins with ink. Even the more color filled pictures start with ink. Ink has its obvious unforgiving nature, yet after years of working with it I have discovered some useful workarounds. Working with ink is primarily an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em" affair. A drawing made with ink will never ever turn out the way one expects. Often it turns out far better. At times when I truly embrace the mistake, the most artful and beautiful things happen.