Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Greetings from Las Vegas?

How's this for a strange Las Vegas almost-Christmas??

Last time I saw snow like this was 1979. I used to ride a bike in those days, not for pleasure but as transportation. I believe that was the year I abandoned my road bike in favor of a mountain bike, more grip on them fat tires.

And now, a carol...
  • 12 broken branches
  • 11 flattenned oleanders
  • 10 hours of snow
  • 9 frozen palm trees
  • 8 years a'coming
  • 7 broken cacti
  • 6 snowball fights
  • 5 freaked out kitties
  • 4 inches of sno-ow
  • 3 snow angels
  • 2 howling wolf-dogs
  • 1 gorgeous sunset
  • and a partridge in a pear treeeeeee
thank you, thank you very much...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Goldwell pages updated with photo albums

Updated my photo albums section in the Goldwell Open Air Museum Residency pages.

Next on the project is to continue to carve the blocks, make some prints and publish a book with photos, journal entries, woodcuts and even some poetry. I'm well into revising my first few pages and the template so I can begin the painful process of getting it all together.

Here are the recently updated links:

Projects Index page:

Goldwell Index page:

Photo Album:

And don't miss the Panoramas page:


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Updated Latest Works

My latest creation: "Moonshadow" is done on black Arches paper, a cork color block and cherry line block.

Printing on black paper with opaque inks can be tricky because the opacity is different for each color. Obviously white prints best, but it also "eats" other colors and makes everything milky.

This time I chose to use pearl pigment in the inks to make the image glow and give opacity to the subtle colors wihout milk. Not that I'm against milk, but with breakfast, not on my prints. The pearl pigment makes the inks shimmer.

When the prints were drying in the studio, the image could be seen in the dark. I thought it was pretty cool to have a fluorescent moon lady (or a bunch of them) hanging in the studio. The cork once again traps some of the ink and spits it back out in darker lines and clumps, but this time I used lighter ink on the moon to let the black paper add some irregular shadows on the moon.

So there she is, "Moonshadow" in all her glory.

Goldwell Adventures Update and the Red Barn Art Center

The Goldwell Adventure has been partially uploaded. I uploaded pictures from the workshop which show off the interior of the Red Barn Art Center and me working away. Well, if you can call making art in eden "working".
I also uploaded pictures of the workshop, some of my faithful and fearless students, and their work. It was fun leading them into the world of the woodcut in such a great place.
Photo albums of the place itself are coming but there are about 1200 photos to go through and I get tired of sitting, click, click, they will get there but in due time. Meanwhile, the view to the South is prominent in the Goldwell Project page, it's almost enchanting even in a small web size. Imagine the silence and the wind brushing gently against the creosote ocean...

Friday, November 14, 2008

A personal effort to stimulate the US economy (wink wink)?

Warning: shameless self-promotion follows...

Who says you can't find affordable great quality art to give for the Season?!
I just re-opened my ebay shop, in view of their new friendlier seller terms and lower selling fees. I haven't been doing festivals and hate to see thousands of prints in my drawers collecting dust.

I also tried my hand at an Etsy Shop and even made some sales. Different "animals" the Etsy Shop seems to attract mostly other Etsy users and perhaps some die-hard craft and/or hand-made by the artist lovers. The ebay store attracts anyone from scammer to print dealers to serious collectors, but mostly nice folk looking for bargains.

I figure by the time the art festival circuit recovers from these turbulent times I will have plenty of new works. What to do with all these darned prints is always a big dilemma, but I am just not willing to sit on them forever. I have an idea to put in my will that any of my works that didn't sell while I was alive must be burned upon my death so that art vultures don't make a penny from my art after I'm gone. Really, society should support live artists above all.

So there it goes, ink on paper at bargain prices.
Etsy Shop 1000 Woodcuts at
Ebay Store 1000 Woodcuts at

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cairn on the wall

I got this far with the Cairn... The plan is to cover it with plexi mounted with mirror clips when I get permission to climb the heights again.
It looks like Lynita and I had similar ideas, but she is obviously (from the looks of her studio) much better organized than I!

Sharri LaPierre

Cairn 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

What did you do with YOUR Cairn?

I'm taking my Cairn on the road to show off all my Baren friends to my workshop attendees this next weekend at the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Should be a nice way to expose new initiates into the woodcut art to a variety of carving styles and, at the same time, smaller image suggestions.

Here is what Lynita Shimizu did with her Cairn! I cracked up...

Check it out at the project page and send me your images of the Cairn, framed, shown, exposed...???
I got my plexiglass and will be sticking mine on the ceiling also; then I can see everyone while I work.
Is everyone ready for the next Great Puzzle Print?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nature and fish prints!

Thanks to an artist development grant from the Nevada Arts Council this fall I was able to attend the Nature Printing Society's 2008 workshop in Santa Barbara, California.

The place for the workshop is a 26 acre retreat and conference center appropriately named La Casa de Maria. Wonderful trees and hiking trails, quaint little dorm rooms and plenty of space and inspiration for a nature printing workshop.

Among the workshops I took was a fish printing class in the tradition of Japanese fish printing and a Foilography class with Charles Morgan of Moss Street Studios.
These are some of the great fish I got to play with. The process is both like and unlike relief printing. There is really no pressure involved to print, more like hugging the object with the fingers until the ink is released onto the paper.

Of course the "inking" is alike, only with a brush instead of brayers. The layer of ink (water based inks) is much like the layer of ink that successfully prints a woodcut.
Quite fun and something I will integrate with my works planned for the upcoming residency at the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quirky cork prints and a new Studionote

I started printing with cork plates way back when and for now I'm hooked on the "look" that cork plates give my new series of prints.

Here is the latest, fresh off the press. The image is one of two I'm printing for the Earth Exchange offered by Four Oceans Press website and print organization, check them out:

The cork plates are fun but hard to work with and I'm starting to control the process. I caught up some stuff on my website and wrote a new Studio Note on it. If you haven't read all my silly Studionotes, feel free. I love sharing the info on printmaking as I learn it.

Have fun!

And direct to the quirky cork:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cairn grows again! Middle block is done, Days 4-6

Well here we go, another three days and another block is printed.

The whole is looking awesome and my studio really stinks now with all these prints hanging, not even the cats want to be in there. My husband opens windows and turns on the fan as soon as he gets home; there is really no appreciation for the delightful perfume of oil based inks...ahhhhhh...

Looking forward to block number 3 and finishing.

Today I ordered the free domestic mailing tubes from the Post Office and bought some for my international friends. Should be able to mail next week if I work through the weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cairn Update Pictures Day 1 and 2

Oh, here they are! Blogger is alive now...

First picture is the beginning of the bottom block. Something about those prints hanging together that always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Second picture is the resulting bottom block, all printed up and proud of itself. The amazing contrast of styles and cutting comes together as if planned. Maybe these collaborations are magic?

For more, see my previous post and visit the website puzzle diary.

Tomorrow, more printing...

Baren Rock Pile Grows! Day 1-2

(Well, I tried to add pictures today but Blogger isn't cooperating. Go to the webpage for the illustrated version!)
First block is proofed, printed, hanging, drying...oh joy!
The Great Baren Cairn is now well on its way to being completed.
For those of you who need a refresher, here is the page on my website, soon to be updated with all the gory details:

Every good rock pile must start with a solid foundation, so I printed the bottom block first. The "makeready" part of printing these puzzles is a bit complex. Summarized, the process goes something like this:
-level blocks "dry" (without inking) and glue to the backing board to hold steady
-proof and tweak any obvious low blocks or low spots
-proof again
-carve away inked spots not on images, usually backgrounds or edge of blocks
-proof again
-ink the darned thing and get in the "production mode" mood
-repeat to taste until done

Well, one major adjustment I had to make and need to report. The initial plan was to provide every participant with 2 complete sets. Unfortunately these cherry plywood blocks didn't hold up to that. After having to repair several areas several times and watching the edges of some blocks go "soft" on me, I decided there was no possible way to get more prints out of the bottom block. With 79 participants and 96 good prints, this means only one set per participant. Live and learn!

Anyhow, the bottom block is done and I'm progressing to the middle block.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A new print finally!

First, a new image! Amazing, I know, it's been a while. I actually have two blocks carved and ready to go but life keeps getting in the way.

On the other hand, my home projects are coming right along this year and I'm getting buffed and tanned driving the wheelbarrow around.

But back to art...

There it is, an exchange print in full color. I kept the image simple. The key (black) block is standard cherry, the color block is a puzzle cork block. Cork is tough to work with, hard to print and generally a big pain in the booty. But I really like the irregular surface to fill with color but leave the paper showing.
Is this a sign of more color to come? Hmmm...mixed feelings here. I actually have two more blocks of the Grand Canyon series ready to print, and they are black on my favorite Beech Grove Paperworks hand-crafted paper.
The color was fun too, but there is something about the traditional honest one-color woodcut. We'll see!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Woodcut puzzles

There's an activity I engage in every couple of years or so, and that is to bring printmakers together to make a print. These collaborations baffle those who know me as a loner, but nevertheless, they continue to fascinate me.

The procedure is simple, take a block of wood, draw something, chop it up into pieces and send the pieces to the various participants. Each woodcutter cuts their piece of wood and sends it back to me, I put it together, print it and send the completed prints to everyone.

IN progress is the Cairn, information is here:

Completed is the first puzzle, a Web:

Undoubtedly, there will be more...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Woodcuts in the desert

My temporary gallery at the Valley of Fire Visitor's Center. This is a small Nevada state park that is just beautiful to visit, especially (and almost exclusively) in the winter.
Compared to an art festival, this is an easy setup. I used my festival panels for the back wall and also the browse bins for information on woodcuts, business cards and, of course those portable matted works that hopefully will find their way into the suitcases of tourists.

The park benefits from the artist's sales and for the artist, it is a chance to show works to countless tourists and other desert loving critters.
Woodcuts are again at an advantage because they are so rarely seen in these parts. Of course I have free for the taking my standard "How to Make Woodcuts" handout. Knowing that the State Park gets a percentage is huge for me. As I grow older, I yearn for the days when the desert was a largely uninhabited place. More and more developers are building and building and it feels good to be a part of a preservation movement.

The weather forecast for the rest of February in these parts calls for spring-like 60's and 70's, and, of course... sunny and clear!

Exhibit at Valley of Fire February 2008

Valley of Fire Exhibit - February 2008
Two Las Vegas artists are currently showing at the Valley of Fire Visitor's Center through February 2008.
Enjoy the beautiful watercolors of Mary Shaw, a long time Las Vegas resident and member of the Watercolor Society, and the woodcuts of Maria Arango ( , printed by hand on beautiful natural fiber hand-made papers.
Works depict our beautiful surroundings and remind us of the beauty of the desert. Enjoy the mild sunny spring-like weather and peruse and picnic around the Valley of Fire State Park, a true gem of our desert lands. All purchases benefit the Valley of Fire State Park.
The Valley of Fire Visitor's Center features monthly shows of regional landscapes and nature works by local artists. The Valley of Fire State Park is a gorgeous place in the winter, a truly meditative desert sanctuary. More information and directions to the park: