VW Love and Reductive

Love those VWs

Printmaking Demo

Fun time in Printmaking this semester. I knew about “reductive emulsion” (not emotion) screen printing but I had never tried it. Thought I’d give it a whirl. Frankly, I could also see that some of the “gang of 10” thought in a reductive manner. In other words – they could plan ahead in a printing process without the need for creating an entirely new block or screen.

Essentially with reductive emulsion screen printing, you start with an open, clean screen and use tape as a border or margin – [thinking about it now and for the next time, I would use emulsion, brushed on as a border.] Since the emulsion is light sensitive and the exposure to light hardens it – that would be an effective “block out” border.

I started with my image and used Illustrator to break the full color image into 4 shades of grey. I laid the printout under the screen and used the emulsion and a brush to paint on to the screen. The first painting of emulsion is the WHITE or the color of the paper. Then I let it dry and printed the YELLOW ink.

The biggest pain about screen printing [well, any printmaking] is the clean-up – So I cleaned up the YELLOW ink, washed it out of the screen but left the emulsion in the screen. Then using the emulsion I painted it on the screen and let it dry. The areas that I painted with the emulsion are where the YELLOW stayed. Otherwise when I printed the RED, the RED overprinted on the yellow .

After the RED was printed, I decided to run a gray-green and hoped that it would be enough contrast in value that the image would hold together with out and additional run of a gray/green black. I decided that it works and called it done.

I’m looking forward to exploring this reductive emulsion screen printing method further.

Teaching and Letting Be

One of the balancing acts in teaching is explaining, demonstrating, talking and shutting up and getting out the way. Sometimes the best thing, especially at this point of the semester is to be present, be a resource, and even act as a sous-chef.

That’s what happened with Printmaking this week.

The mystery of registration was unveiled.

And then in Drawing Studio, the students got to explore a material that appeals to their comfort level with graphite and also adds in the option of a water wash. For 2 hours the students worked. Trying this, trying that – walking around and seeing what their neighbors were trying – not judging – just doing.

I tried to not pester. The best thing I could do was to settle down and draw with them. Explore the medium of aqueous graphite – and play. So I did and I thing the students enjoyed stopping by to see where my thoughts and marks were taking me. These 2 images are from a much larger sheet of paper (24X36) and I think hold promise.

Crows and pearls –

You’re Invited!

This crazy Iowa weather looks like it is going to cooperate for the delivery of the show to the Art Center of Burlington (IA) today. Just rain and it’s 34 degrees. Thankfully I got the show packed into the van last night. So often I think, “Why do I have a van?” – last night, packing the show – I was reminded why. I am an artist, I make stuff, I show stuff and I need to haul stuff.

There are 3 events with this show and it is a real honor to be invited to exhibit in this space.

Art Center of Burlington


The Rest of the Story

The 1917 CASE 50hp is featured engine for 2018 for the Midwest Old Threshers’ Reunion. It was owned by Jacob Nelsen of Lockridge, IA. Jacob was a young man who lived for Old Threshers. Sadly, he died at age 21 in a car wreck in March 2017.

Like long time administrator of Midwest Old Threshers and dear friend, Lennis Moore, I am also a printmaker/artist. I have taught at Iowa Wesleyan University (College) in Mount Pleasant for 31 years, and have spent most of that time also volunteering at the Log Village or more recently, at Printers’ Hall. I was very honored when asked to design the graphic images for both the 30-Hour award and the featured engine. This print highlights the featured engine but also honors Jacob’s energy, enthusiasm and love for Old Threshers.

This is a limited-edition art print. That means that the image was created by an artist and printed by hand on high quality paper. This edition was limited to 55. Each print was signed, titled and numbered by me. The top number on the print represents how it fell into the edition while printing so 1/55 was the first print that was acceptable. 55/55 is simply the last print. Not better or worse, just when it was printed. All other “misregistered” or off prints were culled from the edition and destroyed. No more will be printed from those blocks. There does exist with all editions a print that is notated, “A/P”. The A/P is the “Artist’s Proof” meaning it is the one the artist keeps but it is also serves as the standard to which the other prints are judged against. If it didn’t meet my standard, it didn’t go into the edition. These prints were printed on the Vandercook Universal 1 press in Printers’ Hall.

The image of the engine was created both by hand drawing and computer graphic applications. That is the black part of the print. A block was created from the digital file. The colors in the sky were created on a wood block using traditional wood cutting tools. The colors were printed first and the black engine block was printed last.




Creating Belle – Part II

Belle lives!

Well almost. But this is a little overview of how her image came together. After she dries, then she will be mounted on to a chair and placed at a table. The table will have another cup and saucer and a chair for her guest.

Imagine the conversation that you might have with Belle. Imagine the things you might discuss. This is just pure imagination. This project will be part of the Chair-ish Mt. Pleasant event. https://www.facebook.com/MountPleasantArtsIMPACT/photos/gm.611189435890365/554441411621684/?type=3&theater

Here are a few links about Belle.


Starting Belle

Finally – off the ground.

Working on my Chair for the “Chair-ish” display for the Mt Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance. I decided to pursue a couple of ideas from my “Magpie” collection of memories and ideas; essentially things that entertain my brain.

What would it be like to have a conversation with someone from the past? Not a new idea but one still rich with possibilities. Since I have spent 30 amazing years at Iowa Wesleyan, I wonder about significant people from its institutional history.  What about a conversation with Belle Babb Mansfield ((May 23, 1846–August 1, 1911)? or a conversation with a young Belle Babb Mansfield, poised on possibilities.

More on Belle http://uipress.lib.uiowa.edu/bdi/DetailsPage.aspx?id=249


Rory – or the Wheat’n Greet’n


Rory – “Wheat’n Greet’n”  6X8″, 2 color Linolium Cut Print

Rory, is our second SCWT or Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. He is a rescue (check out the SCWT Rescue site) , as all of our menagerie of cats, dogs, and ferrets have been. The print started out as a demonstration of how to transfer the ‘key” or black block to a new block for the color. This was for the Printmaking class that I teach where I was also being evaluated by a colleague for the Post-Tenure Review process. The demo went fine but I was way too busy to complete the print during the semester. Imagine that…

But in May, I was able to work on him and really think about the distribution of color vs black vs the white of the paper. It is a small block, only 6 X 8 inches, which is small for the way I usually work. I also had a chance to work with the Ternes-Burton registration system which is slick-as-snot (a phrase of praise borrowed from my father-in-law.) While working on the image, news of a dog being shot and a “Go Fund Me” campaign to help defray vet costs came across my local radio station. The family and the campaign were able to cover the vet surgery and care. But there are so many cases of animals being hurt, sick or abandoned and people not being able to pay, etc…  And then the tough decisions that a vet office has to make.

I don’t have lots of ready cash but I do have lots of art material and began wondered about offering the image of Rory as a fund raiser for our vet clinic with silent bids for the matted and framed image. Well, it did garner bids (I was a little nervous) and sold! The money now goes to the emergency fund at Hometown Vet Care. I’d love to keep doing this – exploring other dog images, cats, birds…. and keep this print bid going.


  • “A lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.” – Barack Obama (President of the United States)
  • “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings (humourist)
  • “Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz (Author, False Memory)


Crow, Crone & Grace

Some prints – are easier than others. The process doesn’t overwhelm the image and the path seems clear. Other prints, like this one below, aches to be made but doesn’t come with easy resolution. I’ve had others like this too. The work, while madding with its starts, stops and restarts, is its own balm. Its own solace. This print was 3 years in the making. If you are curious, the beginning was documented in July 2014.

The title of the print isn’t important but what you bring to the image is more important. The title will come in it’s own time.



One of the cool things that I get to do, is print on a Wesel Press at Printers’ Hall at Midwest Old Threshers. It is a grand old press.

Enjoy the video – a little bit of Printers’ Hall & the Print.