I invite you to Kodiak Collective, the culmination of a two-year Rasmuson project with Sara Loewen Danelski. Our series of literary broadsides combines Sara's exquisite writing with my artwork. Our work is in the Temporary Exhibit Gallery at the Kodiak History Museum through June 7, 2022.
Come walk through the ferns, pick flowers, dip your hands in tidepools and stand in the woods with us as we reflect upon this archipelago we call home.
Not in town to catch the show? Peruse the broadsides online
Listen to our interview about the project on KMXT.
Hanging the show at the Kodiak History Museum
We've been living, breathing, worrying, and evolving this project for so long that to see the final product of two years' work up on the wall is exhilarating, humbling and overwhelming.
People shared stories, favorite beaches, homes and cabins, coffee, airplanes, & boats during this project. You changed my life. Thank you.
How do you know which mat and frame combo to choose?!!
When I was studying printmaking, the opinion leaned heavily toward white mats and black frames. It wasn’t intended to be art-school snobby, but was meant to focus the viewer’s attention on the art. It’s a clean look, it can work in any setting, and it can build a cohesive look in a room. The artwork might be varied, but the mat and frames will feel uniform. One complaint about this combination is that it can look cold or impersonal.
When I worked in an art gallery, we sold prints with colored mats, often in multiple layers, with more ornate or unique frames. These pieces were often sold as gifts, and people wanted to buy statement pieces. This approach splashes color and variety on the wall. If the frames are wood, the “warmth” of organic material can feel less stark than black and white. Cons to this style are that it may use more wall space to accommodate wide mats and frames, frames may go out of style, or colors may not match other decor.
What I do
With art I’ve purchased, my style has morphed over the years. I have small prints that I pop into standard black or white frames with no mats so I can get them up on the wall and enjoy them. I cluster these into groups so that together, all of the prints make a statement on the wall. I also have my share heavily matted and framed pieces, which might look dated to some, but I love remembering where I was when I purchased them and the effort that went into getting it “just right.”
For original work that I sell, it’s less about making a final decision for customers than it is about protecting the art: paper gets smudged and torn, paint bleeds if it gets wet. There are so many shades of white that it’s hard for me to match my watercolor paper when ordering supplies. White mats that are a tint off can detract from the art. This has led me to choose mats that pull colors from the design to present a clean, cheerful piece. I invest less in matting and framing so that customers won’t be priced out of having an original professionally framed in the future.
There are no wrong answers here!
Ultimately, frame your art in a way that brings you happiness–try some in black and white and others in loud, boisterous colors–both styles can complement the art and brighten a room.
Join my newsletter so that you are first on the list to see my Spring Collection when it’s released later this month. The frames are black and the mats are bold!
She Planted Love to See if It Would Grow
Pen and watercolor. Inspired by how my girl and her BFF move fearlessly in this world.
Fun font info: I struggle with hand lettering. I’ve learned I can draw my letters, scan them, put them in Adobe Illustrator, and increase the weight of the line. I like that it’s still “my” lettering but I can change colors or weight. Learning lots! Below you can see the lettering in the original, how I developed my new font, and you see the result in the card.
Fun paper info: I love painting on Arches 140# cold press. I use a “watercolor block” where the pages are glued along the edges to keep the paper from buckling when it gets wet. I like painting with a lot of water, and using a block really helps. Cold press has some “tooth” to the paper while ”hot press” is smooth. On the right side of the photo below, you can see the texture in the original and how it holds the paint! Yummy!
Every day is a good day to send a card!
I have 3 or 4 friends who consistently mail me notes and postcards. It’s always unexpected, it might be from across town or around the world, and it invariably cheers me up. When I lived overseas, my mom always sent snail mail, and I felt a little less alone. I responded with postcards, naturally, but also with those super thin, blue, par avion letter-envelopes-all-in-one papers with flaps on the sides that I had to lick to enclose the letter.
Writing and receiving notes was the idea behind developing a notecard subscription. I wanted a way to get a packet of writing material into people’s hands during another long winter. One of my letter-writer-enthusiast friends joined me outdoors around a fire to brainstorm what to include and how to deliver it. That may or may not have been the night we set the porch on fire, but the end result is pretty fun!
I also found 12 reasons that remind me why I write notes and revel in receiving them. My girl demanded that I exclude grammar day and proofreading day, but I have to say I was a little excited about those (March 4 and March 8, respectively.) And then I discovered that my birthday is on love note day. How great is that?!
People sometimes ask me about my "process."
There's no other way to say it--Sara and I were incredibly lucky to spend time on Camp Island at the Kodiak Brown Bear Center & Lodge. Special thanks to Stacy and her team. There were bears and boats and planes, oh my! And it was sunny!
Our trip to Karluk Lake is part of our Rasmuson Project, and sketches and writing from this experience will work their way into our final collection. We found inspiration in the solitude--so quiet at night we could hear the waterfalls across the lake. A lake so big we kept expecting the tide to go out. Nature and animals right there in a way that makes Kodiak feel like a big city.
I was nervous about having to limit my palette for this trip, but I thought about our Kodiak summer colors and ended up with 12 colors that worked nicely together. (Palettes really do fit a place--I took this same palette out of state recently, and some colors just didn't work.) It was a treat to be able to paint out doors, with the sun drying my wet paper.
I’d never been to the south end of Kodiak Island until July 2020. After a delay due to fog, we hopscotched from Trident Basin in Kodiak over to Larsen Bay, and then toward Cape Alitak where we landed off the beach at Tanner Head. Lots of knowledge in the plane with Rolan, Pete H, Sara, & Sheila narrating the flight path, history of the area, and setnetter lore for the rest of us. Working with (and possibly against!) the tides, we had some time on the beach and then hiked over a few more bluffs than we were planning on to get picked up. The wildflowers, company, and G & T after coming down off the bluff made it all worth it.
2020. Wow. What a year.
Our island is hurting now, but it was an oasis this past spring and summer.
A few highlights to remind us of brighter days.
Work in progress--I'm revamping my studio and made a new work table out of "upcycled" wood (aka wood I found on the beach), and I'm slowly painting walls and getting my work area bright and clean. Tango the studio dog keeps a watchful eye.
Food illustration has been on my to-do list, and submitting work to They Draw & Cook has been in the back of my mind for a really long time. The other day, I just decided to do it! TDAC offers up themes and deadlines, and I am excited to build a small portfolio of food and recipe illustrations this summer. I hope your pantry is full!
Art that brings a burst of color to your life!
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