Showing posts from 2011

Yuletide Thanks

Many thanks to my family, friends and patrons for your help and support.  My Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour was successful and fun for me because of your appreciation and response.

Once again I had so many interesting conversations around art, art making, myth and its relevance.

Those conversations have already generated new ideas to explore and a book list to keep me busy reading for the next several months.

                Happy Holidays!

Seasonings Greetings

Seasonings Greetings!  A couple years ago I ran across some Salt and Pepper shakers on ebay and immediately recalled my Grandmothers personal collection of Salt and Pepper shakers.  They filled two, corner, curved glass fronted mahogany curio cabinets. Grandma's collection numbered in the hundreds!

When I asked why she collected shakers her response was "Well I had some shakers and someone saw them and gave me a couple more and someone else saw those and suddenly I had a collection."

It is not my intention to collect any  more than the somewhat campy/kitschy eight featured at left as a Christmas card collection, but collections do take on a life of their own.

I have photographed all eight pair and  made my, predominantly Japaneese 50's - 60's vintage shaker, collection into a boxed set of "Seasonings Greetings" for the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio tour.

Host of Angels

The second weekend of the Holiday Studio tour begins tomorrow.  I began resetting my studio this morning and took some photos to share.  I don’t know how many angels it takes to make a “host” but here is a whole wall full.  The were created as limited edition digital prints from Monotype collages and they proved quite popular last weekend.

Thank you everyone that stopped by December 3-4.  I really enjoy the varied conversations around art and myth that occur during the studio tour and this year I have received some great book recommendations relating to myth.   I am looking forward to another great weekend of seeing patrons and friends!  Here is a link to a map of the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.

Rite of Passage

I am still framing work for the Art Tour and just finished this piece.  Tomorrow I will begin hanging artwork and the transformation of my studio into a gallery.  I am looking forward to the weekend!

Above, is Rite of Passage (14.5 x 36 in.), my Monotype with silver leaf mounted to panel.

Hylas and Hercules & Portage

Here are two more images that reference “The Argonautika” by Apollonious of Rhodios.
These images are Monotypes and each will be exhibited in my studio during the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.  Everyone is invited.  There is always something new and always, always, much that is unique and fun.  The tour is free!


“Behind every great man there is a great woman,” or so the saying goes.  In the myth of The Argonautika, Medea is the heroine behind the hero and is absolutely devoted to Jason, though she also desires power in her own right.   She is the most complex character in The Argonautika and not everything works out well for those she perceives as a threat or for those who have wronged Jason.

Because of Euripide’s characterization of her in his play “Medea,” she will forever be maligned and remembered for “doin’ it for herself.”   However, without Media, there is absolutely no “winning” of the Golden Fleece for Jason.   Only Media’s magical knowledge and sacrifice of political allegiance, position and family make Jason’s Quest for the Golden Fleece possible.

The Monotype,  Medea,  will be exhibited in my studio, 23520 147th Ave SW, Vashon Island WA., Studio  #11, during the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.

Technicolor Angels

I have completed ten collages created from monotype papers around the subject of Angels.  These images will be exhibited as an editioned series of Giclee Prints in my studio during the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.  Above and below are four of the ten images.

Winged beings have played mythic roles in many cultures through time. Zetos and Kalais, the winged sons of Boreas, God of the North Wind, were two of Jason’s companions in the Argnautica.  Though Hermes, Zeus’s express messenger, wore his wings on his boots, his Olympian compatriots Nike and Cupid wore theirs where we have come to expect, sprouting from their shoulders.   That’s generally where you will find them attached in depictions of Valkyries in Norse tradition, Faeries in Celtic myth and of course to Cherubim, Seraphim and depictions of Angels in contemporary Jewish and Christian tradition.

The English word angel, derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, means messenger.  No where in the Bible are these divine messengers…


In our science based epoch Iapetos (Iapetus) is best know as a moon of Saturn.  Like so many astronomical names (place and product names as well), Iapetos is of Greek origin and the deep past.   When Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Astrologer and Astronomer to the Sun King,  Louis the XIV of France, identified four of Saturn’s moons in 1671 he named one of them Iapetus, a brother giant of Titan Cronus or as the Roman world would have known him, Saturn. 

Science may be all about the measurable, knowable, search for truth but as Sir Isaac Newton said “In order to see beyond the horizon, one must stand on someone else’s shoulders” and so will every generation who looks out and forward, be they giants of science and reason, or the generation of Olympian Gods that followed the mythic giants of the Golden Age.

A detail of my oil painting Iapetos appears on my invitation to the 2011 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.  It will be on exhibit in my studio (No. 11 on the tour map), located at 23520…


Through time animals have been the source of many of human kinds most powerful symbols. My Monotypes Totems and Animalia are two from a series that explores symbols or totems as subject.

A totem is something that serves as a symbol for or emblem of an individual or group. Frequently the totem is of the natural world and there are many examples of plants and animals as totems. Finally, the totem has mythic association with the individual, family or group.

Though the word totem is Ojibwe in origin and Native American animal totems immediately come to mind, totem like beliefs and totems as symbols are culturally prevalent throughout the world.
My previous blog about Io and Argus referenced Hera’s symbol or totem, the Peacock and how he got his tail.  Here are a few more examples of symbolic animal association in Greek myth and contemporary belief.
Posidon’s totem would be the Horse, Athena’s the Owl, and moving across cultures Hindu Goddess Saraswati's animal symbol was also th…

Io and Argus

In my previous blog about the ship and ship builder Argo I referred to one of  Hera’s symbols or totems, the Peacock.  This blog is about my Monotype Io and Argus and one of my favorite stories in Greek myth.

Zeus the father, or Zeus the philanderer, depending on your point of view, undeniably loved women (we will leave Ganymede for another blog).  His conquests, be they goddess or mortal, populated Olympus and the Heavens with demigods, nymphs and heroes. 

Io, was one of  his loves.  She was a princes of Argos, and priestess of Hera.  It was perhaps in that capacity that Zeus first saw lovely Io, wooed and pursued her.  In order to deceive his, justifiably jealous wife, Goddess Hera,  Zeus cloaked the earth and his liaison with Io in clouds. The clouds however only served to rouse Hera’s suspicion and through the Cumulus, Cirrus and Stratus she descended to find Zeus standing next to a lovely white... heifer. 

Guilty Zeus, sensing Hera’s approach, had turned poor Io into a cow.  H…


My Monotype Argo depicts the engineer Argo presenting a plan of the ship that he will construct and will eventually carry Jason and his crew of heroes on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Jason’s patron Goddess Hera, here represented by her totem or symbol, the Peacock, helped Argo select the timbers from the trees of Mount Palion to build the boat.  She also supplied a limb for its keel taken from the sacred oak of the oracle at Dodona.  The talking keel would aid the heroes in their journey with its gift of prophecy.  When the ship was complete it was named for the builder Argo and thenceforth the heroes that sailed upon it would be known as Argonauts.

Argo is a Monotype with metal leaf mounted to panel. (16 x 16 x 2 in.) It will be exhibited in my studio, stop number 11, during the Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour.


The wonderful print collateral supporting Vashon’s 2011 Island Holiday Studio Tour and my own studio invitation just arrived.  The brochure, my card, my evite as well as the tour website were created by Sy and Ric Novak of Novak Creative.  Hats off, once again, for all that they do to professionally present and connect the many artists and art organizations of Vashon to the world.

What is present day Istanbul was once Constantinople and once upon a time Byzantium.  My painting Byzantium is meant to reflect a way we may perceive time as history and history as the stratification through time of place.

When out of political and military necessity Constantine moved the Roman capital to Byzantium in 326 it had already existed as a Greek city, situated at the only opening to the Black Sea, since 667 BC. Greek and Roman sculpture, columns, doors and marbles were taken from temples and cities throughout the Roman empire and brought to Byzantium to adorn new monuments and reflect the magnific…

Pyrrhic Dance

While reading “The Argonauticka,” by Apollonios Rhodios, and following hero Jason and the crew of the Argo through the islands and ports of call visited by his ship Argo, I came upon several references to the gods worshiped at Samothrace and Lemnos in the Korybantes, Kabeiroi or Cabeiri Rites that were celebrated in ritual dance. 

Dance, according to the Greek ideal, was one of the civilizing activities, like wine-making or music.

These dances perhaps originated as Cretan, and as Dionysus/Zeus oriented purification, or coming of age, initiation rituals.  Eventually “Pyrrhicaial” male dance, became a formal competition in the Hellenic world.  Armed with swords and shields, group participants were accompanied by drum and rhythmic stamping of feet and performed in celebration as worship, for acclaim and monetary reward.

Above, rust prints mounted to wood panel, Pyrrhic Dance, (8 X 10 x 1.5 in.) and below, Persian Dance, (8 x 10 x 1.5 in.), will exhibit at the Heron’s Nest at 17600 Vash…

Rust Print, an explanation

I am still exploring the “Rust Print” process.  Most of what I have made so far won’t be exhibited until the Spring and Fall of 2012 but I have rusted and mounted to panel a few of my images and they will be on display at the Heron’s Nest this December.

Here is a little bit about my process. 

Vashon islander Bob Powell of Meadow Creature helped me to cut mild and Corten steel to the shapes I had designed using his high pressure water jet machine.  The water jet cutting process is ideal for cutting intricate shapes and because the machining introduces no stress and little if any heat the steel plates remain quite flat.  I next made the shaped steel plates to rust with several applications of hydrogen peroxide, salt and vinegar.  Next I lay the substrate I wished to transfer the rust to over the plate and thoroughly dampened it before placing wax paper or plastic over everything to hold in the moisture. Next a sheet of plate glass was placed over everything to provide surface contact and…

The Birth of Pallas Athena

Pallas Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, warfare, arts, crafts, agriculture and namesake patron of the city of Athens is sometimes said to be the child of Zeus alone.  Zeus did give birth to her, but only after swallowing the Oceanid Metis, already pregnant by him, in an attempt to thwart the prophecy that a child of their union would be greater than mighty Zeus.

This was of course the unhappy end of Metis but the unborn child continued to grow, gestating in Zeus's head and troubling him with terrible headaches.  Eventually, so great was his pain, he begged Hephaestus to strike him with his great axe whereupon Pallas Athena sprang from her father’s head fully armed.

My Monotype The Birth of Pallas Athena, along with another four of my Monotype prints will be displayed at the Roby King Galleries on Bainbridge Island during their 2011 Print Exhibition, October 7-27 with an Artist’s Reception October 7 from 6-8 PM.

Orpheus and Eurydice

Vashon Allied Arts’ annual Art Auction celebrates the glamor of classic Hollywood at 5:30 pm, Friday & Saturday, Sept. 23 & 24.

Artists have donated more than 140 pieces of original art. 2011 Commissioned Artists are: Gretchen Hancock, Art Hansen, Odin Lonning, Gus Schairer, Nancy Sipple and Elaine Summers.

Orpheus and Eurydice, my contribution to this years Art Auction, is a mixed media work incorporating Monoprint process and drawing over and under vintage dress patterns.

Mythic Orpheus was a gifted musician.  From his father and mother, Apollo and the Muse Calliope, he inherited a mastery of the lyre and a heavenly voice. No god or mortal could resist his music and even the rocks and trees would move themselves to be near him. 

Eurydice felt no differently.  When she came to hear him play the lyre and sing, she, they, fell deeply in love and soon after were married.   They were as happy as only love can make two people until the day Eurydice was bitten by a viper and died.�…


It’s the Bellevue Botanical Garden, ART IN THE GARDEN SHOW!  August 26 - 28,  2011.  Gayle Pickens, of Gallery by the Bay has curated a wonderful selection of garden art by regional artists.

Come view the sculpture throughout the garden and meet the artists who made it. According to Gayle, some sculpture will be clearly visible, some work will be tucked into corners and still more waiting for your discovery around the next bend of the garden path.

Art by 30 outstanding Northwest artists will grace this special garden show.  From the serious to the whimsical, this exhibit will include works in metal, wood, blown and fused glass, ceramics, bronze and other materials.

Come visit Friday from 1 PM to 6 PM, or Saturday or Sunday, 10 AM until 6 PM.  It is free to see and there will be lots to buy.  Here is a link for directions and to find out more about the artwork and artists represented.

Above and below is a sneak pe…

RUST and an Etching Workshop

My plates are RUSTING.The Cor-Ten Steel seems to be shedding rust in large flakes.  That might be interesting?  I intend to find out tomorrow when I will place two of the plates on dampened Rives heavy weight paper and hope for remarkable rust!  I will post the results.

Over the weekend, while rust was happening, I participated in an inspiring workshop with Valerie Willson and eight others.  Three days learning process, making and modifying etchings on zinc plates at the new Vashon Island print studio of Quartermaster Press with Valerie, was exhilarating!  Here is a Facebook link with descriptions and some photos.  Quartermaster Press

Above and below are the results of my own efforts.   I look forward to Valerie’s followup Etching workshop. 


I am working on compositions based upon the subject of " Journey," specifically “The Argonautika”  and the mythic story of Jason and  his quest for the Golden Fleece.   It is an old, old, (really old), hero’s journey.  Older even than Homer’s Iliad, wherein the Argos and its’ many heroes are referred.
Through millennium the Argosy and the Argonauts have become synonymous with adventure, discovery and in our present age name pervasive to every product and service one might imagine.  Just Google Argosy and you will currently see (about) 8,000,000 results.  I find that remarkable, daunting and relevant to why Jason's mythic quest is still potent. 
“The Argonauticka” is a classic tale of betrayal, vengeance and like many Greek myths has a tragic ending.  It is a story of group dynamics (a crew of 50 heroes), about stretching geographical boundaries and like every important myth it also explores the very human behavioral aspects of quest and the unrealized world.  Hence the a…

Self Portrait

George Wright, sculpture and director of The Heron's Nest Gallery on Vashon Island invited me to create work for a self portrait exhibition at the gallery this month.  Above is my contribution, "Back to Back, They Faced Each Other" an 8 x10 x 2 inch Monotype print, portrait, mounted to a wood panel box.

The show is quite fun and a bit of a challenge to identify fellow artists and friends.
Here is a link to The Heron’s Nest.  Stop by when you have a chance.


Robi King Galleries on Bainbridge Island has selected  Americana as subject and tittle for its' July Exhibition.  Above and below are three Monotype/Collages that will be my contribution to the exhibit.  
Each image was created with 40‘s family ephemera; cards and letters from my Aunts, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, written to and about my brother Harvey in the late 1940‘s and are the foundation imagery for my Monotype print process.  Americanawill be on display from July 1-30, 2011.

Hear Only, See Only, Speak Only... Evil

In May Valise Gallery on Vashon chose censorship as subject and invited the community to respond and participate in their exhibit titled “The Elephant in the Room.” It was an interesting and thought provoking show.  Here is the image I selected to exhibit and it’s written explanation as it appeared at

After 9-11 and the subsequent lead up to the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq we were bombarded by euphemisms to sell and provide cover for war. 
Preemptive War, promoting a war to prevent war is a good example, as is Collateral Damage, people killed in military actions who were not the intended target. How about Enhanced Interrogation? I mean torture. 
This kind of verbal misdirection as practiced by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice, besides being distortion of truth, lead to congressional censorship of individuals and of sovereign nations.  Hear Only, See Only, Speak Only Evil is a statement about the propaganda that censors dissenting voices.

Threshold Guardians

Above and below are images of my "Threshold Guardians,” art made for the garden, personifying adventure, edges and boundaries.    Those above also double as stakes for your/my lilllies when gravity is just too much!

Inside my studio and outside in the garden I have had wonderful conversations around art and garden this past weekend and look forward to the next Saturday and Sunday (May 14-15) of the Vashon Island Spring Studio Tour.  I hope you can stop in!

Summer Breeze

Today, at least on Vashon Island, it feels like we are at the threshold of a new season.  It has been a cold Winter, a wet spring and a very long time since I have anticipated Summer so much.   How much?  Enough to inspire art and personify a season.  Above is my Monotype print with gold leaf that I call Summer Breeze.  It is an image about time, accumulated memories of Summer and the associated pleasures that sunshine brings.

Tomorrow I am framing it, the last of the monotype work made for the 2011 Spring, Vashon Island Art Studio Tour, May 7-8 & 14-15, but I am still working on “Natures Priest” an oil painting and finishing my cut steel “Threshold Guardians,” art made for the garden, personifying adventure, edges and boundaries.   

My Monotype with Gold Leaf, Summer Breeze is 9 x 22 in.

Streets, Roads, Paths, lead to Roby King Gallery

In addition to the upcoming (May) Spring Vashon Artist Studio Tour I will also be showing on Bainbridge Island with Roby King Gallery in their Streets, Roads, Paths, group exhibition.  The exhibit opens Friday May 6 and runs through the 28th. 

New work I have created for this show expresses my pleasure in a daily routine; walking the dog.  At right is my Monotype, The Aki Walk. 

Aki is my 15 month old Shiba Inu and with the advent of Spring the walk for her has become all about chasing Robins.  Bless whoever invented those spring loaded, self retracting dog leads!

The format, technique and oblique perspective is intended to reference Japanese Art and Print.  Shiba Inu's are a Japanese dog breed.

The Aki Walk is a Monotype Print with Gold Leaf and measures   24.25 x 7 in.

Time for the Art Studio Tour

The Vashon Island Spring Studio Tour is on the horizon.  The first two weekends in May, 7-8 & 14-15, Vashon Artists open their studios for a public, self guided tour.

For the first time this year I am on the Spring tour and even on the cover of the brochure. I have been printing and painting, even working on some garden art for this event and will be writing the next several blogs about the imagery I have created. 

The image for the brochure (above) is called Nature's Priest.  Here is a link for the event and map of artists studios on the tour.
Vashon Island Studio Tour Spring 2011.

Unclad 2011

The 10th annual Unclad Art show opens March 12 at Gallery by the Bayin Stanwood Washington  I am excited to participate again this year.  The show celebrates the nude in art by more than 90 artists from across North America.  The scope and scale of the art represented is a rare treat to see.

A digital gallery of the work on exhibit may be found at Unclad 2011 as well as directions and a schedule of the many special events planed around the show.

My Monotypes Gentle Bower, (above) and Centauromachy or Battle of the Centaurs, (below) are my contribution to Unclad 2011.  In the gallery gift shop I will also have 24 different card images and two smaller monotypes for sale.

Leda and The Swan

One evening while the lovely Leda, Queen of Sparta, went about her bath, Zeus spied her from his perch on Mt. Olympus and was smitten, enamored, or at the very least, fell deeply in lust.  Libidinous Zeus then changed himself into a swan, a bird sacred to Aphrodite, and swept down from the heavens to join Leda in her watery ritual.

Artists through the ages have depicted this union in many, many ways, perhaps because this particular miracle is a challenge, but fun, to imagine.  My Monotype collage version of this amorous encounter depicts Leda as self aware but unaware and slippery Zeus as diminutive, not unlike a bath toy.  I guess I was thinking of soap on a rope.  Really, who could be afraid of that?

This mythic union is very important because one of Leda’s children by The Swan is beautiful Helen. Helen’s abduction by Paris, a prince of Troy, will lead to the Trojan War and destruction of Troy, the death and memorialization of many heroes, set the stage for the future rise of the Roma…

King Maker

The Kevin D’Amelio Art Gallery will open this Thursday, March 3, 5-8 PM, at the historic 619 Western Building in Pioneer Square with a group show highlighting Vashon Island Artists.  At last count more than 60 artists, representing the remarkable wealth of art being created on Vashon will be participating.  This show runs through March 13.

My Monotype King Maker (above) is one of two images I will be exhibiting in the Kevin D’Amelio Vashon Island Artists inaugural show. 


The world turns.  It’s a fact.  I first witnessed the proof on a black and white Zenith TV.  A peg legged modern marvel and the centerpiece of my Middle-American living room.  The date was 1969 and US Apollo Mission Eleven had just landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin upon Earth’s moon.  There for all to see from a totally new perspective was Earth, our (black and white) home, spinning in space.

Untangling my thoughts to blog about a video and TV cabinet I made for a friend and patron has been difficult.  Telamones was designed to conceal (and reveal) a flat screen TV.   In the process of creating the cabinet I thought  about many things relating to TV and how historically the information we receive informs and shapes our perceptions.  In each epoch our worldview is framed by technological advances and of course the culture  into which each new technology is born.

My father told me he first saw a “murky” television image in 1932 at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.  His …

Moon Over Marathon

Much of history is astronomically oriented.  The Greek Historian Herodotus described precisely the phase of the moon in his account of the battle of Marathon.  A battle that is considered a defining moment in the development of European culture.

In  490 BCE 10,000 Greeks met the assembled forces of the Persian empire, a seemingly invincible army of approximately 20,000 infantry and cavalry, twenty six miles north of Athens on the Plain of Marathon.   The runner Pheidippides was sent to Sparta requesting aid and he returned with the message that Sparta would send reinforcements but only after the conclusion of its religious festival of Karneia which forbade battle until the full moon (another six days). When Greek generals concluded that battle could not wait, a line of infantry equal in length to that of the Persians was formed and the Greek warriors attacked the Persian line at a dead run.  In the ensuing battle an estimated 6,400 Persians were killed while only 192 Greeks died. The At…