Scenes and Musings in Port Angeles

If you come to visit Port Angeles, you will be captivated by its beauty.  If you stay for a while, you will get a more realistic look.  This is a artist book about the Port Angeles that is growing in my heart.

Scenes and Musings in Port Angeles
Scenes and Musings in Port Angeles

1.

Here’s how it happens.

The clouds sink under the mountains
to the south.
Venus hums above.
A red copter circles the sea
to the north,
and tankers shoot the harbor to light.
A solstice breeze questions
the darkness
between the trees.  The town below
circles like a frost dog
to begin its sleep.

On the bluff above bag-piper sings vespers,
a little ragged
but sad and sweet.

2.

Grey frigid noon.

A gathering of crows
warms the highest branches.
Then they scatter, an episode worthy of Hitchcock.

Below,
a creek of newly melted snow
rampages.  Its teeth bite the sky.
It shouts escape from its cement captivity,
gallops bridge under bridge under bridge,
barely notices the cable-bound timber
that lines its course.

These water-dense logs
provide a homeless shelter
where,
hidden from vigilantes,
nights of cold rest
imprint the sand.

The crows spy
an orange syringe in the rocks.
The belted kingfisher hovers,
dives.
The creek surges into the sea,
mane and tail.

3.

Downtown you will find a great whale.

Its skin — an iridescent bubble —
undulates in the early breeze,
head draped over warehouses,
tail sunk into deep harbor.
One immense bone — a chiseled,
polished, stone vertebra — anchors
our whale to the cropped lawn and regulated roses
in the city park.

One sleepless woman watches
and remembers a time before the whale fed itself
to crabs and smoke-eyed ravens.
Her twisted fingers speak of cold
and the the hunger of small birds.

She watches the morning children
emerge from SUV belts and tumble
into the park.
Untutored by memory
they climb,
leap,
shout,
measure their thin edges
to the convex and concave
of the whale’s vertebra.
Affixed to the present, they grin into dad’s camera
through a neural canal.

 

Scenes and Musings in PA is a book of my observations made in the town of Port Angeles, WA on the northern slopes of  the Olympic Peninsula.
The Whale is based on a sculpture by Alex Anderson at the Valley Creek Estuary Park.
The horse draws its inspiration from poems by Pablo Neruda.
The anonymous bag-piper really did play, magically and alone, on the bluff above downtown PA as described.


I made the drawings on a Wacom tablet, directly into Photoshop.  We are very lucky to have an active figure drawing group not very far from Port Angeles.

Photos, drawings, writings, design, printing and binding, and paste paper by me. (The binding is a double dos-a-dos construction with a slip cover.) And Oola stole the old map of Port Angeles from the web.

Spring is pumping like a hurdy-gurdy here, and the first salmon berries are poking their pink goodbyes to Winter.

You can enlarge any image by clicking on it.

Build

People who have lived in Port Angeles for a long time tell me that this cold is unusual, even for Port Angeles.  I have a new appreciation for those who say “Snow is beautiful.  Let it stay in the mountains where it belongs”.

But staying indoors, in the studio, is a good way to produce more art.  And here is my latest.  It is called “Build” and it is a dialog-with-self about what creative people can do to resist the authoritarian forces that have been chilling us for the past many weeks.

Artist Book, Build
“Build”, front view, opened

You can click on any image to see a larger version.

"Build" from the side
“Build” from the side
"Build", from the back, opened
“Build”, from the back, opened
"Build", detail
“Build”, detail

The size closed is 10″w x 13.5″h, x 4″d.  It’s made of an old wine gift box, linen, acrylic paint, scraps of leather, telescoping tubes, plexiglas, handmade paper, and some of my figure drawing (dancers) pigment printed on transparent film. (A couple of years back these drawings were printed very large for an artist book installation.)

Here is my text which I hand printed in the little book.

Build:

To construct something complex by putting parts together over a period of time.

Tyrants divide and dominate. They manipulate communications to spread the fear of “other”. Then they work the resultant loneliness to their personal gain. Tyrants reward the venality that allows the tyranny to live and metastasize.

The bully has no use for tellers of truth. No forbearance for people who think their own thoughts, write their words, share their stories, dance their dances, generate peace. No tolerance for the Victor Jaras of this world.

Yet, there are many ways to resist despots, all requiring courage.   This book urges rejecting the lies, mending the broken bonds and curing the loneliness. It advocates the building of community — groups too large and joyful in their purpose for the tyrant to crush.

This book suggests the following physical and metaphorical items for individuals and communities to build.

Build friendships, families, a nest, a bridge, a menu, a book, a bookshelf, a library, a house, a home, an armature, a trellis, a boat, a life, a seedbed, a garden, a nursery, a farm.

Build a base camp, understanding, a sanctuary, a troupe, a shelter, a future, a chord.

Build harmony, a sand castle, a montage, a movement.

Build diversity, trust, a path, a reputation, peace.

Build a theater, a team, a dialogue, build strength.

Build a tree house, stamina, links, a framework, a lean to, a habitat, a buttress, scaffolding, a gazebo, trade, structure, meaning, a fire, build resistance.

Build what gives joy. Build it well.

Build a ground-swell.

[Victor Jara was a popular teacher, poet, singer/songwriter, theater director, and political activist in Chile in the time of Allende.  When Pinochet came to power in 1973, Victor was tortured and killed by the military junta.]

You can see this book in action, and hear the text in a 2 min. video.

Next month I will drag Oola out from under the double down quilt to take an Amtrak ride to the Bay Area.  We will see what adventures come from that.

Dirt

How to Develop a Healthy Immune System
How to Develop a Healthy Immune System – back view

There are artists who can work under the restrictions of a theme.  There are some who prefer to muddle about and try to make sense of what happens.  Well — it’s more complicated than that, but I am definitely one of the latter.

Once some of my students and I went on a field trip to the studio of Neda al Hilali.  To one of their questions she replied “My studio is the only place in the world where I can do whatever I want.”  Bless her, and I ask “why would I want to dance to anyone else’s tune when I am in my own studio?” So when I read of a challenge to artists and poets from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington concerning the U. N. International Year of the Soil, I surprised myself by responding.

The results are two small books reflecting some of my understandings and feelings about soil, the “skin of the earth”. They are constructed with a modified concertina binding developed by Heidi Kyle.  The first is How to Develop a Healthy Immune System.  I’ll let the book speak for themselves. To read more easily, click on the picts to enlarge them.

How to Develop a Healthy Immune System
How to Develop a Healthy Immune System – front view
How to Develop a Healthy Immune System
How to Develop a Healthy Immune System – text page

The second, How Soil Becomes Dirt, is based on something that has bothered me for many years.  There is a lot of construction going on in my neighborhood.  I am both fascinated and repelled by the huge machines and the crushing noise; by the stripped-bare tactics that seem to be part of the mentality of heavy construction, prisons, forestry — you know — the usual list.  I took some picts and combined them with biblical quotations to make this.

How Soil Becomes Dirt
How Soil Becomes Dirt – text page
How Soil Becomes Dirt
How Soil Becomes Dirt – Front view
How Soil Becomes Dirt
How Soil Becomes Dirt – back view

I was nervous about sending these out (because they break from my long established creative process). But I was very pleased to get a encouraging letter of acceptance from the jury.  The books are included in the show “Dirt: Scientists, Artists and Writers Reflect on Soil and Our Environment” at the Collins Memorial Library of the University of Puget Sound.  If you are in the area, please visit the show which will be up from August 6 to December 4.

Collins Memorial Library
1500 N. Warner St. #1021
Tacoma, Wa 98416

253.879.3669

Drum Leaf Binding

Open Road is constructed on text from “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Witman. In the original book the images are linoleum prints.  I showed this book earlier in this blog.

In response to requests to know how to do drum leaf binding I took some picts while making a copy of “Open Road” using digital copies of the original prints.  I displayed my process on www.jandove.com.  Here is a re-publication.

Drum Leaf Binding, a relatively simple technique, is good for books of images where you don’t want binding thread distracting from the images. Also good for books with pop-up pages.
This is how I put the digital version of Open Road together:
01gluesupportpaper Each page was printed on lightwweight Asuka paper, and needed heavy backing. I applied PVA glue to BFK Rives. This mimicked the original which is chine collé.
02laminatepage Each print was laid into the glue,
drumleaf binding and pressed with a “heavy” book. I used waxed paper first, then replaced that with newsprint to facilitate drying.
04markcenter When the pages were dry, I marked the centers. “Measure twice, cut once.”
05score Because each page is two layers, I took steps to insure there was no unsightly crumpling in the crease.First step: score.
06startcrease I started the fold this way to minimize the dreaded crumpling.
07crease Finish the crease. I did this to all the pages.
08trimpage Trim excess paper on all pages.
09knockup Knock up the block.
10clamp-glue I clamped the block carefully between two boards, leaving the spine free, and I applied PVA glue. I worked the glue in and gave it time to dry completely.
11trimblock If you have a guillotine, use it. If not, put a fresh blade in your exacto knife and trim very carefully. It is important to keep the blade absolutely perpendicular to your cutting surface.
12gluepages Starting from the back of the book, I glued the backs of the pages together.
13gluepages2 Making sure the pages stick. I put the block under pressure again after every page had passed through this step. I let it dry.(“heavy”, Dude!)
14measurecover I used a scrap to measure how wide the cover should be.
15measurecoverspace That scrap also gave me the measurement for the unglued center of the cover. I put the cover together, weighted it, and let it dry.(more “heaviness”)
16gluefront I glued the back of the back page, leaving .5″ unglued next to the spine.That blur you see is my brush with glue.  I blame the photographer that it is not more clear.
drumleaf binding I placed the block – wet glue down – inside the cover, and pressed.
drumleaf binding I glued the back of the front page, leaving .5″ unglued next to the spine. Important to note: there is no glue added to the spine in this step, and .5″ of back and front pages are left unglued next to the spine.If you are making your own book, the measurements — of course — will be your own.More blurred brush.
drum leaf binding I closed the cover, made sure everything was aligned correctly, and put the finished book under pressure to dry.(“Self”, I say to myself, “Let’s not overdo this heaviness thing”.)

copyright © Dove 2014

Trip to Oakland, ProArts

Granted, this is really not a “road” trip for us, but for someone living in Denver it could be….

After months of a dehydrated rainy season, we finally got some rain.  Oola and I are waterproof, so umbrellas in hands we headed out to an Opening Reception for a show at ProArts Gallery, in Civic Center, downtown Oakland.  Works in this show were chosen by peer review — a novel premise for a show and an instructive process.  We were not disappointed with the results.  There were so many great pieces it was hard to choose what to write about.

I was happy to find my artist book “Wave” displayed in a generous space to its best advantage —

artist book, "Wave"
“Wave” in good company

and in the best of company.

I was completely smitten by Michael Koehle’s “Sink”.  It has the translucent depth of layers and layers of wax.  I’m not sure how it was done, but the drawing (pigment print) seemed to float somewhere in the middle of those layers. Poetic merging of content and medium.  Exquisite linear quality.  Love it!

"Sink", print on wax surface
“Sink” by Michael Koehle

Nearby are two paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank.   At first they only whispered to me.

Paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank
Spaces in Between (Glacier Blue) and Untitled (Red)

Then, on the second go-round — all forty layers of nearly transparent paint sucked me in.  A memory of listening to Mozart intensely and hearing (for the first time) the silence between the notes, the minute space between the end of one sound and the beginning of the next sound — that memory jumped to mind.  Later Bernadette told me about the Japanese concept of “Ma” which is about the spaces in between — in time, in space.  Something like what artists call negative space, which is not negative at all, but can be considered to be the form between the forms, or that which gives the forms their shape.  Exceptional work!

All the way on the other side of the gallery is a pair of embroidered silk hangings by Tali Weinberg.  She tells us that the strong text is from her conversations with Bay Area women — artists, activists, and scholars.  The strength, directness and weight of the stitching underlines the intensity of the verbal sentiments.

These complex works really need to be seen with light coming through them.  The strands of red on the back, strangely compelling and reminiscent of dripping blood, are as strong as the words on the front.

Light as a breeze through drying laundry, heavy as a dying social construct.

One more — though there are so many good ones!  Dear to my heart are the folded elephant-hide paper constructions of Goran Konjevod.

Folded paper constructions by Gordon Konjevod
Folded paper constructions by Goron Konjevod

I asked him if he had thoughts of making larger constructions.  The problem is finding the paper strong enough to resist the force of gravity.  “Perhaps in Bronze”, Oola said.  “Maybe”, said Goron.  He’s working on the “how” of it now.

I felt proud to be included in this collection from Bay Area artists.  The artists will be talking about and taking questions about their work on Saturday Feb. 15th, starting at 2PM in the gallery.  The show is up through Feb. 21.

You can visit Bernadette Jiyong Frank’s blog to see unobstructed views of more work in the show.

ProArts Gallery
150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza,
Oakland, CA  (Close to 12th St. BART station)

www.proartsgallery.org510 763 4361

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 5PM, and Saturdays 11AM to 4PM.

The Hunger Curios

As a child I loved the Mother West Wind Stories by Thornton Burgess.  At the time I was not aware of the social commentary going on in the tales of these animals.  As an adult I found many references to topics like hunger.  I made this artist-book based on four of those references.

You can click on each picture to see an enlargement.

artist book, the Hunger Curios
The Hunger Curios, view 1

The book is meant to be experienced (like a cabinet of curios) as well as read.Artist Book, The Hunger Curios

Incorporated in The Hunger Curios are four smaller books of collages with quotations from Burgess’ work.

Artist book, The Hunger Curios
Getting into the book

It is important to me that my book not be an illustration of Burgess’ work.  It is more a visual rumination based on some of Burgess’ thoughts.

artist book, The Hunger Curios

As a digital artist, I find that I do not want to abandon the old ways.  Curious fact:

  • digit |ˈdijit|
    noun
    1 any of the numerals from 0 to 9, esp. when forming part of a number.
    2 a finger (including the thumb) or toe.
    • Zoology an equivalent structure at the end of the limbs of many higher vertebrates.
    ORIGIN late Middle English: from Latin digitus ‘finger, toe’; sense 1 arose from the practice of counting on the fingers.

So while digital refers to counting on the fingers and toes, it can also mean something that you make with your fingers (and – presumably – your toes).  I feel at home in either world.

artist book, The Hunger Curios

The experience of making the collages was liberating.  I had a bunch of old prints which I tore up and put back together heedless of the thought process.  Fast and dirty.  But since the old prints were printed on heavy watercolor paper, the ink cracked and seams broke open when I tried to make the accordion folds.  So I then scanned the collages and printed them on long-fiber Japanese paper, and lo….they were manageable.

Just as in childhood, I had to put the books away when Mother called.  So here is The Hunger Curios back in its cabinet.

Artist book, the hunger curios

If you wish to read through the small books, go to www.jandove.com/index.php/artist-made-books/the-hunger-curios

Oola and I will be taking off in Mom’s Memorial Prius to attend a wedding in Texas.  I am planning on sending you a drawing or photograph a day.

Infinity Detail

Here is a book that has been fermenting for a while. I’ve been tearing up old prints and making new ones from the pieces.  And I was curious about light coming through the paper. This version has been produced digitally.

Artists Book, Infinity
Infinity Detail

As the book emerged I saw that it wanted to take on some aspect of the infinity symbol.  So then – of course – there crept in that old nagging Catholic question, “What exactly is ‘Infinity’?”  “What exactly is ‘the moment’?”.  “What is ‘now’?- as soon as you are aware of now, it is ‘then’.  I hear that other animals don’t ask these questions.  Is that true?  What is “Truth”? Do other animals have “Truth”?………..

Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, selected page
Infinity Detail, construction
Infinity Detail, construction

You can see more (and larger) details at www.jandove.com/index.php/artist-made-books/infinity-detail

I had planned to post my reflections on a recent trip to see the Balclutha in SF. But after the event yesterday in Connecticut my mother/teacher heart was elsewhere.  It goes out to the families in that unspeakable tragedy, and to every parent who is holding children closer today.  May the healing begin soon for all.