The Transformations & Translations Show will be held at The Works Studio, Gallery and Conversations: 301 W. Holly, #U3, Bay Street Village, Bellingham, WA. Stop in to see the artworks during Bellingham’s Art Walk Night—Friday, June 5 from 6 to 9 PM. And also on Friday, June 12 from 7 to 9 PM, for an evening of music, poetry and art (with musician Allison Preisinger, and poets Nancy Canyon, James Bertolino and Anita K. Boyle). This event is an “official” pop-up gallery show.

Mary Jo Maute in her studio

Mary Jo Maute in her studio (photo by Rifka MacDonald)

Mary Jo Maute is an acclaimed and respected artist working in Western Washington. Her art has been celebrated in New York, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, California and Washington. No wonder she’s smiling.

“Self Portrait” by Mary Jo Maute

Richly colored with provocative shapes, subtle details, and more than a few surprises, Maute’s paintings never fail to challenge and delight the viewer. At a distance, this self portrait offers an appealing arrangement of strong color areas. Then, on closer viewing, it is full of forms that suggest creatures and symbols.

“Burial” by Mary Jo Maute

It’s exciting to closely examine all the marks and areas between the forms. What the viewer brings to abstraction is very important to the experience of the painting. For example, the blue area could be a reclining person or animal. I see a bird, a goose—and the brown area could be a nest. There may be a green dancing figure with a brown paw near the center foreground. But I tend to enjoy animals and nature. None of this might be the artist’s intention, but this is what happened for me in looking deeper into the paint.

In 1997, Maute received the Distinguished Service Award from the Washington Art Education Association. She continues to offer Whatcom County residents many opportunities to learn more about art at the Whatcom Museum.

“Reading in Bed” by Mary Jo Maute

In this painting titled “Reading in Bed,” some of the shapes seem animal-like, while others might suggest an open book or a bed. Symbolically, the rectangular area could be read as both a book and a bed. The outlines create a contrast with the color forms. Much of the painted surface offers broad, soft modulations, while other areas are more stippled or even ragged. The white areas, or spots, might suggest the ability to look through the painting to what might be beyond.

Maute’s solo exhibitions include Yellowstone Art Museum in Montana, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and Allied Arts of Whatcom County in Bellingham. She has received seven awards since 1982, including a Ucross Foundation Residency in 2013, and a Montana Arts Council Artist Fellowship in 1987.

Anita K. Boyle, with camera

Anita K. Boyle, with camera

Anita K. Boyle is an artist who is also a poet, graphic designer and publisher. She was an art and English major at Western Washington University, graduating cum laude in 1998. Her works have been exhibited at the Hanson Scott Gallery in Seattle, Loomis Hall Gallery in Blaine, Jansen Art Center in Lynden, and Lucia Douglas Gallery, Allied Arts of Whatcom County and Whatcom Museum in Bellingham.

“Municipal Circuitry” by Anita K. Boyle

Boyle’s assemblages often use her handmade paper, as well as items she’s gathered, which, in numerous ways, represent aspects of her life and the lives around her—both natural and inanimate. “Municipal Circuitry” includes washers, electrical components, part of a cell phone, a roll of copper wire and a wasp nest on handmade paper with dandelion seeds. The assemblage is placed on green ink-stained plywood under copper-foiled glass.


“Song of the Bone Crickets” by Anita K. Boyle

In “Song of the Bone Crickets,” the black clusters spread across the lower area consist of ink that dried on glass and was then scraped off in rolls. The left elephant garlic flower cap holds moth wing “petals” around a section of wasp nest. Below the garlic cap on the right are two songbird bones that appear as crickets to the artist.

“Leaf Poem” by Anita K. Boyle

“Leaf Poem” begins with a stanza of corrugated cardboard that supports a row of garden snail shells. The thin line across the cardboard is a sky-blue insulated wire. Below the cardboard, we see tea leaves, strands of ink shavings on the left and right sides, and metal fasteners, all on handmade paper. On the black paper, there is a column of poppy pods, and the main leaf-poem stanza of the artwork, which has chrysanthemum leaves in a rhythm on more paper. The ink on the right column is woven into the fasteners, and is intended to be the final stanza of the poem.

Both artists, Mary Jo Maute and Anita K. Boyle, communicate through symbolism in their artworks through different media. They use different mediums to transform their ideas into a visual format. The placement of each element within the artworks is a translation from the imagination to the visual, and has yet to be translated into language, or actual words. Artists often attempt to “write” the ineffable.

—written by James Bertolino

From the Press Release…

Two artists—Mary Jo Maute and Anita K. Boyle—will share their evocative paintings and assemblages in Prentiss Cole’s The Works Studio… for two Fridays in June. On June 5, Maute and Boyle will be present to chat with you about art and technique. Then, on June 12, Boyle will read her poems, and be joined by singer/songwriter, Allison Preisinger, as well as poets Nancy Canyon and James Bertolino.

Mary Jo Maute’s work is inspired by natural forms – the human figure, animals, plants and micro-organisms. She prefers to jump in and let the ideas, shapes and relationships emerge uncensored. Images are layered, erased, overlapped, and interconnected to create a luminous interplay between the sensual nature of paint and marks, and the intangible aspects of memory, sensation, and emotion.

Anita K. Boyle’s assemblages could be called environmental self-portraits. For this show, she will feature artworks that are language-related in some way: titles include “R Story,” “Letter from the Country,” and “Self Portrait of an Iceberg,” among others. Boyle’s experience as a graphic designer adds balance, contrast, texture and value to each piece, as much as her understanding of several art techniques—from papermaking to drawing, painting and more. Natural and synthetic materials present a communication between conflict and harmony. Stories are the inspiration for some of the assemblages; in others, a story happens as the artwork is being made, and still others tell their own stories.

About Mary Jo Maute

Former Montana resident, Maute now lives in Bellingham, Washington and works as education coordinator at the Whatcom Museum of History & Art. She earned an MFA from University of Colorado, Boulder and a B.F.A. from Daemen College in her native city, Buffalo, NY. She has exhibited in New York, California, Colorado, Montana and Washington and has work in public and private collections including the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT; the Missoula Museum of the Arts, Missoula, MT; and Deaconess Medical Center, Billings, MT. She recently completed a residency at Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. 

About Anita K. Boyle

Poet and artist Anita K. Boyle is a freelance graphic designer and sole proprietor at Egress Studio, and a publisher of Washington State poets. She is currently working on illustrating a book of poems—The Moon’s Answer by Lana Ayers—which will be published by Egress Studio Press in both hard and soft cover, handmade, limited editions before year’s end. She is also working on several new assemblages that use handmade and naturally-made paper, which you can see at the July juried exhibit at Allied Arts of Whatcom County. New poems are also in the works. In 1998, she graduated cum laude with a BA from Western Washington University (Art and English majors.)


The collaborative poetry book, Lit-Wads, by James Bertolino and Anita K. Boyle was first published in a limited-edition, handmade version with illustrations. Since then, Jim and I recorded all the poems, and I made an interactive pdf version of the book. The table of contents will send you to individual poems of your choice. Once on a page with a poem, there’s a button that you can poke to hear one or the other of us reading the poem. Or you can push a different button and return to the Table of Contents for choose another poem. This version of Lit-Wads is now for sale at:

The original, hand sewn version is still available until it is out of print, and is also available at the above link.


In the future, most books by Egress Studio Press will be handmade in illustrated hard cover and soft cover editions, followed later by an e-book, like Lit-Wads. I’m currently working on double-spread illustrations for a book call The Moon’s Answer by Lana Ayers, which I’m hoping to publish before the end of this year. And, for past books, I’ll be adding audio to the layout and creating other audio books.


Please … Come Sit A While

Enjoy an Evening of Art and Nature
with artist Hannah Viano and poet Anita K. Boyle
Tuesday, April 17
in the Commons Gallery at Sammamish City Hall
and the Sammamish Library.

by Hannah Viano

· Come Look A While at 6:00pm … with artist Hannah Viano touring her exhibit in the Commons Gallery at Sammamish City Hall. Viano offers modern portrayals of locally inspired flora, and landscapes in her exhibition Come Sit A While.
· Come Immerse Yourself A While at 7:00pm … in conversation about nature found around us, extraordinary poetry by Anita K. Boyle and imagine yourself on a Sammamish Walks expedition all in the Sammamish Library. Boyle, author of What the Alder Told Me (MoonPath Press, 2011) will read selected poems.

And Judy Petersen, Sammamish Parks Commission, will share opportunities to come walk a while along the trails.

Notes from Anita K. Boyle:
I am very excited about joining papercut artist Hannah Viano for this event. I love to see the stark and delicate details of papercut art. This event at the gallery is an opportunity for us to hear from an excellent artist who shares her engagement with the natural world through the papercut artform.

by Hannah Viano

I’m looking forward to reading poems at the library as part of this art/poetry event because I’m intrigued with the connections between visual and language art. Knowing that I’m an organizer of a program called “The Poet As Art,” you can easily understand that I enjoy investigating the concepts shared between language and the visual often, including in my own artwork and poetry. The similarities between how an artist renders the world, and how a poet does, can be found in the themes and details they choose to use. How creative people put their works together—using cut paper, watercolor, oil paint, language, or other artistic medium—offers surprising comparisons and contrasts that can build on our understanding of the natural world, as well as each other.

by Hannah Viano

Hannah Viano’s Artist Statement:

In my life art has always been fit in around the edges. It has been a thick roll of paper held open by my bare feet in the sand, with seawater in a dixie cup and the tiny oval watercolors they sell for children. A life filled with boats and islands and oceans left only tidbits of space and time for inks and paper. I was a baby on a cat ketch from block island, and thirty years later had my own son on the water as well. In between I have taught, and rigged, and fished, and lounged, and done science experiments, and felt the lull of the waves on boats of all shapes and sizes from Ketchikan to Cape Horn. I haven’t gotten to art school yet. But, I have tried hard to learn the lessons of how to catch a memory, and save it for another day and another friend to see. Now a mother and sleeping on the land, I have a bit more time and space, and lots of desire to stay a sailor in my heart and in my hands. So I am pouring out those memories old and new .

In this exhibit I took inspiration from voyages and beachcombing done along the shorelines, where waves lap and lash out and leave everything new. To distill these impressions down I use an exacto knife and pieces of black paper. The act of carving out the pictures is a delicious and delicate process that gives itself perfectly to the flowing shapes of wood and water, the way faring a hull feels right in the hands, or a sweetly blossoming bowl on the potters wheel.

Please join Tuesday, April 17 for a journey into our natural and inner landscapes through the perspectives of the artist and poet.

The event is sponsored by the Sammamish Arts Commission, City of Sammamish,
4Culture, the Sammamish Parks Commission and the King County Sammamish Library

by Hannah Viano

For more information:

Hannah Viano –
Anita Boyle –
Sammamish Walks –

I’m very proud to announce that Egress Studio Press is publishing two more Pacific Northwest poets. Vashon Island poet Ann Spiers’ chapbook is titled What Rain Does. The other publication is Her Story of Fire by Bellingham poet Richard Widerkehr. Look for them in the next week or two.

As soon as I finish printing them, Jim Bertolino and I will score, fold, cut, and sew the books. It’s a fairly relaxing pastime. When the poets finally have copies in their hands, I’ll post more information about the poems, the poets, where to purchase the books, and what they look like.

These are the first Egress Studio Press poetry books to be created completely in the studio: from layout to printing to assembly. I’m pretty excited about that. For now, I have to get back to the last edits before Jim and I start constructing the books.

In the lastest volume of Crab Creek Review, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Co-Editor, reviewed my chapbook What The Alder Told Me (2011, MoonPath Press). MoonPath Press is a new imprint dedicated to Pacific Northwest poets. The volume is perfect-bound, costs just $10.00, and can be purchased on Or send me an email.

Annette Spaulding-Convy’s manuscript In Broken Latin, is a finalist in the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize. The book, Annette’s second, will be published in Fall 2012 by the University of Arkansas Press. Her first volume, In the Convent We Become Clouds, was the winner of the annual Floating Bridge Chapbook contest, published in 2006, and also $10. (I’m pretty sure the cover is a beautiful letterpress work of art by Jules Remedios Faye.)

In Crab Creek Review, Annette writes:

I read What The Alder Told Me during a ferry ride across Puget Sound on a drizzling morning with occasional sun breaks––the perfect venue for a poetry collection that is unapologetically and dazzlingly “Pacific Northwest” in its celebrations of the natural world and the human spirit. Anita Boyle’s poems are grounded in a simplicity and detail that are almost Zen-like as she explores some of life’s basic questions: how we cope with suffering and death, where and from whom we draw inspiration, and why we desire to create. What The Alder Told Me will inspire you to walk contemplatively through forests and listen to each bird, to find the profound in the smallest household task, and to embrace the quirkiness and passions of your loved ones. In the last poem of the collection, “This Distance,” we read, The earth sings / with ease––Boyle’s poetry does the same.

Thank you, Annette!

It’s May already. Tomorrow June begins, marked with a solar eclipse. But this post is about a couple of events Jim and I attended on the Olympic Peninsula during March and April. When I mention the Olympic Peninsula, I mean to include all the little peninsulas that make up the grand Olympic side of Washington.

First, on March 12, Jim and I attended the Jazz Canvas event in Poulsbo with Andy and Lana Ayers. This venue is in the Knowles’ art studio. The jazz trombonist J. Kyle Gregory performed with the house band while the artist Leigh Knowles Metteer worked on a painting inspired by the evening’s music. Great music! And the artist was lively and even invited an audience member to add some creative elements to the painting. As the evening came to a close, the painting was finished and was raffled off. So someone went home with a nice piece of art, and we all left with our culture passions satisfied for the moment. This event happens almost every month, so check out the website for more information.

Then, on April 8, Jim and I went to Vaughn for another similar event, again with our good friends Lana and Andy.

James Bertolino reads his poems to the Vaughn audience

There was an artist painting and a musician playing, but this time, Jim and I were invited to read poetry, too. It was a wonderful evening, full of a substantial amount of excellent vittles, from lox to brie to wine to whatever your heart desired. The musician was Cheryl Wheeler from the East Coast. The audience was approximately fifty people jammed nicely into the ample living room, and behind the guest musicians and poets was a view of small inlet of Puget Sound. A hummingbird feeder hung from the eaves, busy with the little birds.

Above me there is a hummingbird feeder

Cheryl was funny and entertaining as she sang original work, and a few covers. Jim’s reading was delightful. And I also enjoyed reading there, with such an attentive audience and the beautiful landscape. The artist is local, and I apologize for not including her name here. But she, on the spot, drew portraits of all three of the guest artists. A very colorful and lively evening. A few days after we got back home, I received a very nice email from a friend of ours, Lisa Schmidt, who included a poem she wrote inspired by the evening, which I’m sharing here:

Spring Collage

Just above your voice,
inside your words,
a hummingbird
sips nectar.

From up here
glass-pressed red sunset
sweetens the bay’s brine
and stains alder fibers
condensing the history of water
into my own blank page.

You speak the language
of red-winged blackbirds, of doves,
and the darkness
that started it all
falls silent
with the lion.

This hummingbird’s a mother.
She returns to nourish
her young with spiders
and nectar.
Cocooned in soft fibers
mended with webs
that would entangle,
they wait out the night
to suckle honey blossoms –

Eggshells preserved
with dragonfly.

—Lisa Schmidt

Lisa is a fine poet whose poems I’ve enjoyed since the first time I heard her read at the Auburn Arts Festival. I especially love inspiring others and being inspired by others. It’s a kind of splendid impromptu collaboration. Speaking of inspiration, Chris Jarmick will be the next guest poet on June 2. The photos on this blog post were taken by our host, Jerry Libstaff.


Black cats are less likely to get adopted from an animal shelter than any other cat.

Monday, May 16 at 8:30pm until ten or later with an intermission following feature
Featured poet: Anita K. Boyle
8:00 to 8:30—Sign up to read your poems
Location: Amadeus Project, 1209 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham, WA

Normally, Monday being a work night, I like to get enough sleep to be fairly awake next morning at 7 or so, after a good cup of coffee and a hot-hot shower. Then there’s PoetryNight, which begins after 8 on a Monday evening and continues until late, or at least past my bedtime, given the extra chores with the horse. But when Robert Huston invited me to feature at PoetryNight May 16, I agreed. PoetryNight features usually have a new book to read from, and that is the case with me—with my new book What the Alder Told Me. I’m pretty excited, and even intimidated by this poetry reading. Have you heard the poets there? The features are excellent, and so are the poets who read at the open mic. In fact, I’ve declined reading at the open mic almost every time I’ve been there because the poets are so good that I just want to hear them, and the sign-in sheet always fills up. I don’t remember when I went away disappointed. So this is an event worth going to, not because I’m featuring (though I’d be very happy to see you there), but because every Monday there is outstanding poetry read live on stage. The quality of the work, the poets and the audience exceeds expectations… by far. This is an invitation to come to PoetryNight May 16 to hear poems from my new book, and the great local and not-so-local poets who will share the mic with me.