My studio rarely looks like it does during the studio tour, workshops, meetings, or salons. It’s a mess, albeit a coordinated one. Here’s what it looks like a couple weeks before two workshops and a salon are happening. It’ll be nice and clean in a couple weeks, but I’m sure it’ll become far more chaotic before then.

This is what the studio looked like yesterday afternoon. It is an organized disorganization of neat project areas.

This is the area where I’m inking the linoleum blocks on my small etching press.

This is where I cut the linoleum blocks. It is a very safe way for holding the blocks still, which reduces the number of injuries. It is still out because I occasionally need to recut a line or two while I’m inking.

Right after I took this photo, I took these dry prints off the clothesline.

Here is another area, where I am making paper. The brown liquid contains the rest of the hosta pulp from paper I made earlier. I plan to add cotton linters to it, and it will make an entirely other type of paper from what 100% hosta pulp has made, which is a little brittle and hard to work with.

Here is the hosta paper dripping on the studio’s cement floor. Towels come in handy during the paper making process. The intention for this paper is for artworks, not books.

These papers were printed in my toner printer, and then I wrote quotes on them from The Big Burn book. I do not know if this artwork will be finished in time for the Allied Arts show. I have a plan, but we’ll have to see.

This is the newest project. It will be an assemblage when it’s done. It uses wood from old buildings and furniture around Bellingham. So far, I’ve cut, glued and nailed in the framing. The glass piece is just sitting there.

Back to the linoleum blocks, here is how I set up making prints: roller, glass plate for ink, linoleum block, ruler, and paper.

This is what it looks like when the ink has just been rolled on… a little shiny and opposite of the print.

Here are eighteen of the prints hanging near the heater to dry for a day or two. No need to rush, which helps the prints from smudging.


Well, now I better get back to work. Lots to do before I’m done.
—Anita K. Boyle

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.

SongOfTheBoneCrickets

“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.)

Juried Art Show Opening at Allied Arts Gallery in downtown Bellingham.
Friday, September 2, from 6 until 10 pm.
This show continues through September.

Eight of my new assemblages and four earlier works will be shown during the month of September, along with three other artists. On opening night, sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 pm, we’ve each been invited to share comments about our artwork: sources, technique and inspiration.

Here is a little preview of the new assemblages and the talk I’ve prepared (which I’ll be delivering Friday night, so don’t read this until afterward, if you plan to be there):

I grew up in Seattle and moved to the Bellingham area in 1980. Those are the only two places I’ve lived. My travels outside this area have been rare. As though a sense of place were a language, my art and poetry have nothing to represent, no subject matter, except the Pacific Northwest–because I have no other true references. If I were from Utah instead, the colors I’d use might be bright and stark like the landscape of the canyons, rather than the earthy, muted range of the Northwest’s tangled underbrush. I love the Pacific Northwest. Everyone here does. I’ve been in this area for what I call forever, which is a rare thing to say these days for someone over fifty years old–when most people have at least traveled outside the western half of North America. I think this rootedness of place gives me a specific perspective that finds its way into my art and poetry.

These assemblages are dedicated to the memory of my dad, Ken Johnstone, who was an electrical engineer. He was an inspiration to me for two reasons. The first: When when my dad began an engineering major at the University of Washington, I started kindergarten. There were five kids at home, all within eighteen months of one another. Working up to three jobs at a time, he supported his family while pursuing his degree. The year I graduated from high school, he graduated from the university, and by that time there were seven children. So he showed me that working at something for what might seem like forever can eventually prove a positive venture. I’ve learned about art all my life, though I didn’t go to school for a degree until I was forty. I taught myself about many art mediums and their techniques, but my education added a broader understanding of what art can be.

The other inspiration happened after my dad died a few years ago. He left a few small containers of old electric parts from the television and radio repair he did part-time while he was a student. Since he was color-blind, and the components were color-coded, I used to help him by picking out the right color combinations for the capacitors and resistors he needed. So I was glad to have the boxes, and have often used their contents in artworks. I see them as colors rather than what their original purpose was, and as a contrast with elements from the natural world.

My hope is that the materials in these assemblages will continue to reveal details and relationships the more they are viewed. The variety of items, and the way they wind around each other,
are intended to represent place through color, explore contrasts, create patterns, as well as simulate some sort of balance through the medium.

Much of the paper used in the assemblages is handmade. I taught myself papermaking by reading books and making things up as I went along. Paper in the assemblages is made with cattail fluff from the pond in back of Egress Studio, some with dandelion petals and seeds from the pastures, some is made from pond scum or, rather, spring’s green algae. One has an old robin’s nest mixed up in it, mud, sticks and all.

The assemblages use small objects gathered from the Noon Road place where I’ve lived since 1987: things that get dug up while I’m working in the garden, stuff that falls from the trees, things that have been hanging around on a shelf for twenty years, or were shoved up from underground by the ice thawing in the pasture. They find their way into the assemblages. Wires, nails burnt off posts in a bonfire, pieces of my old computers, broken sections of this and that. And stuff Jim and I find on the streets around town, like shiny things run over in the middle of the road, or those tiny parking lot jewels. I don’t go looking for these things, but pick them up as they find me.

Each one contains something that appeals to my aesthetic sense. They make me want to put together something like a visual poem, or short story, which I hope you will enjoy.

Next week, Nancy Canyon, Susan Erickson and I will show collage and assemblage artworks at the Loomis Hall Gallery. We hope you can join us for opening night on Friday, October 8 from 6 to 9 pm. The Loomis Hall Gallery in an exciting new space that was once an opera house… in Blaine. The building is freshly remodeled, and houses artists’ studios and a gallery. The gallery is located at 288 Martin Street, Blaine, WA 98230. Other local artists who will be showing work include Steve Satushek, Whitney Krueger, James Williamson, Scott Worden, Art Hohl, Katie Johnson. This show runs through October.

Be sure to look at the bottom of this page to see the slideshow of works. Here’s a little about us and our artworks…

Untitled
Nancy Canyon, collage


Nancy Canyon:
Nancy Lou Canyon believes in wild mind as the source of all creative work. She says, “It’s a practice in letting go that makes good art. The less one thinks, the more surprising the results.”

Ms. Canyon grew up in Spokane where she began her lifelong love of collage, painting, writing, and dancing. Her formal art studies include painting, pottery, and illustration through Spokane Community College, Yakima Valley College, and with painting instructors such as Charles Palmer and William Elston. She studied Visual Communication at NW College of Art. She holds the MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University. In her Fairhaven art studio, located in the Morgan Block Building, she paints and teaches writing and multi-media classes. To view more of her artwork, go to www.nancycanyon.com.

Gentle
Susan J. Erickson, assemblage


Susan J. Erickson:
Playfulness, whimsy and the surprise juxtaposition of elements show up in Susan J. Erickson’s assemblage and collage work. She will exhibit pieces with baby clothing and vintage photographs, items collected from nature, repurposed objects, a group of fabric Renaissance potholders and a series of altered bingo cards.

Coming of Age Story
Anita K. Boyle, assemblage


Anita K. Boyle:
I’ve belonged to the Pacific Northwest since birth. My art is composed from a solid passion for the nature, language and culture of this area. I enjoy creating assemblages by combining found objects from nature and technology, which together describe the current Western Washington environment. The inspiration for some of my assemblages comes from my father, who was an electrical engineer.

The objects used in my assemblages vary greatly, and include resistors and capacitors from sixties electronics, evergreen pollen, jewelry parts discovered on a well-traveled road, wasp nests, bullet casings from the North Fork trails, snake skin, computer components, insect wings, pieces of printer cartridges, license plate parts, bird bones, feathers, egg shells, fishing lures, toys found in the dirt a decade after my kids lost them, and the carapaces of dragonflies. I made paper with cottonwood and cattail fluff, flower petals, ants—and the list continues. I put the assemblage parts together like I write poems, balancing one part with another, adding rhythms and texture, ripping pieces in half, starting over. But metaphors run through it all, and help to decide what stays and what goes. Things that don’t normally go together often end up supporting each other in the artworks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.