April 15, 2018

David Nez - a new scholarly book - Mysticism and Magic!

Congratulations to my older brother, David Nez for getting his scholarly book into print about Mysticism and Magic! I can't wait to see it - having read lots of the excerpts on the blog.


It's with a UK publisher and has taken years and years of work to finally realize. So good things come to they who wait. It's got lots of original artwork which was a natural for Dave, since he's also been making art for decades, with international shows. He was in the Venice Biennial last year... where he visited as part of the exhibit.


So it's great to be the author of a scholarly tome like that I imagine. Congratulations Dave! 



https://treeofvisions.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/the-tree-of-visions-visionary-traditions-of-the-western-world-has-been-published/


The book is based on the thesis that shamanism forms the deepest stratum of human culture, myths and spiritual practices worldwide. It illustrates how ancient beliefs and practices are still alive, albeit in new forms, in contemporary magic, neopaganism and neoshamanism. It concludes with scientific research into altered states of consciousness experienced by shamans: stages of trance, hypnogogic imagery, out of body experiences, near-death experiences, apparitions, etc. Multiple excerpts and references from authorities in the fields of history, archaeology, ethnology, neuropsychology, psychology, comparative mythology and other fields support this work. The book contains a number of my original illustrations and has an extensive bibliography.

March 3, 2018

Epic new sculpture arrives at the SAM

Yesterday I visited the amazing new John Grade 'Middletree' sculpture hanging in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum. 

This sculpture is EPIC! It’s historic, scientific, ecological, recyclable, societal and just plain gorgeous and soul redeeming. Bravo Seattle... 

It's made of millions of little bits of cedar glued together by volunteers and community groups, so it's societal. 


This is so much better than those ugly Ford cars with lights that used to hang there. The only thing I don’t like is it will be recycled back to the woods in 3 years to decay... NO!  Those ugly cars were hanging in the lobby for decades... I say keep it longer! 

There are some amazing videos on youtube that show how it was built - John Grade - Middlefork Tree Sculpture.

http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/middlefork


December 27, 2017

Libraries & Cathedrals


I’ve been thinking a lot about how a library and a church fill so many of the same roles. Both are places people go for refuge and silence. A quiet place in a noisy world. They both offer consolations and hope for a better life. A library and a church both have people whose work is to offer guidance and help in finding a way to accomplish that.

Both a library and a church offer deep meanings to be discovered. They both offer the prospect of uncovering great rewards of knowledge and redemption after a bit of effort through learning. They both offer lasting joys that might change one's life and mind.


And they’re both run as community resources, usually hard pressed for every dollar spent.

I’m lucky that my library actually looks like a beautiful church - so needless to say it’s my favorite building to visit on a bike ride. Sometimes I go past on Sundays when unlike the church, it is totally closed. But I still like sitting beside it’s gothic arches to soak in the sense of peace and stability it offers. And when it’s open, even a simple walk up it’s curving granite staircase can feel like an edifying experience. 



I think libraries ought to deserve the same tax exempt status that churches enjoy… especially in this day and age when it’s the library and librarian who have to offer the final safety net to homeless populations who have slipped through every other safety net. 

So that’s that’s how I feel about my library. And beyond all that, sometimes I just like being around lots and lots of books. It is a heady, reassuring experience. In this age of vanishing books, it is wonderful to just have a lot of books that exist on the shelves, just being there. Real books... not virtual books. 

December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays!



Happy Holidays! My favorite holiday things are the tree, snow, twinkly lights in the dark and the day after Christmas, once all the pressure is off! Time to curl up with a good book.

The spirit of the season starts with a tree for me - along with giving away a bag full of books to Seattle Children’s Hospital felt just right. I saw so many people in despair at the hospital - understandably - and any little bit of joy a bookmaker might bring is work well done.

November 22, 2017

The magic of bookmaking...


First I hatch the plot... and that happens without any drawing. I don't rush. Many, many plots are turned away and recast until finally the right one arrives... usually half by accident.

The ideas are shy and hard to catch sometimes. But finally they peek out and get placed where they belong.

Next step is to have a casting call... and audition for all the character types that will belong to the story. I might invite 20 characters to try out... but on a select few will win.

And now the plot is decided - the characters are cast - the setting is decided and it's time to fill those 32 blank pages with a real book.

That's when the mumbo-jumbo-mixup-magic of putting it all together begins.

That's always fun - a big puzzle that keeps one occupied through an entire snowy season. So that's how I manage to spend my days all alone, pulling rabbits out of thin air.

October 27, 2017

The owls were hooting and cats meowed...


With a creak the barn doors open wide.
Scarecrow held up his lantern and cried


This is our night of Jokes and Jitters!
Tonight’s the night to pretend ourselves silly...
Pigs can be pirates and hogs can be frilly!



The washboard started thumping loud.
The owls were hooting and cats meowed.
Bessie the cow got dressed in a gown

with fancy buttons up and down.

October 12, 2017

Tonight’s the night to rouse this farm!


Out in the field where the cornstubble grew
stood poor old Scarecrow, hanging forlorn 
with his shirt all tattered and trousers torn.

With lantern lit, he scrambled for the barn
sayin’, "Tonight’s the night to rouse this farm!"

August 17, 2017

If mice had milliners...


If mice had milliners... and goats had goatees,



 there might be more round hat-boxes and muffins.


And fewer problems... who knows?


July 23, 2017

Some favorite book pages...


It's fun to remember pages from books past that most viewers to my blog never saw.


This is from 'Stella... Almost' by Willy Blevins from Red Chair Press.

Such a delightful book to make. Doing the woods scenes was especially fun - a decorative pastorale.

May 31, 2017

My books in Suzzallo library!

Well that was SO much fun - dropping off some of my picture books to add to the collection at Suzzallo library. Believe it or not, I had NO idea a bookmaker could just donate books to a library collection. So now my little selection of books will live a quiet life on the shelves in the children's collection.

Most of my books just vanish in a short while. They vanish into remaindering bins or vanish into children's libraries - where they get crayoned and torn up pages and then they vanish. But hopefully these books will last longer. And that's actually important to a book maker.

I felt like being an author and illustrator was almost like being a celebrity! Usually in bookstores, when I go in and introduce myself as a local children's book author, the clerks will roll their eyes and look irritated, like they wish I hadn't walked in. But today, the librarian seemed astonished. First she thought I had only written the books - then when she asked 'Who did the pictures?' and I said 'I did' - it was like amazement. Usually I feel more like a nobody when I go to the library - not like a Somebody!

So I'm more than happy to quaff down some imaginary champagne of 'author recognition'. lol!

May 30, 2017

Pencil? or Pen Brush?


Pencil? or Pen Brush? That's the question of this little film. With the magic of photoshop it's possible to switch out the line by itself on a drawing - to see how they look side by side.  This makes deciding much easier. And after looking it over I decided to vote for the pencil line - at least for this page of the book.