Plant images in my compositions are created using botanical printmaking: apply ink to a leaf, lay the inky leaf on a prepared surface and hand-press it. Removing the leaf reveals the ink image left after the printing process.
The simplicity of printing leaves is made more complex by assimilating multiple genres into my work. Using techniques from fiber arts and painting, I am able to create intricate, multifaceted landscapes on range of materials, such as tissue, mulberry paper, & heavy printing stock and fabrics including organza, muslin, linen, & raw canvas. Pastel or watercolor paintings are made, and then plant images are added using botanical printmaking. Fiber arts adaptations, chalk pastel enhancements, and overpainting prints with acrylics give texture and definition to prints.
With dozens of native and cultivar species, grasses are used regularly in my work. Striking structural variations in height (ranging from a few inches to many feet tall), grass blades, and seed tassels print with remarkable artistic versatility. Often, printed grasses recreate the land from which they were harvested, such as in my prairies pieces.
Using leaves in surprising ways delights me: printed yarrow leaves resemble trees; cattails are made using prints of Timothy grass; printed banana leaves form mountains.
Successful printmaking is only possible when using fresh green plants and the “printing season” is as brief as the Minnesota growing season. The ingenuity of winter studio work led to developing new printmaking techniques; it is a time for building artistic skills and planning ahead for the printing season ahead.