16 December 2014

Sketching Pens

crossposted on www.coffeefishpress.com

I have been taking a short hiatus from printmaking to re-acquaint myself with sketching.  It's a basic skill that I occasionally lose touch with.  I forget how to get out of my own head and see the world around me.  This results in feeling stuck in more ways than one.

My plan, starting this Spring, (and when I'm not doing an art fair) is to venture out into the world and sketch as much as I can.  Whether it is outdoors or in a cafe, I hope to fill several sketchbooks by Autumn.  And then I plan to just keep going.

Of course, there will still be lots of printmaking.  Even though it is only December, the Summer art fair season is looming ahead.  I've already applied for one show for 2015.

I hope you can join me on the journey.

10 December 2014

A Rare Poem Jumps Out of My Brain...

For Kent W.

(On finding that a mutual friend had passed)

And even though it has been six years since his

demise I imagine the true cause of death 

was a profound

bitterness of what he thought the 

world owed him.

I imagine what you are thinking.

I can only imagine because I had stopped

talking to either of you years ago.

I imagine that you mourn him although you know

deep somewhere where rational thought still prevails

that it was he that caused everything

to go downhill for you. 

You climbed into the car even though

you knew he was a bad driver. 

And yet you mourn that his life has come to an end, most likely

from his own undoing.  I myself am glad I escaped

from the influence of one who did not befriend

so much as he inflicted himself in one's life, 

infecting the way one viewed

all the possibilities of beauty.

-Mark B Hill

08 December 2014

Podcast Addiction

Hi, my name is Mark and I am addicted to podcasts...

My gateway podcast was This American Life.  From there, well, there's always a reason to subscribe to one more.  I mean, what can it hurt, right?

There are certainly worse things to be addicted to, right?

I do highly recommend Serial.  Seriously, it's engaging.

07 December 2014


A long time ago, I started this blog as a sketch blog to showcase my sketch journals and drawings. It was a transitional time and I had a lot going on.  The fact that I started drawing again was very happenstance.  I had spent the few years before this trying to be a book artisan.  I did, well, okay, I didn't do very well.  I participated in art fairs for a few years but I found it not to be very worthwhile. So I thought I would take a break from art fairs for a year or two and explore my possibilities.

Within a couple months of this decision I was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm and was told that I needed open-heart surgery.  So, that happened and I was laid up recovering from the surgery for at least six weeks.  I was on weight restrictions, as in, I was not allowed to lift anything more than about six pounds. This also meant I couldn't cut the boards required for making books. I wasn't sure what I was going to do.

To make a long story short, I started drawing again, or rather, I felt I needed to re-learn HOW to draw.

That's when I stumbled onto the world of sketch blogs. It began with a simple Google search.  Then I found an article in HOW magazine.  That was where I first encountered the art of Tommy Kane. From there, I became acquainted with Danny Gregory's book Everyday Matters, which I devoured in one sitting.  Then came his books Creative License and An Illustrated Life.

From sketching I went full-on into linocut printmaking and sketching kind of fell by the wayside. The last five years or so I have pursued learning everything I could about printmaking.  I'm now in my second year of doing art fairs and am already gearing up for next year.

But drawing and sketching have always been there.  And now, I am happy to say, I feel like it's come full circle.  A few days ago I started a sketch journal again.  I admit I was a little rusty but it came back to me pretty quickly.

I have become friends with so many wonderful, supportive artists over the last 6 or 7 years, mostly through Facebook and Twitter.  I am indebted to each of them.  In the next few days I will be adding a "blogroll" of the artists of whom I am referring.  Until then, just Google search Everyday Matters, Sketch Blog, or Artist's Journal.

09 September 2014


Balance.  A 1989 award winning short film by Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein.

We all strive for a little balance in our lives.

07 September 2014

Poetry Sunday- William Butler Yeats

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

    --William Butler Yeats

06 September 2014

Late Night Jukebox- The Decemberists

I hope everyone is having a peaceful night.  Or a chaotic night, if that's what you want.  Enjoy this lovely song by The Decemberists.

Where I Shamelessly and Wantonly Promote my New Website and Business Venture

As many of you know who know me, I am an artist and printmaker.  I love linocut prints, love the carving and all the other processes involved.  In the past 2 years I have been exhibiting in art fairs all around the Midwest.  I love doing art fairs also.

However, although it is only and barely September, Winter is on it's way.  After next weekend I only have one more art fair for the year.  I needed some other outlet for printmaking that might supplement my "real job."  So, that's how Coffee Fish Press was created.

I didn't have a name for the business for a few weeks.  I just dove in, started carving blocks.  In my head I had made some rules for myself:

  1. Keep it Simple
  2. Go beyond Black and White
  3. Make Everything Affordable
  4. Use Sustainable and Recycled Materials whenever possible
  5. Keep the Designs Light (for the most part*)
  6. Keep it Simple
So far, I think I'm doing pretty well with that.  Here are some of the blocks....

In the coming weeks I will be building a new shop on Etsy, where all my cards and other items will be available.  I will keep you posted with a later shameless self-promotional blog post.  Until then,  I hope you are having the best day possible.



*Halloween designs do not apply.  Boo!

16 August 2014

No Expectations-Rolling Stones

Next to "Dead Flowers,"  this is one of my favorite Stones songs.  I wanted to share.

This is not my video and I claim no ownership.  Originally posted on YouTube by Anthony Montoya, for which I am grateful.