Currently Browsing: October 2008 27 articles


Hi-Fructose, the Magazine


Left: magazine cover art by Sam Gibbons

Note: Profile Friday will return next week.

I'd like to give you all a heads up about a fascinating art magazine. I was talking with a young staff member at Wet Paint about her artwork (the staff members there are all working artists) and what type of work she liked. Anna told me she really liked the magazine, Hi-Fructose. There weren't any copies left so I had to wait until this week to get one. I have Vol. 9.

The magazine's tag line is "under the counter culture." I can only suspect I understand what that means as I am long beyond any time I understood what was cool as far as the culture was concerned let alone understood the subdivisions. I just know what I like, and I do like this magazine. First I like the paper and printing, things that matter to me quite a bit. In this magazine the reproduction is delicious. The design is a bit busy for me (but then I'm still hoping for a pre-Grunge design world, and old enough to remember what that looked like), but it gets the job done, in that it doesn't conflict with the art. And art is what this magazine is about; pages and pages of profiles on artists, what they are making, a little bit on what their process might be, but most importantly some of their thoughts on artmaking and their own art in particular.

Insomnia: It Can Be Productive


Sometimes you just can't sleep. Maybe you did something you regret, maybe you were a bully as a child, or an avenging angel—you still get bad karma, that's what makes this a wonderful and complex world. Or maybe it's as simple as eating 4 freshly baked chocolate chip cookies right at bedtime. There are a million reasons you might not be sleeping, but that doesn't mean you can't do something fun and exhilarating, hey, you aren't sleeping anyway.


Urban Sketchers

Above: The Seattle Pike Place Market, journal art ©Gabi Campanario I just learned today that artist Gabi Campanario, author/artist of Seattle Sketcher Blog, has started a new blog: Urban Sketchers.   The blog features great journal drawings from urban sketchers around the world. While the blog isn't officially up until November 1, if you visit […]


A Visit to Dodge Nature Center

I'm going to say something about the image above, but first an explanation: Monday a friend met me at Dodge Nature Center for a little tour. She's on the board and her children went to the preschool there, and she thought I should see the place. We were able to go into the barn and see the animals—normally you'd have to be on a tour. And of course we took a little time to sketch.


The Bigger Brush Pen from Faber Castell


Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens have always had a brush tip variant. These pens come in a wide range of colors (some packaged as sets: landscape, manga). They are lightfast, waterproof, acid free and a favorite of a lot of people.

Well they are out now in a larger size: Faber Castell Pitt Artist Big Brush. All the same wonderful colors available in the original line are available in the larger size. The image at the top of this post shows the relative line quality/size of the two pens. You can see the large tip really is quite a bit larger and allows you to do some fat lines if you work on the side of the tip (as shown on the right side of the image).


The “Preppy Pen”



Left: The Preppy Pen shown with a Staedtler Pigment Liner for barrel size comparison.

I like to write with a fountain pen. When I was a student in Australia we were required to work with them; some sort of idea of penmanship improvement I guess. I spent my early teen years with ink-stained fingers.

I have several good pens given to me by my father—who always had a fountain pen stand on his home office desk. I don't use the expensive ones much any more because I'm always experimenting with inks and I would hate to lose one while sketching out in a field somewhere (especially since I no longer have a tracking dog to find it for me). I keep less expensive pens around for the experiments. Also, some of the more expensive pens don't fit my hand.

Steve Brodner and the Naked Campaign

Illustrator Steve Brodner’s work is hard for me to describe because I get lost in a chain of superlative descriptions each more outrageous (but true) than the last. Instead of going down that slippery slope I’m just letting one of his videos on the current political campaign speak to you. You can see the mesmerizing […]


Profile: Karen Engelbretson and a Primer on Felting


These little birds are dry needle felted wool. Wool roving, to be exact, which is a state of wool between the sheep and a sweater (sheep > fleece > roving > yarn > sweater). They were made by Karen Engelbretson, a Twin Cities based graphic designer with varied interests in art and crafts. She makes cool stuff. I love it when people do that. Recently she has been needle felting. Her delightful needle felted creations will be available for sale at St Paul's Grand Hand Gallery handcrafted holidays event, beginning in November. Priced at $18-$20, I expect them to "just fly out of there" so I wanted to give you a heads up. (Karen is so busy building beautiful websites for clients she hasn't had time to update her own. If you want to contact Karen write to her at:

I asked Karen to say something about her process and she also provided a short primer on types of felting. Read Karen's words on felting:

Women in Film

This is a test for publishing a video and it's an interesting little film too.


Bread Baking: in not quite 5 minutes a day

Years ago I made bread almost daily. I worked at a job which allowed me to get home early and deal with a second rising (I was also running over 10 miles a day). Many life interventions later I missed the bread but wasn't enthused about all the labor I'd be taking on again. Then in January a friend recommended a book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

You can watch authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois talk about their straightforward approach at YouTube. (I wanted to embed the video in my blog but YouTube is doing some house cleaning tonight and I can't set that up. I hope this link works instead.) Their method calls for making a large sponge or batch of dough which you store in the refrigerator. When you want bread you cut off a hunk of this, form a loaf, let it rise, and bake it. The authors' techniques include using a baking stone and pouring water into a boiler pan in the oven to create steam. The resultant loaves are crusty, delicious, and easily reproducible.

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