Axoltl

Deanna wanted to do some sea monsters and Liz saw an adorable picture of an axolotl on the internet, and you know how these things go.

Note Deanna’s delicate carving in the piece, it’s really delicate. Deanna can decide that there should be a place where the ink pools or a place where there shouldn’t be any ink at all and can carve differently to get the results she wants.

Liz tried some new things printing the piece, too! Adding glitter to the ink was one failed experiment; however, applying a thick layer of water color pain instead of our oil-based ink produced some very interesting results. Liz was able to control the colors, and it was the perfect technique for this watery image.

print of an axolotl in blue with transluscent watery background

We made artist trading cards of these gents for the shooooow! Here’s we are practicing for our Sac Open Studios Interview!

If you’re lonely and you need a perfect little friend……..

Birds of Paradise

Shortly after the diamond heist, we hid out in apartment 17C. The sign said “luxury” and the cockroaches agreed. On a nice day, we’d drink martinis and watch the people at the pool. A large bird of paradise framed the view from the balcony, blooming almost neon.

Birds of paradise flourish in overly manicured concrete places with shitty landlords and grimey fixtures, and so they stand as a reminder that nothing, nothing can ever take what’s beautiful away from you.

A few years later a specimen leapt at Liz from a midtown bungalow, and she asked Deanna if we could do it.

While working on this piece, Deanna experimented with using digital tools to prepare before carving this piece.

birds of paradise, in grays and reversed

Deanna then carved four blocks, one for each color.

Liz tried printing it on beige paper.

bird of paradise printed in four vibrant colors on beige paper

And chien colle with the fancy green lama li lokta paper….

birds of paradise printed on green lama li lokta paper

And chien colle with homemade green paper….

birds of paradise printed on homemade paper

The real friends were the tiktoks we made along the way…

If you’d like to simulate renting a mediocre apartment with a ho-hum porch, consider:

Personal Protective Equipment (Gladys) + Cootie

a plague doctor in hospital scrub blue is surrounded by corona viruses on a yellow background

The Personal Protective Equipment (Gladys) series is one of our favorites because we learned a lot during the process of creation about how we view our projects differently, and how our visions can compliment one another’s.

Deanna’s original concept was two separate pieces, one with the outline of the plague doctor, and one with the silhouette. During an initial black and white test, Liz printed the two plates together, instead of separately.

The universe simultaneously contracted and expanded.

Deanna carved two more blocks, one with the virus shapes inside Gladys’ PPE, and one with the shapes outside.

It was difficult to get a consistent layer of ink on the silhouette during printing, so Liz chose to use a small roller to make a more painterly texture in the background – just a hint of the looming chaos.

Deanna also carved a separate block just for the corona virus. Liz used a special technique called a rainbow roll to create highlights on the print, by lining some bright pink ink up next to the dark purple ink before inking up the roller. We call this piece “Cootie.”

If

If you enjoy this piece, we still prints available, or you can grab some merch so everyone knows you know there’s still a pandemic.

poppies, de riguer

Relief, 2021

print of poppies in red, yellow, and green

With this piece, we took the old adage “work smarter, not harder” and threw it out the second-story window, ran down to the first floor, found the adage and it’s broken leg, and just jumped on it until it was all crumpled up, tired and confused. We didn’t quite set out to do it that way, but we’re Real Artists (TM) and Real Artists (TM) paint or print or draw poppies. Ask Frida Kahlo. Ask Georgia O’Keefe.

Our art’s as good as anyone’s. We can print poppies.

Poppies. Drawn by Deanna Norwood.

This was our first attempt at a woodblock print. Deanna bought a nice big board of walnut from some depot or another and used a jigsaw to cut it down into 12×12 blocks. She carved the poppies and handed the plates off to Liz, who then tried to print them a few times and no matter what Liz did, she couldn’t get the registration right. There was no recovering.

picture of three woodblocks, carved with traces of ink
The blocks were pretty…
dirty messy print of the first three blocks on newsprint
The first attempt – maybe the problem wasn’t with the registration?

Deanna decided to carve the blocks two more times until she was satisfied.

six carved blocks in a grid
The row on the top was the final print.

Once the image was set and the first run was complete, Liz tried to do a second run on gray paper with more fantastical colors. One survived. We call this piece “Fucking Poppies.”

Fucking Poppies

Watch our journey on TikTok!

Still reading?! Do you need your very own?

Asphodel

Relief print using chine collé on homemade paper.

This piece was created from the block carved by Deanna Norwood to represent the “T” in the upcoming alphabet book “L is for Lithium.” The page in the book will be created quite differently, but we thought the print looked great on homemade paper, glued to an 8″ x 8″ square of archival cotton paper.

The piece is named for the neutral afterlife in ancient Greek mythology. If someone wasn’t bad and sent to Styx or good and sent to the Elysian fields, and just kind of left you abruptly with nothing more than some old voice recordings and a spotify playlist, maybe you can get your lute and go to Asphodel and beg Persephone to return him to you.

She won’t. It just don’t work that way. Your lute playing isn’t that good. Besides, he’s probably started a garden and made some new friends.

We tried something new when we were preparing this piece –

This was a run of 2. If you would like to gaze softly upon this work of art in your own space, navigate to https://runaroundroom.com/shop/.