New paintings

Painting of Great Pyrenees approaches viewer, alpaca mama and cria in background

‘My Work Here is Done’ • oil on panel • 10in x 8in (click to enlarge)

Showing this Friday at Artisan Gallery’s Painting Invitational….

(Opening this Friday, March 1, 5-9pm, Artisan Gallery in Paoli, WI)

If this big white dog–the Great Pyrenees–looks at all familiar, it’s because she’s Betty, our neighbor dog who guards her herd of alpacas. I photographed her in action helping with the birth of that baby alpaca (cria). You can see the photo sequence of ‘Alpaca gives birth’ here. The Mama alpaca is Maggie, and the cria is T-cup. This scene is from Galpaca farm, the place just down the road, to the southeast of us.

painting by s.v. medaris of yorkshire cross hog

‘Getting Close’ • oil on paper • 4in x 6in

Yep, I finally picked up the brushes and started painting with oils again, after a 4-year hiatus, while I went to grad school and learned how to do relief printmaking, then spent last year perfecting the print extravaganza that was the Tunnel of Mortality.

Last month I was invited to take part in Artisan’s Painting invitational, and just figured it’s time to get back to it. It was a little slow going at first, but sort of a relief–just color, you know? And not having to think too much about it–just mixing up hues and values that work immediately. No planning out layers of colors for print.

painting by s.v. medaris of dog under tractor

‘Constant Companion’ • oil on panel • 5in x 7in

Roughed out 4 paintings to work on simultaneously, so I could keep working without stopping and waiting for something to dry…. I started out really small with 3 little oils (before finishing Betty and the gang, at top). Here are 2 of them… above, one of our hogs from last year, ‘getting close’ to that time. And a portrait of Oreo, this great, faithful companion of a farmer on hwy 78. Oreo could often be seen patiently waiting beside the driveway entrance whenever his master went away. And here, in this shot, he lay with a very watchful eye, in the closest spot of shade, while his master worked on one of the farm vehicles.

Sausage making!

This is turning into an annual event…. Making sausages with Bryan (and Alicia). This year we made 3 kinds: a Longuiza one, a southwestern (hot) one, and a mild apple/herb one.

Made them this past weekend so that they could “rest” and the flavors meld (in the fridge, and now in freezer) for a “Handmade” gathering this upcoming weekend. This pork is from last year’s (2011) hogs.

Here’s the hot one:

a pile of freshly made sausages

Porkert sausage maker

Porkert brand sausage maker


This year’s hogs are still in the pasture. Butcher date coming up in September :-(

Why the sad face? Because this year’s pigs-now-hogs are super-cute and friendly–always talking and happy to see you (and your food gifts)….

But, I guess that means happy meat too. :-)

We used Bryan’s Porkert sausage maker, from the Czech Republic (here’s a link to what looks like the all-metal version). I want one!

The Tunnel of Mortality

The Tunnel of Mortality, a life-size tunnel-book installation at Artisan Gallery, has been extended to September 9th, 2012! The next reception is Friday, July 27, 2012, 5-9pm at Artisan Gallery.

Here’s some shots (click any image to enlarge):

Door's entrance to old cheese cooler with show title: S.V. Medaris, The Tunnel of Mortality, inside reveals dark, wallpapered room.

“Come in.” said the spider to the fly….

Once you step in the door, you are in a floor-to-ceiling, darkly wallpapered, little anteroom, about 8ft x 8ft.

fancy-framed portraits on dark wallpapered walls

Back wall and right corner of anteroom

ornate wallpaper, fancy-framed portraits

Chairs are upholstered in the same, matching, printed fabric as the walls.

The richly detailed wallpaper is actually a 10in x 10in linocut pattern printed black onto burgundy duckcloth. About 480 times. If you look closely at one of the “tiles” you will see the underlying theme of the show:
plucked chicken, intestines, bones, axes, chicken foot...

If you look behind you to your right, the outside light looks blinding compared to the dramatic low lighting surrounding you.

taxidermied chicken on low table next to portrait hung on densely patterned wallpapered wall

Taxidermy chicken NOT for sale.

As you step through the door, into the anteroom, The Tunnel of Mortality is that big framed piece on the right-hand wall. It looks like any other of the framed woodcuts, except as you walk towards or by it, it changes (since it’s a 3-dimensional space, not a flat piece). If you’re not paying attention though, it doesn’t “read” as an interior space, but rather a mirror…or something. A number of visitors were looking behind and above them to figure out where the projector was. Most think it’s a mirror, but can’t figure out how come they don’t see their reflection.

Fancy framed portraits on dark wallpapered walls, and low table covered in matching tablecloth

Matching tablecloth and upholstery! This is really the only time I’ve gotten into “interior decorating” (in our real house, nothing matches. I mean, who has time when it takes this long to make pretend rooms?).

Walk into the center of the room, turn to your right, and there’s the tunnel.

fancy frame contains busy collage of farm animals and farm life

The Tunnel of Mortality, framed.

I’m not going to try to explain how this looks in real life, since you really have to go experience it to get it. Suffice it to say, that it’s confusing at first since you can’t quite tell what you’re looking at. Some have said it feels like a mirror.

And here’s a cropped panorama of the center section:

scene filled with relief-printed farm animals, carcasses and scenes of farm life

All woodcut or linocut prints on fabric or Tyvek.

Reception is this Friday, 5-9pm at Artisan Gallery (directions).
And the show is up through September 9th.

So, come check it out!
Experience the tunnel!
Sign the camouflaged guestbook!
Read some of the entries in the guestbook here.

cloth-covered book matches pattern of tablecloth

Hog hides arrived!

They made it. Finally! These are hog hides (and one buckskin) from last fall, 2011 (when I took them into a tannery in Milwaukee, WI). They’ve all been tanned and dyed to specific colors…

black, brown and natural colored hog hides and bucksin

Clockwise from top: Buckskin dyed brown, Hog hide–natural, hog hide–tan, hog hide–brown, hog–black. Can’t wait to make book covers with these, but have deadlines that need to be finished first. Eyes on the prize!

BTW, anybody know how to soften hides? The hog skins are really stiff. It’s not a real problem (I dampen the hide before using it for binding, so it’ll be soft to work with), but it would be nice to know how to do it in case I need them softer when they’re dry….

More linos…

Listening to rebroadcast of the Cluck: From Jungle Fowl to City Chicks interview on Larry Meiller’s show (archives) that Susan Troller and I did earlier in the year, meanwhile drawing carcass for segment of Tunnel of Mortality that is upcoming solo show in June atArtisan Gallery.

Oh yeah, and my first reduction tees! (hint to you tee printing folks: if the lino is cut out in a shape, you can just line up color #2 by matching the outside contours of the block shape to the outside edges of the print shape) Just did 2 prototypes (pink thermal shown) to see if it would work…. It did!

plucked chicken drawing in foreground, reduction prints, etc in background

Plucked lino measures about 30in. high. “Wallpaper” in background is lino on canvas duck cloth about 8ft wide, pigs are reductions on drill cloth, included in panels for ‘Tunnel’ installation

Happy New Year with 1st leather journal

Leather bound journal, cover paper is woodcut print on handmade paper. Measures about 9 x 11 x 1 in.

Leather bound, woodcut-printed handmade papered cover. Measures about 9 x 11 x 1 in

First leather binding since the NYC class in November. Soooo glad I remembered all the details, except this one is not without errors. Good news is I learned some new things not to do. Like do NOT pare down the whole piece of leather for spine! I pared it so thin that all the sewn signatures can be seen through the leather. Oh well. Anyway, leather is buckskin, darkened with a bit of linseed oil, and it’s full of cast off prints on handmade paper, grid paper, and pretty awesome for writing/drawing in. Looking forward to making more.