April/May Zines

May’s Zine was quite late this month. My printer broke the day I was going to print and send it. I have been anticipating my printer dying at some point and decided I would not replace it since I am not making fine art prints any longer. But, I thought I would be able to print at a local print and ship shop expediently and that did not work out. My first draft through MagCloud looked good but I hadn’t aligned things correctly so I had to reprint. I was happy to put it out for the post on Monday but they didn’t get picked up! Finally yesterday they went out! Thanks for you patience! Here is the poem:

Songs

Yesterday the mud on the trail around the lake was soft while the dusty, green trees held each passing conversation in confidence. I walked in the shadows under their boughs listening to the song sparrows hop about in the ferns and twigs. For once I did not have any complaints to mull over in the calm solitude of the woods.

I stopped on the bridge to watch the geese shifting about on the water, just blurry shapes in the distance until they all lifted off and flew overhead. The sunlight rippled across their wings like it ripples across waves in the lake. The songs of the geese rang through the first days of Spring like they ring through the last days of Autumn—staggered, harsh and magnetic.

May Postcard Delay

Hi! My printer broke and I can’t seem to fix it. I was planning to move on to having my work printed for me when this happened, but the timing was inconvenient since I was going to mail the May Poetry postcard today. I went to the local print and ship store and was stunned at how bad the color turned out. The shop keeper indicated that printing with laser printers wasn’t great for color matching. So I decided, rather than fiddle endlessly with adjustments, I would give MagCould a go since I like how my books print through their service. It will be a week or two before I receive the prints, fingers crossed it looks alright! Thanks for your patience!

– Alexandra

Poetry Postcard Zine: February and March 2024

Hi! This is Walking By.
I was walking home from the grocery store, through the wooded neighborhood, past the old craftsman’s & bungalows, Past the mossy winter trees & unruly gardens when I saw a poem attached to a fence in a special wooden box with a glass face. I stopped to read it. And it was beautiful & also awkwardly poetic. “Good for you,” I thought, “write from your own heart Fence Poet! Don’t worry about judgy folks like myself, just walking by, no courage to post their own poems out on the street.

At home I sit down on the burgundy leather couch that was long-ago wrecked by cats and search for this poet on-line. I’m going all-in now: supporting my neighborhood poets even if they’re a bit heavy-handed. Perhaps she has a blog to follow or a chapbook to buy. I find this is actually an accomplished poet. Who doesn’t own that particular fence. Whose words only sound over-done now because of all who came after who employed the phrase, the attitude, the trick. But either way our opinions are just shirts that keep us warm and make us feel a certain way.”

New poem next month! Sign-up here!

Postcard Poetry Zine

My postcard newsletter has inspired me to publish an illustrated postcard zine. I’ve always wanted to publish an illustrated magazine but it’s a big project for one artist who wants to publish a lot of content regularly. My best attempt was Lovejoy News, a micro-news report I blogged when I lived near Lovejoy street in NW Portland. I was always in a rush to meet my deadlines so my illustrations were questionable. When I made the first printed copy I felt a little embarrassed. Also I had no idea how to gather any sort of following so I moved on to other art projects. I’m very excited now to return to this dream via a scaled down version: Just one postcard a month. Above is January’s postcard image made into two parts, I’m not sending it out as issues since my audience has already seen it, this is just the inspirational template. You’ll have to subscribe or tune in to this blog in February to see the first issue! Here’s the poem from the postcards!

Stretch

All the leaves are on the ground now.

The beautiful crow swoops out of the bare branches 

toward my window then past. 

Spiky brown seed pods dot the otherwise bare brush.

Rain begins to hit the window as crows 

fly though the back yards below the roof lines 

to perch in a fir. 

I used to worry that one day 

I wouldn’t be able to walk in the woods

And I have stretched 

ever since 

to hold each of the moments;

To plant them inside like trees.

Fall 2023

I had a wonderful time at Newport Autumn Fest. I appreciate everyone who came to my booth and enjoyed my books. I finished Rust this season and was happy to share it at a show. Thanks to everyone who took a copy home!

Here are the moments I captured in pictures this season. I’ve been cleaning out my studio to make room for new work while also making lots of watercolor experiments.

This winter I’ll be working on Landscape Diaries and illustrating a compilation of poems too small to be their own books. Sign up for my newsletter if you would like to get updates, thanks!

Summer 2023

A year ago I started selling at Portland Saturday Market and moved in with my boyfriend. It was a lot of change at once for a hermit but all very welcome. I had wanted to do the market in my 20s and at age 48 I finally got around to it. I had the best time. I wanted it to replace my day job and at the end of the market season I had to reflect on that goal. (cont. below)

It seemed the things I needed to do to make the market my living were moving me in the opposite direction of what I wanted artistically. My books are my greatest passion and they were only a tiny slice of the income I brought in. Also while all the market prep was fun it took up most of the time I used to have to paint. I decided to spend the coming year working on my books, getting deep into my abstract paintings and drawings, and hopefully finding a few indoor art sales that would be a good home for my work.

It’s been a busy and fulfilling year making 2 new books, working on 3 more new books, enjoying family life, traveling with my fellow to Greece and England, getting COVID, starting a new job that is a better fit for me than the old one, planting flowers and ferns. I found a couple new art sales I’m excited to apply to but would like to find more bookish events.

Even though I miss the market I am glad I decided to let it go for a while to collect my thoughts and feelings about art and money. I am all-for artists making money but for me the art needs to come first. In retrospect I wish I had gone there without needing to make money. To just show up with my books and a few original paintings and talk to people about how beautiful nature is. How beautiful humans are even though we don’t always act like it. I may still have taken this last year off, maybe I would have lost interest sooner but I think it would have moved me more in the right direction. I am contemplating whether I could have a re-do next year. I’ll keep you posted of course. Thanks so much for reading!

Portland Saturday Market

The last month has been devoted to applying to Portland Saturday Market, selling at the market and moving. It’s been busy but I am thrilled with the changes!

In my 20s I lived in a tiny studio apartment on MLK and Couch and walked through the market regularly. I dreamed of selling my handmade books there but didn’t have the wherewithal to work toward such a goal. When I started studying art in school I moved on to dreams about showing in galleries and museums but I had a hard time imagining how this would add up to a meaningful career. I was also put-off by what I perceived as the intellectualism of contemporary.

Over the last year the dream to sell at the market kept coming back into mind. Then I read about how Hilma af Klint supported her spiritual painting practice by selling commercial art and this allowed me to fit the two dreams together.

I’ve been at the market 2 weeks in a row now and I love it. It suits me to set-up a little shop and be part of the community as an artist. I met all sorts of people from all over the country and overseas. Also the regularity is easier for me than when I was doing annual art fairs.

I won’t be at the market this weekend as I finish moving into my boyfriend’s home but I plan to be there August 6th. I hope you can come and say hi!

Below is a video of some workbook pages where I contemplate how to talk about peace and inner beauty without platitudes or becoming patronizing. There are a few other paintings in progress in my new studio also. Thanks so much for reading!