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Daytripper

Portland Theatre photo by Chandler O'Leary

Saturday was a scorcher—I wouldn’t normally pick a day with the temperature in the mid-nineties to hang out in a concrete jungle, but it was a special occasion.

Lilla Rogers meetup photo by Chandler O'Leary

You see, it’s a rare treat to get to have a tasty meal and a good conversation with a roomful of talented illustrators.

Lilla Rogers meetup photo by Sophie Dufresne

Photo by Sophie Dufresne—thanks, Sophie!

We all got together in downtown Portland with the lovely Lilla Rogers to talk shop, ask advice and compare notes. I think all of us came away with our heads full of ideas and our hearts full of confidence. (Not bad for a lunch date, I’d say.)

After that, though, I had a lot to think about, and 95 degrees wasn’t doing my brain any favors. So I bolted for the coast—where it was 30 degrees cooler and a thousand times more peaceful than the city. So I soaked in the sun and stared out to sea, while my ideas took shape.

Cannon Beach photo by Chandler O'Leary

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Indoor desert

Wright Park Conservatory photo by Chandler O'Leary

Whenever I’m looking for a change of pace, my default is to head for a coffee shop and work there. This time, though, I wanted something a little different—and besides, I needed some reference material for some additions to my Succulent! series I’m working on. So I strapped on my walking shoes and headed to another Tacoma favorite: the glass conservatory at Wright Park. The cacti are right as you walk in the door, and there’s a convenient bench nearby. So I just plopped myself down and set to work, happier than a hothouse flower.

Conservatory cacti sketch by Chandler O'Leary

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Weekend work

Sketchbook and "Droplets" public art piece by Chandler O'Leary

On Saturday morning the weather was so perfect that I headed down to the waterfront for a little sketching—not to mention a little quality time with one of my Droplets!

I guess you could count this as working over a holiday, but it sure doesn’t feel like that. To me, it feels like the best way to enjoy a summer day.

Sketchbook drawing by Chandler O'Leary

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Sweet surprise

Ice cream photo by Chandler O'Leary; "Just Desserts" postcard by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

At long last, Tacoma has a real ice cream parlor—I can’t tell you how many years we’ve waited for this. Today I stood in line for the best coffee ice cream I’ve had in years, and while I waited my turn to pay, I noticed something familiar behind the counter!

Detail of "Just Desserts" letterpress broadside by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

It was our Just Desserts postcard! Jessica and I couldn’t be more proud. So to the new shop, Ice Cream Social: welcome to Tacoma, and thank you for making us a part of the decor!

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Step by step

Process photo of "Ahoy" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

Process photo of "Ahoy" illustration by Chandler O'LearyProcess photo of "Ahoy" illustration by Chandler O'LearyProcess photo of "Ahoy" illustration by Chandler O'LearyDetail of "Ahoy" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

Workin’ on a new batch of little somethings…can’t wait to show you the finished product!

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Ink This!

"Ink This" exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum

One exhibit might be ending this week, but another is just getting started. On Tuesday night I went to the opening for Ink This!, a new exhibit of contemporary Northwest print art at the Tacoma Art Museum.

"Ink This" exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum

The place was completely packed—both in the lecture space and in the common areas.

"Ink This" exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum

I spent so much time catching up with friends and colleagues from all over the region (which is the best part about this show!) that I barely made it upstairs to see the artwork itself.

"Local Conditions" artist book by Chandler O'Leary at the Tacoma Art Museum

And then when I got there, I had a pleasant surprise: my piece in the show is prominently displayed, right by the entrance.

"Local Conditions" artist book by Chandler O'Leary at the Tacoma Art Museum

It’s such an honor to have my book in a room with so many incredible prints, sculptures, artist books and other work by the people I admire the most.

"Local Conditions" artist book by Chandler O'Leary at the Tacoma Art Museum

Most of all, I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to see so many people come up and spend time with my book. That’s the highest compliment anyone could ever pay me.

Many, many thanks to the Tacoma Art Museum for putting this show together; to Margaret Bullock for her amazing work curating the exhibit; to Ann and Peter Darling who lent the book from their private collection for the exhibit; to everyone who has seen the show so far; to the artists themselves; and to the lovely man monitoring the gallery that night, who so kindly gave me permission to take some hip shots with my phone camera. (I couldn’t hide how excited I was to have my work in a museum for the first time—thanks for not laughing at my dorkiness!)

Ink This! will be on display through November 9—more information here.

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Midsummer glow

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

I just love how evening light filters into the studio at this time of year. Happy solstice!

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Summer sampler

Detail of "Mnemonic Sampler" artist book abecedary by Chandler O'Leary

I stopped by the Collins Memorial Library this week to see the new Puget Sound Book Artists exhibition, and look what’s in the show! If you haven’t had a chance to see my Mnemonic Sampler abecedary in person yet, the PSBA folks have it beautifully displayed in one of the wall cases. (The display is definitely better than my low-light cell phone photo of it…sigh.)

Detail of Puget Sound Book Artists 2014 exhibition flyer

And they were even kind enough to include a snippet of it in the exhibition poster—can you spot it?

Catch the show now through July 31!

Detail of "Mnemonic Sampler" artist book abecedary by Chandler O'Leary

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The miracle worker

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

This is my friend Carl.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

He’s a wood engraver extraordinaire—

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

—and his West Seattle letterpress studio is a thing of beauty.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

He does lovely, painstaking work (those are his engravings on the wall there), and he runs a tight ship at that studio of his.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

Which is why my friend Mary-Alice called on Carl when she picked up a vintage Adana flatbed press, and wanted help whipping it into shape. She and her husband were planning to bring the press to West Seattle yesterday. I’d never seen an Adana in action before (I’m more of a Vandercook gal myself), so I asked to tag along.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

Carl was more than ready for us.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

He gave the press a quick once-over. “I think you’re getting off too easy, Mary-Alice,” he said. “There aren’t even any spiders under here!”

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

A few drops of oil,

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

some careful adjustments,

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

one of Carl’s own engravings to use as a test,

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

and a little text M-A set from his massive collection of type—and all of a sudden the Adana was print-ready.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

Carl even broke out the fancy handmade paper—”This is an important occasion!” he said.

Photo by Chandler O'Leary

Pretty darn good results, if you ask me. Carl made us all sign the finished broadside. (Mariners pencil for the win!)

“How come I get to sign?” I asked, confused.

Carl chuckled and said, “You documented the occasion. Sign it!”

Aye, aye, Captain!