Monday, October 29, 2018


"They" say that, in old age, there is a "second childhood". I think I've found the proof that statement is true. I seem to be obsessed with colouring books in my old age. Not with colouring them but with making them. I can't seem to leave it alone, but maybe it's my obsession with cliches, puns and humorous sayings, because these all contain that common element. Here are a few more:

Sunday, October 21, 2018


When I think I understand where I'm headed (for instance, another idea for a wood engraving), I suddenly find myself headed in a direction I would never have dreamed. It has been a period, lately, besot with slumps and dead-ends. Now suddenly I am beginning to find my concentration going in a direction I thought was temporary and incidental. Carol mentioned the other day that she had enjoyed colouring a colouring book that her activity group in the facility were involved with. She had enjoyed this when she was in a unit of the hospital a few years ago and I had made some line drawings for her then, which she coloured very well. She had enjoyed colouring them then, so I thought I would make some more. The more I thought about what to make, the more focussed I found myself and I thought, "This is a good thing!"

But instead of drawing line drawings of animals, birds or flowers, I decided to look through my collection of sayings to print on the computer and include some kind of related patterns or images in line as well. Here are some starters.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

"See What I'm Saying?" has been printed!

I just received word from Porcupine's Quill that "See What I'm Saying?" has been printed and is now available. There have been some delays and now I'm happy that it's available. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


It surprises me, the way my mind wanders and suddenly I am confronted with a series of ideas that become an obsession and I'm back on the track, motivated to pursue images that are linked. My fascination with all the words and phrases in the English language, that I interpreted visually, got me on a track that led me to the series I called "See What I'm Saying?".  I started the first wood engraving of that series in 2009 while going back and forth between images of that theme, and others, such as "Aliens of Planet Earth",  and illustrating some books and creating a series of greeting cards. Recently my usual pace of moving from one wood engraving to another has slowed considerably. There have been some problems and stresses that have been the cause, as well as the usual component of aging. Then this past July, when I had another slump and seemed to lack the motivation to search out the next theme (I tend to work in themes), I caught myself thinking about eyes. Eyes for looking. Eyes for watching. Eyes for spying. People watching animals. Animals watching people. And there I was, looking at another theme. Or was I?

As often happens I come up with a title of a print before I start working on an image. I thought of the phrase "I see you", and because I was still probably thinking along the "See What I'm Saying" track, I thought of: "Eye See You". Hey! a primate watching a human! That was it, and I was back in the saddle again. From that, a month or so later I started "Eye See You Too", which could (conventionally) be titled, I See You #2. There I was, playing the "See What I'm Saying?" game. If you're not confused by now, I guess I've failed.

Sunday, June 04, 2017


After about three months of trying this and trying that, I was finally able to push through. The edition of another Alien of Planet Earth was printed. It was an image that I was constantly unhappy with and wasn't confident that it was going to work. Over the months, as I was engraving, proofing, studying the results and engraving more, I didn't feel it was working. Then yesterday, around midday I inked up the press and pulled another proof to see the results. Bingo! It was a weird feeling to be looking at something that I had had doubts about after all the pervious proofs and suddenly like it. I had made some radical changes. It was as if it was someone else’s and I had never seen it before! I decided to go ahead and run the edition. Of course, time will tell, but it satisfied me in that moment, and that's all I care about. If you're interested, it's on the website:

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Well, I've decided that there hasn't been a hiatus, as I thought. I'm simply "acting my age" by slowing down in the ol' rockin' chair. Making a Mountain of a Molehill took five months to complete, then five days after the edition was run, I started some sketches for an idea that Darrel Morrow suggested. We were discussing the legal term,"statute of limitations". If the third t in "statute" is not emphasized, most people, hearing the term for the first time, would think the word was "statue". That was the beginning of Statue of Limitations and about two and a half months later (a few days ago) I finished printing that edition. Here it is. I've added it to my website, with a commentary.

Now, something has just happened that I don't believe has happened to me before. I was going back and looking at Making a Mountain of a Molehill a few minutes ago and suddenly "saw" another way to "say" the same thing. I'm anxious to try it, but I'm afraid it's not going to be different enough. But I'm afraid if I don't try it out, it'll nag me. Maybe this is all part of these "senior moments" "they" keep talking about.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The studio work routine I've been using for decades continues to be on "pause" mode. Carol's problems with dementia reached a point where the hospital was no longer an answer to solving her problem and it was necessary to move her to a facility with permanent and proper care.  An available facility was found south of Red Deer and our sons Kurt and Gregg moved some items of furniture and clothing there and Carol is now there. When space is available in a Red Deer facility she will be moved again. The processes involved to make this happen are, of course, going to be taking priority over any work in the studio.

Meanwhile, through all this, last October the Society of Wood Engravers put out a challenge for members to enter a 'Seasons Project". I volunteered to participate in the "Summer" portion of the project. I was then struggling to stay focused on an idea in my "See What I'm Saying?" series. The sketches I had begun seemed like they might fit the "Summer" theme (if a stretch of interpretation was allowed, and it was). A few days ago I ran the edition of "Making a Mountain of a Molehill".

Sunday, November 20, 2016


The word hiatus is defined as a pause or a gap in a sequence, series, or process. Well, my life has contained a hiatus for the past four months, at least in the studio. I finished running the edition of the wood engraving Carpe Diem at the end of July. In mid July Carol had to return to the hospital and she has been there since then. I've gone through a period of ups and downs and concerns that have kept me from focusing on work in the studio. Each time I try, I find my concentration is short-lived. But I did manage to start a series of sketches for another wood engraving in the Aliens of Planet Earth series in September. Eventually, after picking it up and setting it aside over and over again, I selected a sketch that I picked to draw on a new block. The drawing on the block went through numerous changes as well, until I finally began to engrave the block about three weeks ago.

Today (nearly three months after the first sketch) I decided it was time for the first proof of the block, to see what it looked like. It's a good feeling to have finally gotten back into the studio to work. Carol is safe and receiving good care and now I have got a focus that is keeping me from becoming a blobfish (the first member of the Aliens of Planet Earth series).

"So, Anyway" (as John Cleese would say... that's a very good book of his, by the way) I wanted to explain my hiatus and hibernation and to share Treehopper with you.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Every now and then, when going through the process of creating something, the final decision is not always final. In Carpe Diem that was the case. When I was satisfied with the latest proof and I made the decision to stop engraving, I ran the edition, let the prints dry, signed them and filed them away. I was tearing up the proofs and as I looked at the last one, on which I based my decision to stop engraving, I realized there was something that was bothering me. I was NOT finished with the print after all.

Here is a cropped scan of the area that bothered me. I had hoped to create a sense of the white area of the paper around the image flowing into the arm and flowing into the composition. But by showing an abrupt change  between the arm above the water and below the water, that wasn't working. 

I hadn't realized how important that issue was to me. So I decided to make the changes in the block and run the edition again. 
Here's a cropped scan of the area after I made the changes in the block and opened up the area so the white had a better chance of flowing into the composition.

This brings up the issue of what happens to the 34 prints in the edition that I now don't like. Thankfully this hasn't happened to me before. There is always a need for paper to run proofs upon and the back side of proofs or, in this case on the back side of an edition is the answer for proofing paper. The paper I use is expensive and I try not to waste it.

Now the issue of "limited edition" comes up. What happens to the edition that I printed first? Well, I have made an X across each print in that edition with a permanent marker and I will use the edition as proofing paper by printing future proofs on the back side of these, then tear them up and send them to recycling.

On my previous post I mentioned that the block had a subtle cancellation, in preparation to sending the block on to the Hamilton Wood Type Museum. Can you see the "cancellation" change up there in the crop of the revised area by comparing the "before" with the "after"? I will now find another area to create a subtle cancellation in the block.

In conclusion, I find that (for me) one of the most difficult moments in the process of creating a print or drawing is making the decision of when to leave it alone and quit.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


"Carpe Diem" (seize the day) is the title of my latest wood engraving, and it's part of the "See What I'm Saying?" series. The phrase, when first heard by one (such as myself) who has not studied Latin or the classics, sounds like it has something to do with carp. The image was engraved on a maple block, supplied by the Wood Engravers Network for a project titled "Seize the Carp" to benefit the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers Wisconsin. Two Rivers has a yearly carp festival and participating members of SWE were asked to include a carp in their image. As you can see, the block I was sent is a section of a maple end-grain slab that includes the edge of the slice of the log, so I incorporated that in the image.

The block will be sent to the museum for their collection and use. A minor alteration was created in the block, after this edition was completed; meant as a subtle cancellation of this edition.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Carol and I returned from a road trip to the U.S. last Saturday afternoon. It took us three days to drive from Greeley Colorado to Red Deer Alberta. (That included an hour wait in line to get back across the Canadian border! Maybe there really ARE Americans wanting to escape the thought of "The Donald" as president.)

The first goal of the road trip was Missoula Montana where the Wood Engravers Network traveling exhibition was scheduled and we wanted to attend the opening and to visit our friends Jim and Julia Todd who live there. Jim is a superb wood engraver. He and I each have a wood engraving in the exhibition. The exhibition was held at one of the galleries at the University of Montana and I was very impressed with the presentation and quality of work chosen for the exhibition. There were wood engravings from members all over North America and Great Britain (maybe Europe too, but I can't remember. I'm awaiting the arrival of my copy of the exhibition catalogue).
Carol, Julia, Jim and I enjoyed music in the park. 

After a few more days enjoying the company of Jim and Julia, we headed south-east to visit some other very dear friends, Bill Starke and Judy Perry in Greeley. Bill is a former student of mine from many decades ago, when I taught at Metropolitan State College in Denver (now a university). Bill is now a very successful sculptor and they hosted us for a few days, during which I had my first experience getting in and out of a kayak with Bill's help (not an easy task for an old codger with arthritic joints).
We received a very unexpected welcome in Greeley.

Jim trying his hand at navigating the rapids.


A book-review website called has ODDBALLS listed. Here's the link if you've read the book and want to express your opinion:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


ODDBALLS was recognized at the Independent Publisher's Book Awards, held at the Willis Tower in Chicago. They awarded the book a bronze medal in the Popular Culture category. Porcupine's Quill Publishers picked up my bronze medal and I just received it yesterday. It's a great honour... and heavy.


Sunday, May 15, 2016


For those of you living, or visiting, in British Columbia, there's a new red ale brewed by Tin Whistle Brewery in Pentiction.  I've given them permission to use my wood engraving portrait of Bill Miner for their new Hands Up! red ale and I recommend it.  It's a tasty brew.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


It's me being a braggart again.
Some more good news: I just heard that the Porcupine's Quill paperback edition of Oddballs received a bronze award at the Independent Publishers Book Awards, in the Popular Culture category.

Maybe Independent Publishers Book Awards is the same thing as the Indiefab Award nomination I heard about a while ago. I don't know.

Friday, April 29, 2016


The con-artists are back! This time in the name of Daniel Ming.  Daniel's colleagues were Debbie From NewYork, Stan From California and Jon From Norway (all of them had From as their middle names).

This is the e-mail I received from Daniel Ming:


          I hope this mail meets you well, Am mailing to place order 
with your company and will like to know if it is possible for you to 
ship orders to South America.If shipment is possible,kindly get back 
to me with your catalog or price list were i can chose the item 
needed to be shipped including Delivery address.

         Also you will be referred to my shipper who handles all my 
shipment, and once I receive the quote for the order and the shipment 
 then I will commence on the payment. Kindly get back to me if this 
is acceptable and let me know the type of card you accept or i can make 
payment with Paypal too but credit card is more preferable to me.

Looking forward to do business with you.

I find it odd, as in the other con-artists' attempts, that Daniel doesn't make any reference as to what he's shopping for. Here is my response:

Good morning Daniel,
Yes, I can ship orders to South America, or any other continent. The best method for selecting which items you would like to order would be for you to look on my website, which I’m sure you would have seen, to obtain my e-mail address. The price of each item is listed on the website in Canadian funds and payment (as the website indicates) is made in Canadian, US, British or Euros only. When I know which items you want I can tell you what the amount in one of those denominations would be, including the packaging (you said you have your own shipper so you would pay your shipper for the shipping). I’m presuming your shipper would pick up the goods from me. There is something I don’t understand though. If you have a shipper of your own, why would you need to know if I ship orders to South America?

So, first you tell me which items you want and the denomination you will be paying with and I will let you know the total, including packaging. Next, you will make the payment, through PayPal, and I will await notice that your funds are in my account, before releasing the order to your shipper. 

If that works for you, we can do business.
All the best

I'm surprised that Daniel listed PayPal and credit card as his payment options. His other colleagues were going to send a cheque, and of course that cheque would be for an amount above the total. Then I would be asked to cash it and send him the difference (that's the con). 

I'll have to wait and see. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


The dictionary defines braggart as "A loud arrogant boaster."
At the risk of being called a braggart, I want to share some good news I received a few days ago from Porcupine's Quill, the publisher of the trade edition of my book, ODDBALLS. 

The message said that ODDBALLS is a finalist in the Foreward Magazine IndieFab Book of the Year Awards, in the Popular Culture (Adult Nonfiction) category. It included this link to a page on the website:

Now, it's a matter of waiting to see what the judges decide, but in the meantime I feel very honoured and humbled that the book has attracted the kind of attention to have placed it in the list of the finalists.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Here are a few more of the prints and drawings of mine that contain subliminal images (some of them going back quite a few years).  Some of the titles hint at the hidden images and some of the hidden images aren't very hidden. Remember, you can click on an image to see larger versions:

       Bonnie Ben Lomond   wood engraving

          Crocky Rocky  lithograph

       Crocky Rocky II   lithograph  

    Talking to a Brick Wall    wood engraving

Mouthparts of a Spanish Fly   wood engraving 

     Pig Headed   wood engraving

          Rhino   wood engraving 

        Stonefaced   wood engraving

Hope you had fun looking for them. Let me know if there are any you can't find.

Saturday, January 02, 2016


Happy New Year everyone!

I've been fascinated with subliminal images for decades. I enjoy looking for them in photographs contained in printed advertising. I saw a page on line today that discussed a "brain teaser" drawing in which you were to try to find images of Indian leaders, including Ghandi, in a drawing of a tree. That reminded me of drawings I did to illustrate Jason Brink's book Fly on the Wall, published by ECW press in 2008. When the drawings were submitted to the publisher there was never a response from the editor regarding the hidden images and there has never been any response (that I'm aware of) from any reader. That's a good thing, because I didn't want them to be readily noticed. I've decided to "come clean" and to reveal that there are subliminal images in some (not all) of the drawings in Fly on the Wall, as well as other drawings and prints I've done.

So, here is the "brain teaser" (there are ten leaders) that motivated me to admit my subliminal images and you can easily see which of my drawings this "teaser" reminded me of:

A few of the pen and ink drawings for Fly on the Wall that contain subliminal images are below (You can click on individuals to see a larger image). But, before you include an image of a fly among the subliminal images you find, I need to explain that the fly is the subject of each of the stories in the book and I hid that fly in some of the drawings as a teaser to keep people looking. But there were other images hidden as well. Some were related to the particular story.

Bar Fly                                   Elephant Man

Mother's Day                                '74 Nova

Soccer Mom                              The Open Casket  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Carol has our CD player loaded with Christmas songs this month and this morning Jingle Bells was playing during our breakfast. Automatically, my mind flashed back to 1945, when I was six years old and walking to school with friends. I began to sing along, using the lyrics we were singing as we walked to school. But our lyrics were different. I have no idea how we learned them, but we had enormous fun singing them. The chorus is all I remember.

"Shingle nails, shingle nails,
Hammers, tacks and screws,
Oh what fun it is to ride,
In Hitler's stinkin' shoes!"

(Keep in mind,WWII was ending.)

To this day, I have never come across anyone who is familiar with these lyrics. It makes me wonder if I dreamed this or if I have outlived anyone who would have learned them.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2015


I was premature with my announcement that Porcupine's Quill would release "Oddballs" in November. It seems that it won't be in November now; November's nearly over. I just received the proof of the book last week and after checking it over I returned it the next day. I'm not sure it will even be released in December. I haven't heard. Oh well, hopefully in January, at the latest.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I just discovered that the Porcupine’s Quill edition of Oddballs will be released this November. They have it on their website:

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I received the link to the information about the White Gallery exhibition in Sunworks. It includes the address, so if you're in the neighbourhood on September 4th, stop in during the opening for a glass of wine and a chat:

"Eye to Eye" wood engraving by Jim Westergard

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Here's more information about my upcoming exhibitions in Red Deer:
The White Gallery, located in Sunworks at 4924 - 50 St. Red Deer, Alberta. The public opening is September 4 but there is no information on the Sunworks website about the exhibition and they haven't informed me yet regarding the hours of the opening on September 4. I'm guessing it would be around 6 PM. The White Gallery has titled the exhibition "Distorted Contradictions". These are wood engravings selected from the two series "Oddballs" and "See What I'm Saying?".

The Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery (MAG), on the other hand, does have information on their website: The MAG is located at 4525 - 47A Ave. in Red Deer, Alberta and the exhibition is on from October 10. 2015 to January 31, 2016. The reception is at 2 PM October 18, 2015. This retrospective contains intaglio, lithograph and wood engraving prints as well as drawings that date back a few decades. The curator has titled the exhibition "Crocky Rocky Prairie Fairy".

So, now you know what I know. If you're in Red Deer then, or cruising down (or up) the QEII on either (or both) days, take the offramp into Red Deer, drop in, and say "HI!".

Monday, July 06, 2015


Multiples of the same image is a common element in printmaking. The group of individual images is called the edition. There is a limit to the number in each edition and each individual print in that edition is numbered. Because of this, it's important to maintain records of each print.

I finally finished organizing the paperwork for the two exhibitions of my work that are taking place this Fall. The Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery (M.A.G.) is having a retrospective of some of my work and it opens October 10. A private gallery, the White Gallery, on Ross St. in downtown Red Deer has an exhibit of my wood engravings that opens September 4. There are 58 pieces to record and take to the M.A.G. (with at least one additional piece that is being borrowed from a collection) and 40 framed wood engravings to take to the White Gallery.

Until organizing these exhibitions, I hadn't worried much about keeping accurate records of my work; it's been something I automatically do.  Oh, I've run into a couple of occasions when I seem to be missing a print or two, but that's been rare. The records I've kept over the years have moved from paper to computer. I'm at a big disadvantage in the computer department, especially when computer companies suddenly decide to eliminate a program I'm using and I can no longer open the document with the old or new program! When I receive word that a gallery has sold a piece and I don't enter that information right away in the correct file, that information is lost. That's when I long for the days of paper notebooks, rotary phones, letters with full sentences and stimulating discussions uninterrupted by Google.

The most traumatic moment in this ordeal came near the end of the list when I noticed that I had given the curator working for M.A.G. the wrong title to a drawing! It happened to be a drawing that was already framed and I had to take the frame apart and look at the back of the drawing to verify the title. (I usually print the title of all my drawings, on the back and luckily, I had done that on this one.) Now, as it turns out, I learned from a note from the curator, that the drawing was dropped from the list and I had forgotten about that change. All that work and stress for nothing!

 It's a relief to have these all recorded, but I can't help but worry that my aging brain cells have screwed something up.