Tuesday, December 01, 2020


As I was thinking about the impact of the COVD 19 pandemic, the isolation and problems this has caused, I thought of one of the required protocols. The mask, which has had many people upset and willing to participate in violent protests. Then I remembered a wood engraving I had made in 2016 that I titled "Face Mask". Wait a minute! I believe the epidemic began in 2019! So, three years before the epidemic began, I (somehow) came upon an idea to create an image of a mask, placed over an item that was my symbol of "Facetime" (A clock. Clocks have faces) My description of the print content is in the "See What I'm Saying?" theme on the website http://www.telusplanet.net/public/jimwest/facemask.html, (and is included in my book). And how are meetings and large gatherings often conducted now? Yes! Facetime, the no-contact online gathering alternative.
Then, pondering this further, I remembered that the "Face Mask" print was not the first print, about wearing a mask, and I searched back further in time to 1994 and found "Loose Mask"! http://www.telusplanet.net/public/jimwest/lsmsk.htm. Now I have to wonder: Was this me getting some kind of message from some kind of creepy mystical other-worldly influence? Or am I just so bored and isolated that I've gone bonkers and have no incentive to settle down and get a new wood engraving started?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020


I've been out in the studio each day trying to focus on an idea to turn into a wood engraving. Most of the time there are only thoughts going through my head about the tough times, aches and pains and the boredom of isolation. But the other day the words dancing through my head stumbled a bit and got me headed in the "See What I'm Saying?" direction. I opened my "inkubator" (sketchbook) and started to put some images together to convert the words to a visual state. When I had it together and took a break, then came back later to see if there was any more I could do to it, I was confronted with an image that I found boring. (This is a common incident and part of the process.) So I kept pushing and pushing to see if I could come up with something else. Since the word relationships idea I had come up with was a dud, I turned my thoughts to the "Aliens of Planet Earth" and I've got some ideas I'm going to chase down. When I Have an image worked out I'll open the "inkubator" and let you have a peak.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


Enough is enough... More than enough. Hopefully, now on to something else. (Click on the sketch to enlarge)

Sunday, November 01, 2020


Here's the next moment in the growing Pandemic Moment. Moment after moment the only moment that has my attention is this moment. So here it is... So far. I call this a progress report of the moment. (you can click on the image to enlarge it.)

Sunday, October 25, 2020


The other day (as frequently happens nowadays) I couldn't get myself motivated to work on something in the studio, so I decided to lay on the bed and read a book. After awhile I put the book down and just stared up at the white ceiling. The ceiling was apparently sprayed with what looks like little pebbles. As I stared and studied the little patterns of texture over the ceiling, quite a bit of time had gone by and I was in a trance following over the surface. It reminded me of the patterns of craters on the surface of the moon that have captured my attention and motivated me to create the wood engraving, "Mickey's Moon Landing". I decided to get off the bed and use this moment of Pandemic boredom to motivate me to at least do SOMETHING, even if it's mindless doodling in the sketchbook. At least it's in the studio and moving the pen around.
This is an earlier moment of the doodle:
This is where the moment has taken me today:

Saturday, October 24, 2020

WHAT THE.....?

Back on August 24 I tried to get to my website and all that came up was a notice from Telus that they were no longer going to offer websites to their clients. I tried over two or three more days and each time I got the same notice. Then I gave up and accepted it. No more website. I let more days go by then tried again...BINGO! There was my website! Since then it always opens. I don't know anything about the technology but I figured it had something to do with the fact that I had the file of my website sitting on my computer and when I entered the link to my website on my computer it was connecting to the file on my computer. Then I decided to ask a friend if he could get my website on his computer and...BINGO! He could get it! I kept asking others and it was the same story. Somewhere, out there in space my website is floating around, all disconnected, but still reachable: http://www.telusplanet.net/public/jimwest/

Tuesday, September 29, 2020


STATUE OF LIMITATIONS © wood engraving (ed.46) image: 7 x 5 in. $150.00 _______________________________________________________________________ The legal term, "statute of limitations" describes a law that is passed by a legislative body to set the maximum time after an event, within which legal proceedings can be initiated. Mention this term to someone who has never heard it before and it's a sure bet they will hear: "statue of limitations". During a discussion of this misunderstanding with Darrel Morrow, he dropped the hint (as he's done before) that there might be an image for a print there. As the idea began to grow, I remembered a quote from Tommy Douglas, a Canadian social democratic politician in the 30s who was instrumental in the establishment of the universal health care program in Canada. He said, “I don’t mind being a symbol but I don’t want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I’ve seen what the pigeons do to them.” And so, there grew out of all this, a statue of something that has limitations, including not enough room for all the pigeons who need it for their comfort. _________________________________________________________________________ So, American voters, think about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


In July I started "Mickey's Moon Landing" and in September I ran the edition. I haven't bothered to look back in my records to find out if this print took the longest for me to complete or not but I think it did. My ability to stay with it and concenrate has diminished as I age, but I was pleased that I finally ran the edition. A small one (20, plus two artist's proofs), but at least I did it. I have been captivated by photos of the surface of the moon, covered with craters, and I've enjoyed suddenly spotting arrangment of patterns that offer more than the craters.

Monday, August 24, 2020


I recently received notice (when I tried to open my own website) from my website server that "due to aging hardware", they have decided to shutdown subscriber websites. Oh well, I don't think there were that many visitors to my website anyway, other than scammers. 

So, scammers, what's your alternative route to scamming me now?

Monday, April 06, 2020


Just finished printing the edition of Poodle Moth, a new member of the Aliens of Planet Earth series. Like I've mentioned earlier, it seems to be taking longer to accomplish what I set out to do. I guess that's part of what goes with membership in the Octogenarian Society.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019


Took a while, but a new Alien of Planet Earth was born a week or so ago, named Treehopper2. Like I said before, things are slowing down in the studio, and my pace, but they're still moving.

Thursday, August 01, 2019


I suppose I should look on the bright side and be happy that I finished another wood engraving. Decades ago I didn't have a second thought about completing an edition and moving on to the next one. Now it seems like a major milestone.

My latest is titled OWLKEYHOLE:

My comments on the image are on my website here: http://www.telusplanet.net/public/jimwest/owlkeyhole.html

Get it?

Monday, July 08, 2019


Just got word from Porcupine's Quill, the publisher, that See What I'm Saying? was awarded the bronze medal by the eLit Awards, in the humor category. 

Monday, July 01, 2019


I like to substitute words that sound alike. If I wasn't doing that here I would have titled this post, CATCH-UP. As I mentioned a while back, things have really slowed down with me. They've slowed in many ways and in many areas. But I won't bore you with all of that. I'll bore you with what's been going on in the studio.

Anyway, moving on, I've forgotten to keep this Blogger thing going and I neglected to bring you up to date on my latest edition. I ran an edition of a new member of the Aliens Of Planet Earth. This one is an Octopus that I found interesting, partly because of the name it has been given. It's called the Dumbo Octopus. I suppose the fins on the sides of the bulbous body and the manner in which this octopus tucks in its tentacles makes it resemble the Disney cartoon character, Dumbo. So, it was named the Dumbo Octopus.

The edition was run in early June and then I moved on to try to keep the routine of working in the studio going. I fiddled around with the sketchbook and tried to focus on something that might be developed into an idea that would become visual. Remember catch-up - ketchup? Well, that sound similarity phenomenon became my next obsession and that's where I'm headed next (if I can pull it off visually). The secret is not letting my aging carcass take over. All it wants to do is veg. D'you know what "veg" means?  

Thursday, April 25, 2019


I try to avoid bragging. I'm not comfortable with bragging. But I couldn't help sharing this with whomever reads this blog. So I'm not bragging, I'm sharing.

I received an e-mail from Porcupine's Quill Press the other day, informing me that my recent book they published, See What I'm Saying?, just received an award. The eLit Book Awards has awarded the book a bronze award in the humour category.

I've never heard of eLit Book Awards, so when I went on the website the publisher sent me, all I learned was that they are a digital publishing award organization. I couldn't tell where they are located, but I suppose if they are concentrating on "e" publications, they don't need a location. This has me curious because See What I'm Saying? was published as a real book, with real paper pages and cover. Oh well, I'm just pleased and proud that the book was recognized and awarded.

Saturday, March 30, 2019


Work in the studio has slowed down in recent months. All the symptoms of aging: the arthritis pain, memory, mobility etc. are slowly increasing. So I'm celebrating that I finally finished a new wood engraving, ran the edition, and this morning was able to remember how to put it up on my website. If you want to see that page, it's here: http://www.telusplanet.net/public/jimwest/bergamasco.html

During the process of running the edition there is a segment of the process I recognized now as risky. I hadn't given it any thought before. I print on an old proofing press. As each piece of paper is cranked through the press and is taken off the roller, it must be placed where the ink doesn't  get touched. The ink takes a couple of days to completely dry. Back when the studio was built I installed two wires up near the ceiling (ten foot ceiling as I recall) that run from one wall to the other. They are up that high so that, if I'm printing an edition on large paper I can walk beneath them without disturbing them. During the process of printing the edition I take each print individually over to the wire, climb a ladder, and clip it to one of the many clips I've installed on the wires. When I went up the ladder the other day, and stretched (not safe to step on the top two steps of the ladder) to reach the first clip the arthritis pain in my back was excruciating. That caused me to wobble on the ladder.

I made it up and down the ladder for about half the edition, then decided I better spread the rest of them out on the work table. I have now decided to take the wires down (or, to have someone younger take them down for me). I think I have a drying system figured out that won't require height.

                         Introducing the latest Alien of Planet Earth: Bergamasco Shepherd

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


On the topic of the colouring book project, here's one for the yanks to savour:

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: http://www.telusplanet.net/public/jimwest/rhinobeetle.html

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.