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: http://www.reddeermuseum.com/exhibits-and-events/crocky-rocky-prairie-fairy-prints-and-drawings-by-jim-westergard/. 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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I received another call from Mr. Idiot last night (you know, the guy with the Hindi accent) who called me first back in January about a problem "Microsoft" detected I was having with my computer. After stringing him along, back then,  I told him I didn't own a computer and he said "Then why didn't you tell me earlier?" and called me an idiot and hung up. Then he called again in May and struggled with the pronunciation of my name. He had forgotten about my lack of computer, I guess, and I let him go on and on until I ran out of ways to keep him going and told him (for the second time) I didn't own a computer.

Last night, when the phone rang and the caller I.D. indicated "unavailable", I answered. There was a noisy racket in the background, as if the caller was in a busy office bull-pen. After saying hello I waited. When Mr. Idiot spoke, I recognized his voice (or maybe it was just his accent I recognized) and I had to ask him to repeat what he said because of the background noise. This time he didn't try to pronounce my name.  He went through the same routine of describing how his technicians had determined my computer had been compromised and he was calling to help me solve the problem. I used pauses and "yes" and "oh" and "what do you mean?" to keep him going. When I finally ran out of ways to stall him and could tell he was getting impatient, I said what I had said before:

"But I don't have a computer!"


I wonder how long it will be before Mr. Idiot calls again. You would think that if my phone number is known by Mr. Idiot, he would have erased it from his records long ago, having discovered the computer-compromise-scam doesn't work on people who don't own computers.

Friday, June 05, 2015


I finally ran the edition of the wood engraving print, "Aye-Aye". This critter is part of my "Aliens of Planet Earth" series. Two main features that have intrigued me for some time are the large round eyes (it's nocturnal) and the incredibly long middle fingers (it pokes into things for food). This block took a little longer (about two and a half months) than most this size (5 X 7 in.) because I kept reaching points where I thought the block was complete, then I saw more that I could do. I kept picking at it, then running a proof and studying it and picking at it, then running a proof and studying it. I couldn't decide whether to remove the negative space completely, or leave it totally black. In order to make the decision to remove all the wood around the figure I needed to see it first. If I removed the wood in the negative space and it didn't work, I would be stuck with that. So, the answer was to shift from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first for a solution. I scanned it digitally and removed the negative space with Photoshop. Of course, I could have used a nineteenth century method and printed an extra proof, waited for the ink to dry and used white opaque paint to remove the black areas. But, by this time I was ready to bring it to a conclusion and tired of indecisions. As they say, either "do it", or get off the pot ("I" didn't say that "they" said that).

The removal of the black did not work as I studied the changed digital image. By then the day was over, so I shut things down and left the studio. The next morning, as I was waking up, without consciously thinking about it (and this happens often), I visualized the jungle surrounding Aye-Aye. There was Aye-Aye in the clutter of leaves and fronds and bushes of Madagascar. The next few days were spent delicately pulling a subtle jungle up from below and beyond Aye-Aye, Then proofing and pondering, proofing and pondering to make sure there was enough, but not too much. Remember, once the wood is removed it can't be put back. I reached the point where a proof showed it was where I wanted it to be and I ran the edition.

Now it was time to come up with a title. All the other "Aliens" have been given their actual names ("Blobfish", "Star-Nosed Mole" etc.) and I was tempted to add something to Aye-Aye's name. I came close to naming it Aye-Aye's Salute, or Aye-Aye Sir, but since the others in the series have their names only, without commentaries, I stuck with that.

Please, allow me to introduce: Aye-Aye:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I couldn't believe it the other day, when the phone rang and I had a lesson in "day ja voo"! I looked at the caller I.D. and saw that the call was from a State in the U.S. where a wood engraver friend of mine lives. So I picked it up and answered it. It might be my friend.

Me: "Hello!"
Caller: Silence.
I waited a second or two.
Caller, in a Hindi accent: "Am I speaking to, uh, Shgeem Veshrushgugh?"
Me: "Well, maybe, I don't know."
Caller in a Hindi accent: "Sorry, uh, Geem Westegoot"
Me: "Yes" (I'm thinking to myself that this sounds exactly like "Idiot" who called me in January)
Idiot: "We have information that your computer has been attacked by a virus and we want to help you protect your computer."
Me: "I don't have a computer."
(I didn't have the time to string Idiot along this time and I thought, if I said I didn't own a computer, Idiot would remember our longer conversation back in January.)
Idiot: "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
Me: "Because you didn't tell me who you were or that you were calling about computers earlier."
And I hung up.

Was there a lesson learned on Idiot's part? I doubt it. But there was on my part. Next time I'll waste more of Idiot's time. He doesn't seem to learn, so it'll be easy.

OK, now to finish messing around on my computer I don't have, to post this. Then back to the next "Alien of Planet Earth" engraving. This one is "Aye-Aye".

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


I received a phone call a little while ago that absolutely made my day. When the phone rang I looked at the caller ID and it said "unavailable" so I figured it could be a solicitor, or it could be someone I don't get calls from normally. So I answered it.

Me: "Hello"
Slight pause 
Solicitor with accent: "Hello, my name is (I can't remember the name he used but it didn't match the accent) from Microsoft."
Me: silence
Solicitor with accent: "Hello" 
Me: "Yes"
Solicitor with accent: He then goes on and on to say that Microsoft has received reports that my computer has been receiving unwanted sinister things. Then finally after this explanation he pauses.
Me: silence
Solicitor with accent: "Hello, are you there"
Me: "Yes, go on."
Solicitor with accent: He then goes on and on about the dangers of letting these sinister things get onto my computer, then on and on about how Microsoft can help me rid my computer of them. Then he pauses.
Me: silence
Solicitor with accent: silence, only longer this time
Solicitor: "Hello"
Me: "The thing is, I don't own a computer."
Solicitor with accent: "Then why are you wasting my time, you idiot?"
Me: "You're the one who is wasting my time. You told me you had a report that my computer had been infected by something or other. I don't own a computer. Who's the idiot?' Then I paused.
Solicitor with accent: silence
(He probably disconnected after he called me an idiot.)