Oct 22, 2013

Northeast Corvallis at Night

One leaf falls in the lamp light, orange like the crooked moon.

May 17, 2013


Here are this week's meditations. And just in case you missed my many social media announcements yesterday...my illustrated poem Crows at Dusk. is now available in print. 
I am beside myself with excitement.

May 16, 2013

"Crows at Dusk" Available in Print!

When I first went back to school all I wanted to do was make illustrated poems. School had its own agenda and turned me into a painter, a print-maker, an installation artist: a fine artist. I am so grateful for the education and transformation but  four years later I have to admit to myself that I still really want to make illustrated poems and I want to be more whimsical than sophisticated. It took a lot of work to figure out how to get this little book in print but I am really excited about it and the books I have still in the works. Most of all though, I am excited about all the books I haven't even begun yet.

May 14, 2013

Improvisations on a Meditation

I really liked the green meditation painting I did last week so I did some variations of it on handmade paper. I used different things to size the paper in order to see what surface would work best with liquid acrylics. To my surprise liquid acrylics need more size than watercolor paint.

Cover Design Quandry and the Unpracticed Calligrapher

I photographed these this morning to figure out which one I liked the best. I think neither. I still have this challenge that when I grab an edged writing tool my body wants to do the calligraphy I trained it to do years ago while my mind wants to do something more organic and what I end up with is just poor, unpracticed calligraphy, in this case, bookhand. I like the lettering on blue but not so much with the orange. I'm not sure what blocks me from making my lettering really work in my books. I feel like I know how to do it but somehow can't get quite to it. Of course I believe that what is really important is how I approach this and right now I'm being uptight, judgmental and perfectionist, that won't go anywhere nice. When I figure out how to approach this compassionately, I'll let you know.

May 10, 2013

Riverside Maples: Trescape 15

I feel like I made a little progress with this piece in learning how to suggest leaves. I still struggle with painting the leaves that are in the foreground. I just generally do not like painting details but it is one of the best ways to establish that something is closer to the viewer. I really like the painting as its own thing, I just want to develop more skills so I can do more.

It was a really lovely warm day at the park to be out painting, I hope I get more tree paintings done this summer...I started this project 6 months ago and this is number 15. I guess I was imagining that I would be doing several a week when I began, but that's no reason to feel discouraged. Just today I was riding my bike home from the park and when I found myself at a red light with no cars to help me switch the signal. I asked an approaching pedestrian if he would hit the walk signal, explaining light-heartedly that I was too lazy to get off my bike. "Too lazy to get off your bike? he said, what are you talking about, you got ON your bike!" Point taken!

May 7, 2013

Lovejoy News at Jackson-Frazier Wetlands

At Jackson-Frazier Wetlands the cattails melt off their stalks into the marsh as the song and chase of red-winged blackbirds rises from the grass and a chickadee leaves its nest in the dead tree.

May 3, 2013

Patefacia and the Crickets of Kearney Street

The walls turn grey around Patefacia as the light outside grows dim. She is lost again, in her thoughts. 

...On and on until a tiny song slips through the litany and swells into the chorus of crickets.

It is night. Patefacia lays flat watching the callous, pock-marked ceiling, darkness slithering around her still shape like smoke. The bed is soft and does not move underneath her. The window is open and offer no apologies.

Each cricket strums with no notion of improving the song. Patefacia soaks in their chorus, spinning with the great, blue earth.

I still need to get quality photos of this book. I was so excited to finish it I wanted to see it all together. Doing the lettering with a brush was really challenging. I feel like brush script should run across the page like a herd of Lipizzaner horses in the Alps but it is hard to be that free while writing over a painting. I did have some ideas for other ways to integrate the text in my next book.

May 2, 2013

This Week's Meditations

I highly recommend painting as meditation. We have so few venues in our lives where we can play and be spontaneous. Sometimes I just let my hand paint whatever it paints. Other times I follow whatever verbal or visual cues pop into my head. I find it is easier to be spontaneous if I have a large pad of inexpensive watercolor paper, it encourages me to play without worrying about wasting. My favorite paint for this exercise is Prang watercolor pan paints, like the kind most kids have but better quality. Even if you don't want to invest in paint you could do this with just ink and water or strong tea. There are infinite possibilities. One could even do meditations with a number two pencil on paper from the recycle. If you do a visual meditation and feel like sharing I would love to see your pieces. Just email them to alexandra.schaefers at gmail.com with Art Meditation in the subject line. I won't share or save them unless you give me permission.

Apr 29, 2013

Another Illustration Test Run

The words are a bit hard to read on the screen, but they should be just right in an 8'' square book. This is two pages. I can hardly wait to finish this!

Apr 25, 2013


 For a while I was doing watercolor meditations every morning. I would like to keep at it, I just got a little disorganized. These are my favorites.

Apr 19, 2013


I'm working on an illustrated poem that stars crickets. I wanted to see if they still looked like crickets when the page was shrunk...chirp chirp.

Playing with Type

Because I love letterforms, here are pictures of a project where I am combining Garamond with Perpetua and Georgia. So much fun

Apr 11, 2013

New Leaves

The new leaves take over the forest.
The birds as as loud as ever. They never wonder what they are worth. A heart is a heart is a heart.

Apr 4, 2013

How Frogs Sing

Outside frogs sing like stars. Inside stars sing like frogs and the hawk waiting until dusk.

I am almost done with this painting. I still have to add the last half of the of the poem...and some stars, of course. The closer I get to finishing the slower my progress because I get nervous about wrecking things. I thought it would be fun to take a break and share what I've finished so far.

Apr 2, 2013

Treescape 14

There are so many interesting things going on behind these trees and on the surface of these trees I am a little overwhelmed. I feel like I need to go start some new paintings and come back to this later. Below is the plein air shot and the under-painting. I also changed treescape 13 a bit. i like it much better now so it is below as well.

Mar 29, 2013

The Trials and Wonders of Faux Impressionism

I appreciate this painting for the fact that I developed more ability to paint difficult tree scenes but it looks too faux-Impressionist to me. To be truthful, I did just go to the library to look at landscape painting in books. I wanted to see how different folks dealt with establishing foreground and background in the complicated scenes trees usually appear in. I could not help but think that Impressionists really know where it's at when it comes to painting a landscape, but I feel like my work gets gimmicky when I employ such techniques.

I was most drawn to Klimt's landscapes. There were so many moments in his pieces that, if it was a part of my painting I would think...that just doesn't work at all. Which reminds me that half of making good art is knowing when to stop and having the courage to recognize the beauty of what you put down. Anyhow, I was thinking of Klimt's birch trees while I painted these and it looks to me like any number of faux-Impressionist paintings I've seen in my day. I will have to add a new element to my treescape exercise which is to find that mysterious place where my own expressive voice hides. In the meantime I am happy to learn more about how trees rest in the landscape with each other.