Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Homecoming. Etching with Chine Colle. 15x18"

Creating this etching was a way to recover a memory of a time when I was seven. The house pictured was actually the house where I was born, a farm house in rural Michigan. My parents had moved away for several years, but then they returned with my sister and me.

Moving there was both scary and exciting and as we explored the empty rooms, there were actually things I remembered from the previous time. And later on, I also remembered the sweet smell of Black-eyed susans and St.Johnswort in the long prairie grass that grew everywhere. I made a reference to that fragrance by including flowers over the house. In the cement porch, I wrote a poem about the memory, (written in reverse to make a readable version) and it became the texture of the decaying cement.

Several printmaking techniques were used. Thin paper was rubbed with pencil over a lace texture to make the curtains. A copy machine was used to copy photos of myself as a baby, the candy bar wrapper, and flowers on rice paper. (the grey areas) These copied shapes were carefully cut out and interspersed with the etched portions of the plate using a method called chine colle, which glues the pieces to the print paper at the same time the inks on the plate are printed.

The backs of the small copied pieces were coated with flour and water paste, and carefully placed. The wet paper is laid over all, covered with press blankets and printed with much pressure. When all works properly, the rice paper copier images stick, and blend perfectly with the etched portions on the print, to give it a two color effect. This is an example of both montage and collage. It is also related to other pieces I have done in the Vintage Montage genre.

At this point I am offering these images as a smaller giclee print, separately numbered.

All images and writing are the sole property of Ruth Zachary.


Friday, October 24, 2008


The Release of Psyche. Etching. 6 x 9"

The depiction of a butterfly in a jar, and releasing it has been an idea which has compelled me more than once. In those instances picturing a child freeing the butterfly, as a Black child seemed appropriate, because our culture has imposed such harsh limitations, especially upon Black children.

Even though the myth about Psyche is thought to be Greek in origin, she supposedly was incarnated as a butterfly, which in many cultures represents metamorphoses.

In some stories, Psyche represents the soul, and the theme of freedom of spirit and the ability to transform and transcend bonds or limitations is a positive metaphor for difficult times.

It is also a wonderful symbol for an artist seeking freedom of expression. At this particular time, it also becomes perfect for me. For several years I felt my way of working had become disconnected from my Source... the images no longer expressed the joy I once felt while working, and I thought the art reflected what I was feeling. Rather than go on making stilted images that projected distortions, I turned to other media and techniques to stimulate a fresh approach to creating. It helped, but I still could not draw freely, as I once had.

This side trip took several years. I would furtively try to express an idea, only to find I was still too impaired to do it well. Last year I did a drawing of a powerful figure of a Native man I had once photographed as a news reporter. My freedom had partly returned, but it wasn't there yet.

Finally, recently when trying to draw the Phoenix, I felt as if I had been released from the old restraints that had bound my mind, and the drawing came easily, like a flood, almost as if a dam had burst. It has taken a decade, and I am glad I was able and willing to follow other directions in the meantime. I have learned a lot. I really believe one has to honor their own best process in the quest to the best work possible.

A California artist, Mary Beth Rapisardo speaks of the "Art of Allowing Art" for the artist wanting to enable his or her connection to Creative Source. Her beautiful paintings express Visions along this Sacred Journey. I recommend visiting her inspiring web site, at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Medicine Woman. Etching image size 16 x 20."

Today I am very pleased to have found an etching completed several years ago, and which is completely sold out. My single remaining print has been in storage. This would be an image I would like to offer as another edition of giclee prints in a different size, about 12 x 15."

Medicine Woman was created to honor women who practice both traditional and non-traditional healing arts. Women, as food gatherers learned about the healing properties of various plants, and so began the practice. Many traditions developed over thousands of years, often including magical lore and rituals in the ways of applying their knowlege.

In the middle ages, men tried to wrest this knowlege and the powers of healing away from women, sometimes naming such wise women as witches, even persecuting and killing them if they persisted in practicing healing. Midwifery was one of the last of the healing arts permitted by women in that period. Male doctors began to be the only people left who had medical knowlege.

It was not until the 1800s that the medical establishment opened a medical school to a woman. Elizabeth Blackwell applied at 28 schools before being accepted at Geneva/Hobart College in New York in 1847, when she was sponsored by Dr. Joseph Warrington, who was highly esteemed, and probably because no one dared offend him.

Images and Writing are the exclusive Copyright of Ruth Zachary.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


October Raspberries. Photo

When thinking about what moves a person to create, sometimes it is nothing more/or less than being immersed in the out-of doors. I love my raspberries, which recall for me happy memories of picking them in the woods, as a child gathering gifts free from Nature. So often I am stimulated by visual cues, but this time I tried to reflect on other senses as well; the sense of touch, smell and taste. I find so often a new metaphor hides under the vines, both for writing and for creating visual imagery.

If an artist or writer can identify the conditions, situations, or rituals which contribute to his or her most creative work (play) then it is wise to make sure those conditions are in place when it is desirable to create. Not everyone sits down at the same time every day to write, or to paint or to......(name your creative favorite... compose?)

My best process means paying attention to my emotion as it connects to a situation, a place, a scene or idea. If I am unable to go to work just then, I at least write down a few words... the place, the feeling, words that come to me, metaphors, etc. I may take a picture, or sketch.

So many times I have gone back to those notes when I have enough time to devote to the idea, and have recaptured the concept and carried it out to completion. For me, my best process is not to simply produce, but to give myself and my process to the creative Source as soon as I am able.

Friday, October 3, 2008


And Who Shall Parent Our Children? Etching. Image about 9 x 12."

A Marbelizing technique was used in this etching. The method is the same as described in the previous post.

The idea was one I had pondered about for a long time. I had worked for a long while as a social worker with deprived families, and encountered more teen age mothers than I liked. So many young mothers love their children, and yet they are still children themselves. Often they have not had time to prepare to be responsible for themselves, let alone their small children.

My own sorrow for their problems cried out for some way to vent itself, and using images was an effective one for me. I did not judge them, but wanted to draw attention to the problem, so perhaps, someone viewing the image would try to intervene and one more young girl would not get pregnant.

Art, for me is not simply about aesthetics. The emotional feeling stimulated by a situation or idea empowers the making of art.

With poetry, this seems true as well. There may be a direct connection between emotion and being able to express an art form. When trying to write, having a strong emotion about the subject enables a connection with the intuitive side, so that words (and images) come into consciousness, and serve almost as a vocabulary for expression. Images seem to be the first language... the preverbal state of awareness.

I am very interested to know, do other kinds of stimuli inspire other artists to express themselves? What are the conditions under which your best art work or writing occur?

All images and writing are the sole property of Ruth Zachary.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Eirene, Guardian of Peace. Etching. 9x12" approx.

The Greek goddess of Peace was the topic of this piece. The
Romans called her Pax, and celebrated her with a procession once a year.

My interpretation shows her as an angel protecting the earth from a bird of prey, symbolizing war or chaos which disturbs peace for world inhabitants.

The marbelized texture on the earth and in the background was created by floating thinned asphaltum on water, and placing the dry un-etched plate carefully on the surface. The tarry substance stuck to the clean plate surface, but did not adhere to it where it was wet.

After the asphaltum was dry, the plate was spray painted, blocked out in areas intended to remain white, and etched in progressive stages. The successive blocking out and etching in stages allowed the acid to make different depths in the surface of the plate. Deeper areas held more ink, printing as darks in the resulting print.

I would be happy to answer any questions not answered, about this process.

All images and writing are the sole property of Ruth Zachary.