Printmaker Sherrie York recently made the move from Colorado to Maine. As a naturalist, Sherrie acclimates to her surroundings by studying them closely, and as an artist, she carves those observations into linoleum, and runs them through her printing press. After adapting to a series of setbacks—a broken press, finding a new studio, and navigating the drying process in the high humidity of Maine—Sherrie is celebrating her new series, Bitty Birds, and additions to her Underfoot series.
Bitty Birds captures the birds York sees outside her window in Colorado and Maine. “My Maine yard list is already over 60 species,” shares Sherrie. “It’s helping me get a feel for my new place. Did you know there are no Magpies east of the Mississippi? Even the birds that are familiar from Colorado can seem like strangers because they actually ‘speak’ a different dialect in the east. That idea of connecting with your home place–it’s been on my mind a lot.”
Sherrie’s Bitty Birds are one-of-a-kind hand painted linocuts inspired by the birds she knows and loves, often those seen at feeders: Western Tanager, Chipping Sparrow, Hummingbird, Black Capped Chickadee. In this series, the linocut is printed in a single-color pass and each one is hand painted. “They started as an experiment when I first got my [new] press and realized I would be able to print on heavier watercolor paper,” remembers Sherrie of the origin. “Once I sorted out the technical issues of printing on heavier paper, I liked the idea of small prints of a more “giftable” size that are fun to hang in groups, like little flocks of birds!”
The move to Maine has also reinvigorated York’s Underfoot series, capturing the perspective of looking straight at your feet. Sherrie started the series after a series of minor accidents as she tripped in ditches or fell through bridges as she looked up at birds. “It’s a joke that I tell: I started the series because I needed to watch where I was going,” laughs Sherrie. “Its’ about understanding place and looking straight down at your feet. What do you see?” Sherrie’s newest addition to the series, Interlace, is a capture of a “very woodsy, riparian, edge country landscape” with Mexican Hat, Brown Eyed Susan’s, and Rice Grass. If you look carefully, you’ll note the white of the rice grass, a feat in the printmaking world, as it is the first carve made, remaining white only through perfect registration.
Sherrie is featured this month in Balancing Acts in Bronze & Ink at Ann Korologos Gallery in Basalt, CO, The Relief Prints of Sherrie York at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton, Massachusetts, and in Collector’s Focus: Women Artists (p. 75) in the June edition of Western Art Collector.