Lisa Madson, artist and art teacher, fires up the grill in her studio – her backyard patio – to create her art. Madson transfers the colorful impressions of flowers, leaves, grass and bark and other bits of nature onto heavy-duty watercolor paper; much as nature, over time, leaves images of animals and plants on rock.
It’s called eco-dyeing, a form of printmaking in which she is currently immersed. The process is simple and began in Japan when fishermen dyed fish and pressed them against paper, transferring their images to paper. Madson uses natural elements in a steam bath to alter the colors of her images.
On this day, she soaks the paper in alum to remove the sizing, then loads everything into a broiler pan: first her brew consisting of rusty water made with old nails and metal, some organic carbon like the soot in a woodstove chimney, and black walnuts. She spreads flowers and leaves on paper, folds it and lays it on top of the broiler pan’s grate and puts a lid on it till it steams itself out. After the paper dries she may add to it by painting it with watercolors, then coats with a natural varnish – beeswax and resin – to enhance the color and contrast.
Madson works from her outdoor studio into late fall unless, unlike the postman, it rains, snows or freezes.
Madson’s mother taught her how to draw. Her father was a surveyor and builder of Interstate Route 80 and taught her mapping and geology, and he brought home fossils. She studied art at Montclair State University, worked in galleries, then took family time off, though she always belonged to the Nature Printing Society. Back in art again and teaching at two schools, she says, “It’s been really nice to jump in with both feet. My kids are grown. My life is back.”
Her plans for the future? “To explore to the fullest extent what I can do with eco-dyeing and print-making. And just exploring an interesting process with beautiful results, I want to share it with people.”
Look for her upcoming workshops and check out her upcoming collaborative exhibit, Drawn Together, at the Environmental Educational Center in Basking Ridge, September 2 through October 2. Reception, September 23.
Intersection of Local History and Art: An Exhibition of Lucille Hobbie’s Work
Historic sites give our neighborhoods, downtown areas, and communities a personality that we identify with. They provide us with a sense of place and visual interest.
A renowned chronicler of this sense of place and identity was local artist Lucille Hobbie (1915-2008), who has been lauded as a visual historian-storyteller. Through her artwork, she has contributed to the preservation of historic sites in Morris County that enrich our lives daily. The Boonton native, who was self-taught and had a keen eye for detail, worked primarily in watercolor and lithographic printing.
The prints on display at the County Library are originals from the Morris County Archives, held by the Heritage Commission, and were commissioned for Historic Sites of Morris County, New Jersey. Featured in the exhibit are lithographs from the artist’s “Historic Morris County Series” and pencil sketches that were drawn specially for the publication.
Copies of Historic Sites of Morris County, New Jersey are available to library patrons at the Morris County and local libraries. Copies are also available for purchase from the Heritage Commission at a special exhibition price of $12.00. Contact the Commission by phone at 973.829.8117 or by email at [email protected] to obtain your copy.
The exhibit will be on view in the main lobby from July 9 through August 31. Large print exhibit text is available on request at the circulation desk.
Why exhibit at MCL?
To expand membership in your organization, increase awareness about an important subject, share your collection with other people who share your interests or celebrate a particular event, holiday or anniversary.
What are MCL exhibits about?
We’ve shown all kinds of things! Rock and roll of the 1950s; history of bubble gum; an outstanding doll collection; service history of the USS New Jersey; musical instruments of the world; work of a local Chinese painting group and editorial and political cartooning.
Who exhibits at MCL?
Public and private institutions, collectors, corporations, historical societies, special interest groups, painters, sculptors, photographers or anyone with a shared interest. MCL hosts local juried art shows (Volunteers for Morris County, Roxbury Art Association &c.).
Where are exhibits displayed?
Our primary gallery runs the length of our 1st floor renovated brick building face. The gallery is roofed with skylights, so is airy, light and feels spacious. There are also elevated gallery views from the stairwell landing, up to the second floor, and a second floor overlook through a large window. Additional exhibit space is available on the 2nd floor, near the computers & periodicals area. Display case is located in the first floor lobby.
How do I contact MCL?
Contact our exhibit staff (973-285-6966) to discuss a possible show at the library.
Exhibit policy & application
NOTE: signed application is required before we can accept items.
When can I exhibit at MCL?
Exhibits are generally scheduled eight months to a year in advance. Scheduling hinges on several factors including the type of exhibit, local and annual events, celebratory months and national holidays.
Can I host a reception for my showing?
Yes! You can reserve either the large or small meeting rooms on the first floor for your event. Library will advertise your reception. You are responsible for room set up and refreshments. Please ask your guests to keep their food & beverages in the room.