Suze’s Art News March 2021

Coming Up in the Next Quarter…

Climacteric Confluence, at Columbia City Gallery, Seattle March 26-May 9. Together with Melissa KochAnna McKee and Juliette Ripley-Dunkelberger, this exhibit addresses aspects of our climate crisis. The first word means, “a critical period or event” or “having extreme and far-reaching implications or results; critical.” It will include five of my burned tree paintings and six artist books from the bark beetle series.

Photo of Suze Woolf painting of burned tree
Seamed, varnished watercolor on torn paper, 51.5” H x 9.5” W (shown rotated)
Bark Beetle Book Volume 33: Hyphae, 14”H x 6”W x 8”D, Half-round log, handmade and commercial papers, abaca fiber. Based on the idea that fungi mycelium provide access to nutrients from otherwise indigestible wood. Because they leave a bluish stain on the sapwood, the endpapers are blue.

Bugs Aplenty, at The Elisabeth Jones Art Center, Portland OR April 1 – May 23. They had so great a response to their call for insect-related art that they divided the show into two sections. Two of my bark beetle books will be in the second; the first is here.

Forest Decomposition (Volume XIII) Beetle-inscribed bark embedded in epoxy resin covers; laser-cut mat board pages with tea-dyed rice paper and pyrography; viscose endpapers, linen thread 9″H x 8″W x 4″D closed
Bark Beetle Book Vol. XIV Ars datum est (Volume XIV). Fir-engraver-inscribed log; laser-cut mat board; paint; linen thread. 16.5″H x 5″ diameter, closed. Each page is essentially a bar from a bar chart representing the areas affected in British Columbia and Alberta from 1999-2007.

I’m honored to be included in the National Watercolor Society’s annual members’ exhibit, which will be virtual May 1 – June 27. They chose Goodell Creek Cedar, which is proving to be one of my most popular burned tree portraits ever. This same painting received a first-place award at Ida Culver Broadview’s Earth, Wind and Fire exhibit last quarter.


I’ll also be in the Northwest Watercolor Society’s membership exhibit with the burned tree portrait below; it will be online at www.nwws.org, beginning with a virtual opening at 7 pm on April 22, and up through June 30.

This is the first painting in this long series that involved substantial mechanical engineering for its physical display: I had to figure out a way to include the free-standing fragile branches. A matching stiff backing for each bundle of branches was laser-cut from acrylic and attached to a backing plate that rests above the hanging cradle on back of the trunk’s mounting board.

I’m so pleased with how the branches look that my next tree painting, still in progress, will have hundreds of them!


Science Stories: A Collaboration of Book Artists and Scientists, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA, will be virtual until September 1, then physical in the Collins Memorial Library October 1, 2021 – January 15, 2022. My pieces, Obligate Mutualism and Resource Competition, have short videos about them linked from the site.

For the same effort I have also been acting as designer/book artist to a collaboration between Professor Daniel Burgard, a chemist working on environmental monitoring through wastewater sampling, and photographer James Oker, on Working Up Stream.


For June through early September, the San Francisco Center for the Book and the San Francisco Public Library are hosting an exhibit called “Reclamation.” Two of my beetle books, Survivorship and Beetle Graph, will be in it.

Bark Beetle Book Vol. XXVII: Survivorship. Log (likely white bark pine) with mountain pine beetle galleries, laser-cut bamboo, offset-printed text with inked-in mountain pine beetle galleries, brass binding post. 9.5″ diameter, 6″ H. Based on a paper by Six et al.: ~7% of white bark pines in a research tract survived mass attack by mountain pine beetles. DNA analyses of the survivors showed they made fewer of certain volatile organic compounds that the beetles perceive. The interior pages of the book have been printed with “ASCII art” of the mRNA encoding for monoterpene synthase, one of those compounds. Like the trees that survived, the proportion of dark, low-contrast (“quiet”) to light, high-contrast (“noisy”) pages in the book is 7/100.
Bark Beetle Book Volume XXXI: Beetle Graph. Douglas fir branches, laser-cut wood, laser-print transfers, bronze rings. 86″H x 18″W x 3″D. Each branch is a bar from a bar graph of the most destructive bark beetles in Washington State from 2008-2018.

In October 2021 through January 2022, Tim Musso’s giant woodcuts about bark beetles and forests, Jim Frazier’s bas-relief glyphs based on their galleries, and my bark beetle books will be shown together in “Below the Bark, at the Missoula Art Museum in Missoula, MT.  Artist talks and student STEAM activities are being planned around the exhibit. I’ll have more to report more in my next mailing.


If the creek and the COVID don’t rise, I’m excited to be teaching a floating workshop to benefit Great Old Broads for Wilderness on a San Juan River rafting trip May 15-19. If you are interested there might be one or two spots left.

Cedar Mesa from Goosenecks State Park. Watercolor on paper, 15″ x 11″ (sold)
If you turned around and looked down from here, you’d be looking down on the the San Juan River, and a canonical example of goose necks shown in many geology textbooks. This where the river trip and workshop will be.

And last but not least, I will once again be teaching a 2-day watercolor landscape class through Seattle’s Gage Academy June 12-13. It will likely be a few weeks before it is posted on their workshop calendar.

Norse Peak Burn from the Deep Creek Trail, watercolor on paper, 15″ x 11″

I’ve had some inspiring conversations with people who have reached out to me about the bark beetle books—artist and entomology professor Barrett Klein at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, poet and novelist-to-be Sean Petrie, and I’ve been reading Jody Gladding’s poetry in Translations from Bark Beetle. You never know where your artwork will take you!


Keep your chin up and stay safe!