Dance, ladies dance!

It’s coming into the Christmas season, and that means adding to my ’12 Days of Christmas’ greeting card series. I began this series quite innocently.

LINDA COTE-Partridge in a Pear Tree Christmas CardThe first in the series began with the infamous ‘Partridge in a Pear Tree’. The plan was to add one card a year. In the beginning one, two and even three subjects on a 5″ x 7″ greeting card seemed to work well.

Then I came up against the ‘Six Geese a Laying’. Fitting that many characters on a small card was challenging — and it wasn’t going to get any easier from here.

To date, I am up to ‘Nine Ladies Dancing’, and although I had a fabulous idea from a friend to make them ladybugs, I just couldn’t get the design right. Dancing ladybugs are not an easy subject!

So I switched to bears in tutus. Ya, I know, much easier, right? I’m not sure why dancing lady bears somehow came to mind…but I had to run with it. Cards are where I play in my art practice. I somehow feel that I can be a bit more goofy and not take my self so seriously on a greeting card.

So, bears it is. Here is how I created my ‘Nine Ladies Dancing’ card.

LINDA COTE-9 ladies block

The drawing on tissue, transferred to the block. I knew the bears would be mostly black, so only needed the outline as a guide.

LINDA COTE-Block Progress1

I begin by carving most of the outlines of the bears, but then get caught up in the detail. It’s pretty organic…once I am in the zone of carving, there is no methodical approach.

LINDA COTE-Block Progress2

Progress along the way. Most of the outlines done.

LINDA COTE-Block Progress3

More of the piece carved, with the dancer’s dresses flipping up. The belly buttons were a late addition.

LINDA COTE-Block Progress4

The block is complete, ready for inking.


Inking the block to pull the first proof.

LINDA COTE-Nine Ladies Printed

The first proof looks good, so off I go, printing about 15 cards. For Christmas cards, I batch-print them as I need them. I’m already getting Christmas orders from some of the five locations I supply with cards. Our town bookstore, Cafe Books, one of the locations that sells my cards in Canmore says they have had requests for Christmas cards already!

LINDA COTE-Nine Ladies Drying

Here is the newest card hanging with other Christmas cards drying on the line. For the Five Golden Rings cards, I hand-paint the rings with gold paint for that extra bit of sparkle!

LINDA COTE-Nine Ladies Dancing

Although I create many other Christmas themes (snowmen, Santas, and more), the ’12 Days’ greeting card series can be found here on my Facebook page 12 Days of Christmas. Next up: Lords ‘a Leaping! Any guesses what that might be?


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