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Dark Boomer Treasure And Martha Hull

Created by Martha Hull

Created by Martha Hull

A Noir Memoir And Dark Boomer Treasure.

The last time I thought so hard about the alphabet was someone asking, “Who told you to write? Who said you could write?”

My answer, “Dad, what’s the big deal? I know the alphabet.”

I sang the alphabet song to prove it.

“Son,” he said, “you’re an English major at the University of Oregon. I figured you knew the alphabet.”

But his confidence was shaken. As the first in his entire family to earn a college degree, he had expectations of his kids.

Turns out I didn’t know the alphabet as well as I thought. Neither do you, boomer, but there’s help in the dark boomer treasure.

The first time I saw Martha Hull’s book, Untimely Death Alphabet, I flashed back to the underground comics of the sixties.UD_Letter_E_finish_web[1]

If you’re a Portland baby boomer who thinks all the good ideas were swept away in a digital explosion, it’s time to reconsider. No one’s asking you to make changes, but you will.

Is Martha a throwback to earlier times?

This interview suggests as much.

In real life she’s as sharp as a scratchboard knife. If you sat across from her at your bank discussing investments, you’d feel in good hands.

The same feeling comes with her art. Take a close look and you’ll recognize a master at work. That’s what happens when an artist focuses their vision. They control the view from light and shadow to every line on the page.

It’s no accident that Hull’s work is so carefully realized. In the gallery world it’s called skill. Or craft.

What forces her to create her unique body of work? The real question is why aren’t you working on your own body of work?

An artist does the work, the rest of the world eventually catches up. If you don’t know Martha Hull by her work, click here to jump ahead of the crowd.

NW Boomer got a look behind the scenes on what a serious artist does. At a meeting with other entrepreneurs under the tutelage of Better Smarter Richer’s Jackie Peterson, success is a plan, not a dream.

The unusual part is the dream quality of Hull’s work.

How often do you see someone so good, yet planning for the future? And that’s the difference maker. That is the dark boomer treasure.

She sees something you see, but you just don’t know it yet.

When you buy the Untimely Death Alphabet, it starts with A for awesome.

After that, hang on. It’s a great ride.


About David Gillaspie


  1. I’m sometimes asked about how I made the images for Untimely Death Alphabet, as folks don’t see a lot of scratchboard these days. Scratchboard is clay-coated paper with a smooth coat of black ink over the top. You basically subtract the image from the paper, focusing on drawing highlights.

    I have a set of special tools and exacto blades I use. I draw the image small in my AquaBee sketchbook (made in Beaverton, Oregon!) using soft lead in a nice automatic pencil.

    Then I scan it up and blow it up, then trace the image onto the scratchboard using white transfer paper. Gentle use of a gummy eraser cleans any unwanted marks. Mistakes are happily rare, but minor corrections can (and have) been made with black acrylic ink.

    You can’t work on this too many hours in a row or your eyes stop focusing and your wrist will hurt. No animals except the artist were harmed in the making of this book.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hey Martha,

      You make scratchboard sound so easy. When the results come out so intricate, easy isn’t part of that conversation. In a post about the architect Michael Graves my research included a talk he did about the language of architecture. What I like about your work is the Renaissance-language it sings.

      Scratchboard language seems like it could include sand art and the whole idea of working with negative space,

      The way you focus the light on each page makes it feel like each one is a personal revelation. Turning the page builds on that until the viewer is hooked.

      Maybe you can’t work on it for too many hours without eye strain, but your fans won’t be able to look away. That’s how it’s supposed work, and does.

      Has this ever happened?

      “Awkward Moments Only Artists Understand”

      Thanks for coming in.

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