I'm having such fun learning to layer colors, textures and patterns on watercolor paper and sketch journals with these acrylic inks and paints! This was a few lessons worth of layering. The red rectangle was done with a mouth atomizer through heavy plastic (gutter guard) mesh, masked off with tape. The little woman character was from a sketch I did, transferred to printmaking paper and then colored with leftover dabs of diluted ink. Her hat and sandals are painted with gold gesso. The white paint over fleur de lis patterned stencil will receive journaled story or notes later.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Digging through a box of family photos recently, I pulled out what felt like a small brick from under a stack of prints from the 1980s. It was a carved, wood-mounted linoleum block for printing I had created around 1975. The edges of the surface were slightly chipped here and there, but generally in fair shape. The image was an intertwined couple, seated on the floor. It took me back to memories of linoleum block carvings my mother and my older sister had done in the mid- to late-'50s, for printing on cards or as indelible identification inside the cover of books we owned. I had done some in my teens, also, and then in my twenties, in the '70s. It was an art form I hadn't continued again.
Coincidentally, a neighbor friend had gathered with other mutual friends to share recently the linoleum block carving techniques the neighbor had learned at a workshop in Canada. I was disappointed I was going to miss the gathering, and was determined to get back some of that block-printing mojo anyway. Another friend heard me express this interest and directed me toward an online class teacher in Lino Block Printing, Tracey Fletcher King. I will be eternally grateful to that friend, as I am enjoying the class, and have learned how linoleum carving tools, materials and techniques have evolved since the 1970s! Don't you just love when things fall together like that?
The prints above are Shaman Woman and Shaman Man artist proofs. Some of my homework from Tracey's classy class.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
It's been a relief to read from many of the Facebook artist friends I have around the world that my Mystery Of The Missing Muse symptoms aren't unique. It's been painful to be in the studio when she's not there. I settle into the normal routine. The paints, pencils and pens surround me, my favorite Gregorian chants on the CD player, a cup of tea at the ready standby (but not too close to the paint water jar). Birds attacking the bird feeder outside my window like it was the last day before a nuclear winter. All those perfect conditions. After an hour of shuffling collage papers and organizing my paints....crickets. Not a whisper from the Muse. Paper looks like paper. Watercolors look like stuff in tubes. Or a mess on a palette. No magic.
My dear friend Linda and I have been in long conversations regarding Muse Traps, recently. What to do to tempt the Muse into getting involved again. We've pretty much agreed Ms. "M" doesn't like formality much. She's a sucker for play and novelty. She is a kid in her essence, and quite seductive. This is why she is so often found in the company of children. I remember that. As scary as my mom or the elementary school principal was, their authority was outranked by the whisperings of the Muse.
What would a kid do in my studio shoes? I brought down the metal lunch pail I keep my stamping sheets and pads in from the supply shelf. I found recently that these intricately patterned rubber sheets meant for impressing Precious Metal Clay jewelry (you can find them on www.cooltools.us, they have small and larger ones) were perfect for stamping ink. And they are wide enough for some serious (oops, sorry, Ms. M) playful applications. And if I take a sheet of paper towel and carefully tear an opening out of the middle and use as a template to stamp through onto my sketchpad or watercolor paper, I can do multiple images that afterward lend themselves to all kinds of fun and embellishment.
Ms. M is leaning against the door frame of the studio, pretending she's not stealing glances at my stamping fun.
Friday, January 6, 2017
This morning my husband and I watched out the kitchen window, bemused, while a small squirrel wore itself to a frazzle, defending the hanging new birdfeeder from hungry birds, who flocked from all zones of the frozen forest to restore the calories their little bodies had used up getting through the night. Squirrel can’t even stop and enjoy the seed, as there are so many others who are waiting to take it from him. His poor little brain is scorched from the worry and vigilance and anger. Because Squirrel had become bolder in recent months in asking us to donate to its well-being, to the point it was nearly underfoot as we walked up and down our porch stairs (we did little to encourage this behavior), the squirrel regarded anything we offered Nature as it’s own personal stash. An intelligent and self-serving little bugger, Squirrel had a longer range plan in mind for it’s getting through the cold months. Most seed it gathered was put into the ground as soon as possible. The various branches of The First Savings Bank of Mulch. This is a tactic that has served squirrels quite well for millennia, I am sure. And not being tribal creatures by nature, their nature is to take care of themselves. Period. Sharing the wealth is not an option. Their future is not the wellbeing of community, their future is stored seed at a time when there is no food, and snow and ice cover everything.
And so Squirrel has no alternative, with this artificially-provided container of seed, than to chase off all the other creatures that want to share from it also. For Squirrel, this container of seed is likely all that will be, ever. Squirrel can’t remember that somehow, there was always a fresh container of food that magically appeared. Every day. Squirrel can't even reflect on the forest being heavy with fir cones, full of seeds. Faced with accumulated wealth, Squirrel is also faced with the fear it can be taken away.
Squirrel is not evolved enough to have a Faith.