I am participating in the #100daychallenge over on Instagram for the second year in a row. Last year was florals, this year is patterns. I am not giving myself any restrictions in terms of materials/ media used or format this time around so there is a lot of room to explore, grow and do things on the go when needed. I hope you join me.
Back in late December I started keeping a simple inexpensive soft cover sketchbook for thumbnail sketches and experiments. That book is now full and has had a big impact on my work. Now I leave room in all my sketchbooks to experiment and play and my work is better off for it. Thank you messy book!
Do I want to spend it being afraid taking timid steps? No I do not! Today is my birthday and this morning I asked myself what I wanted to do with my day and this is the answer I received. And this time I listened to it and was rewarded for my willingness to push past the fear, play and experiment.
And hopefully holding onto it for a bit. Hard with my kids home from school all week making studio time scarce. But things are clicking for me right now.
Back when I got into woodblock printmaking a started with small trading card size woodblock prints to play around with. Great for low commitment idea generating and play. Seems that I am at it again but with watercolor painting this time. Tiny portraits and other small scale paintings.
Shelving is up and my printmaking tool pegboard is up. That makes me officially moved in to my new space in England!
I like my newsprint backing paper looks better than my prints! When my watercolor test strips look more interesting than the finished painting.
I was tired and wanted to go to bed as soon as the kids went to bed. I wanted them to go to bed early so I could go to bed early. Then they ended staying up drawing together in their room so I wandered back to my studio to tinker with some paintings. I am glad I kept going. Once I get through my to do list I will start putting watercolors up on my Etsy shop. I am nervous about listing these new creation as I still very much consider myself a student when it comes to watercolor. But I was a student with printmaking too not all that long ago.
One more sleep at home in Boston. On Wednesday morning I leave for Maine and will get to spend five days at Haystack. But my art life has been full since before Haystack. Just this past weekend I got to take a Japanese Printmaking workshop at the local Elliot school and it was great fun, intense work going from sketch to block to print all in a too short weekend. But I learned so much and I do want to do more with it now that I understand the basics of the technique. Carving the block was basically the same as I now it, but printing was completely different. Very painterly and flexible which was great fun. But with the ticking clock of the water based inks quickly drying out stressing me out. I came home exhausted both physically and mentally both nights. I have six original prints to show for the weekend and an itch to make more. The woodblock printing that I am much more familiar with is western style printing on various papers with oil based ink and a printing press. No painterly fun like the Japanese moku hanga, but also once I lay out the oil based ink to work with it is good all day long with little risk of it drying out. I would love to print these blocks with my oily methods to compare, but then I wouldn't be able to go back to the waterbased inks.
Now that Open Studios is over with I can start planning for the next big event(s) in my art life. On Monday I completed sketchbook #6 and started sketchbook #7 and them almost immediately felt sketchbook paralysis. Not on the first page since I start the first page the same every time with a collection of colors, my name and number and a quote to inspire me. But after page number three or four I started to feel blocked. The perfect cure was a walk around the Arnold Arboretum here in JP collecting fallen leaves. Now I need to paint them and their gorgeous fall colors in my sketchbook before they all turn brown! Following that is a workshop on Moku Hanga Japanese printmaking workshop at the Elliot School here in JP this weekend. Back to printmaking I go but with a big change in learning a new technique that I have been interested in for years now. In a week I will be in Maine...
Are weekends supposed to be relaxing? I must be doing something wrong then. This weekend didn't go poorly, but it didn't go smoothly either and now it is gone and I am back to the week where I have to squeeze in time for art. I drew a fair amount over the weekend and the past week. Even went back and finished and fixed up a couple of abandoned sketchbook drawings and got them to a place where I can be happy. Yet I still feel impatient with my watercolor and drawing skills.
The need to print again is growing stronger. I haven't had the chance since summer vacation started. I don't want to work with older blocks I want to take my growing drawing skills to a new block of wood and get lost carving and printing it. Maybe I will try my hand at white line printmaking. I have a few ideas for subjects and I should have blocks of wood that are big enough but not too big hanging around my studio.