I like my newsprint backing paper looks better than my prints! When my watercolor test strips look more interesting than the finished painting.
Quicky collagraph of a little house in red and yellow. Concept to print in under a day. Collagraphs are about as instant gratification one can get in the printmaking world. Now I need to give them about a week to dry before I can draw on them without smudging the ink. Good thing I set up a handy drying rack string using some twine and binder clips. Totally out of the way of my work so they can hang there indefinitely. In the meantime I am working on another couple of cardboard collagraph plates to print this week. My art studio is my happy space.
Not sure what we are planning on stamping for Easter. Never heard of cards for Easter or welcoming Spring. But my kids love stamps and they will love these homemade stamps. I've been focused on so many different mediums that it is causing me to take a few too many trips to the art store. While I am having great fun exploring watercolor and collagraph printing and drawing more than ever it is getting to be a bit of an expensive habit and not really inline with the minimalist philosophy. I don't see anything exactly wrong with buying supplies to make stuff. But I should question what I need before I do so. My storage space is far from unlimited. So for this week I will be focusing on materials that I have that I have been neglecting. Stamp making is easy and fun and something that I can do with the kids. These materials were literally sitting in a drawer untouched for years. I have not shown these new stamps to my girls yet. Can't wait to see their faces and see what we make together.
It was the summer of 2004 that I took the printmaking class that changed me. I went into the Mass Art class taught by Annie Silverman an inactive printmaker that had been into lithography in art school but didn't have many prospects of printing in that medium post-graduation. I left that class obsessed with woodblock printmaking and saving up for a still expensive but totally doable printing press designed for relief, intaglio, collagraph, monotypes and pretty much every printmaking type except for the stone lithography I studied at school. Nearly ten years of carving and printing these blocks of wood and I don't miss lithography much at all. These years of printing has led to a lot of carved images and I have my favorites. The advantages of wood for carving is that it is durable, keeps for nearly forever and is easy to store. Woodblock printing is still my favorite method of making art and it is the one that I always come back to.
Working with my kid has been a wonderful experience so far. Often I feel that my drawing gets too tight and controlled and I am just not a strong enough draftsman to work that rigidly. My strengths lie more in color than in line. Yet it is hard for me to loosen up and I struggle and get stuck. Collaborating with my six year old and sometimes even just letting go and handing her the woodblock and a pencil has been exactly what I needed to let go and loosen up. She is thrilled to see her lines translated to print form on beautiful paper with beautiful colors and I have noticed her drawing getting stronger and her artistic passion increasing. And my style still shines through all of it. Turns out we make a pretty great team.
It may look pretty but it is trash and my storage is not unlimited. And I am supposed to be into minimalism. Sometimes I hate having to throw out some of the trash that I end up in my studio. Not because I am super committed to recycling but some of it is rather beautiful and I get attached. Whenever I print I put a piece or two of newsprint behind my inked woodblock to catch any excess around the edges of the print paper. Then I save it and let it dry and use it when I print again. Dozens of these sheets going at a time. I can easily use them twenty times before they start to break down. By then they are a rainbow of color and and a variety of images. Accidentally arranged. Sometimes they can be quite beautiful. But on newsprint? I've tried to recreate the same effect on good paper with less than magical results. So I save the newsprint for awhile. Photograph them and try to use them as wrapping paper whenever I can. But sometimes they just have to get tossed. And it hurts, but what else am I supposed to do?
Magic is a pretty silly concept right? Mermaids, butterflies and unicorns are all quite silly according to the adult world filled with healthy diets, mortgages and responsibility. Thankfully my six year doesn't yet live in that world and I can lean over her shoulder and daydream along with her. We are having so much fun working together as a team.
Looking for my tribe on the internet and in the blog world. Reconnecting with some print making blogs that I used to follow before my children were born. There are some really great artists that I have been missing out on during these years I have been so busy with my small children. In particular I am feeling a bit disappointed that I missed out on this large collaborative puzzle block from 1000 Woodcut artist Maria Arango. Each zone is a puzzle piece that has been mailed off and carved by a different artist and then mailed back to be printed together. It looks really neat and I regret not having it together enough to sign up for it a year or two ago. Now I know that I need to keep my eye out for upcoming projects like this and maybe even eventually start one of my own. In the meantime I will keep making art, keep blogging, keep connecting with others and start a blog roll reading list on my website.
I'm a printmaker. Sadly a lot of people out there don't know what that means. But people that I meet are generally pretty eager to learn and that is why I do things like being carved blocks of wood to shows. The internet is a little trickier but I aim to show what I do rather than just the end result here on my blog. These days being a printmaker and a mom means squeezing time to draw, carve and print in during nap times and the precious few moments I have alone during the week. Earlier this week I had two hours to print, but today that time was taken by errands and other family obligations. And nap is not happening. Printing is the hardest activity to plan for because I can't just pick it up and I can't just drop it at a moments notice. It's messy. I pull my hair back and wear an apron. And I still end up with ink smears all over. There just aren't enough hours in the day. In life and in art I do what I can with the time that I have.