This week I have been trying to focus on my linocut. It may not be as exciting for folks to see as photographs, messy paint globs or pink and purple crowned octopi but I am pleased with the progress. I realized even going out to photograph a quick landscape or document deserts was distracting me from the big project I was working on. Now I have a week prior to my next print group meeting and I want the plate to be complete so I can print. Carving is physically and mentally exhausting. Each cut matters, even in the areas you think will print as paper white, you may end up picking up the carving lines. These carving lines then become objects and can have visual, compositional or conceptual meaning (or all three). With this in mind, I pretend each cut will print.
Many new artists do not consider the conceptual end of their work and if they do, they often only consider the overall story or feeling of the piece. They do not consider the media and how that affects the meaning and the voice of your subject on hand. In this piece I am experimenting with the voice of three main characters, the man, the woman and the tree. The landscape is the container for these characters. I choose to carve the man with more angular lines while the tree and the woman have curving flowing lines. I wanted the tree and the woman to visually connect and almost blend together as one. This is a new approach for me as I usually unify each print with a similar style of carving throughout the plate. With any print there is an element of unknown and it may work or may not. I cannot wait to see how it pans out next Saturday.
I am so excited about print group next week. I am thrilled to finally get a new carving printed but even more I am excited to see all the wonderful women in the group. Last semester was so difficult I was not able to make it to print group and I missed it desperately. Moving to a small town from the city was a difficult transition especially after living in that city for 12 years and leaving childhood friends and a close community that meant so much to me. Small towns are wonderful but often difficult to break into the network that is tightly bound from generations upon generations living in the same area. I made matters worse by taking on school while pregnant and caring for my oldest. If I was not running after them or cleaning the house, I was stuck in front of the computer coding or working on design projects.
After my youngest was born I decided I had to get out into the world and meet some friends. I found the Council for the Arts, where I now teach photography and printmaking classes on the side. This led me to the print group. The print group consists of all women ranging in age from 39 (me) to 90+. We have two women who are brilliant artist who are still scratching away on their etching plates. Most of the women working are semi-retired or retired and enjoy their grown children and grandchildren. It is nice to get their artistic and personal advice. Plus, they are a rowdy bunch and some of their stories will leave blushing and in stiches. I have such respect for these women, they are all so different but they come together and work on their art. They are always there to help and they are always there to hear you (if they can). What I love the most is they still are working on what they love and they are still learning. They revel in a new process or a new technique. I hope I will still be an advocate and voice for the arts in my later years. I hope I am still so willing to learn and still feel inspired by the things I love. When I am ninety; my plan is to ride my crazy pink bike with a huge hat on and my art supplies on the basket in the front. The basket will be decorated with garish and embarrassing trinkets. I will garden, paint (horribly still I am sure of it), print, play in the dirt, and take pictures. I want to be the epitome of the old crazy lady in the funny hat. I am sure my husband can’t wait. So let the crazy-lady training commence; there is work to be done.