Well here it is, the moment you all have been waiting for, my first print (kind of) complete. I pulled my test print this morning in my kitchen while Matt and the kids snuggled and watched a movie. I did not make it to print group this morning. Matt had just come home after 2 weeks of travel, there was snow on the ground and it just felt completely wrong to leave. He does not usually travel this much but he had back-to-back trips to Vegas and then to Tucson. He had a good time on both business trips but we all missed each other. It is difficult to get all the work done in the evenings, get dinner on the table, kids to bed and then hit computer to work on my freelance and fine art work. I have been trying to get my workouts done during the day but it is not always possible so there are nights like tonight where I am working, running and doing art after the girls are asleep. It can make for a very long day. A peril of working from home but one that is well worth it to our family unit.
I was so happy that I was still able to complete my plate and pull a print this morning. It was interesting trying to roll out oil base block ink in the kitchen. Some would say frightening and with little fingers reaching up it really is borderline insanity. I successfully printed the plate and cleaned up without turning my children or home into a black oil splotch. I have printed at home before but in our garage. The weather has been so cold it really was not an option to print in there. It would have been a little uncomfortable for me but the linoleum block and ink get hard and difficult to work with in the cold. It sufficed for today and I should be able to make it to the future print groups this semester. I feel as if I have abandoned my print group but they are printing happily away without me. Their production level is astounding.
I am fairly happy with the print in its current state but I have a few areas I want to carve out and clean up. I am very happy with the carving on the female figure, I knew I was pleased with this area even before the print. The surprise was the mountain peak meeting the sky. That area is really strong and it is an area I carved without a clear sense of how the figure and ground was going to work.
When I was teaching high school art, I did linocuts with my freshman. Yes, another borderline insane activity. Let’s give a bunch of hormonal fourteen year olds blades and teach them to carve. Guess what? Those hormonal fourteen year olds made brilliant linocut. With the exception of a nick or two in 4 years everyone survived unscathed. My students would be annoyed to know that I left areas of the drawing unplanned. I forced them to sketch out the entire drawing and then block out what areas were to be the figure (or left as raised linoleum) and what was to be ground (or the areas that were to be carved away). This age group can be very impatient but planning is a critical part of any major art project. Even if the painting or drawing itself is spontaneous there is practice and test done ahead of time. I always had a solid body of work from my students and I attribute it to my focus on proper planning, preparation and process. Sexy, I know.
My plan for this week is to work on cleaning up the plate and starting another project. I want to work on an illustration and my plan was to start a very complex digital illustration. When I was printing today, I pulled out my paper and found some beautiful drawing paper. My next project might be an analog form again. I am trying to follow my inspiration as I realize the logical planning side can sometime hold you back from following your intuition. Plus, I have a ton of pretty, pretty, paper that is calling my name and has been sadly set aside for too long. We will see where this week leads me.