Friday, May 14, 2010

Always Know Where You’re Going

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Always Know Where You’re Going: Never Forget Where You Came From, gelatin monotype and linocut relief print on 9x12 Stonehenge paper.

I’ll be quiet for the next few weeks, as I’ll be attending the Cambridge Printmaking Fair and Print Sale June 5th, at the Cambridge Gallery. I’ll get 6 feet of wall space and a six foot table to fill—sounds wonderful but framing all that art intimidates me, and I want my newest work in the gelatin prints to take centre stage. That means I have tons of work to do, printing, carving and ACK! framing.

As I will be focussing on this, I may not be able to get to comment on blogs. Twitter is quick, so I may natter there. No long blog posts here, either. I may add a photo or two. I promise, bloggers, I will catch up when I’m done, and sneak peaks through google reader in the meantime. Happy spring, everybody.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Something Green

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Complaining about the weather is something of a national sport, but this weekends cold spring rains revealed remarkable beauty. I wish I could describe all the shades of green I saw while walking along the south border of Glen Major Tract, Uxbridge, but I’m left speechless. All I can really say is that every single shade of green that I did see was distinctly luminous. Unlike many artists, I actually love the flat light that illuminates the forest on overcast days. Colour and shape take centre stage, without the contrast of light and shadow to distract the eye.

We’ve had some appropriately wet weather in the past few days, and I’m mesmerized by the glowing greens. I’m determined to make this the subject of my next mixed media/coloured pencil piece, but I dither. Green is not the easiest colour to handle. Some artists even avoid it all together, usually with the pithy excuse that it somehow to ‘common’ or ‘obvious’ a colour, and that an artist should see beyond—yeah, whatever. This probably explains why most of my pieces are winter scenes when you can really get playful with colour, but now I’m determined to tackle the colour green.

Below, some ATC’s where I’m desperately trying to work things out before I commit to a larger piece.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Of Mothers, Fathers and Mentors

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As I drag an assortment of beer cans home to add to my collection, I think of how much others in my life influence my actions. I’m not talking of peer pressure—I was never one to bend to it, not even in resistance. I have never, for instance, worn odd socks on purpose. But there are people that have left their marks upon me forever.

The obvious, of course, would be parental. Yesterday, in pouring rain and dire cold, I hiked through the local woodlands. As a teenager, my parents didn’t recognize this gangly stranger (I was gangly, way back when), but here I am, an adult just past it’s ‘best before’ date, leading a lifestyle that would be 100% parent approved if they were only here to witness it, as I walk in the woods, rain or shine, summer through winter, and all the stuff in between. And while I don’t own a cottage in the traditional sense (as in recreational extra home), I live in one as primary and only residence. And so, one foot in front of the other, I follow in their footsteps.

What surprises me most, however, are the others in my life that have moulded me just as much. My most frugal friends who live in the woods in a cabin without road access, for instance. Their extreme frugality has allowed them a life full of the luxuries that really count; watching the sun go down in their lakeshore gazebo or watching opera (served with wine and cheese) on their 16” TV, or reading and discussing fine literature gleaned from used book stores and library sales. There’s is an example I have emulated on many (but less extreme) levels, finally including, reaching down every so often to pick up a discarded beer can for the future pleasure of getting a few dollars more when I haul in my cache.

And how can I miss the latest of mentors to change the course of my life, with, among other things, the gift of ink, encouragement and sage advice.

Happy Mothers Day, Moms and Mentors alike.

Image: Gelatin print, 9x12, work in progress, this one sit as is until some new carves come to mind. I’ve learned the hard way not to hurry to ‘finish’ a print, but to set it aside, and revisit later.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Every Life Is Its Own Universe

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Eastern Newt, Red Eft (terrestrial phase), seen on the trail in Uxbridge, Glen Major Tract

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4x6 Gelatin Print & linocuts. I promised the little newt that he’d be a linocut (although that sounds like a threat) and if you look close, you’ll see a bit of salamander in the print amongst lots of other creeping and crawling ground things. The phrase “Every life is its own universe” is a particular belief of mine, that we all process the information of our world in our own way, so no two perceived ‘realities’ are the same. I figure it extends all the way down and respecting life is a duty. It doesn’t mean I’m a vegetarian or would never slap a mosquito. Death is part of the deal, as is eat and be eaten; it’s more a philosophical nuance that leaves plenty of room for personal hypocrisy.

This postcard is going to Postcards to the G8, Muskoka, Ontario, hoping to nudge up the importance of the environment, one can always hope. There is still time to participate (due May15th)

And if you want to know more about the little guy in the photo, here’s a good source: Animal Diversity

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Primitive Thoughts - gelatin printmaking

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Almost prolific. My coloured pencil works are few and far between. They take a long time to do (and I probably spend more time staring out the window than I ought to). How refreshing to discover gelatin printmaking, where I get play with colour for the sheer joy of it, where I can use found objects, and old linucuts alike to create new and original works of art in the space of hours as opposed to days/weeks. It invokes playfulness and experimentation and a real sense of freedom and joy in the process (until I add that one layer too many-duds are part of the process).

So now, instead of having not enough art to post, it’s a matter of ‘which one’ and also time, as I’m spending more time printing than blogging.

Here we have my ‘China’ linocut put back to work to create a series of background layers. I cut back the outer edge of my Prayers for Little Souls submissions and use it for texture. It’s fascinating to see just how many iterations one get out of one piece, and the real number is infinite. Above is Primitive Thoughts, a detail. Below, the whole piece.

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Gelatine printmaking is unpredictable, and begs experimentation and ‘letting go’. I liken it to performance art, as while I may start out with something specific in mind, each new layer creates it’s own character. Mostly I dispense with the plan and follow the path where it takes me. In this one, the colours and arrangements hinted at Aztec, Mayan and other art of the equatorial regions. (before stamping). It begged for new carvings, and it got them. I decided to forgo research, and doodle the new designs on instinct; I will leave research and historical accuracies for the anthropologists. Art is an expression of the soul, and here are my primitive thoughts.

PS. my 1st gelatin plate was very small as I had only 1 box from the grocery store. It was enough for a 6x6 inch plate poured into a sandwich container. Happy mistake, as it’s shape and edges are endlessly fun.

PPS. Why is spell-check telling me I should be spelling it ‘gelatine’?

PPPS. More detail/close-ups on Etsy

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