Lately I been concentrating on doing some black and white linocuts. It's interesting to me to concentrate on form and composition without the distraction of colour. It's also a lot quicker to print only one colour!
Much as I love black and white, I have some ideas for coloured prints now. Also, being spring, it's time to bring back the colour!
Who would have thought, when I last posted a year ago, that we'd be in the middle of a pandemic now. Last year was a busy year for non-artist parts of life. I am very lucky that those things happened before this strange time. I am very lucky to be squirreled away with lots of art supplies. I do have a strange sense that time is short and I must do as much art as I can while I can. No doubt the pandemic makes us aware of the fragility of life and the systems we depend on to navigate the world.
I've done a lot of work over the past year and I'll try to update things here. Most recently I've delved into oil pastels. I'm still going strong with linocuts, but this is a side adventure. I find them surprisingly easy to work with, which I take as a sign I should do more. When I was young I thought that anything I found easy, or perhaps enjoyable is a better word, was something anyone could do and was not important. Now I realize that different people are drawn to different things and you shouldn't ignore what you enjoy doing. I'm longing to get some artist grade oil pastels. Right now I'm using Sakura Expressionist Cras-Pas and they are really very good for the price.
And here I am in a James Turrel installation at the LACMA in Los Angles. I was there a month before the pandemic hit North America. I strange picture for a strange time. I'm posting this picture because I've decided I need to be brave and do things I don't like, such as post pictures of myself. Don't worry, I won't do it a lot! Going forward, I hope to post more here. Going forward...one step at a time.
Lately I've been doing lots of little abstracts. I made a series of linocut stamps so that I could play around with the colours and shapes. The small size lets me experiment with out too much of a time and ink commitment. I've always been fascinated by abstract, but never known where to start and this is a way in. It's also interesting to see which ones resonate with which people. Some of these are available at the Georgina Art Centre and Gallery
The Piano is a reduction print of my Grandmother's piano. I was very worried about the fate of this piano while I was making the print. I needed to find it and my mother's other piano and organ. Looking on Kijiji, I saw that there were many free piano's that no one seemed interested in. No one has time or space for pianos anymore and it's so sad. One of the construction people working on my Mom's house said he had no trouble getting rid of them, he loved breaking them up. That sent a chill down my spine. I was so happy when a TV production company called and said they would take all three. If you watch the show Condor, with William Hurt, you might see one of them.
This print has a lot of personal symbolism in it. It's difficult for me to be objective about it so I just put it out into the world...like the pianos.
It's for sale in my Etsy store.
This print started off as a reaction to all those prepackaged snacks you can get at the grocery store. I know it's hard to get kids to eat. If I sent an apple in my kids lunch it would come home whole and bruised. But I probably worried too much about getting them to eat. Anyways they survived childhood and I think there is too much packaging and fruit comes packed in it's own skin. Aside from the fruit theme there is ultramarine blue. What is it about this colour? I become totally transfixed by it and I'm not the only one. Yves Klein summed it up nicely in the quote above. Originally made from Lapis Lazuli
Lately I've noticed that I've been feeling a little sad. There are lots of reasons for that but personal and the whole state of the world. I realized that life is short and I can't put printmaking on the back burner while I deal with other things. It's one of my favorite reasons for living. So today I started a new print with ultramarine blue, my favorite colour...well one of my favorites. It fell so good to be printing again!
Here are a few more prints that I've added added to my printmaking page.
Many things happened from May to November, but blogging wasn’t one of them. This is largely because my old computer is so slow, I can hardly stand to use it. It’s not too bad at photo editing or etsy, but blogging would be faster if I engraved a stone with a chisel. Luckily I have become one of the last people on the planet to have an IPad and I have finally figured out how to use it. So onward and upward.
Early summer saw the arrival of my new press from the Portable Printing Press Co. You can find them on FaceBook. It’s way more exciting than the IPad. Sorry Apple. With it I’ve done several new prints!
In October I took a LetterPress course at Open Studio. Combining letterpress and linocut is something I hope to do more of.
Now the days are short and 2017 is coming to a close. This year I’m more organized than usual and I have printed these Christmas cards!
Merry Merry to everyone and may your darkness be full of twinkling lights!
Saturday May 13th is the opening reception for Imprints; a new exhibition I am having with my printmaking friend Sarka Buchl Stephenson at the Georgina Art Centre and Gallery. I've been in hiding, not posting much or putting prints in my Etsy store in order to get ready for this exhibition. But the date is fast approaching and I have just heard that I am going to be doing a short TV segment for the show Georgina Life on Rogers TV. Our exhibition is about printmaking and so I'm hoping to demonstrate a linocut on Georgina Life. I've been told there are lots of people who don't know what a linocut is. My Facebook feed is full of the beautiful work of other linocut artist because I belong to a group called Linocut Friends. This gives me the mistaken impression that just about everyone is a linocut artist! Apparently it isn't so. So I shall rally my courage and do the TV segment on Georgina Life. I believe it's airing live on Monday morning at 10:00 if you are local. If not I'll try and get a copy of the segment and show it here.
Here's a sneak peek at some new work for Imprints!
Musee des Beaux Arts
W. H. Auden
About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Sometimes things happen in life that knock you out of the sky. Your going round and round in your daily rat race, perhaps happily, perhaps not, and then boom. Something happens and life will never be the same. I made this print several months ago before my sister passed away. I looked at it last week and I could not remember anything about what I was thinking when I made it. What is it about? I know it's based on a vintage toy of an amusement park ride called High Flyers. I know I tend to go round and round, in the school bus I drive and in my head. Then I remembered the poem above by W. H. Auden. My daughter read it at my sister's funeral. It sums up the strangeness of re-entering life which went on around you while you were immersed in tragedy. And it mentions Icarus; a "high flyer" who fell from the sky. There are so many ways to put this together. Perhaps I am more aware now that everyone goes round and round and we do fall from the sky...and life goes on.
... it all looks like a home but you're rushing on wheels...in a sense life is like that...a race towards oblivion while trying to find a home...we feel at home in our lives but it's a very ephemeral experience.
© Laurel Martin 2010