Old Linoleum Blocks

I’ve just sent in my submissions to the Ottawa School of Art Mini Print Juried Exhibition. I’ll see if any of the prints are accepted and will let you know the results.

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking through a box of old lino blocks that I had stored for many years. I had forgotten some of them. Most of these are blocks I began carving but didn’t complete. And because some of them are over 20 years old, I don’t recall specifically why I abandoned them. I know that I went through some physical pain from the repetitive strain of having carved many blocks and that may have influenced my decisions. Around the time some of these were created, I also was involved in creating Mirrors of the Heart–the card deck I made in 1994. So, that likely consumed most of my energy.

Here’s the blocks I like best. I may print them as is, that is–incomplete, to see what they look like.

Drawing and Printing

During December I did a series of pencil drawings of objects around me that I like–many of them handmade and beautiful for their non-perfection. I haven’t drawn with pencil recently and I did so while seeing if I could come up with ideas for a miniature print competition I’m thinking of entering. The ideas for the prints were slow to develop and for a while I thought I might try variations of the drawings as prints. This, however, didn’t happen–I felt too constrained by the small 3″ x 4″ size of the blocks.

What did happen, was that I felt freed up through all the drawing I’d done to come up with some spontaneous images that I’ve developed into prints. They are very unlike the drawings and, in an indirect way, a few of them reflect for me the atmosphere of recent awful world news. I’ve printed the images on Japanese paper and they’re drying now.

Here’s a few of the drawings. I increased the contrast digitally so you can see the lines easier.

And here’s the block prints with titles I’m considering.

Who?:

Then and Now: (Renamed Look Out in February)

The Conductor:

Hard Times:

The Joy of a New Cork Board

Part of my afternoon was spent tacking some of my favourite artworks and other items to a brand new cork board in my work room–a collage of admiration. I now have inspiration from Naoko Matsubara, Munakata Shiko, Sandro Botticelli, Sarah Mangle, Bread and Puppet, Gary Larson, Antoni Gaudi, Lemon Bucket Orchestra, Kevork Mourad, three friends, one donkey, one chipmunk, two released reunited political prisoners plus Running the Goat Press…

Canvases in Pieces

I’ve made some carved adjustments to the Wake Up print but haven’t yet printed the results. What I have been doing is dismantling and cutting up old paintings that I’ve felt are not my best. I’m working, slowly, to whittle down my stuff–whether works I’ve made or things I’ve bought. As part of that I’ve decided to be bold and take apart some canvases. This has felt daring at times because I feel that I’m breaking a taboo. I now have a pile of large and small pieces of old paintings. What I’ll do with them is still percolating within me.

One important thing I learned the other day was: Do not cut up your work until you’ve photographed it whole, that is, unless you don’t want a record of it. I reassembled the jigsaw puzzle of the most recent canvas I’d cut up after realizing I had never taken photos of it. This, despite having taken multiple photos of most of the other work I’ve done.

One of the most detailed processes was dismantling an old self portrait on a canvas board–peeling the canvas off, sponging the back to remove bits of the paper board still stuck to it and then recycling the board. Once I’d done that and cut the image into pieces, I played around with the strips and wove some of them together.

I’ll let you know where all this playing around leads as I find that out myself.