As you may have heard, it’s been a hard week in Toronto what with a man driving a van onto a busy sidewalk and killing and injuring many people. I don’t live in the neighbourhood this happened in, but this horrendous crime has affected people around the city. I’ve been looking for solace and have taken some from spring flowers and birds. Scilla flowers are one of my favourites. Here’s some from a garden in the neighbourhood.
Something else has helped me this week–I’ve begun taking care of my work. For years, I’ve promised myself to get a selection of my work framed and I’ve finally begun doing so. Here’s 3 linocuts I brought home from the framer this week. The frames and mats vastly improve the look of the prints.
This first linocut is one I called The Printmaker. I made it in 1973 and it’s based on myself in my workroom, carving at the table with my cat at the back and prints hung up to dry on the cloth on the wall.
This next linocut is not of anyone I knew. I have always been interested in faces and wanted to carve a portrait using many marks from different gouges. I was inspired by the works of wood engravers I’d been studying. I carved and printed her in 1984.
This last print is one I thought I’d lost, but I found it 4 years ago. It’s a colour linocut from 1974. I called it At Peace and thought of the figure as meditating.
The prints span 11 years and also span my different names, from a previous married name, to a hyphenated previous married name to my birth name–none of which are my present name, but all of which referred to me at different times. See my About page for a little more on this.
It’s a beastly day here in Toronto–the whole weekend we’ve had freezing rain and ice pellets. Wind and rain are due tonight. To the rescue comes a little linocut I made in the ’80s or ’90s. I unearthed this forgotten piece just before working on the prints I’m going to enter into the miniature print show, BIMPE. It’s a simple little face that has a bit of a mysterious feel to me. I printed it on newsprint paper as a reminder of it. Here’s a detail of the repeated pattern I printed and the lino itself. I don’t recall if I ever printed the little face when I made it. If I did it would have been part of a larger design. I’m going to print a few impressions on good paper and give it the attention I think it’s due.
I’ve finally completed the block prints I’ll be sending to the miniature print show in Vancouver, Canada. Two of the three I showed in Proofs and the Past have either changed or been eliminated. The blue print called Dreamscape is the one that remains. Here it is printed on Japanese paper:
The print I thought of as a skull or mask changed when I experimented with repeating it and liked it better than the original. Here it is also on Japanese paper:
And I eliminated a tiny third one I had quite liked but felt it didn’t quite hold up. Instead, I carved a simple design in a lino substitute taken from a painting I did a couple of months ago. Just at the point where I had pushed the carving to where my back was starting to hurt, I stopped. The next day, though I had doubts about the outcome, I thought I might as well take a proof of the block. I liked the results. Here’s photos of the block in progress and the single print.
I continued experimenting and liked the effect of printing the block upside down on itself. This led me to try ten different versions. Here’s nine of them:
And here’s the tenth version that I’ve decided to send in. It’s printed red first with yellow on top, which I only thought to do after trying several the other way round with the light layer first. This was all a lot of work, but very intriguing in that sometimes I had no idea what the outcome might be. That’s where the fun comes in.
I’ve entered another show, The Heart Show, at Gerrard Art Space in Toronto. I decided to do a series of small paintings in acryl gouache (a type of water-based paint that is permanent when dry) for the show. After working on four 5″ x 7″ gesso boards, I completed two of them. I’m still working on the other two. A good thing that has come out of this is that I’ve decided to do a project on the chambers of the heart. I’ll keep you posted!
Here are the 2 paintings in the exhibit. The first I’ve called The Heart’s Map of Healing and the second, Waters of the Heart. When I placed the two paintings side by side, I was happy and surprised to see the patterns they form. They look like they were planned that way but were not. It’s very interesting to work on several pieces at once, going back and forth among them as I did here. They do become part of a larger whole.
After doing black ink line drawings daily since last summer I felt drawn to working in colour again. I wanted to try using acryl gouache paints which I’ve never used before. I usually don’t buy prepackaged sets of paints, but I did this time so that I could experiment with small amounts of a range of colours to see if I liked the medium.
I’ve had a lot of fun working on this piece for days and watching it change dramatically. The only clearly representational part is the key that I’ve been thinking about since working on plans for a dystopian card deck. Other than that, the piece is abstract. I’m going to continue working with these paints and see where this leads me.
Below is a close up of part of the painting.
A few of the house plants we have end up in my drawings regularly. I enjoy succulents and have 2 cacti plus other hardy souls. And, this summer, I branched out and added a colourful croton to the group. Here’s some appearances the various leaves have made over the past few months. The croton is first–imagine deep red, dark and lime greens and yellows. The other drawings show various succulents including jade plants, hoyas and sansevieria with a few long spider plant and African violet leaves in the backgrounds.
There’s a young oak tree on one of the streets in my neighbourhood. I’ve brought home 2 sprigs of leaves that I’ve found on the sidewalk on my walks. I love oak leaves! And I’ve done a few drawings of them.
The first two are of a small bunch of leaves that I drew first with a bold pen and, the next day, with a finer line one. I did this to see what changing the tool would do to the rendition. A very different look and feel appeared.
This third sketch is of a larger sprig of leaves.
If you’d like to see some of my other artwork, click on the image below to go to my etsy shop: