I’m a very slow packer who ponders every possible way to prevent damage when I’m mailing artwork or the card decks I sell on etsy. But earlier this week I did send 3 relief prints to another international print exhibition–the eleventh Biennial Miniature Print Exhibition. It’s held in Vancouver British Columbia in Canada, with the exhibit traveling to several galleries in western Canada. And it’s a show I’ve entered twice before and have been fortunate to have work accepted both times.

The 3 prints I’ve submitted are ones I’ve shown on the blog before, though in earlier stages. All relate to my concerns about global warming. I’ve printed them in small variable editions and I renamed the first one Facing Extinction because the older title 60% – 40% referred to a statistic about wildlife mortality rates that might not be readily known. I’ll find out in early June if any of the prints are accepted. Here they are:

Facing Extinction, Relief Print ©Lily S. May, 2018
Smarten Up, Relief Print ©Lily S. May, 2018
Mercy in Dire Times, Relief Print ©Lily S. May, 2019

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.


Then and Now: (Renamed Look Out in February)

The Conductor:

Hard Times:

Two Tiny Prints & A Show

Here’s two very small prints–under four inches longest side each–that I made while thinking of entering a print exchange in the UK. Nothing was going smoothly and I finally decided not to enter the show. The first one morphed from a sunny face into one that began looking like some politicians I dislike and into this final ambiguous face surrounded by eyes and an innocent looking child. The second leafy print is one I drew quickly right on the block and carved.

I have four prints in an upcoming group printmaking show at Gerrard Art Space, 1475 Gerrard E in Toronto. The reception is this Saturday, July 29 from 3 to 6 and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve submitted the following prints that I’ve posted here over the last while.

Recent Happenings and Prints

I had a great time at The Heart Show that four of my prints were in during February. I was happy that two of the four prints I submitted sold. Since then, I’ve been making more prints and adding finishing touches to others.

This first block print is one I’ve posted before. I returned to work on the hands and one arm of the creature and now feel the print is complete.

This next print arose from an old painting that I recently cut into sections. I had thought of making a card deck from the painting but later changed my mind. The painting is an apocalyptic scene of great suffering. I chose one of the faces I’d cut out and added a rescue dog to give her comfort. The first photo shows the rough proof on my bulletin board with the woman’s face from the painting above the print. The final photo shows the completed print. I call it Mercy in Dire Times.

Aspects of the Heart

Here are the 4 block prints I’ve made for the upcoming heart show at Gerrard Art Space in Toronto. The gallery has called for submissions of up to four pieces which got me thinking about the four chambers of the heart. This led me to the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Though I made these prints as a series with the birds, mammals, trees and clouds making different appearances, it wasn’t until I completed all 4 that I saw they could be characters in a story. The Hearts of Fire print in particular brings to mind children’s books.

I enjoyed the process of making these prints. Only the Hearts of Air turned out to my liking after the first proof and I made no corrections to what I had already carved. With Hearts of Earth, I made a few changes after taking a rough proof. But with the other two–water and fire–I carved three renditions of each until I was happy with them. In each case, they ended up with very different designs than those I began with.

Hearts of Earth:

hearts of earth

Hearts of Air:

hearts of air

Hearts of Fire:

hearts of fire

Hearts of Water:

hearts of water

This and That

In December, I saw a tree near the Allan Gardens Conservatory in Toronto in full sun. I believe the tree is a sycamore or plane tree. With the sun full on it, the tree appeared to give off light. Here’s one of the photos I took of it.

In December, I also received a surprise nomination for the Real Neat Blog Award.  Though I ended up not taking the steps to actually receive the award, it was great to be nominated. Thank you petrel41 at Dear Kitty. Some blog!

This week, I finished carving the series of 4 block prints I’m going to enter in The Heart Show later this month. I’ve printed them and they’re now drying. Below is the inked block of Hearts of Air. Yes, the block has a pink surface!