Good Health

I wish you good health as COVID-19 travels around the world. I and my husband are well at the time I’m writing here in Toronto, Canada. My walks in my neighbourhood help my spirit as I look for signs of spring in the gardens and on the trees. And I do a little drawing many days, some bookkeeping, some cooking and some worrying as I ponder the state of humanity and life on earth.

I thought one of the cards from the original printing of my card deck, Mirrors of the Heart would be apropos right now. If someone you know is ill, may they receive good care and recover soon. And may you be well.

Healthfulness Card from Mirrors of the Heart Card Deck by Lily S. May

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:

Wake Up Print

I’ve been working on the block print, Wake Up, that I mentioned in my last post. I wanted to add colour to the image using 2 separate blocks. I decided where I wanted red to appear, but first I needed to make a registration board to align the colours.

I’ve been doing many small prints–4″ x 6″–on a soft eraser-like material that’s 1/4″ thick. So, I designed a board that can help me with those blocks, this print being one of them. Today I took 2 rough proofs to see how things are going. I’ll make a few adjustments to some details, print the image in rough again and, once I like the finished print, I’ll move on to some handmade Japanese paper. Here’s the latest proof.

Portrait of a Wary Bird

This is a proof of my most recent block print. I’ve been using this blue water-based ink for proofing because it’s easy to clean up. It gives me enough of an idea of the shapes and textures to see if I need to make any changes. For completed prints I use a washable oil based ink that’s more sensitive.

I never know what I will see in a print until I’ve printed it. To me this bird looks somewhat suspicious, perhaps rightfully so. What is going on over his or her shoulder that we don’t see in the print but can feel or imagine? There’s a story here that I may explore further.

Amended Lino

Here’s part of the proof of the lino block that I showed in my last post. The full print had a bit too much body and humorously looked like a cross between a cloud and sheep. When I played around with folding the paper, I preferred the image you see here. I’m going to print this narrower version in which I feel the shapes work better together.