The Lion’s Birdnote

As I’m going through my old journals, I find forgotten elements–particularly the content of dreams.  A few weeks ago, I came upon a curious and appealing dream fragment from June of 1993. At that time, I awoke with words telling me that centuries would pass before we discovered that the “L” in “Lion” was understood as its birdnote. I loved this strange sentence and decided to make a linocut from the words.

The lino that I’ve used is the same soft cut material that I used for the Sisters of Mercy print. It is very much easier to cut than the tough grey or brown burlap backed battleship linoleum that I used as a young woman. I’ve taken the first proof (rough copy) of the print and will work on it further.  I plan on leaving the final print quite similar to this first proof–it just needs a bit of further carving and experimentation with the colours.

Here’s the inked green lino and the hand printed proof.


 

You can see more of my artwork in my etsy shop at artsofmay.etsy.com


Final Proof–Sisters of Mercy

I have finally returned to the block print inspired by Leonard Cohen’s Sisters of Mercy. Though at first glance this proof looks the same as the earlier one, I have added a few details to the mouths and hands that I felt were needed. And I’m happy with the results.

The ink I’ve been using on these rough copies is actually a deep violet though it looks nearly black. So my next step will be to pick up white ink and see if adding some will bring out the violet more. I’ll show you the results once I’ve done that.

 


Lino and Leonard

After Leonard Cohen died, I remembered an interview I heard a few years ago with the Iranian Canadian journalist, Maziar Bahari. He had been imprisoned in Iran and falsely accused of being a spy. He was subjected to torture and didn’t know if he would live or die. One night, he had a dream that brought to mind Leonard Cohen’s song, The Sisters of Mercy. Though he had never been a fan of Cohen’s  music, he felt that song had a major role in saving his life. Through it, he found a place within himself that his captors and torturers could not destroy.

Part of that interview was replayed this fall after Leonard Cohen died. I had never been drawn to The Sisters of Mercy, but as I listened to the words this autumn, I knew they would help me deal with this time of darkness in the world. So, I’ve learned the words and have begun doing some artwork related to the song. After doing several sketches, I finally arrived at one that I wanted to use.  As I  looked at the sketch, I could see it as a linocut and I decided to return to linocutting to create the image. I gave up linocutting around 20 years ago, though it was my favourite medium, because of repetitive strain from carving over the years. Now I considered the roving pain I have as an elder. And I thought, I already have pain, so I’m not going to be afraid of it. I’m going to return to printmaking–something I love dearly. I have found a soft lino substitute that can still have crisp lines cut into it. I’m experimenting with that and with working for shorter periods of time at a stretch. So far, this is working.

Here’s 2 photos of the carving in progress. I’m using carving tools really made for children, but that work fine! I’ll show you the print once I finish it.

Good holidays to you.

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone. They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on. And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song. Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been travelling so long.–Leonard Cohen

mercylino2

mercylino


A Reblog for Print Lovers: Vetiver Show going up!

I love Leslie Nan Moon’s work and wanted to show it to you. Here’s her latest post with some of her excellent prints in multi media form.

Lesliemoon's Blog

Here are some of the mixed media pieces I created for my show at Vetiver Salon in Issaquah’s Gilman Village.  In addition to these I will also have my larger woodcuts and linocuts.

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21 Heart Salute

As I continue to reconsider some of the prints I made 20 to 40 years ago, I have realized that this work is part of a process of rescuing my younger self.  As part of that, I have returned to a miniature card deck I made in 1995, a year after I made the larger deck, Mirrors of the Heart.

The 1995 deck is also on the theme of hearts. In making the card deck, I played with the phrase “21 gun salute” and turned it into A 21 Heart Salute. I then listed as many phrases that included the word heart I could think of and came up with 21 of my favourites. Some are phrases widely used like “heart felt” or “kind hearted.” And some I made up like “fountain of heart” or “heart song.”

I carved the deck out of a rubber-like material that was softer than linoleum but that produced clean edges. And I printed a few of these decks in 1995 with stamping ink that produced faint images. A few years ago, I reprinted them in violet but found I don’t have a complete set of these.

So I decided to hand print them properly, this time in red oil based relief printing ink. And I found I enjoyed this reminder of earlier printing. This, even though the actual burnishing of the blocks was always my least favourite part of the printing process. However, pulling the paper off the inked block was and still is a joy because of the surprise of seeing the  image reproduced in reverse.

I’m including a photo of some of the 1 1/2″ x 3″ blocks and their prints laid out to dry.  These are on my highly sophisticated drying area—a foam core board on the floor with part of my shell collection used to hold the prints from moving in the breeze.

The last week or so, I’ve scanned the prints, cropped the images and sent them to an online printer for reproduction. I’ll let you know how they turn out when I get them back. I plan to list them in my etsy shop.

21heartsblocks

21heartsdryingcl

21heartsdrying


In the Sea

As I meander through the work I’ve done, I wanted to show you a linocut I made in 1973, two years into first taking up printmaking and signed under my former married name. It’s the last copy of the edition that I have and is framed behind glass. So the photos here have some reflections in them. (I must get some proper photos!) The image is one of several I did on the theme of nature and goddesses. I called this print Mother Nature in the Sea. 

In the sea

in the sea cl

in the sea close


Mirrors of the Heart Page

Finally, this week I did something I’ve been planning to do for a while.  I created a page about the most popular art work I’ve done–my card deck, Mirrors of the Heart.  It’s made of linocuts I created in 1994 and had offset printed. There are other images from the deck in the Mirrors category.

Celebration card from Mirrors of the Heart card deck, ©1994, Lily S. May

Celebration card from Mirrors of the Heart card deck, ©1994, Lily S. May