I've just finished the big, intense, and very busy class for Danny Gregory's online "Sketchbook Skool," and desperately needed a break before jumping head first into the upcoming North Light book, Sketching on the Spot. (And as those of you who took my class know, "just finished" really means a few weeks past, but it takes me time to recuperate these days!)
"And now for something completely different..."
Of course part of that difference took the form of just being quiet, and alone in my little shed studio as much as possible, save for my beloved husband and my cats. Reading, listening to music, even playing a little on my old wooden whistle.
No computer, no phone...heaven.
Interacting with others sparingly and deliberately, and only those I chose to, for the most part. (Class was wonderful and challenging, but almost every teacher I know who has been involved has also mentioned that it is exhausting--especially for us introverts.)
I know what I need!
Trying something different, a creative direction I hadn't taken in a long time, was one answer. It is restorative, I think, to explore an entirely different form or medium. For me, it has been printmaking. Cutting my own printing blocks from soft rubber sheets that have largely taken the place of linoleum block or the woodblocks before them--and with my arthritic fingers it's just as well. These cut like butter.
I dug out my 30 year old lino-cut tools you see above, and began to play.
|Among my first stamps, this go-round--I love great blue herons, and wanted images of Norman, our silly, huge goldfish.|
|Fish, one-line cats, spirals, and the spiral in the hand that you find in many primitive cultures...it has always captured my imagination.|
|More print blocks...|
|...a woven circle with wabi-sabi edges...and our friends the Copper Creek Band.|
|And MORE print blocks. Yes, bears, too. I think I'm done, now...|
|Really, this should be about enough...|
|Last time I needed to cut stamps, I confined myself to a couple of spirals like this one.|
The original meaning of these spirals has been lost in time; they are believed to have been carved 2500 years before the Celts reached Ireland, and they speak to me.
The Trinity; Maiden, Mother, Crone; Earth, Water, Sky--make of them what you will, the triple spiral seems to draw us in.
As I mentioned in this post, though, we CAN manage to turn almost anything creative into Work. Commerce. A way to earn at least a part of our living, and all the attendant considerations that go with that metamorphosis--where to sell, to whom, how to get the word out...but often, I don't want to turn straw into gold. It's just fine as it is. Straw rocks. Great mulch...
Someone asked if I sold my print blocks...um, no, but thanks for asking. (Whew, I resisted!)
And so I remain vigilant.
And remember to play!
Really, that's one reason I work so much in my journals now, rather than on sheets of watercolor paper. Everything can NOT be about money. I have to create because I have to create. I don't sell my journals, I don't tear pages out. (I do sometimes make a print, but hey...must feed my cats and keep the electricity on...)
And now, a couple of weeks after I wrote the draft of this post, I'm back to the grindstone of book production, back to working till almost 9 in the evenings, some nights...and I've put my lino-cut tools away.
Well......maybe just one more idea...