I found this softened piece of glass bottle on the beach this week. All that’s legible is the word “RETURN.” At a time when I need to do just that – return to myself, this finding couldn’t have been more appropriate. (A message from the Universe, no doubt.) I’ve been meditating on what “return” means to me the last few days. The haiku “From Within” is my first reflection (reposting below). I’m happily using this experience as a way to get back into writing.
This August I went through a bit of a rut. I felt my writing had become blocked and a specific writing project had me feeling disappointed and upset (more on that soon!). Much has progressed since then!
I am incredibly excited to share photos of my fine art prints, framed and on exhibit at a fabulous boutique, Lynn Stoller Collection, in Westhampton Beach, NY (the Hamptons).
“Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon.” Rumi
Feeling grateful this evening and moved by the above quote. What a wonderful way to appreciate the gifts of Nature.
I created the original etching and aquatint, “Home” in my first printmaking course at Parsons School of Design as an undergraduate in 2006. I don’t currently have a photo of that version (but will in the near future). When I enrolled as a not for credit student in 2011, I felt inspired to apply some of my decorative papers through the process of chine-collé. I have two variations: “green” and “lavender.” A part of me feels the “lavender” version is too busy. I like seeing the faint winged creatures in the “green” impression. Do you have a preference?
A portion of my mile and half walk to Parsons School of Design (part of my alma mater, The New School in New York City) in Union Square was through Madison Square Park. I loved winding through this park, early Saturday mornings, schlepping my printmaking supplies, while listening to my music. Quite often I would cross paths with a very furry white dog. At first, I didn’t make much of it, as there is a little dog run in this park. But as I kept seeing this white dog and other similar white beasts, I found myself recalling a dream I had as a child:
A white wolf seemingly beckoned to me. It was not in a friendly, warm way. I remember clearly his fangs. Yet, I knew not to be fearful. He paced in front of our white garage, waiting for me to exit our house and follow him. I will never forget the white wolf.
And thus, I became inspired to create a wolf-like collagraph. It would be my second attempt at an organic, uniquely shaped collagraph plate (therefore not just a 9″x12″ rectangle, for instance) The first unusual collagraph plate was my cut out tree (see below. More on that another time!).
I felt incredibly excited to work on my idea. One night, shorty after falling asleep, I lightly stirred, partially awaking with the vision of adding a wing to the wolf. I rolled over, embracing the winged wolf and eventually fell back to seep. I set out as soon as I could to begin creating these collagraph plates.
As seen in these two photos, my first impression of “Fox in Flight” went fine enough. He was actually a bit difficult to ink. I used various sized wood blocks, wrapped with masking tape (sticky side up) to help keep him in place as I both inked and wiped him. Unlike inking and wiping a “heavy” zinc or copper plate, my collagraph plates are rather light therefore, without mounting them, I wouldn’t have been able to prepare them for the press. The process itself of inking and wiping the plate always felt invigorating and very personal. I often felt as though I was truly bonding with the plate, learning how much ink to smooth on and which areas would need extra attention while wiping the ink. It was quite meditative and I always appreciated my instructor playing Classical music in the background.
I was happy with the initial impression, but felt he needed some reworking. I trekked home with the fresh impression and my plates, to tackle adding more textures to my wolf inspired beast.
I realize this piece was based on my calling from a white wolf, yet I’d named it “Fox in Flight.” Well, he just ended up looking more like a fox. Looking back, maybe it was disrespectful of me, but I now feel it only gives me the opportunity to make more wolf inspired art. Because I do very much still feel a need to do just that.
On a walk with my, then 5 month old daughter, we passed by some native grasses that I particularly love. I find their oatmeal and evergreen coloring beautiful. I enjoy the way they sway and flap, sometimes in unison and sometimes in opposition. I wholeheartedly understand their healthiness in more direct sun than the pitiful section to the left, under the trees – beloved trees.
I just love these grasses and find them elegant and inspiring. This linocut, “Winged Leaves,” is an ode to them! I look forward to their bountiful return.
This collagraph seemed befitting for Valentine’s Day! It’s based on my beloved Abyssinian cat, Fuzzbie.
I particularly love her profile, which inspired me to create a collagraph. After weeding through the 100 or so photos of her, I finally chose one (see below).
I emailed it to a local Staples Copy & Print Shop to be printed quite large. I taped tracing paper over it to transfer her image to the black matboard I used as the base for my collagraph plate. I proceeded to very carefully cut the image out using both a box cutter and scissors. Once her profile emerged, I cut out a heart!
From this point forward, I delved into my assortment of textured decorative papers and scraps to strategically and thoughtfully paste them all over Fuzzbie’s cut out image. Once I felt pleased, I moved onto the “tiny” heart.
When they were finished, I painted them with a layer of Gesso to protect the paper and matboard. This was always a trial as I had to lay paper towels all over our tiny kitchen counter (we lived in New York City at that time!). I was also always a bit impatient with this step, mainly because I was excited to print and because it was late at night!
Early the next morning, I’d take the dried plates to the rooftop to spray them with Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating, the last step in protecting them. Leaving them upstairs to dry, gave me the perfect amount of time to have breakfast and prepare for the day. Then, I’d gather the plates and supplies to walk the mile and a half to Parsons School of Design for my studio time.
Initially I arranged the plates to coincide (therefore the heart plate was cut smaller than the opening), but unfortunately I misplaced the heart at the studio… I have only one impression of Fuzzbie with her heart (see below).
Both versions, with and without the heart, have qualities I like. I may in fact prefer “her” with the stark negative space in place of her heart. I feel it makes the heart stand out that much more! Which do you prefer?
When I someday have access to a printmaking press, I’d like to print just the body of my fox-wolf-dog collagraph (see above) in white ink on dark paper (I have yet to do that). I’d next print my set of wing collagraphs (as used in my bat-owl-cat collagraph, see below) in a vibrant color on white paper.
I then envision pinning the wings above my fox-wolf-dog in such a way the wings can be physically moved – to truly give this pseudomythical creature flight.
In a quiet, calm, internally serene and focused moment, I sometimes feel a tug from the recesses of my mind and a whispering from deep within. Images of pseudomythical creatures peer out, raising their heads and presenting to me their would be figures. I reminisce about Native American Totem Poles from my upbringing in Seattle. Memories from childhood of their grand, carved figures pull me towards my collection of textured decorative papers. Various animals from my nightly dreams and daily life call to me to create my own pseudomythical creatures – to birth another being for their world.