As I continue to experiment with print processes, I have enjoyed trying out new items to use for plates and printing material. This print was made using Uni Posca markers on Grafix Dura-lar. Using the same process as my plexiglass prints, I placed a source image under the Dura-lar, then drew over it with the Posca markers. I think it worked well, came out a little lighter than the other method but it is fun to be able to mix up the look of the art. I did have to work faster, as the markers dry a bit faster than acrylic or printing ink. This method is great for quicker projects when you want to do something creative or try an idea without making a mess, having to take out a lot of supplies, or using a full sheet of plexiglass. The Dura-lar is also easy to cut to size, making it an affordable option for smaller prints.
I focused on the figure in this print, as I felt the marker would be too light to make a background look good. Instead, I used a dot pattern for some extra visual interest.
Of course, I embellished it with gold leaf at the end.
More printmaking experiments! These are Posca marker on Dura-lar. It’s a different look than the paint on plexiglass, but same process. This was a nice alternative for a quick visit to my studio when I didn’t have the time or focus to get out my paints/inks or work from a large plate. I still have some extras to add, but in general, I like the direction they’re headed.
Late last year, I posted about taking a “sabbatical year” to focus on my personal and professional creative work. Whether you call it Murphy’s Law or the universe saying “hold my beer,” my good intentions left the rails almost immediately.
In January alone the cat died, James’ aunt died, James spent a week in Las Vegas with his work and I lost what felt like an entire day in a suburban Chico’s while my mom tried on various “perfect black pants” that all looked exactly the same. We went to East Texas and drove to the beach for a day with my parents. I worked, kept up the house, saw friends when I could, read a bit, watched some TV and then it was February and time to plan my first art tour. And so on, and so on. I felt like I inhaled at the end of December and exhaled sometime in the last week or so.
Great sabbatical mindset, right?
But some things have gone well. I use social media and my mobile devices less and less, which feels better and better. I still don’t pick up my phone or iPad until after I have had coffee and read a bit. That has been nice, and as a bonus, helps navigate and give perspective to the wild news cycles.
I also had time to think about a word for the year, or for the next ten months rather, since it was almost March by the time I got around to it. “Establish.”
Last year’s word was “Forward.” At the start of 2019 I was sitting with a lot of uncertainty over things that weren’t moving as they should, proverbial centers that I knew simply would not hold. So in the trend of picking a theme word for the year, “Forward” was a good touchstone, an idea to make decisions around, and a reminder to take risks and just make the decisions I needed to be somewhere other than I was, and get back to liking my life.
In my last corporate job, I was responsible for building IT processes and setting global business priorities. This involved taking a great deal of data and qualitative input from our markets around the world, accounting for risks and uncertainties, and organizing that information into policies that our entire global ecosystem would agree to participate in and abide by for tasks like bug resolution, feature implementation and new initiatives requests. It was extremely difficult, and I say this as someone who also had to manage a complex, high stakes, multi-vendor, multi-time zone code update around the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. (Understand why I work in art now? Haha.)
I loved discovering, analyzing and organizing all the information, but some of the other details…not so much.
But I am a framework person, and frameworks help my creative and personal life just as much as they helped my big, messy corporate life. They keep information from overwhelming me and also build in things to look forward to. I can’t predict what positive results will be, but I truly believe that by following healthy habits, positive results will come. And that is exciting.
2019 was so “Forward” that it blew past the finish line and into 2020, I guess. But after a well-earned few weeks to rest and reset, better late than never, I am ready to “Establish.”
Where does this fit into the idea of a sabbatical year? Establishing a solid foundation directly supports the creative, personal and professional goals that I have for 2020. Establishing gives me a concrete, manageable idea to focus on, and a consistent, larger goal when individual priorities compete or become confusing. It is also a logical next step from “Forward.” While I wouldn’t want to pick 2021’s word so early, I am hoping that I’m preparing myself for years to come in which I can launch.
In my other life, I have an art blog and work in the art sector. This means that I have spent the past few years being practically submerged in the art world, learning about it and how people find, engage with and collect art. I don’t really mix the two streams because I am not looking to be a professional artist in that respect. I am happy to work to help others engage with and discover art, and keep mine just for fun with the occasional transaction.
With that said, sometimes the inspiration does overlap. Particularly when I see a beautiful piece hung on the wall and think how it might work in a different way.
These thoughts have inspired what I call the “Gallerinas.” They’re mixed-media pieces that incorporate fine art pieces as collage, either repurposed or just reused. I take the images from magazines, ads or promotional brochures and cut them up to form new shapes.
Here’s the first “Gallerina.” If you look closely, her dress is a collage of David Park paintings. I saw Park’s retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth earlier this summer and loved it. (It’s up until Sept. 22 if you’re near D/FW or can get here.)
“You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles Davis
Miles Davis was a musician, but his quote can be applied to any creative endeavor. It takes a while to get the basics right before a real sense of style and individuality comes through.
I’ve been a “practicing” artist coming up on three years in July. That seems like a long time, but I’ve needed every one of those years to evolve, first looking to others for inspiration and learning different techniques, tools and processes, and then using that knowledge to communicate my own message.
When I started writing Pine Curtain Stories, I identified a story I wanted to tell. The more I write it, the more I want to refine my art to support those stories and say exactly what I want to with the images and not just with the words. So, I’ve started taking more time with my art, both physical (time in the studio) and mental (time with my thoughts and intentions.) It makes for a longer road, but rather than being disheartening, it’s actually very exciting.
Earlier this week, I dug into my supply box and found all sorts of things I used in the beginning of this journey and hadn’t found a way to incorporate lately. I had a great time with it all, and I’m so pleased that nothing has gone to waste.
I’m incorporating more collage into my work, and I’m happy with the results. I’ve used packing tape collages, tape transfer methods and plain-old cut paper and glue/gloss gel methods to achieve the look I want. As a bonus, it’s also motivated me to find new resources, so on Friday I took myself on a field trip to Paper Arts and disappeared into its wonderful stacks for a half-hour or so.
Here’s my first “patchwork” piece. I’m happy with the way it turned out, and look forward to creating more.