One: Extracurricular

extracurricular, exhibitions, preparations, greeting cards

Extracurricular activities flood this time of year. They may not keep me out of my studio. And they may include creative inspiration. However, they do not add to my inventory for shows and sales.

The last minute

Christmas is coming. The garden requires winterizing. Last minute (what would I do without it?) jobs await finishing before the snow falls. Has that happened already? Things like sealing windows, landscaping projects that could be dangerous if left undone, emptying the water barrel so it will not burst, etc. In conclusion, a rescheduling is needed.

When I looked at what I had already printed I decided to upgrade the quality.
Reprinting Christmas cards

Extracurricular jobs

Some would say I am distracted. Indeed. My priorities go beyond business. Family and family fun are included. On the other hand, preparations for Christmas are not strictly extracurricular as I include clients on my list for greetings and a special gift for being so supportive. As a result, I have a few projects on the go including lino printing, screen printing, two DEVENIR productions on paper as well as a few new paintings for my next series which I have not as yet named.

A new series

The new series will be part of my solo show in November next year at VASA. Come January my priority will be production for the solo as I manoeuvre between exhibitions beginning in February from Stony Plain to Canmore and Salmon Arm. Exciting times!

Extracurricular activities included placement of stones in a pathway. So fun!
Ready for puzzle solving

Curbed the danger

In the meantime, I was delighted this week to finish my landscaping at our rental in Legal. I had left the walkway half done. I do enjoy putting down stone pathways. The irregular shapes are a puzzle. The different depths challenge leveling, a problem solved with enough depth of sand or gravel. And I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Next time.

Preparations for a mixed media workshop, the eight by eight paper project, a new series in various stages of production.
So many exciting projects

A few shows

So, over the next few months, I will turn my attention to creating a colouring book with a family legend for my children and their children. Lino prints make Christmas cards. Perhaps a few extra will be for sale during the VASA member show; they will not be ready for CAVA. I will give some thought to the two DEVENIR productions and I may resolve some technical issues. In any case I will begin experimenting.

Perhaps some baking

All in all, extracurricular activities will keep me busy for a while. I may add some baking to the list and a few repairs around the house. Then our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary is fast approaching too. We may disappear for a while. All is good; all is well. Life is full.

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One: Greeting

greeting, greeting cards, watercolour, blog, ink

Greeting the public at the Glenrose opening reception last Friday proved to be a wonderful surprise. Apart from the varied and delightful people who just happened to be passing by, some old friends dropped in to see the show. I had not seen Mark and Natalie in a very long time. I had never met most of their children. All four of the kids took me up on my offer of paper and paint.

Browsing in peace

While Natalie quietly browsed through the long line of paintings in the Mezzanine Gallery I introduced some techniques to my new students, wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry and some mixed media with a little ink.

Prepared for a long afternoon

Knowing I would be probably spending most of the afternoon alone I had decided to take some watercolours and the makings of a few greeting cards with me. There are a couple of birthdays on the calendar for September in our family. Rummaging through the photos I had brought I selected some irises and began to draw.

Learning new things

At the same time a young lady received a piano lesson on the small grand the hospital had placed in the foyer for their patients’ pleasure. I chitchatted with them and learned about some new techniques music teachers are using so students could play complicated pieces much quicker. I told them I remember practicing scales when I took lessons.

Greeting old friends and new

Greeting those around me gave me many opportunities to hand out business cards and invite them to my other shows. Opening receptions are for networking and reconnecting. By offering an opportunity to see my work while I am around to answer any questions, I lay the foundations for relationship. Relationship is the key to a happy life both personally and in the business world. Everyone is special.

greeting, greeting cards, watercolour, ink, blog
Some cleaning up to do.

A bit of a mess

Back in my studio I had a little mess to clean up. The paint ran because I put it away wet. A little momento from one of the boys who painted me a picture needs a place on my wall.  Sometime in late September I will be visiting them again. I have a painting to deliver. One greeting card is ready for a birthday celebration. I will finish the other shortly. All in all, a delightful day.

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Different Strokes: Printing

printing, linocut, greeting cards, illustration

Printing in one form or another consumes more and more of my time lately. Of course, it is a choice, one I make with ease. This year I began a series of smaller images, “Sunshine”, a linocut for greeting cards. Linocuts are a fun way to make something special for special occasions.

printing, linocuts, illustration
Miracle watching and other pastimes

Printing a larger series

Another series is taking shape as well. Personal memoires describing the many miracles in my life, take the form of five chapters, each of which begins with an eight and a half by eleven-inch print delineating a particular moment or event. The cover page makes six images in all for “New Life: miracle watching and other pastimes”.

printing, linocuts, illustration, blog
The Black Knight

Shortcomings

As much as I would like to applaud my expertise, the exercise has highlighted several shortcomings in procedure. Rather than perfection, my unconcern for various materials left me with several disasters. Part of the challenge when working with me is inspiration comes along as the process develops. So after having completed the first impression on one image I decide a second colour would be appropriate. The problem is I did not prepare the way.

printing, illustration, linocuts
The Dragon

Preparation is essential

Printing is all about preparation. Consequently, as I applied the second coat of colour, I could not align the paper with the linocut as accurately as if I had laid down the necessary guidelines with masking tape. The masking tape positions the linocut in exactly the same place each time. A second set also lines up the paper so each print is exactly the same as the first. That is if one has succeeded with the amount of ink on the surface as well. I often have patches where an insufficient quantity announces my error.

printing, linocuts, illustration
The most perfect

Perfection is overrated

That being said, I rather like the randomness of the images produced. No two are alike exactly. On occasion, however, my penchant for chaos wastes materials. Such was the case while using unfamiliar paper.

printing, linocuts, illustration
Too wet printing paper

printing, linocut, illustration
Stonehenge-clean and tidy

Carelessness is costly

Usually I print on Stonehenge. Having practiced for some time with this paper I find the results crisp, clean and predictable. Some time ago I purchased some unnamed paper designed for print making so I cut up the sheets to the size I required and soaked them as I usually do. Placing them in towels to keep them moist, I quickly printed off several images. Much to my horror the ink bled into the paper creating very fuzzy images, the result of having the paper too moist. Disgusted I quickly cut up some more Stonehenge and put the remaining print making paper aside to dry.

printing, linocuts, illustration
Stonehenge-expected results

printing, linocuts, illustration
Printing paper-superior results

Live and learn

While working on the next image I came up short on the prepared paper largely due to patchy results caused by lack of ink on the linocut. I picked up the print making paper and found it to have just the correct wetness and printed off two more lovely examples, even better than the Stonehenge. I shall experiment with different methods of wetting the paper to find the best way to use this paper. Maybe a short dip, or just a spray, is sufficient. Live and learn.

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