Today I carved this plate from unbacked linoleum. I still have a lot to learn about carving plates because although I thought it came out alright, it didn’t print the way I wanted. I want the lines to be dark, not light. Duh. So the first bunch of prints I pulled were disappointing and I switched gears.
Thanks to Claire Grundy for the photo I used for this plate.
Below we have the David Swenson Trikonasana stencil. I have two, one in mylar and one in coated paper. The “flower” stencils come from a book called The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils by Kanako Yaguchi. I’m working with Linda Germain’s exercise on inking the stencils, and I also cut a registration plate and found it easy to work with. Although I like the clean edges, I’ve long been a fan of the wavy edges of the gelatin plate. I guess in my own way it seems a bit subversive, not so much escaping the tyranny of the rectangle, but gently subverting it. Gentle subversion is more my style.
Eventually I wanted to try again with the new linoleum plate. It was calling me. So I tried a few different things. What finally worked better was to cut a piece of paper out the shape of the central portion of the linoleum plate. Then I inked the plate directly, removed as much ink as possible using the paper, and pressed it into the gelatin plate.
Mixed results I think. But still. It had been a week since I’d been able to work in the studio. So it’s a sweet relief to get in several hours of work. Loosens the knot in my chest that grows when I can’t get to my studio.
It’s a funny thing. I thought that spending more time in the studio would cure me, would release the monkey on my back. But instead I want more. More time to play with ink and paper. More uninterrupted hours in the studio. The artist within does not sit easily with the mother of three, who has many responsibilities.
For today, however, it is enough to be able to work. I recently watched an interview with the artist and teacher Steven Locke. He spoke about not being an emotional artist, not waiting for inspiration. Rather, he comes from Detroit and going to work is what you do. So he goes to his studio and works, that’s it. No melodrama, no whining.
This is my model for artistic practice. I wish I’d heard it years ago, but perhaps I heard it when I was ready to hear it.