October 8 and 9th I took part in the White Rock Lake Artists' Studio Tour. It was my first year on the Tour and I wasn't sure how many visitors we'd get. My studio is about 1/2 mile or so from any other artist's, but the turnout was pretty good. It was fun meeting art aficionados and trying to explain relief printmaking to those who didn't understand the process. Hopefully, I didn't confuse people too much. Now I've got some plans for how I'll improve next year's Tour.
With the Chameleon Egg print finished, it is time to start a new print. This spring my boyfriend and our dog took a camping trip to Lost Maples State Natural Area. On the drive home we passed several game areas, where exotic ungulates are bred for hunting. We saw albino deer standing around looking majestic and odd in the rainy, misty morning. Those deer stuck in my mind and will be the subject of my next linocut. I'm hoping to get the sketch finished and transfer it to a block today.
Printed the key block for the Chameleon Egg print tonight. This is a variable edition, meaning that there will be all sorts of color variations. I make almost all of my print editions variable now, because I like the freedom of being able to change the ink colors or paper as I print, to try out new combinations. For the chameleon, so far there are pink, yellow or green backgrounds. Tonight is the height of the Perseid Meteor Shower, so as I was rolling up the last block with ink it occurred to me that an astral-type chameleon in galactic night sky colors might be needed as well. Hmmm, does glow-in-the-dark relief ink exist?
I've got some upcoming shows to announce: I've been invited to take part in the State of Texas Printmaking show at the Spring Creek Campus of Collin County Community College in Plano, Texas. The show runs from August 22 – September 8, 2016. The artists' reception is Thursday, September 1, between 4:00 – 7:00 PM. The second art show will be at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas September 3-October 1, 2016, with a reception September 3rd 7-9 pm. This is a "pre-show" for all the artists taking part in the White Rock Lake Artists 24th Studio Tour. This will be my first year as a member of the Tour, which is a great opportunity to meet Dallas artists, tour their studios, and buy art. It is a fun event with some really wonderful artists and I'm excited to be on the Tour, which will be held on October 8 and 9th. Check out their website for maps and further info: http://www.whiterockartists.com/
Suffice it to say, I'm very busy right now printing and prepping. Since Texas is so hot in summer, being inside at the press is a pretty nice place to be!
I'm in the middle of carving the key block for a new print. I thought it might be interesting to write about the inspiration for this print. I make art with my hands because that's the best way I can communicate, but I'll try to fumble my way through some writing. (Words, argh!) Creative inspiration often comes right when I first go to bed. On this particular night, I was sleepily looking at my iPhone in the dark, and got up to use the bathroom. The afterimage of the iPhone blinded me when I turned the bathroom light on. It was so vivid; a blue oval shape outlined in violet in a field of sunshine yellow. "Those are some nice colors, I can do something with them, I'll bet," thought I. Back to bed, but now the mind wheels are turning, I'm completely amped on excitement and adrenaline. A visit from the muse is the best drug out there, the downside is there's not one wink of sleep on those nights. The blue oval shape puts me onto the idea of eggs and embryonic sacs, which fascinate me. I had a childhood egg experience that imprinted on me pretty strongly. We had about 20 chickens when I was a child. I would watch and help my mom collect the eggs from the coop in the mornings. One day, she picked up an egg and shook it a little and then threw it at the wall of the coop. Apparently she thought it was a bad egg. So this goes into my little destructo 5-year-old mind. The next day I go hang out with the chickens, alone. You can tell where this is heading. I find an egg, shake it, and throw it against the wall. Ah, sweet release! Alas, the horror, as instead of a yellow yolk running enticingly down the barn boards, an infant chick abortion slowly slides down the wall, slumping ACCUSINGLY in the sawdust at the juncture of floor and wall. I ran from the murder scene, and never admitted my crime to my mother. I was sure she would find the dead fetus the next day, but what I didn't know then is that chickens are casual cannibals, and so my deed was never discovered. That sad fetus sagging its way to ignominy is seared on my mind's eye. And also, embryos of all species are just neato. So I've done embryo and egg artwork before, and the time felt ripe for another. Now, with the magic of the internet, I spent all night looking at various animals in utero or egg. Ultimately, my little lizard guy is no real species. It's sort of half chameleon, half anole. Chameleon embryos are cool, but their hands and feet absolutely suck. They have dumb-looking mitten feet. That would not make a good print. Thus, creative license: new animal evolved by Una, for Una. So the blue oval is resolved, what about the purple outline? I'm hours into ecstatic sleeplessness and visions of heraldic crests are seeping in from somewhere. Somehow, winding and crossing snakes seems right. Although, now that I think about it, my mom had told me about the possible reintroduction of rattlesnakes in Quabbin a few weeks prior. She was not pro rattlesnake. Ultimately, who knows where this stuff comes from. Some of it is conscious choice and some is dreamworld that forces its way into the art. And the yellow... well, the yellow is just gonna be happy sunshine yellow.
Here's the key block for the chameleon egg print. Currently I've finished carving all the blocks, and have printed the background color. Now I'm waiting for that layer of ink to dry before I can go ahead and print the snake block. The wait can seem very, very long sometimes, even though it usually only takes a couple of days. Printing each layer gets me one step closer to the exciting reveal of the finished print.