I have been trying to grab a little bit of time each week for creativity. I find that focusing on something artistic for even a short period of time is calming and acts to decompress me. Art is something I enjoy, love and am passionate about but I am also realising that I find it to also be therapeutic. In Scotland, I went to my Art Club’s Life Drawing class which meant that at least once a week I was spending time doing something creative just for myself. I have not found a life class here, unfortunately, but art journalling and participating in the Documented Life Project means that at least once a week I am taking some time out from all of the hustle and bustle of family life to devote to something creative.
I am enjoying mixed media work far more than I expected to and I am enjoying the stimulus of learning new techniques and working with unfamiliar materials or even familiar materials but deployed in a new way. Nevertheless I am finding that I still revert to drawing and ink work. I guess that is my comfort zone. Just before leaving Scotland, I was starting to get back into lino block printing which I had not done since my teens. That, therefore, is something I am trying to develop again so I am trying to make time to develop designs for block prints and ever so often I even find time to carve a block and print. I have not discovered a local source of lino blocks yet so I have been working on smaller pieces of lino than I am used to but actually I am enjoying the challenge of that restriction and the smaller scale also makes it easier for me to start and finish a piece within the time I have set aside.
My first two efforts at this smaller scale (15cmx10cm) were of a whale and a bird in a cage. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might recognise the bird design from a page I did for the Documented Life Project but I have not shared the whale print on the blog before. I might experiment with creating a monoprint background for printing the whale onto at some point. I happen to like the texture that results from the imperfections from my cutting which is why I don’t cut away until every single positive is gone from the negative spaces. I re-print and re-cut until I get a result that I am happy with. Perhaps it is because I tend to be very precise with my drawing and ink work that I enjoy the imperfections of the block prints. In the case of the whale print below, I clearly didn’t use the baren at a consistent enough pressure when pressing the print so there is a patchiness to the ink. If I was creating that print with a view to selling it then I would print it again but since this print was just for me I actually quite liked the effect as it made me think of the scarred and barnacled surface of a whale’s body. In any case, I am pretty pleased with how they both turned out.