I’ve always seen fall as a time for learning something new. I suppose it goes back to school days. That empty notebook, waiting for inspiration. New teachers offering insights into undiscovered topics. Classes that beg you to open your wallet to explore a new media. The Art supply store, full of students with endless supply lists. New beginnings.
This fall was especially adventurous. My husband and I relocated to a charming community in the Hudson River Valley of New York. Close enough to NYC yet a world apart. Today, as I gaze out my new studio window, I see hills and endless amounts of trees. Even with the leaves completely down now, its a beautiful sight and snow flurries to boot! The road to my house is unpaved. The occasional car I see in a distance must slow down, drive consciously to avoid ruts and on coming cars. To be present to their surroundings.
It might still be the honeymoon phase of newness but I’m in love. We’ve had nothing but outstanding experiences with skilled craftspeople helping to get the house in shape. My dog is in absolute heaven, bounding through the woods after squirrels, nearly levitating with joy and for me, I’ve fallen into a great community of artists, makers and creatives.
This fall I started taking some printmaking classes at the Garrison Art Center. It’s a gem of a facility that presents outstanding exhibitions as well as pottery and printmaking studios that beg for you to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. I haven’t practiced any form of printmaking since college in what seems like a lifetime ago. I loved it then but never had access to a press afterwards and honestly just pursued other things. It was great to visit that media again. I’m enjoying the physicality of carving, inking and pulling prints off of a beautiful old press. You know the kind with those enormous wheels. I’ve tried Linotype, Intaglio and woodblock printing and there is just something about wood that really resonates.
Here are my first attempts. The first image is a Linotype of a Dove Tree, not botanically accurate for color, I was just testing the media and using available color. The leaves should be white bracts but the image came out well. I’ve put them up on Etsy. The Art Center is going to use the image for their gratitude cards for which I’m thrilled.
The second is a reductive woodblock print. Just a made up scene where I wanted to experiment with textures to see what could be done with “U” gouges in splintering wood. A challenge for sure! This print has a lot of “Noise” which is marks from where the wood was not carved deep enough to avoid ink when it was rolled on. I went back in each time and carved out the areas, subsequent prints were better, but this is definitely something that needs to improve. Some of it I like though, because it exposes the material and the “hand of the artist”. I hope you like them. I’m encouraged to continue exploring and refining and experimenting. It’s the season for newness but I won’t be abandoning botanical watercolors or plein air oils just yet. Their lessons have both served me well in this new media.