One way of creating that has helped me deal with the challenges of a demanding teaching profession is spinning. It is highly process oriented and basic in its reduction of form through texture and colour. It is a linear (no pun intended) way of working through thoughts and can be fit in a few minutes here and there without feeling I’ve lost track of what I was doing (as happens when composing a drawing).
Today I thought I would pay tribute to the beautiful wheel my parents bought for me almost 20 years ago: An Ashford ‘Joy.’ Sometimes the things we need to help us settle into ourselves are right there waiting for us to pick them up again. I digitally processed the photographs in black and white to draw the eye to the elegant, minimalist curves and natural wood grain.
Two years ago, I started drawing skies and almost as soon as I posted them, I stopped. A critical mind is important until it impacts productivity.
I’ve truly enjoyed making this drawing the last few days. The challenge of adding architecture which I never draw was fun and I learned that I could improve the drawing through photographing it and seeing where shading needed to be fixed. It’s not perfect but it’s finished.
This drawing was made from a photo taken on the first day of winter. The Prairies often have beautiful sunrises and sunsets and this day was no exception. I have spent years trying to build a garden to block this view of our back alley, but that day there was a realization that even the suburbs and man-made structures have their charm.
In 2016 I took a lot of photographs… on my phone. Here are 12 photos from my garden and one from a local park we discovered this year. All photos taken with an iPhone 5 using ProCamera app and Photoshop Express.
This year I succeeded in going back to hand printed cards and it feels like a small victory in the department of personal creativity. Nevertheless, I didn’t start until the beginning of November and ran into some ink problems as I was finishing up hand colouring. Ink was still offsetting 3 weeks after printing! New Year’s resolution: start cards in July! Below, some documentation of the process. Merry Christmas and best wishes in the New Year to you and your family!
An unexpected family event this summer brought us together and a chance conversation with a cousin whose been good about keeping in touch brought up the topic of spinning.
Her enthusiasm and gorgeous spinning skill have convinced me to take up something I haven’t touched in over a decade. It has been the perfect antidote for working through thoughts and calming a worried mind.
Someone once told me that I can’t do everything, that I have to choose. And that is my problem. I still do not. I want to be a skillful artist, excellent teacher, adept gardener, household contributor, caring partner and family member, healthy, spiritual, intellectual, calm personality. I try for all of it, but do none of it well.
Try again… and again.
This linocut is the beginning of a reduction print. The ink is new to me: Akua intaglio. There are some things to be worked out.
In the mean time, an homage to my favourite spring flower:
Update, December 20, 2016: I did eventually get the second colour on this print and it took months and months to dry. In fact I took a print out to scan today and it is still smudging. I will be on the look out for a more reliable permanent ink for 2017 printing adventures.