I was hoping I would have these all printed by yesterday in order to give them away, but it has honestly taken me longer than I thought, so I’m going to post the progress of the whole the process from sketching to carving to printing. Then likely you’d know what you are getting yourself into.
Here is the sketch 75% done
The final sketch is now ready to be transferred to a linoleum platethat I will start carving right after.
Nothing makes me more hopeful for the future than watching seedlings bursting from seeds and emerging from the soil; this process has become more meaningful this year under the constant feeling of uncertainty we are all experiencing during this pandemic. Even more powerful because I have had success with seeds that were 6 years old!
I no longer have access to a greenhouse so at first I used a few store-bought trays with domes, but then I realized I could just use whatever I had around and avoid a trip to the store. Here is one technique I came up with.
Egg cartons make great seed starting trays! My favorite are the 3 part plastic ones, but I have used all kinds.
I cut off the part that goes over the eggs ( I used as the water catching tray) and left the other two parts attached.
Then I punctured a 1/4 inch draining hole under each egg holder
I filled up each egg holder with soil and sowed 2-3 seeds since they were really old and there was a chance they wouldn’t germinate; then I “labeled” them by writing on the cover with a sharpie. I placed the part I initially cut off under the tray with the soil and the holes, this will be my water catching tray (this one has no holes)
I watered my seeds and placed them by the window sill.
Then I ran out of room and found out about “grow” lights; I’m experimenting with that right now. Luckily I have plenty of time.
This reduction print was the fruit of a long internal creative process that began when I bought some dahlias at the market. What a gorgeous flower, with its collection of perfectly-designed laid out in geometrical spirals and the delicate addition of color, always a variation of two near-complements fading into one another for a beautiful effect.
It didn’t take my mind long to move to the amazing science of transplantation, cross-pollination, plant hybridization and the like that have been practiced in the plant kingdom long long before they were practiced by humans. I fascinated by the way plants can quickly assimilate themselves to different climates and habitat with beautiful results. We see proof of this all the time in the plant kingdom, and in humans as well. How wonderful to behold how well we humans do when transplanted far far from home and into communities that may look nothing like the ones we are used to.
While conceptualizing what the text on this piece would look like in my head I originally was visualizing a more handwritten-style font. But then while experimenting with fonts this classical “Times”-style serif caught my eye and I liked it immediately for its appearance and weight. The letters were hand-carved in linoleum and printed in a separate pass, bringing the total color count on this print to five.
There are still plenty of chances to find us around town for a Michigan-made creative gift or two. Here are the upcoming shows. Schedule tight? Drop me an email any time to set up an appointment at the studio.
Last week my friend and fellow artist Mandy Cano Villalobos came over to my studio to “interview” me, but really it was more like hanging out like we used to, a long time ago… before we had children. She has three and gets shit done, I sometimes do too and only have one. We didn’t talk long, and she didn’t ask painful personal questions, yet the story is a good insight into my life as an artist as a person still figuring things out.
Next Eric Bowens came over to take pictures… ugh, that is always painful, and he was so patient. Eric is a doctor at a community clinic serving the hispanic population in Grand Rapids, I have secretly admired him for using his profession as an other form of activism and also for being an active supporter of the arts.
Huge thanks to Holly Bechiri, for supporting artists by having their voices be heard, for finding amazing writers and photographers to tell the stories.
We’ve got to the last of this print edition. Numbers 42, 43, 44 and 45 are all that’s left of the edition. If you would like to get one of them come to our anual studio sale coming up November 17 and 19; or get it at the online shop and I’ll ship it for free.
Here is the last finished commission I did. This is a linocut print that will be the cover of a new song composed by the talented Folias Duo of Grand Rapids, MI. This was a great process to work through with the husband and wife duo, brainstorming over wine and going back and forth with sketches and ideas.
January is already one of the harshest months for me, I need to start thinking about taxes, I have near to zero income, no projects to focus on, no events, no concerts, no blue skies, no sun, no warmth, nothing to make a being with a beating heart feel better! On top of that I just read that Grand Rapids was the cloudiest place on Earth last week. So I guess the only thing left for us inhabitants of this grey place is to brag about how miserable we can be, but even that was taken away by the events of last week which made last week also one of the darkest I have memory of.
But times like these have inspired great art and that’s what I am looking forward to.