December 17, 2010

What's New in the Studio

        I have a lot of hobbies - the block printing and the writing being the primary ones, but also this blog, of course, gardening, quilting, scrapbooks for the kids, reading, the word game Babble, and any number of other little projects.  Even with my commitment to insufficient housework I still find it impossible to pursue all those hobbies properly, so I tend to go in phases where one or another
predominates while others get pushed to the side for a while.  (And where on earth do people find the time to watch five hours of television each day, or whatever the national average is supposed to be???)  At any rate, recently I've been doing so many shows that block printing and related stuff has been taking precedence over everything else.

Here's the latest piece.
        This is another sort of experimental one.  I got the idea from a sketch I'd made in a journal a number of years ago, somewhere between Boston and South Dakota and a long way up.  Since I've been mildly obsessed with pattern and texture recently, as soon as I saw the sketch (while flipping through the journal looking for something else) I started thinking of carving it.  The result is this view down between clouds.

Weird ink effect - notice the places where it's come off.
        For some reason I had a really hard time getting clean impressions again.  I'm about two thirds of the way through an 8 ounce jar of Dick Blick water-based block printing ink, and I won't be buying any more of it.  It's too thick, I always have to thin it out slightly, and it's hard to get the consistency just right.  Whenever it gets too dry it sort of peels itself right off the block in a weird way.  I like to work really hard on the carving but I don't want to struggle with the inking and printing.

        This little sketch was going to be my next block if I had extra time to carve at my last show.  In the end the airplane view block took me long enough, so I'm not sure when I'll get around to this one.  It should be a nice, relaxing one, but at the moment I'm thinking I'd like to focus back on the writing for a while.  I have an almost-finished book that needs its final work, and then I'm eager to get started on something new.

        And finally, I want to include a picture of our Christmas tree, which we just set up and are feeling so pleased about.  I expect Martha Stewart will be wishing she'd thought of this!  The triangle surrounding the real miniature tree is my cheap display easel with its cross piece removed.  Though I say it myself, I think it would look splendid on the cover of some insanely hip home magazine!

[Pictures: Between the Clouds, rubber block print by AEGN, 2010;
carved Between the Clouds block;
strange ink effect;
mouse sketch by AEGN;
Tripod Christmas tree, 2010.]

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