October

Inspirational October is full of promise with the colors, smells and feeling in the air. I search for inspiration in nature as do so many other artists and writers. One particular pairing I’ve wanted to do is Autumn and the American poet Robert Frost (1874 – 1963). Robert Frost’s words from his poem October and my own surroundings outside my window gave me the spark to create this mixed media piece.

October - mixed media
Mixed media piece October. An homage to a poem by Robert Frost of the same name.

October is a mixed media piece using acrylic paints, Sharpie pen, torn paper and construction paper. The bright red, orange and gold background is reminiscent of Autumns colors. A black crow flies from a bare tree. On the bottom of the piece are two leaves fallen over a paper that includes a piece of the Robert Frost poem October which you will find directly below. I hope you enjoy the Autumn season and appreciate change.

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

If you enjoy this mixed media piece I have created blank greeting cards to sell in my Lasgalen Arts store on Zazzle.com.

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The Black Crow A Personal Challenge

The Hurdle

This next printmaking project, Black Crow has taken me quite some time to fathom. I’ve often been confused by the reduction method of printmaking. For quite some time I couldn’t wrap my head around the process. How could one cut away sections of a block without jeopardizing the image as a whole? What portions of the design should you cut first? I know I’m not a dense person, however it was driving me mad for some time before I had an “aha” moment.

The Reduction Process

For those unaware of what the reduction method of printmaking is I’ll try and explain this to you. Starting with a linoleum or wood block you draw out your design on the block. At that point you have to know what colors you’d like to have on each element of the design. For the Black Crow I had decided to have white clouds, therefor the only color needed was the background of blue for the sky. As you see in the photo below I cut out the clouds which would remain white after adding blue ink to create the print.

The first of a block reduction for Black Crow
The second layer was the design of the crow. I then cut away all the block until I had only the crow to print in black. The trick is to line up the block directly over the first printing. This is easily achieved by marking the block on the paper to re-aline for the next ink print.

The second reduction cut for the Black Crow

Black Crow A Personal Challenge

Thinking about this process I’ve learned that for the most part, starting with the lighter color of the design first may be wise. Having more than three colors could become problematic. Adding additional color would certainly darken the background colors already laid down making it difficult to add a lighter portion of the design.

I’m already thinking of the next project where I’ll attempt three colors. My head my explode by the time I’m finished. I’ll share with you the outcome of my folly.

Print of reduction cut of the Black Crow

I’ve created an card with personalized inspirational message to share with you for when you would like to send encouragement to a loved one.

 

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Cat in the Window

Cat in the window

The cat in the window is very happy. Kitty sits on a window ledge in front of a frosty window. The ice looks like stars on a glass. This mono print in light blue was made from a carved linoleum block. I can envision the cat in the window is sitting in a room warmed by a wood stove. As the snow is falling heavily from the sky, the world is quiet and peaceful.

Process

Generally I draw out the design on the lino block before starting to carve however, this time I went with my imagination to guide knife. There was another challenge I had to overcome. I wasn’t sitting a cozy room with a wood stove but my less than warm studio.

I’m not a vain person, just one that washes the hair in the morning and goes. I do own a hair dryer but not for drying my hair. I use a hair dryer to warm up those hard grey lino blocks. Though the linoleum becomes softer, they are not as soft as the pink sheets available. I could at least get by without cramping my hands from the resistance of knife on block.

The results

blue cat linocut

The delft blue color makes the cat pop from the window. I really like how Cat in the Window came together when printed. It is fun to carve a block now and again and take a break from the paint.

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