Hello Linoleum….We Meet Again!

New haircut, new beginnings, same me

Hello one and all!  It has been, if you look back through my posts, Ca-RAAAAA-zy to say the least.  I’ve moved out of the apartment I’ve shared with my (former) significant other for almost 5 years which, let me tell you, was a bit harder than I had an anticipated.  Still, it was the move that had to be made.  Neither of us were very happy and we all know two unhappy people trying to be happy so the other will be happy = no one happy or I would accept one happy the other not.  That’s not a way to live and, saying that, I want to wish Doug much happiness and love.  It’s been pretty amicable with me only having a few – a few – minor breakdowns.

ANYHOO….

Why the preamble dealing with the breakup of my engagement and my moving back to the land of Pike?  Did I mention the land of Pike?  It doesn’t matter….

Why the preamble?  Well, I think it is important for you to know where the idea for my linoleum print has come from in order to better understand my process.

In previous posts, I have written about the steps I usually take when making a linoleum print.  The reason I choose lino is because as an Art teacher, I like using materials that my students would have access to.  On a different note, it is a little cheaper to use linoleum as opposed to copper plate, stone, aluminum plate, etc.  Also, I use water based inks.  Again, easy clean up and things my students would be able to use.

Before I ever cut into the lino, I did several sketches.  Initially, I was going to continue the work with my robots and use my current, personal, situation as my inspiration.  The more I drew my robot avatar, the more I felt I wasn’t conveying how I really felt/feel.

I am hurt.  I  have days when I’m sad and reflective.  I am scared. I am healing.

For this print, I thought more about the ideas as I have interpreted them from medieval courtly love.  Women are to be treasured from afar, kept safe by knights, and women do not wear armor.  Women are to sparkle, like a gem, in someone’s crown and we are to want that.  (Please remember, this is my interpretation of courtly love and the thought path I have taken when creating this image – bear with me.)  It doesn’t work like that though – and it never did!  I wanted to try to capture that idea of what courtly love would be and apply that to how I feel/felt and what you get is below:

Initial sketch – note the pattern and suits of armor in background

If you look at the figure, I want you to see three different expressions of what I feel as the woman in question.  We could probably call this print a self-portrait.  With the horizontal arms, I wanted to add the flowing clothes that I imagine a courtly woman would wear.  This form represents my want for marriage and care and (more importantly) love.  The figure within that – and I wanted them all to be within each other – has arms out at an angle and clothes that are cross hatched (crossing lines).  I wanted this figure to be more about my anger and my feelings of abandonment.  The hands of this figure are far more claw like as if preparing for a defense.  Finally, the third and more internal figure is just hurt.  I wanted that figure to be seen just with the arms, legs, and half of the face staying a solid black to represent the most constant feeling I have.

Shields in the background and marker is already on – let’s get cutting!

The shields in the background, I must give credit to my friends and fellow Errant Easel’ers Sara and Dez.  I initially had several suits of armor, but it became very busy on the matrix.  The point of this print is to focus on the figure and I felt that the suits took away from the figure.  They would also be difficult to use to tell the story I want the viewer to see.  I tried a whiplash line design and that too was not right for the print.  After talking to the ladies, I thought of using broken shields in a pattern that would help explain my title “Next Time, Choose Better Armor” and reinforce my reference to medieval, courtly love.

That is where I kinda left it.  While talking to Dez about her print, I decided that instead of a solid background with broken shields, I would tear the matrix apart and make use of the negative space that would create.  That too, hopefully, will help express this idea of not being whole without hitting people in the face with it.  That we’ll have to wait for though since along with this challenge (which I love!) I have been working on two different commissioned pieces which I will write on later this week.

Dez working on her artwork!

Sara carving her print – which was awesome!

Off topic…..

I would like to note that I appreciate the patience of those of you who read and enjoy our blog.  I enjoy writing on Errant Easel and look forward to each post from my friends and those I write as well.  It’s just been so sporadic for me between moving, realizing a lot of things I probably should have already seen – feeling stupid about not realizing said things sooner, and looking to start over.  I am very fortunate that my relationship didn’t end with us hating each other (at least, I don’t hate him and I don’t think he hates me) and that I have an amazing support system of family and friends.  Thank you to everyone who has been a shoulder to cry on, an ear to complain to, and a hug waiting anytime I needed it.

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