Friday, September 2, 2016

WOULD YOU RATHER BE PAINTING?




Two words, thresholds and recalibration, helped me understand a question I had been grappling with for several weeks. My question: to grow, what do I need to let go?

A friend said that she envied artists because we have so many choices, which can build one on top of another. She's right. Every day I am grateful that I have the choices I can make to be creative. In the last dozen years, I've experimented with first, botanical illustration, then, letterpress, mixed media, book arts, calligraphy, drawing, acrylics and watercolor, and now etching. And yes, these are wonderful choices. At times though, I regret not focusing on one of these since my twenties (just think how more skillful I would be by now). On the other hand, I'm more ready and open to explore these areas as much as my heart will take me.

My quandary is choice now. In order to produce in one area, I need to concentrate and hone my skills. In the process, I need to back away from other creative outlets. I've already pushed aside letterpress, though I love the quiet meditation of putting lead type together one letter at a time. I have several reasons. A press costs thousands of dollars. I would need to become a commercial printer to justify the cost. The presses are not made anymore and require expert maintenance. The classes that I've taken have presses available, but all the classes are at least one to two hours away.

I'm having the same doubts about etching. Should I continue in this area, which requires so much knowledge of techniques that I am just beginning to understand? Last week I had almost decided to give it up. I was discouraged by the prints that I had made.


Last week etching.
Some of image disappeared when I developed the etching plate.
A day's work.

Then, just like a little demon nudging me, this past Sunday, after redoing the plate, I pulled a print that made me jump for joy. Here it is:

This week's new version.


Have you hit a new threshold in your life recently? What choice did you make?




9 comments:

  1. Martha, this image is GORGEOUS and inspiring! Can I have a copy? Seriously, can you make me one?

    Threshold - gateway - wormhole...The minute we cross through our life is reframed, recalibrated. Sometimes, for us slowpokes, it takes a year to pull ourselves through it, and get the new outlook on the other side...lol. I'm so glad you've broadened yourself artistically through the years. Difficult choice you now face, recalibrating your artistic medium, with costs in mind. Look at it this way: Your heart has matured, and even your virgin effort with this print is therefore intriguing.

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    1. Thank you, Flo. Your thoughts touch me. I love the image of a 'wormhole' that you describe so well. And yes, to the print.

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  2. Great blog, Martha! Thank you.i sent to my grands.Barbara

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. Coming from a fellow artist, your comments are much appreciated.

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  3. I loved your take on choices It's what we have to face everyday.

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    1. You are so right, Mary. When you make a choice, you never know which way you will turn.

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  4. Do you know of the new Printmaking building just opened at Chico State? My late husband's old friend, Mike Halldorson, is on the board and sent me a notice of the opening. They have shows often and workshps are available too. Best to you!

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    1. No, I hadn't heard about Chico State. Bravo! to them for erecting a building dedicated to Arts & Humanities, studies that we need so much in our technical world.

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