fountain stones by Serendipity Artist
fountain stones, a photo by Serendipity Artist on Flickr.

People are always talking about the importance of gratitude. How you should count your blessings. This approach never worked for me. I appreciate the blessings in my life, but my frustrations would still take hold. This weekend I tried something different that seems to work for me. It isn’t a new idea even to me, but I seemed to be able to get it this time around.

I was folding laundry and thinking about how I never have time to work on my art and even when I make time to do art, I am frustrated because I can’t get into a rhythm. At one point my poor unsuspecting husband wandered by and asked how I was doing and I snapped, “I feel like housework and chores are sucking the life out of me.” As my words slapped him in the face I suddenly realized that folding laundry wasn’t so awful. In fact I had failed to notice that it felt kind of good getting things in order for the start of the school year. I apologized to my husband. Then I spent the rest of the day playing a kind of game with myself – seeing if I could notice something positive in any frustrating situation. Like when I discovered mosquito larvae in the fountain, instead of focusing on how annoyed I felt about draining and cleaning it, I took the opportunity to look at each of the pretty stones as I cleaned them off and put them back in the water.

I know this won’t work for every tough situation I encounter, but I’m looking forward to the challenge – especially in the studio.


Poppies Triptych

Originally uploaded by Serendipity Artist

This week I finished the Poppies Triptych. Here is an image of all three prints put together. I made a lot of progress with my printmaking abilities with this project – particularly with registration. I’m fairly happy with the results, but I think my next print will be on a much smaller scale!

I recently finished the blocks for the second print in the Poppies triptych. I’ve been traveling a lot lately, so I’m not as far along as I would like to be on these prints. Up next I need to finish the final three blocks for the last print, grind pigments, do some testing, and start printing.

This is a test print for print I of the Poppies Triptych. The test is basically to double-check for alignment issues. The colors are a bit off and I need to make some further tests later on to get the color exactly right and consistent for each print in the triptych.

This week I am carving the blocks for print II of the triptych, but I won’t get as much done as usual because I am off to Milwaukee for a few days to attend the Art Librarians Society of North America – Midstates Chapter meeting. Can’t wait to see the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

My earlier print, “Poppies by Moonlight” was actually a sort of test print to a larger print. At one point I was thinking I would make a really large print, but decided it looked more interesting as a triptych. I still have a few minor adjustments to make in the design, but it’s pretty much there.

Yesterday I attended a workshop on letterpress printmaking as part of the Art Librarian’s Society of North America’s Annual Conference in Indiana. I learned a lot, but since it was only a day-long workshop, much of the work was already prepared for us. To see more photos see http://tinyurl.com/cla3vx.

Letterpress Workshop

Besides an appreciation for the letterpress process, the workshop gave me some ideas about printmaking in general including how I might overlap parts of images for some interesting effects. It was also refreshing to do a group project where all of us contributed to the whole. In fact, on my way to this workshop I rode with a woman who, because she is unable to have a studio, creates artwork by setting up certain parameters and giving them to others to create her work. She is currently working on a project in which she gives participants a kind of table tent with the outline of a human figure and asks participants to create a self portrait on it and mail it back to her. She even gave me one of them to do.

Here is a sketch of my upcoming print. I invested a lot of time this past week relearning Adobe Illustrator. I learned illustrator back in the late 1980s – so long ago that I had to learn how to use a mouse in the class! I am amazed that I actually remembered some things, but there was a lot of banging my head against the wall and spending hours trying to figure out something that ended up being very simple to do. I think the time I spent will be worth it though, as it makes design adjustments much easier to do and to visualize.

Boat sketch

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