I’M BETTING THERE ARE SOME OF YOU that are tired of hearing about my upcoming book. Listening to me tooting my own horn can get tiring — the excitement of it all makes it a challenge to refrain from it…sorry. So, for you, I have decided to dwell on my painterly side.
I take classes (recently, more sporadically than usual because of the book) to spur on my painterly creative bend. This last weekend, I chose to spend time inside, learning the Japanese art of carving blocks of wood and inking them up to make prints. It is like — yet unlike — carving and printing with a linoleum block. Linoleum blocks are easier to carve and can be inked up in multiple colors all at one time; but like the wood blocks, the printing method is similar (using a hand-held baren to press the ink into the paper). There is a discipline…an order in which everything is done. A name for everything…the tools, the materials, the styles of resulting prints, inking one color at a time (so, multiple blocks required for one final print). I suppose the western printing methods have their own specifics to follow, but this seems a bit more exacting. For a ‘lazy’ artist, this may not be the best avenue…I’m still trying to decide if this is going to be something I want to dedicate time and energy towards, since I would classify myself somewhat lazy. Despite that fact, it may be that this would be a good route to go — to invest the time to acquire some important preciseness to my art.
In the past, I have thought of myself as “a ‘Jack’ (or should that be ‘Jill’) of all trades and master of none” — even in writing. But now, I wonder. I think, for me, the most important factor is to enjoy whatever I am doing, no matter what I’ve decided to create. To love what I’m doing; then, that love translates into what the final outcome is. My carpentry leaves a lot to be desired (even those that know the basics would probably cringe or laugh at how I achieved my end results), but function is far more important than perfection — my chickens don’t care in my angle cuts are non-existent — the cage is sturdy and keeps them safely inside and wild critters outside, plus, it was fun to build!
As for my two main creative outlets: sometimes it’s a pile of colors or words on paper that seem to make no sense, sometimes it turns out amazing, bringing the viewer in, smiling, for a closer inspection. But each and every time, there is a lesson learned — whether ways to improve my creation — or me as a person. That, I love. To me, that’s the reason I do the things I do — loving to do it & the lessons I learn from it.
This workshop on Japanese Woodcut techniques was an amazing adventure in patience, experimentation, stepping outside of my safe little ‘box’, perseverance and working on my listening skills. I discovered lessons and rewards in all areas. My final critique of my own work: loved what I was doing — playing with wood and sharp tools but need more patience, need to start at mastering simple designs & shapes before progressing to more complex projects, no shortcuts, (did I mention more patience?)…but I didn’t do too bad, considering I chose a rather complicated design for my skill level.
‘Showing off’ any of these skill sets to others is a new thing for me — maybe about a year old — and one I am just now learning how to master…still a ‘Jill’ here. The learning curve, even for this, is steep. First of all, getting past the embarrassment of thinking my work is worthy of allowing others to view it. That’s a biggie. Then to realize it is good enough to actually bring in some money from it — that, I’m still getting used to, but enjoying the idea. I’m having fun with the exhibitions (and the process I’m going through to get my book ready). And, yes, I have sold a piece. Some would call that the final validation that their work has truly ‘arrived’… for me, I try to not allow it to effect how I work — I want to retain the fun, the love of the act of creating. I don’t think I will covet that validation as some do.
I will certainly appreciate and be grateful to those that appreciate my body of works. Whether sales flourish or flounder, I will continue to dive into both my writerly and painterly activities with all the gusto I’ve had in the past because I love what I’m doing. No matter what. There. I said it.
And, in case I haven’t said it — I want to thank each and every one of you that take the time to read and/or follow my blogs, bother to check out and/or Like my endeavors at the Facebook page — you have plenty on your plate already, or even considered purchasing my soon-to-be-released book (oops…I did mention it, didn’t I–sorry). So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Have a blessed day, friends.