Sometimes I try too hard to come up with the words to express what I feel. I prefer it when the thoughts and emotions just flow out of my fingers but I guess there are times when they don’t.
I think part of it is that I have a hard time saying goodbye to things and when I feel like it’s a goodbye it makes me want to linger in the moment and hold the experience close to my heart.
When I was a little girl, the sobbing started the moment I crawled out of my grandmother’s arms and into the back of the wood-sided Ford LTD station wagon, and lasted until I ran out of tears (and I had at least an hour’s worth of tears). I really don’t know how my parents managed to retain their sanity mile after mile.
I didn’t cry when I drove home from my print making workshop, but I did feel sad about such a wonderful session coming to an end. I had the privilege of spending three consecutive Mondays with four other unique and daring artists; three other students and our instructor Kathy.
Each member of the class couldn’t have been more different. Ann is tiny in physical stature, is an amazing water color painter, and works in the most amazing and delightful detail imaginable. I think she took the work in an unexpected direction.
Sarah is a lovely young college graduate who is finding her way into the post graduate world. She made me both lonesome and happy to experience the class with someone who reminded me of my daughter Katie. She has a great eye and a wonderful approach for creating each piece. My favorite was a steaming coffee cup in the middle of a table. It was the kind of image that makes you wonder why someone would leave their hot coffee behind.
Grace introduced herself by saying, “I’m not an artist. I just enjoy learning about art and making things.”
I think that is the definition of an artist. An artist isn’t someone who makes a living selling their work; it’s a person who loves to create and appreciates the beauty in the world. I really think artists are people who see the world just a little differently and find a way to express it.
Grace made some of the most interesting work in the class. My favorite was the piece she created when Kathy challenged us to complete a print in thirty minutes or less. I never would have thought to step outside and pick a few leaves to use as the shapes and impressions, but Grace did – and it was amazing.
I had a couple of other ideas, but got lost in the land of butterflies and beach hats. Who knew that the same form could take on so many different shapes?
Starting with a hat; I rolled out, marked and printed the yellow and red layers during the first class.
As instructed, I returned to the second session with the print and ready to finish it with a layer of blue. I went to the ink station without hesitation and rolled a layer of release agent and a coat of deep blue onto my printing plate made of plexiglass.
Whala! I made a butterfly – oops!
In my confidence and haste I picked up the wrong plate and started the print making process from the wrong direction. It’s best to go from light to dark colors not the other way around. I couldn’t help but laugh at my mistake and with everyone’s encouragement made the best of it.
After the blue butterfly mistake, I made sure to take the plate for the hat to the ink station.
Next up was a butterfly done with the colors laid down in the right order. I have a thing for butterflies and this one is gorgeous.
There was just enough time for me to experiment a bit. I was so intrigued with how the butterfly that started out as a mistake turned out that I thought I’d see what would happen with the hat.
After the first class I was questioning myself and whether or not what I’d done could be considered “art,” given the fact that the drawings were traced and not original.
A timely phone call and a long conversation with Kathy convinced me that what I’d created was original, artful, and maybe even painterly.
My answer to the 30-minute challenge at the beginning of the third session was yet another beach hat. The words wild and psychedelic come to mind. I’m wondering what it would look like if I turned the lava lamp on.
Last but not least, I took a thoughtful approach for my final print.
Beach hats and butterflies – sunshine and summer. I wonder what’s next.