Driven to Abstraction

Driven to Abstraction

I am not one for excuses. I’ve been working what’s commonly referred to as a ‘shit ton’ of hours. Even today, I worked 14 hours, but I’m too ramped up to sleep. So, it’s a perfect time to post an update. I think. Forgive me if I ramble, or go tangential, because I will, and isn’t that half the fun?

Honestly, I’m not pretending this is a blog more than a dozen people give a second look. Yet, huge Love to the people who do!!

As far as the lino block printing. I’m nearly done with the trial. I just have the third color to print. When I printed the second color, it was a similar situation. I was tired, yet wide awake. I might as well be productive, right? No, not at all. Speaking of right, I screwed up left and right. Literally. Possibly, I achieved a single decent print, out of ten.

And that wasn’t my only mistake. Not even close. On the upside, I’m still planning a little tutorial/video about the whole experience. It sounds so trite to say, ‘Mistakes are Easy, but Success is Hard’, until you realize that’s true. As soon as I finish my taxes and the design of my new Simply B’Lou 4oz bottle label for the manufacturer, I will reprint my blocks, and start another set with what I’ve learned. Priorities.

But, then, there’s my ability to be easily distracted by side projects. And it’s to the best of my ability.

Last weekend, I cleared out some space and set up an array of conveniently pre-stretched canvas.

*btw, all purchased at a deep discount, if anyone recalls my excitement at the time? By following the sales circular of the local art supply outlet, I pounced when the time was right. And it’s paying off on the days I just need to step into my art space and let go.*

After all of the missteps with something so technical as linoleum block printing, I needed a small break. It was time to finally address my long overdue bookkeeping for taxes. Ugh. Such a droll task. At the same time, I relive my entire past fiscal year, transaction by transaction.

Creating the habit of having no excuses puts me on the right path. It’s beyond ‘just do it’. You must back it up with work. Plain and simple. Especially with taxes. And small business.

While I’m not using my year end bookkeeping as an excuse, it is an event which happens to be stalling my progress in the linoleum block sphere. Let me tell you, you cannot take block printing lightly!

At the same time, when it comes to clicking buttons and crunching numbers, and facing the fiscal reality of 2016, I immediately require an outlet for the opposing emotional chaos. Fortunately, this times out well with both my abundance of canvas and liquid acrylics. Tah Dah!

Preparation was quick. A bunch of newspaper on the floor and table, and a stack of leftover canvas. The goal is a relatively decorative piece to replace a piece currently up that I’m planning on putting in storage or relocating. The other important factor is the limited guidelines I set for myself regarding palette.
I have a favorite paint company who put out a booklet that presents a color family. This time, I am going through our house with this specific color booklet right by my side. I would love for the entire interior to be unified. This most recent piece will cover a decent amount of space in our living room. I will be posting photos of the piece on the wall, once it gets there. After taxes. I swear.

In the meantime, here are a few pics of my weekend getaway..

Pieces like this take at least a week to dry. If they were oil, six months. They are so much fun, I have no problem sacrificing the space for a week, or two.

 

Linoleum Block Printmaking Progress Report

Linoleum Block Printmaking Progress Report

 

I’m still trucking away with the lino blocks. And loving the process! I have finished the carving and pulled a few test prints of block #1 and #3 in the order of the final print. I stuck with commercial block printing ink, versus acrylic, so the drying time is extended. For the test prints, I mixed enough ink for five prints, initially. By happenstance. But, it’s a good number. I will let them dry overnight, and print the second color tomorrow night. At this point, I’m making sure the images line up, not only on top of each other, but beside as well. In the photos above, I taped prints together to make sure they read as repeating patterns. So far, they do. I’m really interested to see if they’ll work together as a group, top to bottom, side by side. Beyond that, I may print some textiles. Otherwise, this was entirely experimental. The success of the process outweighs the product. For this project, anyway. I have so much to learn. And fabric paints to buy for the next part of this adventure..

Making Progress and Playing with Linoleum Blocks

Making Progress and Playing with Linoleum Blocks

I’ve been working on finally setting up all of my websites the way I meant to last year. Part of the process is wrapping my head around WordPress. So far, so good. I have yet to tackle the eCommerce parts of the sites, other than selling Simply B’Lou by the ounce. For now I’m selling just the essential oil blend. I have been happily working with a new bottle supplier, and the deposit goes down tomorrow. Super exciting!

Lately, when I close the laptop for the night, I’ve been working on a new, fun project. One thing I’ve wanted  to explore is designing repeating patterns. There are a few projects around the house where I’d like to apply this technique, so I’ve started to try to figure out how it’s done.

For my first attempt, I decided to use the set of linoleum blocks I bought impulsively about a year ago. Double bonus to attempt this with materials I already had on hand, a stack of three 5″x7″ lino blocks collecting dust, right next to the block printing kit. Fortunately, I have all sorts of copiers and printers, including the laser printer necessary to do the transfer. So much easier than the old school way of coloring the back of the paper and tracing!

And because I had three blocks, I decided, why not try to do a multicolor print? First, I learned how to design the repeating pattern, and doodled up a page. The black and white drawing was the result. I transferred that to the first block. Right now, I am nearly done with carving the most detailed parts, and will soon pull a test print. Next, I had to determine where I wanted the color. I already carved the second block, shown in the bottom middle of the photo. (I needed a rest from all the detail carving and tackled the second block in between. Finished that sucker in one sitting. Carving the linoleum with all that solid negative space was way more Zen.)

Once I finish the detail, I’ll pull the first test print, and mark out the third block. In the photo, the orange highlighted sections of the black and white copy will most likely be what I’ll carve around. But I’m waiting to see how the test print looks before I decide. The nature of the carving techniques changes the image. It is far from laser cut. And the slips and kerchunks add a little flavor, and speaks to the medium, itself.  Another tool that comes in handy is my lightbox for tracing the areas for color. Before that, I taped drawings to the window during the daylight hours.

I have a second pattern I’d like to create, and I’m considering creating a tutorial of the whole process. Have you ever wanted to print your own pattern? For fabric? Wall art? I must say, I’ve been having a really good time zoning out and flinging bits of rubber about the room. Messy. Fun… I like.

 

 

Hello again!

Hello again!

I am in the process of getting reorganized and setting up my websites as they should be. First, I’ve started the new Simply B’Lou page, and now I’m working on my MLydon.com page. Once they are on solid ground, I’m turning my attention to Beaconsfield Designs, finally. For now, it’s all a work in progress.

Thanks for stopping by!

Michelle