Got a design all drawn out and ready to carve for my first lino carving in over a year. I’m excited and a bit nervous. Linoblocks are harder to carve compared to erasers so it’s easier to wind up with gouged hands and bloody fingers, so I’m hoping I’m not too rusty. But I’m excited because, well, I’m back to something familiar. With patience and a steady hand, I know how this will turn out. It’s good to step out of your comfort zone and try something different, like with the stamp carving, but it also feels good to come back to something you know. There’s nothing wrong with staying in your zone.
…now, if I could just come up with a name for this piece. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 😌
I have been literally drawing a blank on ideas for my next drawing. A fellow artist told me it’s probably best to take a break, so that’s what I’ve been doing but I’m not taking a break from being creative. While I’m recharging my battery for pointillism, I carved up a few designs for some mini block prints. Nothing too fancy, just some simple designs based off of lotuses and spiritual symbols. In the picture above from left to right the symbols are Dao, Om and Gye Nyame, which is a African adinkra symbol for the supremacy of God. Surprisingly I didn’t get too frustrated while carving these so I’m claiming them as officially my first mini block prints. 😃
Some of the most delightful things in life happen without a plan.
I’m not one for planning much. Growing up I used to hear adults talk about how you need a plan for your life, otherwise you’ll just wander and accomplish nothing. So I tried to make plans for me life. Eventually I would either forget them as soon as I figured them out, run into something that would cause me to change course or find myself feeling rather stifled by what now feels more like a restraint than an actual plan. I eventually came to the conclusion that planning was over rated. Having a plan doesn’t guarantee success in life nor does it guarantee failure if you don’t have one. I feel that so long as you have a general idea or direction you want to go in you’re good and you can just figure out the details along the way. But I get it, not everybody can live like that.
To me, not steering the course of your life too strictly allows room for delightful little things to happen along the way that can lead to new and exciting things or much needed personal growth. If you look at nature there’s no detailed plan for the course of life. Seeds fall where they may, vegetation springs up wherever it can and the cycle of life flows continually in the general direction towards that which brings about living.
So I’ve been most frustrated with this stamp carving lately. I’ve been finding myself lacking in ideas and feeling disappointed in the progress of my skills. But today, without planning to, I just sat down and started carving. I had nothing in mind and at first I felt a little apprehensive. I did something small, a lotus blossom, then an OM symbol, a figure in a meditation pose and then three hours later I looked up and saw that I had also craved some cherry blossoms and Chinese characters. I guess my mind had sunk back into the recesses of former designs I had done before and found comfort in tackling something I was already familiar with. What transpired came to fit neatly with my Hummingbird stamp and an interesting layout formed. Being nitpicky as I am, I see that I’m gonna need to redo the Chinese characters and the cherry blossoms but for something that happened completely unexpectedly I like how this came together. 😊
Okay, I’ve attempted to do something a little more complex with this stamp carving and as of now, all I can say is that slowly but surely I’m getting better. It’s frustrating, inking can be a pain but I’m getting better at it and I’m just gonna leave it at that. With that said, I think I’ll attempt to do another hummingbird design. Please wish me a little patience and peace. 😊
I’m used to being the kind of person who can get the hang of something by the third try. As of today, I see I’m going to have to throw that thought out the window with this stamp carving. So far I’ve mutilated somewhere between 20-25 erasers and my carvings are still not up to par with say my linocut carvings, which are now proving to be much easier. These designs I create look deceptively simple when drawn out in paper but once I transfer them to the eraser they can turn out to be somewhat of a pain when it comes to carving them.
Now don’t get my grumbling wrong, I’m a trooper and sticking with it and working through this journey of creative growth, although I now can clearly understand why some artists just go out and buy the stamps. This stuff ain’t easy. But you really can’t beat the satisfaction of creating your own unique designs, so I’m gonna keep marching on. 😊