Creating amidst crises

Creating amidst crises can either be cathartic or impossible. My crises actually started before the current novel coronavirus. In early February, my husband was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor, and within a week he had surgery to have it removed. Rare, but benign, I guess you could say we won the brain tumor lottery. Could I create anything during a month of worry and caregiving. Not at all.

Getting your creative groove back is something I have spent some time considering. Read some suggestions here. A month after his surgery, I spent time looking at old work in my flat files, and came across a multiple block woodcut I created while a student at Indiana University in 2009. Our prompt was another worrying pandemic — the novel H1N1 virus, nicknamed Bird Flu

Goose Girl in the Time of Flu. Multiple block woodcut, 18 x 18in approx.
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Seeing Vija Celmins Up Close

Some work just demands to be viewed up close — especially the work of Vija Celmins. I was able to see a retrospective of her work at The Met Breuer in New York City recently. Numerous guards looked nervous as I surveyed her drawings and prints closely. 

Vija Celmins. Untitled (Cassiopeia), 1973, Graphite on acrylic ground on paper.
NOTE: Teal dots were caused by light reflecting on the glass.
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Breaking the rules yet again

When you begin to learn about printmaking at a university, there are many rules. Some are for safety — avoid catching your hand under the press roller, don’t splash the acid, etc. You also learn how to create an edition where each print should be virtually identical. Use wheat paste for chine collé (collage) work. More rules…

If I am honest, I have been enjoying printmaking so much more, now that I’m breaking the rules.

Efflorescence. Monoprint collage, 18 x 18in, $475.
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Being mindful can make the difference

Tomorrow night is the winter solstice where I live.  As much as I try, I find the darkness and gloom this time of year oppressive. Add challenging circumstances, whether they be personal, relational or political, and it can be just unbearable. Since a vacation to the southern hemisphere is not a possibility this year, I have turned to being mindful — in my art and in my life.

Coming of the Light. Monoprint collage with gold leaf. 18 x 24in, $475.
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Down the rabbit hole with Chartreuse

Do you have a signature color? I have a long-time affinity for deep blue-green, sometimes called Prussian Blue. But if I am honest, I’ve also given my heart to chartreuse. Its lemon-lime brightness makes even the darkest December afternoons seem a bit more energetic. Discovering the origins of chartreuse can lead you down a very interesting rabbit hole…

Enliven. Monoprint collage, 18 x 18in, $475 ($575 framed)
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Is this still printmaking?

As I consider what work to include in an upcoming printmaking exhibit, I do start to wonder if my work is still considered printmaking. I’m no longer as interested in creating things in editions. I’m reveling in being able to create one of something — with my successes and mistakes confined to a single work. But the question is still there. Consider my latest monoprint collage, Aeon.

Aeon. Monoprint Collage, 18 x 18in, $475 ($575 framed)
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Reopened Eskenazi Museum a treasure for printmaking

After what seemed like forever, the beloved Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University reopened this week. For a town that hovers on average at 100,000 people, we are spoiled to have a free, world-class museum just minutes away. I was fortunate to be among many volunteers that welcomed visitors back in to see the newly re-imagined space.

Formerly the Fine Arts Library, this space on the third floor hosts the Center for Prints, Drawings and Photographs.
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Coaxing emotion out of color and shape

Do you ever get a feeling simply from the color or shape of something? Sanctum (below) came about as I mused about what made me feel supported and renewed. Relying on a Voronoi diagram matrix, I employed both color and shape to explore these emotions. (New readers: You can learn more about my obsession with Voronoi diagrams and art here.)

Elizabeth Busey. Sanctum. Monoprint collage. 18 x 18in, $475 ($575 framed.)

I purposefully used the structure in different ways. Some were familiar polygons, and others more angular.  I can see several  examples from nature that are evoked by these elements. But I’d rather not influence your reactions.

What do you see?

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Art Reflects Science Opens in Chicago Heights

Planetree of St. Stephan
Planetree of St. Stephan. Reduction linocut, 28 x 28in, edition of 13, $725 ($1,075 framed.)

Particular artwork inspired this piece.

I continue to take my art on the road. Eight of my reduction linocuts are part of an exhibition at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, IL. Titled Art Reflects Science, the exhibition also includes work by Vera Scekic and Hunter Cole. Scekic exploits poured acrylic layers, often scraping, sanding and splicing to create imagery that feels like primordial cells. Geneticist and artist Cole uses bioluminescent bacteria in solution as paint, photographing her work as the bacteria grows stronger and then weaker.

You can read an article about the exhibit here.

In Praise of Honey and Cream. Reduction linocut, 14 x 28in, edition of 15, $375 ($500 framed.)

This linocut celebrates the humble bees and their importance to our diet.

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