I sometimes get wrapped up in my own message. For me, creating artwork is a way for me communicate images and ideas to others via a particular medium. Sometimes people want to receive my message…and sometimes they don’t. My weekend at one of the nation’s top rated art festivals was a lesson in mindfulness.
The weekend started out auspiciously, because I avoided having my tent rolled by severe weather. I had a favorable site near a children’s activity area, and away from the talented yet resounding musical acts. The forecasted rain never materialized. It was staffed by numerous volunteers who wanted to meet my every need. Conditions were favorable for people coming to experience my message…
I spend many of my days working on discrete activities. Carve this layer, print the next color, build a frame… Like most things in life, I find it difficult to assess on any given day whether I am going in the right direction or not. I am always struck at the similarities between being an artist and gambling. On a few golden days, an acceptance arrives in my email, or a new collector takes a linocut home. But the vast majority of days the activities go on without reward or comment.
Feedback. Everyone needs it, including artists. When you are in an art class, you receive lots of feedback in the form of critiques. Or in my case — just blank stares because I don’t use any black ink in my relief prints. (What was wrong with me?)
Feedback now comes to me during a much more sympathetic monthly gathering. My art group, of which I have been a participant for perhaps ten years, is a group of women who meet to share whatever is going on in our lives creatively. Everyone has some sort of formal art training — I probably have the least. People work in two and three dimensions, some market their work while others choose to create just for themselves.
Experimenting with a honeycomb shape, with the addition of colored pencil.
I brought my latest experiments to this month’s meeting. I enjoy taking experiments because then the question about what to do differently is so much easier to discuss. It is hard to pick apart finished work among these artist friends. One suggestion that I’ve been toying with regards the honeycomb-patterned linocut. It was suggested that the white in between the hexagons was too pronounced. It created a figure/ground problem. What if it was just a lighter color — even a lighter layer of the work? The next day I amended the above linocut with colored pencils. I wanted to make the viewer think about why these shapes were included, not wonder why they were looking through chicken wire! Perhaps a full fledged honeycomb linocut is in the works.