Channeling the flux capacitor

At the end of March I am headed to Portland, Oregon for the Southern Graphics Council International’s annual conference. This is the first printmaking conference I have ever attended, and as a person without the official blessing of an MFA, I’m a bit nervous. When I registered for the conference, one of the options was to participate in a print exchange.

Printmakers are among the most generous artists I have encountered. They readily share their secret ways of registration and are eager to problem solve with you in Facebook groups. Since they can make more than one image, they share those as well. For the exchange, I needed to produce an edition of 13 images with the paper size of 11 x 14″, and consider the event’s theme of FLUX. I found this theme baffling. Take a look at my finished image — draw your own conclusions — and then I will explain my thinking.

Arboreal Record
© Elizabeth Busey. Arboreal Record. Reduction linocut, 11 x 14in paper size, edition of 13.

The only thing flux brought to my mind was Doctor Emmett Brown’s time traveling DeLorean in the Back to the Future movies. The conference suggested I think about urban change, the DIY culture and the places where the past and the future flow into each other. Not exactly what I do…

While reading definitions of  flux, I found the ideas of energy, change and force fields most illustrative. I finally decided on a stylized tree cross-section. This tree trunk has experienced rapid change, as evidenced by the change from concentric circles to waves. Because of the importance of forest products in the Portland area, this was a nod to a change from clear cutting to a more responsible way of growing and harvesting trees.

The colors of the linocut were inspired by dogwood blossoms, with reddish tips and green interiors. I first printed a flat shape of pale yellow mixed with titanium white. I then added a blend roll of pale pink on the edges, and used a dauber to add green to the center.

Arboreal Record 2 layers
A creamy yellow layer is topped with a pink rainbow roll around the edges and stippled green center.

Carving the concentric rings was a pleasurable way to spend an afternoon. Gold ink created the rings, with a final addition of textured purple around the edges that represented bark.

Arboreal Record block
Carving concentric circles is hypnotizing. Very reminiscent of the vinyl of my childhood.

The best part is that when I leave the conference, I will have a portfolio of ten original prints from other artists to enjoy. Isn’t sharing wonderful?

Time for our Back to the Future marathon…