This has been a hard week to make art. Printmaking isn’t a media where you can get physical with your materials, like ceramics or painting. Sometimes I wish it was. As I completed all of the mundane tasks that the studio required, I tried to identify the particular things that were nagging at me and causing stress. Honestly, I feel that the in-coming administration is going to be catastrophic for the environment. Our environment is the entire reason for my art…
I don’t want to just make pretty art
I despise the word pretty. As a woman, it feels dismissive and demeaning. Things that are pretty are not important. Just because I do not sling black paint on canvases or incorporate headless torsos into my work doesn’t mean that I create artwork to be purely decorative. The images I select to carefully carve and laboriously print are my interpretations of our most precious gift, the natural world. Trees, mountains, streams, flowers, creatures — all of these things spring up not from our human efforts, but because of this amazing ecosystem into which we were fortunate to be born. (more…)
My two latest linocuts deal with jewels — jewels of the living kind. Out of Many, One is a bird’s-eye view of part of the Great Barrier Reef. Made up entirely of coral polyps, this living structure stretches over 1,400 miles off the eastern Australian coastline.
Beloved, my latest series of reduction linocuts, looks at places that are in danger because of global warming. Ephemeral Sanctuary looks at the delicate islands that ring the southern United States and the Caribbean, such as The Bahamas, St. Lucia, Barbados, Bermuda and many others. My husband and I spent our honeymoon on Bermuda. These pink sand beaches and shallow aqua waters hold a special place in the hearts of many throughout the world.
Elizabeth Busey, Ephemeral Sanctuary. Reduction Linocut, 10 x 33in, Edition of 13. $300 unframed.
When I was taking printmaking classes at the university level, I was an anomaly. My images were full of colors and curves, few straight lines, and no black. In the relief printmaking class, skulls and angst were typical. When I put my relief prints up during a critique, they garnered few comments.
Part of this was the stage of life I was in (mid-30s) vs. my classmates (late teens to 20.) Certainly art can be used to overtly communicate dark feelings. But must work have the gushing blood of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes to make a serious statement? I think not.
My process of creation is a circuitous one. I often start with a particular visual idea — a pattern in nature that I find inexplicably captivating. I spend time thinking about composition, the types of tools I will use and the marks I want to make. I don’t spend too much time clarifying what the image means…
Summer in the Midwest has been a combination of searing heat and unrelenting drought. I feel as out of shape as if it were February, hibernating in my basement studio dressed in shorts. Questions abound — when is this going to end? What does this mean regarding climate change? Should I change the front yard landscape to cactus? Will we still be able to get that fabulous bi-color corn from the Farmer’s Market? Will future summers also be this hot?
Elizabeth Busey. Détente.
Linoleum Reduction Print,
(28 x 9in), 2012.
My latest print looks at the world within a much longer time frame. A Bloomington collector friend suggested I look at the mountain ranges in southern Colorado. I learned that these mountains were formed by several different geological upheavals over a vast time span. This movement, along with the punishing effects of water, wind and sun, have created ranges that are alive with serpentine energy.