And the clouds revealed…

Elizabeth Busey. Hope Despite the Evidence.
Linoleum Reduction Print, 17 x 25in, 2013.

In the last post I related the saga of my ruining a block and having to start over. This print is the final result of a new block, new paper and many more hours of carving. On the previous block I carved away those crucial corn stalks that extend over the water. Without them, I don’t think your brain would have been able to make sense of things.

Continue reading “And the clouds revealed…”

Blessings of a do-over

When I describe my printing process to non-printmakers, I often stress that because I am using only one block, if I make a mistake or I don’t like something, I can’t go back. In truth, there are many times when I don’t like something, but I just continue and see if another color layer can make it look different.

I’m working on a new print that has clouds. I had originally wanted to carve the clouds in a sort of engraving style, where you could see my carving marks. Kind of like Gustave Baumann’s Malapi. Sadly I didn’t achieve this, as my clouds looked more like a dust-up of cute cottontails. But I couldn’t go back, so I began to carve the block for the next layer…and I carved away the wrong area.

Continue reading “Blessings of a do-over”

And now in the news…

One of my goals in expanding my etching press is that I want to be able to create larger images. Right now the widest print I can manage is about 20 inches high. My reasons for the need for size are two-fold. Because my work centers around patterns, the more room the pattern has to repeat, the more effective the print.

Elizabeth Busey, Vernal Paradox. Linoleum Reduction Print, 14 x 28in, 2012.

But I also want to create larger art for larger walls — specifically walls that might be in hospitals, medical centers and places of healing. Being sick is such a tremendously stressful event in a person’s life, and researchers have found that a stimulating, nurturing aesthetic environment can be helpful in the healing process.

I recently had a show in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan Health System in their Gifts of Art program. I had the pleasure of having my art reviewed by Angela Son of Art Animal. Read the entire article here:

http://www.artanimalmag.com/feauture-elizabeth-busey/

I am off to the metal shop to work on the second roller. My goal is to have the press finished by New Year’s Day – and plan a press party for the New Year.

“Ogres are like reduction prints…they have layers!”

In a memorable scene from the movie Shrek, Shrek is trying to describe ogres to his traveling companion, Donkey. “Ogres are like onions…they have layers!” he exclaims.  They are complicated, nuanced…  Layers are also the secret behind printmaking. As I detailed in my last post, most of my prints have eight to ten layers of transparent ink to create an image that “pops” out from the paper.

Elizabeth Busey,  Breath Intertwined.
Linoleum Reduction Print, 25 x 17in, 2012.

My latest print, Breath Intertwined, has many layers, and different parts of the print have different layers. By making use of some cardboard masks, I was able to use thalo blues in the lower green part of the print. The purple-red leaf section received several layers of outrageously electric purple to achieve the dusky red-purple of the finished leaf.

Last night I explained to my art group friends that even though different parts of the prints had different layers, it was necessary for them to share some layers as well. In the case of the two leaves, they share several layers, yielding the bold chartreuse color of their veins. This shared color palette helps the image feel connected and harmonious.

This explanation made me question why plants like my featured Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis L.) can have green leaves, or purplish red ones. According to Sven Svenson, an Oregon State horticulturist, all leaves have three types of pigments. Leaves that appear green have higher levels of chlorophyll, which absorbs red and blue light, so we see them as green. By contrast, some leaves have a higher level of anthocyanin, which absorbs blue, blue-green and green light, so we see them as having red to purple pigment. (A third pigment, carotinoid, is responsible for yellow to yellow-orange leaves.)

Can you see the chlorophyll? It is all about the layers.

Even leaves that block the green light from our eyes have the chlorophyll necessary for photosynthesis. I imagine that they have the layers of green in them, but we just can’t see them.  We just have to have faith (or confidence) that it is there.