Renaissance makes its debut

I love topography. This should be obvious to even a casual reader of this blog. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with a local scientist on my first commission highlighting some spectacular scenery.

A river delta in Saskatchewan creates a blue fractal in a sea of green foliage.
©Elizabeth Busey. Renaissance at Mossy River. Reduction Linocut, 14 x 22in image size, Ed of 9, $375 unframed.

Professor Doug Edmonds of the Geology Department at Indiana University had a very particular formation that he wanted to be the subject of a linocut. During a meeting at his campus office, he explained that the Mossy River Delta in Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, Canada is a very new formation, not only for geological time, but in recorded human history as well. Continue reading “Renaissance makes its debut”

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In praise of the tiny coral — nature’s jewel

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.

From above, the reefs seem to glow as if illuminated by an underwater light. And yet the National Academy of Sciences estimates that it has lost half of its coral since 1985 due to coral bleaching. Warmer oceans stress the coral, which depend on a symbiotic relationship with algae-like protozoa that photosynthesize and provide the coral with nutrients. Stressed coral expel these protozoa and begin to fail.

Aerial view of part of the Great Barrier Reef
Elizabeth Busey, Out of Many, One. Reduction Linocut. 28 x 14in, Edition of 10, $350 unframed.
I was struck by the almost infinite number of tiny organisms that make up such a massive and impressive structure. A piece of jewelry for the world. And it could disappear.

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Carving Away Paradise

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.

Aqua waters flow through pink sandy islands, in danger because of sea level rise & global warming.
Elizabeth Busey, Ephemeral Sanctuary. Reduction Linocut, 10 x 33in, Edition of 13. $375 unframed.

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Printmaking with mica — an experience in highlights

I should have been a sculptor. I am always trying to coax more depth out of a flat piece of paper. This is especially true when I am working on topography. In real life, tiny reflections of light glint off water, ice or metal surfaces to give us clues about depth.
Painters and mixed media artists have it easy. Add some white, or something metallic. Glue on a mirror! Scrape off some paint to expose the white paper beneath. Certainly I can save some white paper, but it never has quite the same effect.
Topography inspired by the Himalayas. Are these mountains surrounded by water, or maybe a tropical coral?
The white highlights are actually white mica on the teal layer of ink.
After my many trials with gold leaf, a new strategy was suggested in a post by fellow printmaker Annie Bissett. She was using rice paste printed from a block to secure powdered mica. Traditional Japanese printmakers often use powdered mica to create highlights, and I was enchanted by the possibilities.  So I ordered white, gold and silver powdered mica from McClain’s.

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Relief Printmaking as Topography in Action

My new series, Beloved, looks at land areas at the edge — places where land and water combine in spectacular fashion. Places that will be lost with sea-level rise.

It is often hard for people to imagine how I go about creating my linocuts. You have to think backwards, I tell them, like in watercolor. I usually have a pencil outline of the most important features of the image — in this case, land and water. After these sections are marked, I use colored pencils to remind myself where I should carve. Here is a progression from one of the linocuts:

Water is drawn in blue. Places to carve away pink.

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What to do when LIFE happens

I enjoy reading the blogs of many artists. Sometimes a long time goes by without an entry, and I’m left wondering…what happened? It is possible that they just simply weren’t inspired, but probably something happened that was not related to their art at all. Life simply got in the way.

This happened in my studio. Life milestones for one child, and serious medical issues for another combined to render me unable to create this summer. I had started a print in early June for the Bloomington Open Studios Tour, which then hung unfinished — and mocked me — for two months. When I finally decided to finish it, I felt that the early layers of ink were just too light. So I flipped the block over and used the MDF surface to print a bright layer of yellow over the pale yellows, oranges and greens. Then I proceeded with more layers of bright color and a series of purples. Here’s the resulting print:

 

Elizabeth Busey. Drifts of Plenitude. Linoleum Reduction Print.
Edition of 17, 17 x 25in image size.

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