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.
I wanted to consider what a raking sunset would look like on our serpent on one side, with a corresponding shadow on the other. I relied on a mask (or frisket as I learned in a previous post.) The print began with a pale pink color over the entire block, and then I worked on the sunset side with warm colors while reserving the shadow side. When enough material had been carved away along the spine, I could start inking both sides of the block with some careful rolling techniques. Finally, the last two layers were the same blues and purples on both sides. I find that sharing some colors helps to unify the work.
The heat has subsided a bit here, and a rainstorm has given us the illusion of normalcy. A watering ban began today, however, so our landscape will continue to change and adapt. With my work I try to see the beauty and complexity of forces beyond my control, and yet I am still faced with the realization that some of this summer must be caused by human actions.