July 29, 2008

Inspiration / Respiration

I've been thinking about the word inspiration lately. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, inspiration can be traced to the Latin:
inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into,"
from in-"in" + spirare "to breathe"
Inspiration figures a lot in the book I'm currently reading: floor sample. It's the autobiography of Julia Cameron, best known for her the Artists Way, which I read years ago and totally bought into.

I, along with the millions of others who are Cameron devotees, love the concept of creativity being linked to spirituality, the idea that we, as artists, are linked to something greater than our selves and egos, and that if we allow the creative process to be a spiritual process, our work will be more powerful and fulfilling as a result. We will be inspired and will inspire in turn.

On that tangent, I picked up the chisels again and began carving. Just "showing up to the page" sort of, in a different way. I decided to try and not worry about each line so much, to try and be a bit more instinctual about the process of carving, and I'm feeling pretty good about the results.

I was actually hoping to have the block done enough to be able to pull a proof this past Sunday, but we ended up at the Reifel Island Bird Sanctuary instead, wandering down marshy lanes and listening to bird song. Can't really complain about that either.

Here's some photos from the sanctuary. It's hard to capture the sense of space or the classic oil painting quality of the sky:

July 18, 2008

The Lives of Others: Stephen Alcorn

Still feeling blah and unmotivated so I'm revisiting the sites of some printmakers who really inspire me, in hopes of taking a ride on the coat tails of their creativity for a bit.

I came across Stephen Alcorn's image of Neil Young:

That led me to Stephen's pages and all the amazing, amazing work he'd done through the years. His style is so uncomplicated and yet so rich. Nice tribute to old Neil too.

July 16, 2008

Carvers Block

Lazy days of summer?

The dog and I seem to have one thing in common these days: lethargy. I'm suffering from a disconnect between a mental desire to work on my next block and the physical motivation to do anything about it.

Maybe it's because the days are warm and sunny and the garden, and all the plants in pots, are thirsty ALL the time. By the time we're done with watering each evening, any creative spark I may have been entertaining before dinner is gone. This is not helped by the fact that although I did start carving the block, I screwed it up and carved away the wrong thing, so now what should be black will be white and vice versa. Can I blame it on a dehydrated brain?

Thank God for the reversible, flippable nature of the shina block. I transferred the image to the other side of the block and can begin again but for the last few days I've pretty much just been staring at it. Working up the motivation I guess, the lack of which is all the more pathetic given how much I missed carving while I was working on the website.

Oh well, to quote Scarlet O'Hara, tomorrow is another day...

July 06, 2008


I did begin carving my next print but don't really have much to show yet. Most of my time last week went to planning R's Birthday adventure.

I figure that when a man hits the half century mark, the day needs to be celebrated with some panache and I really wanted to do something he'd remember. So, I planned a surprise trip to Whistler where nature's just on the back doorstep and the air is mountain clean, but there's lots of amenities and comforts to be had. We headed up on Friday morning, making sure to pack our hiking shoes for the forest, city shoes for the restaurant, and a bottle of Taboo for the panache.

The first afternoon went to playing tourist: the must-do hike around Lost Lake (where, amazingly, we found the wild sister of a perennial vine we've had in the garden for years),

and the hike followed by a stroll through Whistler Village: cruising the shops, sampling a couple of the many many restaurants.

We stopped in one of the galleries and discovered the work of an amazing BC artist: David Langevin. No, he's not a printmaker but who cares, his work totally spoke to us.

On our second day, rain at our heels, we did the hike we really went there for, a 4 km climb leading to a grove of ancient cedars, some as much as 900 years old.

The following pictures were all taken en route. We met only a couple of other hikers and were alone for most of the time, except for literally hundreds of ravenous mosquitoes that forced us to keep our jackets on and forced us to keep moving.

The boulder in the picture below looks like a giant turtle head or something. Is there a print in that one? The lichens themselves are amazing: a landscape all on their own.

Finally, the cedars were incredible. Nothing like standing in the midst of hundreds of ancient trees that have stood in the same spot for centuries.

The burl in the picture below makes me believe the fairy tales I read where bodies were turned into trees:

How fortunate we are, to have such wonders within reasonable access to us.