January 03, 2011

Welcoming A New Decade

I know I'm not alone in seeing the start of each new year as a clean slate.  And this time, at the beginning of a new decade, the slate is even bigger.  I've been thinking back on all the things that have happened in this last ten years and it just blows my mind.  It seems there's been so much:
  1. We bought our house and built a garden.
  2. Nora grew up. 
  3. My parents, seemingly invincible, accomplished, and so very capable, got old and turned into children again.
  4. I began my involvement with printmaking.
  5. I taught myself HTML and built my website, and learned all about GIMP and Photoshop.
  6. We traveled to the Czech Republic and to Disneyland.  
  7. I worked for the Vancouver Olympics.
  8. We moved away from eating meat (again) and I learned how to make awesome bread, made my own yogurt and my own cheese.
  9. I learned how to kayak. Sort of. 
  10. I finally read War and Peace. 
And there are a million other small things that left their mark, forgotten for now but still important.  Seems to me that looking back at such a list of summits, except for the parents getting old part, makes it very easy to get charged up for this next year and decade.  There are already a few goals I've set out for myself, you know, the usual ones (strengthen the body and mind etc.) but otherwise, the door is open and I think I'm ready.  

In that frame of mind, I move to my next print.  Years ago, before Nora grew up and when she was still a little tot, I wrote a children's book.  I worked only part time in those days so each week she and I would head over to the library for story time.  We always came home with a huge pile of books, at least one for each night of the week until next story time, and we read them all.  Some were good, some were not so much.  Still, I got a pretty good idea of what was out there and what seemed to appeal to her and I wrote my own.  

It was going to be a book of twelve rhymes with illustrations to go with them.  I got as far as writing the rhymes, doing up all the thumbnails for my pictures, and drawing four of them to size.  Then I stopped.  Why?  I don't know.  I was taking a couple of university courses back then too, and learning how to knit, and making all of Nora's clothes and Roland's shirts.  It could be there was just too much to deal with.  Whatever the reason, the book sat undone.
But never say never.  After all this time, 16 years maybe, I've come back to it.  Just for the hell of it. Just to see if I can finish it now.  And maybe the illustrations will work better as prints than they ever would have as watercolours or pencil crayon drawings or whatever medium I was thinking of at that time.  The slate is clean.  

I've reworked my first image, transferred it over to the block, 

and spent yesterday afternoon playing with Photoshop to work out my colours.  

For obvious reasons I'm leaning toward the second version. But I haven't started carving because I still haven't totally made up my mind about it. I do know I want to keep it much simpler, no more than four colours per image.  Ha, famous last words.  I'll need to take this next week to think about it more. 



Libby Fife said...

I just love that you had an idea "stashed away', waiting for the right moment to be brought out. And what a great idea! I do love children's book of all sorts and printmaking so I hope that you pursue your idea. It will be fun to watch it unfold:)

Thank you also for prompting me to reflect in a ten year chunck of time. I didn't realize it but between 30-40, my life has changed in some really profound ways (including my parents who sound maybe similar to your parents?).

Thank you again for another thoughtful post:)

Katka said...

Thank you Libby. I think there are a lot of us who quite suddenly seem to be going through similar things with aging parents. It's comic and tragic at the same time.