November 27, 2011

Heros and Demons

The trouble with having a bunch of diverse interests is that they all compete for equal time.  Which is maybe ok when there's some time to spare but, as I often lament, it's not the case for me.  My interest in many different things often means having to neglect some of those things in favour of others.  For example, I've always been fascinated by history and myth.  Having rediscovered Joseph Campbell a few weeks ago, suddenly I feel an irrisistible urge to delve headlong into a re-examination of world mythology, symbolism, and Jungian archetypes and, if that's not enough, of esoteric alchemy. There's such a wealth of material out there on this I could make it a life-long study but, instead, I'm trying to grasp these concepts in a few hours per week.

And that means I'm not, at least for a while, devoting time to printmaking as regularly as before.  I suspect I'm turning to a study of more transcendent ideas because I need something to take me away from the concerns with my parents and their dementia issues.  As much as I find solace in my creative work, I have a hard time not letting the worries intrude while I carve or draw and I really don't want my prints to become vehicles for my frustration. 

I spent four Wednesday nights in a workshop for the caregivers of people with dementia and I will say the following two things only about it here. Number one: yes, guilt and grief are my new middle names and, number two, if you are someone who also looks after someone with dementia, get in touch with the Alzheimer's Society.  They are an invaluable resourse.  In spite of this, I recognize that a support group can only take me so far.  I need to find something more to fill up my brain with and thus my escape into studies of the anima mundi.

Anyway, I have added two new colours to the Crystal Crag print and I'm very happy with the progress so far.  

Two more to go now and I'm really hoping to get them in before I have to start thinking about Chrismas baking.  Again!!! 

November 14, 2011

Oh, the Wind, the Wind is Blowing...

I took an afternoon walk in the sun today and nearly froze my nose off.  The wind, clearly having just howled in from Alaska or Siberia or some such arctic place, was a physical presence with icy claws.  

What!  It's November already?!  Unbelievable.  Where did the last three weeks go?  And, not only is it November already, six Saturdays and it'll be Christmas.  Now there's a cheery notion.  It suddenly hits me that I haven't given even a single thought to Christmas cards, until now anyway, and the idea of cards fills me with dread more than anything.  In past years I think I was well on the way to carving the block for them by mid-November but this time I'm not sure I'll be making any.  I think if it were possible at all, I'd hide away in a cabin in the woods somewhere, ignore Christmas all together, and just draw and read.  And listen to Schubert and Neil Young, who are both dark enough and deep enough to fit the mood.  

I'm thinking, would my parents notice if we didn't do Christmas this year?  Hmmmm....

But I guess that's not really an option.  So, instead, I'm working on a new print and liking that well enough for now.  I'm still reliving memories of our summer travels it seems because this next print is also inspired by one of the places we stopped of my heaven on earth places. 

This is a picture of Crystal Crag, looming above Lake George just outside of Mammoth Lakes, California, and it's the inspiration for the new linocut.  I know I'm not the first person to do an artistic rendition of it, I Googled it and found quite a few paintings of it, but I didn't see any linocuts so maybe this will be the first.  I've been working on it for a couple of weeks, just didn't have much time to post about it.  But I got a good start to printing this weekend. 

Today, a day off for me, I actually even printed two colours, all in the same day, so together with the first one done yesterday, I'm moving along well:

I suppose if I can't physically remove myself and Roland into a place of immense natural beauty, I can at least go there mentally.  And if I can just keep Christmas at bay a little longer..