I have no idea what the plant is called but it blooms often and in multiple clusters of flowers that fill the room with scent. It's so perfect it almost looks fake and, yesterday, that's just what I needed to look at for a while. Some perfection.
Vacation time is here and as per prior resolve I spent Tuesday afternoon in my mother's room, sorting through and clearing clutter. Now there are two giant Rubbermaid bins full of miscellaneous sewing stuff sitting on the back porch waiting for a second sort and cull later today. Yesterday, I needed to take a break from it because it turned out to be a bit more emotionally harrowing than I'd expected. There I was, one minute dispassionately going through the miscellany, trying to find mates for lonely socks, and the next minute sobbing stupidly into my hands.
My undoing were the random unfinished things I came across. The stuff my mother had started working on, clearly with full intentions of seeing completion, and then never did: the skirt she was fixing the waistband on, pinned and ready to go, the sketches for a new jacket she planned to make, the notes about books she would look for in the library, the newspaper clippings about new films she'd watch. All of that, suddenly halted forever in mid-swing as she now spends her days watching reruns of classic movies, all the while unaware she's seen them before. It was as if time froze at a specific point yet she moved forward into an entirely different reality and only took a small part of herself with her. It really wasn't that long ago she was still sketching and making notes and now she can't even write her name.
Along with my finding all these planned-for things came my realization of how her collection of "stuff" was so much like mine. I have half-finished sewing projects in my closet and sketches for things I want to make, and lists of books and films I want to watch. Not to mention all the ideas for new prints I hope to do "one day". How terrifying is that, unexpectedly coming face to face with how tenuous those plans and dreams can be? The whole room-sorting task really forced me to confront some things I'd prefer to be an ostrich about and it wasn't much of a leap from there to where I was feeling sorry for myself and the tears started rolling. And then, in my head I heard the thing my dad always said when I was small and cried: don't cry, you'll pee less, and I felt even more sorry for myself then because he's got dementia too...
I headed outside to get some sympathy from Roland but he was busy with a deck construction/repair project and fully in his "builderman" mode. His sympathetic side was disengaged. So I got a grip and packed up all the unfinished bits and pieces and threw them out and finished the job I started. And then the truth hit me, that in living and growing and moving forward there'll always be something left uncompleted when the time for action is up. Something we didn't get to regardless of what the reason for the halt is. Maybe the trick, then, is to try live life as fully as possible in order to keep the regrets over the yet-to-be-done to a minimum.
And this is probably a pretty good place in this post to segue into the part about what a productive weekend I had, printmaking wise. It really was marvellous. So marvellous, in fact, that I finished the print I was working on. I mean completely finished: signed, numbered, put away...the whole bit. In one weekend! This is a huge deal in my case because the print has six colours in it and I printed four of them over a mere two days and that, for me anyway, is unprecedented. The full irony here lies in the fact that I accomplished this with my new Akua inks, the inks that are supposed to be slow to dry.
One of the main reasons I normally get only one colour down per week, and why it takes me so long to finish each print, is that I like each colour to be dry before I lay down the next one. With the my old inks, that meant waiting for at least one day and, since my only printing day is Sunday and I work most Mondays, I normally end up having to wait from one week to the next. Unless I happen to have a Monday off with time to spare and can print two days in a row, but I could count all the times that happened on one hand. Sounds crazy but that's the way it is.
With this print, the first couple of colours dried really fast but I figured that was just because they were light, or thin, or something. I fully expected to have to wait as the layers built up. Imagine my surprise then, when I printed colour number three a week ago and it was, again, totally dry an hour later. By this point I'd already hauled the press off of the kitchen table and packed all my stuff away and I didn't feel like hauling it all back out again. Plus there was weeding and raspberry picking to do. But I could have easily kept printing and that's just what I did do this past weekend. A great start to the vacation: two colours on Sunday and two on Monday, I felt like I was, at long last, a real printmaker. Here's how the stages came together:
I printed the yellow two weeks ago and the orange last weekend...
then this past Sunday I added in the sage green and
by the time I cleared the block for the next pass the print was dry and I was able to do the darker green.
The last pass, this Monday, was the forest green.
Sunflowers - Reduction Linocut
7" x 9"
varied edition of 10
I am totally enraptured with these new inks. Why did I wait so long to try them??? I'd like to say a bit more about how the Akua inks compare to the Dan Smith ones I've been working with but I'll have to save that for the next post. This one's getting too long. Plus, the detritus from my mother's room is calling me.