21 days in my art world – 2021, Days 1-7

 In About My Work, Journal

I did it last year, and I’m chuffed to be doing it again this year – Tara Leaver’s  #21daysinmyartworld challenge. The challenge is running in Instagram, and I’ll be adding each post to this page as my own collected record of the campaign.

I love it this challenge. It’s a lovely way to open up and share an intimate perspective of your arts practice, and a lovely way to learn a little more about the artists participating.

And it will be nice to reflect back on last year’s prompt responses to see whats new and different this year.

Lets go …

Day 1: A Favourite Painting Print

Monday 4 January 2020

The Challenge: This could be your favourite painting print you’ve ever made, your favourite from the past year, or a current piece; and share why it’s your favourite

My Response: This is my (current) favourite print. And one of my most recent. It’s a gelatin plate monoprint. Printed recently during a rainy-day-sunday print session using my biggest gel plate. I used acrylic paint to create it, so it’s kinda like a painting too.

I love the layering inside the print. And it’s colours. I especially love the shadow effect around some of the grasses stems. It’s was a rainy stormy day when I printed this, and I think that maybe this print captured some of the craziness of the day.

Last week I but the print in half and used it for the front and back covers of an artist book that housed many of the other prints from that same morning. If you go back a few posts on my profile you’ll see the book.

Day 2: Lesson Learned

Tuesday 5 January 2020

The Challenge: It might be a cautionary tale, or something that has helped you thrive. It might be about a specific technique or material, or it might be more general. Maybe it’s wisdom from exhibiting work that could help others, or perhaps it’s something that changed the course of your artist path. What is something you’ve learned about art that you can share today? Let’s offer each other the benefit of our experience!

My Response: Dare I say it … 2020 was ‘unprecedented’! Arghhh that word! 2020 pushed me through challenges I didn’t see coming (as I’m sure it did you too!); and I made some achievements that, in complete honesty, surprised me – in the best possible way!

A massive achievement last year was launching my own dedicated online learning portal, creating an online space to take my printmaking workshops. I pivoted! I have started to build an online version of my art studio that I so love to share with students.

I read, observed, researched and learned from a few different sources. I took on board what resonated with me and how I wanted to share and teach online; filtered out what I didn’t want. I drew on a design/marketing/website development career; and a passion for teaching and sharing my printmaking skills. And I launched the first of many online workshops.

Now a confession – I am a recovering control freak who strives for silly levels of perfection in much of what I do. But that can be debilitating and dramatically slow, if not stop, progress on new projects. Especially projects taking me into new territory, like building and launching an online learning portal.

My lesson – progress requires MASSIVE IMPERFECT ACTION to keep moving forward. I learned to AIM FOR EXCELLENCE OVER PERFECTION. Nothing will never feel perfect, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t of a high standard and quality output.

Those two lessons really helped me finish and launch my first online workshop – Gelatin Plate Monoprinting. I’ve made a start on workshop #2 – Cyanotype.

Now to get back to massive imperfect action and excellence over perfection to get workshop #2 finished and online 🙂

Day 3: Latest WIP

Wednesday 6 January 2021

The Challenge: show us something you’re currently creating! WIP – work in progress

My Response: hmm … I’m currently creating a clean studio – cleaning out cupboards, getting rid of so many “oh I can use that” bits and bobs stashed in, over and under cupboards, and excavating surfaces so I can start new work. I had a productive Christmas break making artist books, and with that came a productive mess.

BUT … wading through the mess, navigating different streams of thought inside my head and writing in my notebook … I’m documenting, thinking through, planning and trying to resolve a new idea for a small body of work for an upcoming printmaking exhibition. I’m planning a series of reduction linocut prints for the exhibition, but a little different to the way I have approached my work in the past – I’m just not sure yet exactly what and how its will come together, but I am enjoying exploring my thoughts writing and doodling in my notebook.

So I guess my latest WIP is the idea development stage of some new work. The subject matter will relate to birds. I do love birds in my linocut work. And I’m feeling a little bit excited about it.

Day 4: Art Book

Thursday 7 January 2021

The Challenge: Today we’re sharing a book about art, whether that’s one you love, one you’d like to read, a book about technique or about history of art, or even fiction.

My Response: Back to the Start – Belinda Fox … I was introduced to this book about 2 years ago. I fell in love with pictures of the beautiful artworks it shared. And have only recently actually started to READ the book – as in read the words on the page, not just enjoying and devouring the pictures. Belinda Fox has created magnificent works as a printmaker in addition to other fine art disciplines. Her work is beautiful.

I have been wanting to abstract my work a little for a while. Add a new dimension to it. I’m finding that reading more about other artists whose work attracts my attention is helping give me some insight into ways I can push and pull my own work.

I’ve not finished reading the book yet. I’m very much looking forward to settling into the couch and reading more this evening 🙂

Day 5: Art Tool

Thursday 8 January 2020

The Challenge: Whether you’re a brush person, a fingers person, a whatever-you-can-lay-your-hands-on person, or all of the above, show us a photo of your favourite art tool today.

My Response: Today, my favourite art tool(s) are my bone folders. I spent a good part of my Christmas break making artist books and spent quite a lot of time with them. And my most favourite is that delicious looking pointy one with the carvings in it 🙂 I bought most of these delicious specimens from Vintage Paper Co in the UK.

Favourite Art Tool - bone folderFavourite Art Tool - bone folder

Day 6: Current Challenge

Saturday 10 January 2021

The Challenge: Today’s share is something that’s currently testing you, causing you trouble, or otherwise bugging you about your work

My Response: What’s challenging me? Funny you should ask … I’m feeling a little ‘in flux’ with regard to my approach to my linocut printing. I love what I do, I love reduction linocut – but I’m wanting to challenge myself to do something more with it than I am currently doing. Something a little different. Or combine with something else. Or ???? I have a few ideas bubbling around inside my head … but my challenge is how to get the ideas out … and on to paper … and into process … to see where it will take me. I’m not sure if I’m hesitating because I’m uncertain, nervous or scared. I am challenged … but I guess we all need that.

Day 7: Colour Palette

Sunday 10 January 2021

The Challange: There’s something kind of magical about a painter’s palette. Seeing all those delicious colours smooshed together, perhaps with a painty brush lying across it, gets all of us excited to paint! If you don’t have an actual palette in play right now, you could arrange objects in your favourite colour combination as a flat lay*, or share a section of a painting that reveals your personal favourite palette. You could also repost someone else’s photo if it shows a colour combo you love – just don’t forget to link to them. Think outside the box!

My Response: I’m finding myself drawn to some of the same colours over and over again. I have pretty much always preferred a muted palette. I have been playing with brighter and bolder colours with my gelatin plate monoprinting. And enjoying it. But I still gravitate toward the more subdued colours. That said, this particular gelatin plate monoprint has been sitting on my drying rack in the studio for a few months – I love love love the colours. I feel like its somewhere inbetween the mutued colours I love to play with, but a brighter influence.

The print was hard to photograph – there is a thin layer of gold on the surface that is throwing the colours a little in the photos. And its hard to photograph that gold layer. Its a little ‘blingier’ than I would normally play with, but I’m loving the interplay and combination of colours – the earthy browns, light blues with subtle orange mixing to create a soft earthy green.

Want More Now?

If you’re interested in #21daysinmyartworld last year, I split the challenge into three weekly posts:

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gel plate monoprint21 days in my art world – 2021, Week 2 - Days 8-14