Saturday, February 19, 2011
Change in the air
It's raining. In February. At night at 7,000 feet in the Rockies. And I saw bluebirds today. Cinnamon teal on Monday. I heard a rumor there have been tree swallows already, downriver in Pueblo. The season is changing, alright. Ready or not. (Ready. Definitely.)
A few other things are changing around here, too. Lino experiments are underway. Never-used-before supplies are en route from the supplier.
And I ordered a press.
Just a "baby" press*, mind you. A little tiny thing that will fit on a tabletop and make small prints. But it's a huge step for me. I print by baren and spoon and grunting, and I'm quite proud of that.
Who knows WHAT will happen now.
(*Yes, we've been through a lot of baby-pressing jokes over on Facebook. You're welcome to chime in now if you missed the earlier frackas.)
It's put me in a peculiar state of mind, knowing that this little thing will be arriving on my doorstep in a few weeks. There are the usual misgivings that come with an outlay of significant dollars, of course, but I can't say that I'm experiencing buyer's remorse. If I had space for it, I'd have been thinking hard about a bigger press. It's more of a creative panic than a financial one.
If you could peer inside my head right now (and trust me, it's not pretty in there under the best of circumstances) you would see my thoughts bouncing up and down like an espresso-laden 5-year-old on a new bed:
"Ooh! It will make blind embossing so much easier! I'll be able to combine techniques. Printing will go faster. Ooh! If I learn solarplate I'll be able to do etching again (my first printmaking obsession, tabled 25 years ago for lack of facilities). Ooh! More transparent inks! Ooh! More layers! Ooh! Chine collé! Ooh!"
And then I bounce myself right off the bed and hit the floor. Hard.
"Oh, geez. I won't know what I'm doing. I'll make ugly messes and waste materials. I won't have any ideas for new imagery. I won't recognize a good idea from a bad one. With all these new possibilities I'll discover that I'm actually no good at printmaking. Blah blah blah."
These sorts of mental gymnastics come and go for all of us, of course, but for some reason mine were magnified by the imminent arrival of a chunk of steel. I am reminded of grade school and that fateful day when we "graduated" from pencils to ball point pens. Pencils became the tool of math class, where you could still use an eraser, too. All other subjects were suddenly burdened with careful mark making, considered penmanship, and no crossing out. Sure, I knew how to write. But did I know how to write with a PEN?
Sure. I know how to print. A little. But do I know how to print with a press?
Thankfully, the excited voices are generally louder than the nervous ones, and by the time the thing gets here I'll be impatient to get on with this new phase, whatever it turns out to be. In the meantime, I carry on as I always have... by hand. I printed a few experiments this evening for the haiku project: some white-on-white and white-on-cream for potential backgrounds. Yesterday I did the initial drawing for a new 9x12 reduction block, I'm hoping to get the first color printed tomorrow.
Of course, the DM will be playing a brunch gig at the Salida Café tomorrow morning, so his Number One Fan will have a scone in her hand before she picks up a baren. She will pass on the espresso, though. She's twitchy enough already.