Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When Good Ideas Go Bad

You know how they say trouble comes in threes? It turns out January brought trouble in multiples of three. Now that it's February, I'm hoping the universe has all this ridiculousness out of its system and will let me just get on with work.

Rather than bore you with the litany of things that went sideways, let me reassure you that a new linocut is in progress.

Unfortunately it's not the one with the mergansers.

The original inspiration.

Here's what started the whole thing... a photo of two mergansers in the Arkansas River near my home. I originally thought I had two females here, but a closer inspection showed that these birds have light eyes. Believe it or not, that's the thing that tells me I have two juvenile birds of indeterminate sex. In late summer/ early fall (this photo was taken the last week of August) adult females and juveniles of both sexes look frustratingly similar.


I liked the idea of the rust-headed birds against the green water of an overcast day. The obvious (to people who think about things like color theory) complementary red/green palette appealed to me, and the overall muted tone would be challenging. (Ha! I almost typed the words, "and who doesn't like a challenge?")

After shuffling birds and water (and that nearly-submerged rock) around for a while my composition seemed good, but when I scaled it up to the intended 18" x 24" format?


Or at least not exciting. It might have been a pretty image, but it lacked a wow! factor, and that's what I'm longing for at the moment. I'm sure I will get back to the idea eventually, but for now I've gathered up my preliminary work and put it in a drawer. Back to the drawing board.

The good news is that I flipped through some more of my reference material and came across something that made me say... "Ooooooooh. Now THAT's an interesting idea."

I'm not going to show the whole thing to you, because that will take some of the fun out of the first few steps, but here's a peek at a portion of the block:

Yep. That there is a whole lotta stripes. Wheeeeeeeee!

Of course when I went to prep the paper for this not-quite-as-large-but-still large (18" x 18") bit of lino wonderment I discovered that the paper in the bottom of the stack was not the same as the paper in the top of the stack. Why is this a problem? Because I don't have enough sheets of either type for me to get started. (I told you January was out to get me.)

So the paper's ordered and I'll be spending the next couple of days doing all the REALLY exciting work of the artist: bookkeeping, correspondence, paperwork. This time when I type "Wheeeeeeeee" you'll have to read it whilst rolling your eyes and stifling a sigh. Because that's the way I typed it.

Come on, February... let's get it together, shall we?


  1. I have days that do this.It's a Cosmic Thing.The sort of thing that refuses to unlock the closet in the memory that knows where my uncut plates are stored...

    1. Oh, geez... yeah, memory, too. Zee "leetle gray cells" are misfiring constantly!

  2. yeah Wheeee.... that was me the last week :p

    1. Yeah, I saw your eye... couldn't think of a smarty-pants comment about keeping your tablet at arm's length. Hope the doc said nothing calamitous was under the purple.

    2. nothing serious, was just a hematoma which is why my face was so swollen and purple, thanks for asking :) I'm not falling asleep holding my table again....even tho I probably will :p