I had a birthday at the beginning of this week, and to celebrate I took myself and my sketchbook out for a walk on a nearby trail. Maine's landscape is still very gray and brown, but there are signs of spring everywhere. Skunk cabbage is one of the earliest blooming plants... its strange maroon flowers appearing even before its leaves.
|Skunk cabbage in bloom...|
The eastern phoebes are back, also, and busy reclaiming their nesting spot under the eave of my front porch. Earlier this season my landlord added a gutter to my roof because snow melt and rain were dripping on to my steps and causing serious icing problems. It's not a pretty solution, but the phoebes seem to appreciate the snazzy new perch that was added while they were away.
In the studio the progression of the season has been a bit bumpier. The phoebes might not be affected by the emotional, physical, and financial distractions of a global pandemic... but the rest of us sure are! Personally I find myself able to work only in fits and starts, with serious focus issues.
With all that's going on, I was thrilled to take a walk the other morning and discover inspiration for a new linocut! The weather down at Pemaquid Point was wild... sun, then clouds, then snow and wind... and the seas were fierce. There weren't many birds about, but then... oooooh! A group of more than a dozen black scoters appeared, bouncing in and out of the waves as they fed near shore. Black birds, bright yellow-orange beaks, and rich blue water? Yes, please!
I had so many potential combinations of birds and waves that it was hard to choose what to do first, but I finally settled on a composition and set to work on the line drawing.
|line drawing for new linocut|
I don't usually share this stage of the process on Brush and Baren because I like the element of surprise as an image unfolds. But, hey! This time I already told you we're doing scoters and waves. Talk about a spoiler.
When I have the line drawing finished I transfer it to the lino. In this case the image involves a fair amount of white, so I have carving to do before I can print the first color. I've already trimmed and tabbed the paper, so everything's ready to roll.
It's a relief (printmaking pun intended) to have something to work on again. Thanks for sharing the journey... at appropriate physical distance. Be well, everyone.