Stepping Outside the Box

This year, for my annual Valentine’s Day special project, I decided to use a different medium to create my artwork. The process was full of obstacles, but proved to be both artistic and personally cathartic. It started in January when I planted a seed in my mind to come up with a love-oriented idea. One night, I dreamt about imagery that was reminiscent of joyful early childhood memories spent at the Jersey shore. I did a sketch; birds on beach posts, in a conversation, sitting above graffiti, that were words of love. I felt compelled to depict this imagery as linoleum block prints. I had made block prints before, a Holiday card in 1993. It was a green fish with red kelp. I printed 30 of the two-colored cards without a glitch. My birds on wood posts in a scene were a bit more complicated for block printing, but not much more than a fish, right? Honestly, I think I may now have permanent carving tool “war wounds” on my hands. However, in the end, I became philosophical about the endeavor. Something had driven me to move out of my comfort zone, be physical, hover over blocks topped with semi-soft linoleum and carve, dig, register, ink and burnish. I realized that the process of this project paralleled the flux of changes in my life. By accepting a new way to create and finding joy in working within the capabilities of this medium, I felt myself personally open up to embracing the unknowns that I will face in my near future. 

Detail from "Post of Love"

Falling in Love with Tchotchkes

Most of my inspiration to create a series of paintings is conjured up while jogging through the hills in my neighborhood. On weekends, my route will occasionally take me passed a yard sale or two, and my eyes invariably make a quick scan of the plethora of stuff laid out along the driveway. These scans seem to linger on trinkets and collectables, so one time I indulged this curiosity and stopped at a sale to examine a unique miniature glass "Tchotchke". Immediately attracted to it's nostalgic aura and how I would depict it's nuances on a canvas, I felt dismayed that I had not tucked money into my running shoe. When I got home, I drove back, but that little treasure of a reference for a painting was gone. Hence began my quest to paint collectables, once owned and cherished, these inanimate objects had imbued their charm into my artistic mind. My studio happens to be just a few miles from an area with resale shops. A self proclaimed "non-shopper", I have surprisingly derived great pleasure perusing the shops for creative inspiration. This work has become a special collection of second chances; Tchotchkes formerly valued with sentiment, now discarded, will have a new legacy depicted in a fine art painting.

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