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"

Christine A O'Brien