25 January 2006
Not This, Not This
I decided to try a black outline on the birds. It was fun to carve. I wanted it to be off-register, and since the prints had alread dried, I tried printing one dry just to see how much off-register it would be. It's off a lot! Amazing how much the paper expands when wet.
At any rate, this print isn't "right." This is an interesting statement to make and consider, because how in the world do we as artists know when our work is right or not right? "I like it" or "I don't like it" is only the tip of the iceberg. What I experience is that there's some kind of inner touchstone that creates a felt sense of rightness when I reach it. There's a feeling of "yes" when the image hits the spot. But what exactly is "the spot?"
Big questions. At any rate, I know I'm off the mark on this one. It's too heavy, there's too much pigment. I'm trying to capture my sense of how it feels when the "knots of the heart" are loosened and the heart begins to open. This is too much about the knots and not enough about the loosening. I want it to be lighter. I want it to be more beautiful.
It's also a little hard to let you see my "mistakes" and struggles. It's embarrassing. But I know I learn so much from seeing other people's struggles. When Lynita Shimizu showed me that she has stalled, unfinished and unloved prints I was so relieved. I felt more permission to fail, to learn by trial and error.
Anne Lamott wrote in her book Plan B: "You never know exactly where the knot is going to release, but usually, if you keep working with it, it will."
So I will keep working with it.