25 February 2006
Food For Thought
Wow, the comments on my last print, "Loosen the Knots," gave me lots of food for thought. It was good, because I had to get more conscious about my choices and look at why I did that print the way I did it.
As I said in a comment, the birds are red because I had a dream in which the birds were red. So the birds are red. But a lot of folks also seemed to want to see the birds have more (or less) depth, body or dimension. I can see that. But there's another thing I'm working with, which is that the print is part of a series. The working title of the series was 36 Ways to Use Your Lifeline but I'm now calling it 36 Views of Meditation so that it's clearer what it's about. It's based on a comment my meditation teacher made a couple of years ago, "your practice is your lifeline." So the series is about meditation as a lifeline, and what holds the prints together is this image of a lifeline, a rope, that appears in each print. The lifeline is made out of nothing. It's the part of the wood that's carved away. It's the white of the paper. Emptiness.
The lifeline is the "star," the main character. The other characters that populate the prints - the feet, the climber, the birds - are secondary characters. The white rope is the consistent element. So I guess that's why I haven't made a great investment in making the characters look "real" or embodied.
The other reason is that I'm not interested in working with that kind of detail right now. In addition to exploring this theme with this little series (who knows how close to 36 I'll get!) I'm also exploring the medium. I'm a beginner. Totally. So my goal is to get comfortable with the general techniques - carving, how paste and water affect the printing, improving my bokashi, getting colors more balanced, what size brush to use when, stuff like that. I don't want to get to the level of how fabric looks if it's wrinkled or those kinds of representational isues. Being kind to myself, I'd say I'm trying to keep my task manageable. Being more ruthless, I could say it's my lazy streak showing!
Please know that I'm not mounting a defense of myself. Rather, I'm responding out loud to your comments and sharing what my thoughts have been. I'm wanting to acknowledge that in blogging about my journeys in moku hanga I've invited you all to watch and also to participate as you want to. So please do! I appreciate all the comments and I definitely ponder everything you say.