02 03 The World in Relief: Room for Growth in the New Year 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Room for Growth in the New Year

Spirals are a common theme in many of my works, because nature seems to favor this pattern of growth.  My latest prints are both spiral-inspired, but from very different places on Earth.  The chambered nautilus actually builds a new section of its shell each time it outgrows its current home.  In early spring, fiddleheads appear in my garden, poised with plant kinetic energy, ready to unfurl new fern leaves.  

Growth for me as an artist is difficult.  It is sometimes hard to challenge myself to do something that is different, more difficult, out of my comfort zone.  Some of my art group friends lament the loss of art class assignments which spurred them to action.  In these two prints, I tried to challenge myself to consider not only my subject matter, but also clearly focus my attention on the role of the tools I used.

Elizabeth Busey, Ship of Pearl, Linoleum Reduction Print, 18 x 18in,  2011.
In Ship of Pearl, I used only a small u-gouge, allowing the viewer to see my marks as I carved and shaped the shell.  It became a meditative exercise to imagine the curvature of the shell as I removed the linoleum.   In Scrolls of Spring I used both a v-gouge and a dremmel tool to capture these unexpectedly fuzzy fiddleheads.  The v-gouge created the sharp hairs that surround the fiddlehead, but the dremmel then had to create the coiled roundness of plant itself.

Elizabeth Busey, Scrolls of Spring, Linoleum Reduction Print, 24 x 13in, 2011.

My family will tell you that New Year's Day is my favorite holiday.  I revel in the clean lines of the house after the decorations have been put away.  We eat long homemade noodles to wish for another year of long life and health.  I do like a good football game.  But my favorite part of New Year's is that it arrives with 364 more days for growth.

May your 2012 be filled with opportunities for growth, and also moments of peace.

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