02 03 The World in Relief: What to do when LIFE happens 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

What to do when LIFE happens

I enjoy reading the blogs of many artists. Sometimes a long time goes by without an entry, and I'm left wondering...what happened? It is possible that they just simply weren't inspired, but probably something happened that was not related to their art at all. Life simply got in the way.

This happened in my studio. Life milestones for one child, and serious medical issues for another combined to render me unable to create this summer. I had started a print in early June for the Bloomington Open Studios Tour, which then hung unfinished -- and mocked me -- for two months. When I finally decided to finish it, I felt that the early layers of ink were just too light. So I flipped the block over and used the MDF surface to print a bright layer of yellow over the pale yellows, oranges and greens. Then I proceeded with more layers of bright color and a series of purples. Here's the resulting print:

Elizabeth Busey. Drifts of Plenitude. Linoleum Reduction Print.
Edition of 17, 17 x 25in image size.
The image was inspired by the Palouse area of southeast Washington State where ancient floods temporarily pooled, and the resulting settled sediment was blown into fertile dunes of loess. Unlike most topography, this area was not formed by rivers and streams, so there are no continuous valleys or long ridges. Wheat, barley, peas, lentils and rapeseed (for Canola oil) are grown in abundance.

During my sabbatical, I also neglected to post another print that I created when I was a visiting artist at the Indiana State Museum. During my two week stay, I carved three narrow blocks while chatting with school groups and children visiting with their parents. The image is inspired by the behavior of the eastern fork of the White River just south of Indianapolis. I would take the blocks home and print them, bringing back the print-in-progress the next day.

Elizabeth Busey. Meandering's Largesse. Linoleum Reduction Print.
Edition of 14, 17.5 x 23in image size.

One of the most challenging parts of this summer was not allowing my artistic fires to go out completely. I borrowed numerous books from the public and Fine Arts libraries, and had fun painting watercolors on old black and white topo maps. But it was difficult.  

What do you do when life interrupts your artistic practice?

P.S. For those of you in the Midwest, you can see these prints in person at the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts in Bloomington IN on Labor Day weekend. Saturday, August 30th from 10 - 6, and Sunday, August 31st from 10 - 5.

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