Feedback. Everyone needs it, including artists. When you are in an art class, you receive lots of feedback in the form of critiques. Or in my case -- just blank stares because I don't use any black ink in my relief prints. (What was wrong with me?)
Feedback now comes to me during a much more sympathetic monthly gathering. My art group, of which I have been a participant for perhaps ten years, is a group of women who meet to share whatever is going on in our lives creatively. Everyone has some sort of formal art training -- I probably have the least. People work in two and three dimensions, some market their work while others choose to create just for themselves.
Experimenting with a honeycomb shape, with the addition of colored pencil.
I brought my latest experiments to this month's meeting. I enjoy taking experiments because then the question about what to do differently is so much easier to discuss. It is hard to pick apart finished work among these artist friends. One suggestion that I've been toying with regards the honeycomb-patterned linocut. It was suggested that the white in between the hexagons was too pronounced. It created a figure/ground problem. What if it was just a lighter color -- even a lighter layer of the work? The next day I amended the above linocut with colored pencils. I wanted to make the viewer think about why these shapes were included, not wonder why they were looking through chicken wire! Perhaps a full fledged honeycomb linocut is in the works.
A geology experiment with left over inks and different final color layers.
I also experimented with the last layer of my geology test linocut. I can't decide whether I prefer the green or the green/purple as the last layer. I did find that small pieces of included Japanese paper (see the one on the left) make it look like there is a mistake in the work. The paper absorbs more of the ink, and it isn't the bright white of the Rives BFK. If I did include the paper I would need to do this in large enough areas so it would look intentional, not accidental.
I've already made a list of the things I would do differently with this linocut. My engraving bit was too big -- the textures in the rocks are much more subtle and need smaller marks. I'd also like to see how I could incorporate a feeling of depth although I haven't quite worked that out yet. And I would really like to use a bit of gold leaf.
My head is swimming with new possibilities as I get out the sketchbook and pencils, sand the linoleum blocks and tear the paper. Thank heavens for supportive groups of artists. Who supports you?