I’ve been working more slowly this week, struggling a little with a cold, so stand up painting has been out, but prints lend themselves to sitting quietly. I’ve carved this one pretty fully at this point. It’s based on one of my larger waterscapes, but I liked the image enough to want to play with it in carving as well. I’ve tested it in black and white and in color, and now all the options are hanging in my work room while I ponder them and decide what I want the final edition to be. I like several options, so I think it will end up a “varied edition” where there are a total number of final prints, but they don’t all look the same. That way people can choose which they prefer.
I also pulled out an older block I had abandoned several years ago and did some more work carving it. I like the moon, but it needs something to go with it. I’m pondering using it with two different other blocks I already have that I would like to revisit and use in different ways. I tend to think about one single image at a time, and collaging prints like this is good mental stretch for me.
So lots of smaller things are happening at once around here, which is great for prints, because you can let one project dry while you work on a different one for a bit.
My friend Melanie was visiting from France, and a huge part of Memphis history is the civil rights movement. The National Civil Rights Museum is a powerful and beautifully designed trip through that period. Last time I went through it had been redone, and I just digested it. This time I found myself wanting to sketch and bear a little witness to the brave people it celebrates. I worked in fountain pen with a brush pen that had a very light gray wash in it.
I think I need to go back again. I was still pretty overwhelmed at the whole experience and didn’t manage to sketch in the old Lorraine Motel section, the last part of the museum. I’d like to go on a quiet day when I wouldn’t be in the way and focus on that sometime.
What do you do when you have music fans visiting Memphis? You take them to Beale Street. And when you're really lucky, you'll spot Blind Mississippi Morris wheeling his amp toward a club, holding onto the arm of his "manager," as he calls her in air quotes. It was a fantabulous night with legit, old school Delta blues and an out of this world bass player.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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