I pulled a first proof of this one today. Almost always I get a block pretty fully done, then comes the proof, and then I tweak it. But sometimes, when I’m in uncharted waters, I want to do a test of a small area with a pattern and see how that is reading before doing the entire surface. So that’s what this is. There’s a lot of that dark area still to carve. You can see my original sketch next to it, though in that particular one, I didn’t fill in all the dark middle. Just enough to give me clarity on the tree trunk placement. So I’m carrying a lot of this one in my head and winging it at the moment. Watch this space for updates. I’m overall pleased with how it’s going, though the trees at the top are a little too defined at the moment. I’ll have to dull them down a bit if I can.
I’m also including a couple of close ups. Because it wasn’t a serious proof, it’s on newsprint, and I didn’t work hard to get that rich, velvety coverage that I prefer for finished pieces. It will be a lot darker as I get further into it. This is a super behind the scenes peek.
I've really locked back into my main print work in a satisfying way this weekend, and I've also spent some nice time outside, since it's been flat out gorgeous. But it was also good to get back to the QJ after taking yesterday off from it. I have a friend who uses the hashtag #dailyish, which I love. It has an intention of frequency, but with enough grace and flexibility built in for a little breathing space without guilt. That's what I aspire to for any project.
Below is the new print I'm working on for my WAMA show in 2022. It's a gorgeous place called Barnaby Slough (it could maybe use a slightly more poetic name) outside of Concrete, WA. I find that when I work on prints from places I love, I end up mentally still in that space while I'm working. So it's nice to take a mental trip at the moment while we're all sticking so close to home.
I was more organized last night and had my journal and watercolors on the coffee table before settling in with the baseball game. (KMOX had the inspired idea to replay the last seven weeks of the Cardinals 2011 season, game by game, night by night. I'm grateful for the familiar company and Mike Shannon's infectious laughter.) Mr. Darcy was so cute I couldn't resist, so here's the updated Day 7.
The weather was flat out perfect today. I'm trying to lock back in on my show, but with more rain coming, I decided to head to the forest first. I found a safe spot well off the path to sketch, away from both other people passing by and the now sprouting poison ivy. It was delightful to sit on a fallen log and draw wildflowers.
Then I took my bike out to enjoy the day further. My favorite bookstore, Burke's, in business for a whopping 142 years here in Memphis, has their building closed to the public but will do delivery, mail orders, or curbside pickup. So I picked up on my bike and did a lovely large loop through the neighborhood before starting carving on my new print block for the second half of the afternoon. A lovely day overall. I also took a little video of Mr. Darcy and the gorgeous wildflowers in the forest. Just for fun, and for anyone who isn't able right now to ge out and walk.
I’m trapped tonight. I was going to do another entry in my Quarantine Journal, but I got trapped by this guy. And he’s so sweet I hate to move him. I’ve been trying to be really intentional about keeping this gray paper sketchbook plus some graphite on the coffee table so they’re always within reach for situations like this. I can’t reach my book, but I do have my knitting. Guess what else I’m doing tonight. No complaints.
Now he’s snoring. Life is good.
I was late doing a journal entry last night because I'd dived back into a new print, and that felt great. I had two really happy days in a row and then made the mistake of reading the NYT over dinner which brought down a bit. So I got out the sketchbook and sat by the fire, and all of that was good. I'm grateful for this cheerful project, and I'm grateful for my cosy space. That stained glass lamp is one I found last year at a local antique mall, and I had a sudden realization of how happy stained glass makes me. I've been buying lamps and one panel for my landing window ever since. I'm looking forward to getting out again someday and seeing if I can find any more pieces of stained glass happiness. It's a fun treasure hunt.
I had an honestly, really good day yesterday. I just finished the other half of that avocado, and I'll miss them for a while, but lots of happy things are happening. I'm feeling more locked in for my work. I got to take part in a Zoom Bible study class with my favorite teacher who had moved away years ago. Purely due to everyone being trapped at home, he's teaching a class online that I can access now. AND baseball! Sort of. KMOX in St. Louis (I'm a total Cardinals fan) had the brilliant idea of replaying the last 7 weeks of the 2011 season, day by day, game by game. An occasional highlight rerun is one thing, but having the announcers for company each evening is going to make my world a lot more familiar and comforting. Plus Mike Shannon has the most infectious laugh I know. I'm so grateful for them doing that. I'm also grateful to be cosied up in my quiet house with work I love, enough food, and a snuggly dog. I'm ridiculously lucky.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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