Searching for meaning within layers of ink

Am I searching for myself here? Layers upon layers of ink, trying to get the lines to match. This is not how I usually print. It is as if I am trying to find structure or routine. It is as if I am trying to remember how to practise again.

In moments of frustration I become fed up with the process. I decide to not wipe the plates properly and use a scrappy bit of paper and then the plates line up!

I grab out another dry point plate, which I thought was a failure and print that over the top of the dog image and once again, something happens.

This is the process that I enjoy the most with printmaking. I think of my plates as my toys and the printing process as a type of play.

    

But then I stop and ask myself about the concept and once again, I am confused.

I want to be here now, in the Victorian bush, which has become my home, and pull some prints on an overcast Sunday morning. But there is no press here. What is it about a piece of machinery, which entices me to create? Why can’t I create without it? Surrounded by boxes of art supplies and inspiring books? These should provide me with enough resource materials and inspiration. But today all I can look at are my prints. And watch how they are emerging.

I am still wondering what they are about. It started as a trip to visit my good friend Scott Trevelyan at his Willowbank Studio in February this year. We spoke of the idea of collaboration. I suggested using some of my MIECAT (creative arts therapy/enquiry) procedures to brainstorm. We made quick sketches and wrote down key words individually. Then we shared them. There seemed to be a common thread, which spoke of the natural environment, place and site-specificity. We went about exploring the location of the studio grounds, taking photos and making sketches.

      

I have continued to use the material collected and generated from this one-week stay with Scott. It has developed into a retelling of my experience of being at his property. A nostalgic yearning for Northern NSW: the smell of the grass in the summer rain, the sound of the cicadas, a late night swim in the pool, the sound of the guinea fowl, the company of a lazy doggie in the studio, the sharing of conversation late into the night over a glass of good home brew and the sound of the Dremel on Perspex.

The colours, smells and textures of that experience are what I have been trying to recreate. But perhaps it is just an entry point into a new art experience and once again, these images, these plates are just toys for playing with on this artistic journey? Or perhaps there is some aspect of place (e.g. Scott’s “art therapy” studio) being an access point for artistic experience?

I ponder this as I think about the next step…now the Australian Print Workshop access studio has closed for the summer break, where will I go to continue this exploration? I have been to see a second hand press yesterday and am trying to work out if I can afford it and where it could live.

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