End of Year Already?

Can you believe it? Time flies faster the older you get, that’s for sure. I’m still trying to finish up some projects I started at least nine months ago, and it feels like only yesterday.

2010 has been an interesting year. There were some really intriguing shows, a few of which I made through the jury process and got to exhibit in, and some I didn’t. There’s no second-guessing a juror so you just forget that the money was spent and go on to the next one. Art organizations depend on entry fees so I don’t really regret the expense, just hoping that there will be another show to enter the following year because my fees helped them to survive.

I also have some very nice memories from several art leagues that invited me to give demonstrations and talk about printmaking. My continual effort is to educate all sorts of people about the many unique techniques available in printmaking, and perhaps one or more will give it a try. At least I hope that these talks help them identify and understand a little more about the prints they might see in a show, and if it says “Intaglio” on the tag they may remember that I taught them something about intaglio, and they will appreciate the unique effort that went into making that art.

Last February, during the winter school break, I taught some special classes to parents with their children. It was a lot of fun. Kids are so amazing and I think they liked having their parents give it a go as well. I’m scheduling some more classes like that in 2011.

At the end of the summer I took a leap and taught a small class in Encaustic painting. Definitely outside the definition of printmaking, but I have done some wax paintings from time to time and if others are interested then I’m happy to spread the knowledge. It’s a unique painting technique but has historical precedents that make it extra intriguing. And the smell of beeswax is quite intoxicating, making it hard to resist. There will more classes this coming summer, just for a change of pace.

My own printmaking efforts have been in fits and starts… mostly a lot of starts. There were several other events that took over my time and attention. The most significant was applying for a grant from the City of Hartford. Federal and city funds had been earmarked for job stimulus and with the objective of boosting the artists in Hartford who could use some help, survival-wise. I was surprised and very pleased to receive a grant considering all the worthy non-profits and individual artists who applied. It enabled me to hire a computer-wiz, Brian, to design some websites for me… and obviously you have responded to this one. I thought the Watermark Press site was the first order of business but Brian began by creating a data base of all my artwork, and in a very short period there were over 140 images categorized. I really had no idea I have that much “stuff” in here! The data base makes it relatively easy to upload images to both of my new sites, and will be very valuable going forward to keep my art cataloged. Fun.

And I especially wanted this blog. It gives me an occasional ego boost when someone has actually stopped to read it and leaves a comment. Besides giving me a “soapbox” I want this space to help promote printmaking, and to encourage safer studio practices to artists of all kinds, by getting solvents and nasty chemicals out of the creative process as much as possible. If they can’t be avoided entirely then convincing artists to use them more carefully will be ideal.

I participated in several Open House and Art Tour events this year. I met many new people who had yet to discover the fun and possibilities in printmaking, and how prints differ from paintings, what makes them unique. I do think it’s a certain kind of artist who truly embraces the challenges of traditional printmaking, but I also promote the art to novices who can find fun in the process. Hopefully I make it sound easy and interesting to them… and it can be, as evidenced by the cute little 4 1/2 yr. old who made a lovely print of her beloved dog and kitty.

2010 was ultimately a satisfactory year, whatever the day to day difficulties, like lost wallets. Really put a kink in my shopping sprees! I, and those I love, have their health, and we’re optimistic that some wealth will find us. I’m not looking forward to a snowy winter, unless I can just put my feet up by the fire with a good book. Everyone needs a change of pace and scenery once in awhile so we’ll probably take a little vacation, and we’ll work hard the rest of the time… I’ve got those print projects to finish and new things to experiment with, some workshops and classes to teach, and some more cool things to learn.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful Holiday season and a great New Year, and hope that we may cross paths in the printshop!

Yours in ink!

One thought on “End of Year Already?

  1. Hi everyone (on the blog). Just waentd to say that I stopped in at Watermark Press to visit Martha a few weeks ago and had a very engaging time. We talked about artwork, printmaking, and a whole lot of interesting topics. Martha is a very accomplished artist and she has set up a really great studio on Arbor Street as well. Those of you who are “printmaking-a-holics” would probably be interested in seeing her Vandercook press – quite a piece of machinery. (She has a more conventional Sturgis etching press as well) It seems to me that Martha has a good idea of “what’s happening” in the greater Hartford art scene and I highly recommend that you pay a visit of you’re interested in that. I think you’ll find making her acquaintance time and effort well spent.I am making progress on some new prints myself -not ready to show yet, but I am getting there. I’m also getting some drawing done lately as well on a few representative themes. Some of them may find their way into woodcuts – others perhaps into other kinds of work.John HarrisWest Hartford CT

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