Octonaut

OctonautWeb

2017. Watercolor background. Hand-carved octonaut (linoleum) printed onto page and gone over with shiny white acrylic. Octonaut concept from a sketch of mine done on a notecard back in 2013. Might make into a greeting card…Alternate name: “What do octopus see when they trip?” or “Acidpus”.

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On Cutting (the good kind); or My Progress so far into Linoleum-block Carving

So although I posted my first Etsy listing quite some time back (a lino-cut of a panda shown in a previous entry here) it didn’t really go anywhere or turn into anything. Probably because I didn’t advertise or social media much….it seems the follow-through and follow-up are the weakest (if not nonexistent) links in my chain. So, although I didn’t make any sales, I did in fact keep learning and experimenting and whatnot and have come around back to it, relisting “Panda Prophecy” and also a new hand-carved and printed artwork (I’ve been calling it “Evilephant” which seems a bit…silly, but I haven’t come up with anything else yet):

(below: Panda Prophecy – one of a kind edition hand-painted with gold embellishments – an’eye-catching/interesting’ photo for my Etsy listing – also see link at the bottom of this post)wTools

(below: Evilephant – photo with the carved lino block and the print – also see link at the bottom of post for my actual Etsy shop listing)

EvilephantBlockandPrint

So, those are the two listings I have so far. I have many other almost ready lino carvings, but what has taken a lot of my time is experimenting with this craft. A LOT of trial and error, a LOT of unsatisfactory prints, and a LOT of scouring the internet for tips, tricks and supplies. In fact, since I took notes (I take notes on most things I study – really I could be quite successful and regular in my posts and informational transference if I only had the same urging to make posts and ‘share’ as I do to learn and create…) anyway since I took notes, I’ll make a useful separate post with them, to be updated over time, with my findings on linoleum carving and whatnot.

Both of these prints started as conceptual sketches, and were a bit of an endeavor to adapt to carving (I felt both needed a lot more than they started as to make them visually work with the medium) though I might have overdone Evilephant…but hopefully newer discoveries in ink and paper will allow me more freedom in design and not worry about large areas of solid ink not transferring well.

orig_smallPandaProphecyPrintsmall

Above, left you can see my very first drawing of Panda Prophecy on a notecard. Being that this was the first carving I made, I thought taking out the bird might be a good idea for simplification, though the swirling details I added ended up being just as difficult (if not more….smooth curves can be tricky – especially small ones and circles) to carve. I can’t tell you how long it took me to finish – definitely a few separate days of work. I drew the swirls right onto the block and carved away – sometimes having to change or alter things to fix mistakes, and often returning and refining things after trial prints. Above, right you can see the plain black print – some swirls are missing their centers and certain areas are thicker than intended. Also note the areas where the ink did not transfer well enough onto the paper in the solid-black areas. Apparently I had been printing on far too thick a paper stock for hand-printing with a spoon. I’ve since been looking at lighter papers to use until I can get a press of some sort. The embellishment-with-paint idea arose from my desire to further correct the errors apparent to me, and I really like how it turned out – though it’s quite a bit more of a time investment to hand-paint all those swirls. In earlier prints I discovered that other paint could not very successfully be used to cover errors, as it seems each paint/ink/etc. has a slightly different tone, texture, and finish, and is visible in the right light on the print. In my elephant print, I tried to use a brush and later a rubber point to apply a bit of the printing ink I’d used to correct any mistakes. Unfortunately, for all but the smallest fixes, the ink applied this way does not match in it’s finish and is thus visible on the print.

evilephantOrigConceptSketchsmall

Above here you can see the original concept sketch for Evilephant. Obviously a lot has changed, from the addition of linework and designs outside the figure to alterations to the figure itself due to errors in carving and realizing my limitations as a newer carver (there was likely no way I could get the gears in the ear like above carved nicely). I may yet still do something with the original sketch as it is above since things changed enough for the carving. It’ll be interesting to see how different manifestations of the concept come through and perhaps vary in feeling across different mediums. This carving too was one I returned too over and over to make refinements, and after test prints, to correct problem areas. I think I also learned something of overdoing via design in trying to prevent uneven ink transfer. Maybe I will carve still more away to simplify the print a bit in the future…For now, the few printed successes are for sale as limited edition prints in my Etsy store.

Feels slow, but progress comes. Hopefully soon the same will apply to my sales…

((My Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HollyZezuArtStudio ))

Dysfunction Look-and-Find, and Doodling for Focus

((Featured image – an example of ‘drawing so I can also focus on something else that’s happening’ from a few years ago, I just called it “Colorbomb”))

I did a google search on “artist with A.D.D” and found an interesting blog write-up on someone with A.D.D that has many similarities to mine – undiagnosed throughout my childhood and early adult years, just thinking certain things were normal and that other people just dealt with them more adeptly.

Article: http://www.avrilejean.net/2013/01/27/attention-deficit-disorder-and-art/

My favorite and the most accurate-to-myself bits (things like these help me remember the insights and progress I make in figuring out what issues I have, and hopefully how to work to correct them before I forget it all or lose my place and have to restart any effort):

“I always knew there was something amiss in my head, but not what. I was tired a                 lot, moody a lot, unable to cope a lot. I would cry on the way home when I worked                   full time, wondering how no one else seemed to be as traumatized by work as I was. I            thought of it as a big wall I just could not get over, this thing that blocked me from                doing some of the things I wanted to do.”

“One thing that I did do, all through primary and high schools, and uni, was I drew on          my class notes and my lecture notes. I drew incessantly.”

“You know when you go into a room and forget why you’ve gone into it and you stand            there helplessly? Apply that to almost everything – work tasks, going shopping,                      where did i put my car, what was I just thinking, what did I mean to do now, how come          I’m doing the washing, I thought i was in the middle of the dishes – wait I am, better            go start the vacuuming…..”

“I have used art work to sooth and calm the swirling in my head for years. It started in          class when I drew on my work, and that in effect has been the thing i go back to                      whenever i need a time out from trying to concentrate or think. I find i can direct the            energy and concentration and turn off the chaos by getting out a pencil or a brush,                  and working on a piece of art.  Selecting and choosing colours and working on a bit of            something till it looks right, is awesome therapy for the messed up brain, it soothes it          and calms it and gives it something to look at. I guess art to me is self-medication, it            is the thing I can hyper-focus on.”

(Avril Jean, 2013)

It makes me hopeful to know that others in similar mental configurations figure out how to be at least reasonably successful in life and living with A.D.D. Avril also mentions that forming habits has helped combat a lot of the chaos that tends to make normal life things so complicated. This is something I am still working on…habits seem so unnatural to me, so innately repulsive to my more free-spirited and impulsive self, but I know that they will be vital to me accomplishing anything.

I still often end up a slave to things that just help me forget and block out the world, like video games or shows or just…drawing and not using my work for anything. I suppose part of the habit forming process will be working to un-learn my bad habits and tendencies. I’d really like to be able to find a great psychologist or some variant that could help me not only with my mental state but with getting the foundations of habits and strategies that work for me into place. I haven’t had tremendous luck there, however.

So combining the aspects of myself that are very…control freak, plus the unlimited way I view just about everything (Perceiving type MBTI) many endeavors are just too enormous – too many possibilities, too much work needed to feel I have a decent (complete enough) grasp of the information to make a decision. Add to those how easily I can lose my progress from one day to the next, and my need for an environment that won’t sabotage my attention and it feels impossible to take on anything that can’t be completed in one cram-all session on a day where I have nothing else scheduled (even small shifts at work or appointments that won’t take very much time seem to weigh down and consume a day…).

So here’s to hoping I can figure it out, and find someone who can help me with that. I hate feeling like I am wasting so much potential and talent floundering around in such an inconstant manner. I hate almost ALWAYS being at the mercy of my impulses and moods. I hate how alone I feel in it, which is also on me – shutting almost everything else out of my life in an attempt to get my dreams and future on track, while still keeping my head above water in terms of survival and basic life necessities.

Frustration Sandwich

Like a ‘compliment sandwich’, but the opposite (frustration bread + meaty middle goodness + another frustration bread).

I work so hard and intensely on any given artwork or project, then once it’s done or almost done…it’s like I forget about it. I don’t brag about it all over or show everyone, market it or give it even it’s 15 minutes of fame. Why? I am usually pretty happy with the things I create and have tons of ideas for them, design and sales concepts that I feel could really take off….but that spark that drives my artwork and ideas and passions just doesn’t ignite for the sharing and marketing…almost as if I am unable to stop moving forward with my artwork, to the point of being detrimental to any potential I might have for anything I create. I recognize this, but it gets…’lost’ in my head or buried by my moods and whims and desire to lose myself in the moments…and then I’m just going in circles trying to find progress and/or success.

Middle yum yums: I was going through my artwork, and came across this album art I created for a friend a few years ago: AudioDopeCoverWebV

However (here comes the finishing bread of our sandwich), I don’t think it ever made it onto a physical item (I don’t know that the album ever did end up released or anything like that). The both of us (artists visual and auditory) were neither very good at the finishing and progress part. Always missing parts or things needed that never came about. I withheld it for a while, just in case it should ever come to be, but I haven’t spoken to that friend in a long while and haven’t heard anything regarding the project so…at least I can share the artwork I created for it!

-Holly

On Recognizing Emotion Channeling and it’s effects on my Art

<<Painting above – early channeling art of mine, still as of now unfinished. A favorite of my dad’s>>

January 2016 – From my journal

I believe ‘swell’ and ‘surge’ to be the appropriate words to describe the sensation of such feeling that builds up, or is conjured by brilliant creativity, expression, emotion, or passion. Good or bad, focused or unruly and uncontrollable, it needs to leak somewhere – relieving, satisfying, like…channeling the energy of it, the emotion generated can be released. Feeling everything and passing it through me, not having to hold onto and manage the causes or reasons or meanings (not having to keep them inside of me as my own and try to prevent warping or distortion, overwhelm, or the tainting of my other contents). An ironic concept to a “feeler”: keeping feelings objective. But it is in art and writing and not many other aspects of life where I have been able to do just that; feel things without paying for their consequences, without fearing to pursue their reality too far and become overly immersed in a persona or position. Because feeling does not always equal truth or logic, and keeping objective allows the experience (like a strange high almost) to remain purely psychic, experimental, and for experiences of a different kind than those applied as lessons in the scope of one’s real life. Not actionable or intention-generating (which can, in my case, mean the devastation of well-being and spell misfortune for reasons not even properly founded, but just ill-channeled).

Whether or not they like or dislike the sensation, I think everyone should experience this at least once in their life. It is powerful, stirring, and can be enlightening, or damning…like watching brilliance, dedicated endeavor of passion in action through the fails and the flights and to the final result that is more beautiful for the ‘blood cost’.

“Channeling” is something I am recognizing as a trend in my tendencies; picking up/feeling/sharing emotions, trying to control or soothe them, understand and interpret them (which is a lovely challenge, given the amount of variables and variability). And thus I often do not plan my creative outputs, and rather just…unleash what comes, and what I have been holding on to, editing what comes, shaping it and transforming not only the result but myself and understanding as well. These efforts are naturally influenced by my interests, passions, pleasures, curiosities, and attention span (as well as my artistic abilities) but I do try to keep things open to interpretation, impression, theory, projection, etc. so that viewers can mix themselves in as they look; fill in, question, try to understand. Let them learn as much or more about something in them or about themselves – as much, if not more, than they learn about me.

I imagine that if I can encourage and inspire this sort of conduit with my work – like a personal level mental/psychic collaboration for those moments, for those who really look to SEE, then it is like the work is never finished, never perfect, but always carrying further potential. It becomes new with every pair of eyes – at least a little. Never dying, always changing, evolving, shaping, inspiring, and opening eyes and minds.

First Etsy Listing!

My first Etsy listing in my very own shop has (finally) been made:

“Panda Prophecy” –  hand-carved and pulled linoleum block print – small size

Panda Prophecy, Original Linocut Hand-Pulled Print, Small Print

also a hand-painted embellished version – in the featured photo (and more color variations to come!):

My shop (still in the works, kinda bare, but progress, right??): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtByHolliBel

Still need a new name to replace all the Hollibels though. Just doesn’t feel like a good fit.

Maybe my greatest so far…

Working Title(s): On Feeling in Flow  (I don’t know if it’ll stay that, though…profound titling can be difficult); perhaps I’ll call it after myself: E/INFP-HSP (Briggs-Meyers personality type + highly-sensitive/empathic type person) since it’s certainly an abstract composition of symbolic elements in representation of visualized approximations of my inner churnings and burnings.

Largest image is most recent. Top right is earliest photo taken (result after the live paint event) in 2014, and bottom right is a midway point of progress, likely mid-to late 2015).

Dimensions: 20″ x 24″

Acrylic, watercolor, ink, graphite, and collage bits of my own artworks.

Started in late 2014 at a live paint at a nightclub show in Akron. Evolved from a composite of few separate drawings from my sketchbook (I’ll upload those also here shortly). Mostly worked on in spurts (not steadily or consistently until more recently). I’d like to see it in a gallery one day, and make prints of it to sell once it’s finished.

UPDATE: Original art sketches that were combined into the final above: