a poor (wo)man’s printing alternative…

Contrary to my usual opinion of forced creativity, I often find that holing myself up and waiting for inspiration to strike has its benefits.  Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes before I know it, I’ve been in the studio for twelve hours and have a prolific amount of work to show for it.

As is the case with this image. While unemployed a few years ago I got into a printing phase. At a local art store I found some foam printing sheets (a smooth, dense white foam with adhesive backing) that provided a cheap, easy alternative to the laborious wood blocks I seemed always to start and never finish. It was cheap enough (about $2.50 per 8.5″x11″ sheet) that I could experiment without breaking my budget (aka the change in my drawer), but also so versatile that I soon began using it to print on fabric and other materials.

Best of all, the only tools required are the foam sheet, a piece of cardboard (or wood for durability) and some sort of writing instrument to draw on the foam. A ball-point pen works fine; depending on the thickness of the line you desire. Because the foam is so pliable, it is easy to create multi-layered/ colored images by just cutting out the part you want to change (the feather, below) and using that as your new print block.

In this image, On the Wind, I was inspired by a feather that kept catching the wind so it looked like it was floating upwards.

Title: On the Wind
Inspiration: nature; wind currents
Medium: Foam block print on paper
Dimensions: 4″x6″
Price: $20; multiple available. 

Concentric Life Equation… none of this linear mumbojumbo

As a self-proclaimed ‘child of nature’, I am drawn again and again to the image of concentric circles as a delineation of time. For some reason, this visual approach makes much more sense to me than a standard linear illustration, especially when used to portray the development of a specific individual. In one concise image you can see the beginning and the end and, in every artist’s dream, it also fuses the subject directly into the message.

I’ve often thought about tree rings as a visual metaphor for the phases of my life. Thinking back, certain years, phases, influences, relationships, interests, living situations, etc., fall into groups and make comprehending my own passage through time a visual affair.

What would you put in the empty boxes to represent your own life?

… His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. …” –About a Boy, Nick Hornby.

Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour. Taking a bath: one unit, watching countdown: one unit, web-based research: two units, exercising: three units, having my hair carefully disheveled: four units. It’s amazing how the day fills up, and I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I’d ever have time for a job; how do people cram them in?” – Hugh Grant as Will, in About a Boy the movie.

Title: In Tree Years

Inspiration: a late-night talk with my mom; nature; Nick Hornby’s idea of life as a series of units of time 

Medium: Foam-block print on paper

Dimensions: 6″x9″

Price: $40; seven (7) varied prints available. 

This item is available on Etsy! http://www.etsy.com/listing/83813118/in-tree-years-foamblock-print


“When you point a finger, three more point back at you.”

SNAPSHOT is an image I created in 2008 to represent the moment between words and action. The loss of control felt in a situation heightened by emotion, anger, remorse, powerlessness can be felt in that moment when one person stretches their hand into the void and points accusingly at the other.  I intended SNAPSHOT as an encouragement to examine both sides of each situation.

Perhaps for others it will inspire a different meaning.  As always, comments are welcome.

Inspiration: Life lesson
Medium: Foam block print
Dimensions: approx. 6×9″
Price: $30

Two left available from series of 12.