Beauty, Art and Life
I live in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, far away on the Atlantic shores of eastern Canada. So finding the supplies to do something like this linocut is difficult. It took me a while to find an art-supplier that sold the sheet of linoleum. Then I had to glue mount it onto a piece of plywood. I had to find the knives, which wasn't as difficult. But I had to order the ink weeks ago from Daniel Smith's in the States. It's a beautiful deep black water-based ink. Wonderful to work with. I had to order the ink roller from them as well. I've had a difficult time choosing and finding the right paper. Finally, I settled on some recommendations and ordered a bunch of Arches 88 from a store on the West Coast. It is a nice paper. However, once in a while I try some very fine, almost tissue-like Japanese Mulberry paper. Delicate but very nice. So just the process of preparation to do this block print is incredibly challenging and time consuming. Then there's the actual creation of the image. I usually take Mondays off. So all day yesterday I carved the lino-block to create this image above. It is based on a photographed self-portrait of a gifted artist I met on flickr, Mimi Yoon. I call it "It's You". The image measures 6.5" x 12" (17cm x 30cm). Then Lisa came home from University and we had supper together. After supper I proceeded to ink the block and hand-pulled four artist's proofs prints. Lisa asked what I was thinking about all day while I did that. I said "nothing". When I work on a painting or sculpture or block-print or any art work, I'm completely absorbed in the creative process. It's like fishing. I don't think when I fish. I just fish. Not only is doing art a great stress reliever, but it is for me an act of meditation and contemplation. My mind is focused, and it is focused on something like Beauty. Beauty. Many great thinkers down through history have even talked about a theology of Beauty, like the early fathers, medieval philosophers, Calvin, Barth, Balthasar, Simone Weil, and Heschel, among others. When I make art, I feel I am participating in creation. I am inspired by beauty to create beauty. Or, like some other artists, to make art that testifies to the manipulation of beauty or the destruction of it. One day my daughter and I sat to have coffee in the mall. As we watched countless people go by, we both agreed that everyone is beautiful in their own way. I find that as I get older and hopefully wiser, beauty is more important, all-embracing and eternal. I hope my art at least signals that. You can buy an original signed edition of this print from my online art gallery.