Steps forward in the life of a painter seem to be few and far between. As much as I know my work is improving over time, the tiny shreds of evidence are not always easy to find. What seems to me like an overwhelming epiphany in the moment, may result in little more than a shrug in the real world.
But this piece had one, perhaps a tiny one, but still it is a small step forward. Rather than use a rubber stamp from my collection to make the background, the lines of x & o's, I carved a small lino block. Not a huge task, those who have known me for many years know how familiar I am with linoleum block prints as they were my medium of choice. I've pulled dozens of multiple color reductive lino prints, never with a press, as I've never had that kind of dough, but with a wooden spoon.
But I don't think I can tell you how much I enjoyed carving that little block, the smell of linseed oil, the carving knife went through like butter. I thought it had been 3 or 4 years since I had carved a block, but I have just surprised myself. I just checked the date on the last lino I remember carving, it says 2001, time flies. Anyhow, this little change, has opened up a bunch of new possibilities, carving any patterns, or text into a block, and treating it like a stamp. Much more original than using store bought stamps, and endless possibilities.
Now back to Little Bird, the star of the show. The dress itself was a little sweater dress. I have never used a sweater dress before, and as I was soaking it in the goo, I really wasn't sure it was going to work, I expected it to stretch into some unidentifiable blob. But it went down very nicely. The key coming out of the top is silver leaf, with an acrylic transfer of a photo of this crazy little wind up bird I have. The bird is also repeated along the hem of the dress. Busy Bird is stitched into a halo shape where the head would be.
I must say this is a bit of a self portrait, it was the last piece painted in a marathon painting push after a really great show, as I was trying to get ready for the next. If you sat me down and asked me my mother's maiden name about the time I finished this, I'm not so sure I could have told you. But it is at times like that when the grand, or even puny ideas seem to come out of nowhere.