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Sometimes Art is Like That


I signed up for the Handmade Valentine Exchange a short bit ago. I had done it a couple years ago, and wow, I still carry around the photo of one of the valentines I received, it was just so perfect. I knew, just as anyone who has ever received a Christmas card from me also knows, exactly what medium I wanted to use again this year: block printing. In particular, I wanted to use a potato and pink ink.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find my tools, couldn't find replacement tools to buy, and well, wasn't able to get to find a local art supply store that carried block printing supplies. WOW, YES, I DO MISS PORTLAND RIGHT NOW, why do you ask?

Eventually, I figured out University Art is not actually on University, went down, and bought supplies (another ordeal in and of itself, given said supplies were on sale and nearly sold out). And started working.

The design I actually cut today is different than the design I originally planned. I wasn't able to find the paper I wanted to print on, changing what I could do with the design. I knew I wanted black and white stripes, though, so I started cutting:

I realized very quickly that, wow, my hands are out of practice with hard, fine work. I didn't have the cutting technique I used to have, and the surface was harder than what I previously cut. I bought linoleum blocks for this project, instead of the modern, softer blocks I used to use. I slipped a large number of times, cutting myself only three times. Yes, I have bled for my art.

Cutting the heart was a bit trickier than I was expecting it to be. If I make it smaller than the stripes opening, I'll have offset room to line up the heart with the stripes. If I make it exact, and nail the lineup, wow, will it look goooooooooood.

The stripes print looked a lot differently than I was expecting it to look, which caused me to reset my expectations on how these prints were going to turn out.

The test print showed me I cut too close on one of the edges of the hearts, and I really need to keep the block clean before a start a print.

I adjusted the blocks and made my prints.

They way didn't come out the way I was expecting them to turn out, and yet, sometimes art is like that. You have a vision in your head what you want to create, and this thing now exists because you created it, but it doesn't always come out the way you imagined. And that's okay.

Art is like that sometimes, so is life.

You think it'll be one way, it comes out another way, and it's just as beautiful.


When I sent out my cards, I tried to be clever. Some of my ideas were:

Days late.
Dollars short.
I went starboard.
You were port.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Missed the day,
But thought of you.

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