Lucky me! It’s pouring down outside and my lovely husband, who is working from home today, took Mabel out for her morning walk. Usually it’s my job during the week. We have had Mabel for a year now, and she is our first dog. Neither I nor my husband grew up with dogs, so this time last year we were really “in at the deep end”. Mabel has become a part of our lives now, and I can’t imagine life without her. I find the walking routine helpful during the dark winter months – I know I have to go out, regardless of the weather, and I feel so much better for it. It gives structure to my day, especially now I am a full-time artist. I used to find January a tough month to get through, but now I find it inspiring! I am noticing the bare trees and have been photographing interesting ones to use in my monoprints. In the past, my “forest” monoprints have featured quite abstract trees – I either tore strips of paper to represent the trunks, or I hand-cut the trees with scissors like Matisse’s cut-outs (I went to his recent cut-out exhibition at the Tate, by the way, and it was amazing!). I was working on a larger plate. This year I have just started using a much smaller plate – only 22 x 17 cm – so I can sell affordable prints at craft fairs. As a result the trees are now cut with a craft knife, and suddenly it has opened up a whole new world. I can now photograph a particular tree from a favourite walk and trace it onto card/paper and create a stencil. Each stencilled tree can only be used for one series of monoprints, because it gets all inky and has to be thrown away. I really enjoy collecting natural materials like leaves, and using them in my monoprints. However, this is best done in the Autumn months. At this time of year I can just focus on the structure of bare trees. “Two walks a day” is a new series of small monoprints which feature Mabel and my husband walking in Pamphill, near Wimborne. My monoprints are more about the sense of light at different times of the year, and I suppose I just want to create an “atmosphere” rather than rigidly reproduce a scene from a photo. I like to use colour to embellish the mood. The full series is now on my website: http://www.genevievelaversprintmaker.co.uk
I have been VERY quiet on social media recently! I went away to Wales for a very relaxing Christmas week. We stayed in a remote cottage which had no mobile phone signal. I find it comforting to be “out of reach” occasionally – it gives me a chance to recharge my creative batteries. We did some lovely walks in the Forest of Dean with Mabel the dog! Now I am fully recharged, and have got off to a productive start in 2015; I am aiming to spend two days on the press per week in January, just producing as many prints as I can. I hope to sell at some craft fairs in the summer months, so I have reduced the size of my monoprint plates to 22 x 17 cm. Smaller prints are more affordable at craft fairs, and easier to display. I have decided to pull out of the “interrogating materials” project run by Dorset Visual Arts. I think it’s a great idea to get together with other artists to collaborate, but faced with a room full of people at the first meeting in November, I realised that I prefer to network on a smaller scale – one artist at a time. Last week I got together with Donna Enticknap (www.donnaenticknap.com) who does amazing detailed pictures. She paints with tea – so unusual. A very talented artist! We have a few things in common: a love of trees and forests, an interest in the Orient, and we are both experimenting with printing using cut-outs and stencils. We hope to collaborate soon and share techniques.
In the meantime, I have kept to my resolution so far this year. These photos show the results of this week’s efforts. I will photograph and upload them to my new 2015 Gallery on my website next week: http://www.genevievelaversprintmaker.co.uk