As a painter who is most comfortable in an outdoor studio, I have in recent years found it a challenge to keep excited about working steadily indoors through the long dark days of winter. Occasionally I have participated in group-creative challenges. The 100 Day Project, found online at The100DayProject.com, is now in its 7th year and is primarily a rich source of stimulation and artist-centered communication. Initially, the 100 Day Project seeks to encourage an artist to be focused on a project for 100 days. Weekly updates provide words and images to stoke the fires. A theme is provided, this year it is “Secret Places.” But the theme, the media, the processes and the real-time committed by the artist are totally self-determined. It is also free! This year it was the theme that took hold of me.
This winter I changed my focus several times until the day my brain connected with some long under-used equipment in my studio. The idea came to me…could I reconnect with the art of relief printmaking in a way that was totally loose, or seemingly lacking in the confinement of purpose? That seems quite illogical at first, especially when one considers the lack of fluidity of the media! But it is not totally impossible considering what changes occur from the point of carving lines and shapes into a linoleum block and printing that inked block onto paper. This morning’s writing counts as studio time because I am now trying to make sense of what I am doing. I am weighing the current outcomes of my 100 Day Project, now 6 days into the 100 days. I have already been focused for a minimum of 2 hours a day in my studio. I have lost my sense of time passing. I have seen my “mental images” be altered by the media. And I, in turn, have adjusted my carved marks as ideas adjust themselves in a conversation. I have lost myself in the process. I’ve traveled to another place. The fact that I’m there is no longer a secret. But the next time I re-enter, you will not know where I am!