I love to travel, but can really suffer if I’m away from my studio for any length of time. Last February, I spent several weeks away and took a small box of tools and supplies for cutting and making linoleum block prints. It was great. I worked a few hours almost every morning and returned to Portland with some wonderful black and white images. Most importantly, I never got that antsy feeling of wanting to get back home to my studio.
This December I spent two weeks in Mexico with my family, and once again I took a portable art project so that I could work a couple of hours in the morning. This year I stocked up on beautiful hand-made, hand-dyed papers. I packed some bristol board and gluesticks along with that. Each morning I sat outside in the patio and made compositions of torn paper. The jungle, with its amazing big-leafed flora, exotic bird calls, super-saturated colors all around — all this influenced my work. I didn’t bring scissors. Tearing, rather than cutting, the handmade paper allowed other elements — the fibers in the paper and the moisture in the air that morning — to play a role in the outcome of the shapes I had to work with. Tearing, rather than cutting, is an imprecise technique that invites other forces to co-create and results in vital, organic shapes that could not be pre-determined by me. And spending two weeks tearing paper rather than mixing and applying paints gave me a lot of insights into new ways to fill a square.