Stepping Outside the Box

This year, for my annual Valentine’s Day unique project, I decided to use a different medium to create my artwork. The process was full of obstacles but proved to be both artistic and personally cathartic. This new process in many ways was relative to significant changes taking place in my personal life.  In January I plant a seed in my mind to come up with a love-oriented idea I can create using mediums other than oil on canvas. One night, I dreamt about imagery that was reminiscent of happy early childhood memories spent at the Jersey shore. I did a sketch; birds on beach posts, in a conversation, sitting above graffiti, which were words of love. I felt decided to depict this imagery as linoleum block prints. I had made block prints before, a Holiday card in 1993. It was a green fish with red kelp. I printed 30 of the two-colored cards without a glitch. My birds on wood posts in a scene were a bit more complicated for block printing, but not much more than a fish, right? Honestly, I think I may now have permanent carving tool “war wounds” on my hands. However, in the end, I became philosophical about the endeavor. Something had driven me to move out of my comfort zone, be physical, hover over blocks topped with semi-soft linoleum and carve, dig, register, ink and burnish. I realized that the process of this project paralleled the flux of changes in my life. By accepting a new way to create and finding joy in working within the capabilities of this medium, I felt myself open up to embracing the unknowns that I will face in my near future.

Detail from "Post of Love"

Christine O'Brien