Monday, January 25, 2016

Brains & Owls in Pantaloons

Burrowing Owl, linocut 5.5" x 7" by Ele Willoughby, 2016
One of the things I want to do this year is participate in some new (to me) print exhibits and exchanges. BC based printmaker Lori Dean Dyment and I were discussing on FB the yearly Chinese New Year exhibits and print exchanges held by PROOF Studio Gallery. We weren't sure if they were going to do one this year (the call for submissions for their Year of the Monkey show came one only recently*) and she suggested we both participate in Leftovers, a print exchange hosted by Wigtip Press. I was very flattered that she said she'd love to do an exchange together, because I think her prints are really quite magical and you should go have a look at her portfolio. Also, I had hear of Leftovers which has been growing in size year by year. The idea is that printmakers can make tiny prints, no larger than 5" x 7", and use of all the scraps of precious papers we've been hoarding. They have multiple exhibits of all the tiny prints and auction off prints from hunger relief (with funds going to the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force). They invite printmakers to choose any subject, but suggest that food or hunger might be appropriate.

Thinking of you, linocut by Ele Willoughby, 2016
I thought about that for a while and I had no inspiration. Whenever I thought about hunger, what came to mind were all-too-real images from the news, of starving people in Syria (though there are starving people in many other places too). It was not a topic I wanted to live with intimately, while composing a print. So, I took them at their word that all subjects were welcome and looked for something which was a little more in my wheelhouse, so to speak. Then I saw an image of a juvenile burrowing owl who appeared to be wearing pantaloons. And while fluffy-legged owlets might not be as serious seeming a topic as hunger, I am able to celebrate the beauty and whimsy of wildlife (and perhaps bring some attention to how endangered burrowing owls have become on the Canadian prairie) while helping some fellow printmakers raise some funds to combat hunger in their community.

Every year I print a Valentine. This year I also chose to revisit an old brain block by carving a second block, so a one colour print could become a two colour print. Cause love isn't really about hearts at all, is it? It's about our minds and brains. Plus, brainy Valentines are great for zombie (or anatomy) lovers.

If you're reading my blog, pretend to look surprised on the 14th, husband.

Hou: The Monkey, linocut by Ele Willoughby 2008
I do enjoy the PROOF Chinese New Year prints shows and plan to submit my Monkey this year, and perhaps select a few random Chinese Zodiac animals for their print exchange.

*Due date for submissions is February 15th, 2016 for their
15th & FINAL International Print Exhibition and Exchange
Celebrating The Chinese Year of the MONKEY 2016

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