This is a print on art paper, made from a design cut into a linoleum block, with pastels on top. The carving on the original block is shown below. It’s a great example of how going to a garage sale can provide the creative inspiration for something new. I’ve walked past linoleum in the art supply store lots of times without buying it, but for a quarter at a garage sale, why not?
Looking at the pristine block, my mind wandered around to different things I could carve into it. Linoleum is soft, and easy to carve, but carving isn’t my best skill, and I wanted to keep it simple. I cast around in my mind for a happy image, and thought about childhood and crayfish.
I grew up next to a beautiful river, and spent many hours catching them. They live under rocks, and it took a little bit of skill to get them because they can scoot backwards very fast and get lost in the dust stirred up when lifting the rocks. We used them for bait or as kind of temporary toys. We’d squeal with laughter when they crawled around on our hands, or screeched a bit when they pinched us with their claws. I can get lost in my memories of them because there are so many memories to choose from.
Maybe for someone who didn’t grow up next to a river, they just look creepy? I could see where someone else might look at them as stunted little lobsters that are too much effort to eat, but they still taste good, and the fish love them.
Finding art for Illustration Friday’s word of the week, and thinking about what I want to say about it has gotten me to look at the art I’ve created in a different way. I’m seeing a difference in the art I create for fun from the art I’ve done for work. For instance, I wouldn’t have created a picture of a crawdad for a chocolate company. I wouldn’t have done a linoleum print because I wouldn’t know how that would work out. I need to churn stuff out for money in reliable, tested ways, but I think experimenting is vital. Taking time to play has led me in new directions with my professional art, and made my work more interesting to customers.
And above all, all of this justifies my addiction to garage sales!