Well, I’m really pleased that I wrote about my up and down weekend. The response here and on my facebook page has shown that so many artists (and also non-artists) empathised and it has created some worthwhile discussion. Thanks for all the support too. I think it is really important to share the difficult times as well as the good. I also think that it can sometimes be the times when everything seems to be going wrong or hard that actually end up being the most useful and are often turning points.
Anyway, yesterday I stayed all day in the studio and carefully constructed a simple collagraph plate that I hoped would capture more of the atmosphere of the birch forests here.
I worked on it until lunchtime and then had a break to eat with Björn and Kristina before helping take down the Artists in Residency Exhibition from the gallery. Afterwards, Björn made carrot and apple juice for us. Apparently carrots have been unbelievably expensive all year due to the weather making it difficult to grow them. Now they are really cheap so he bought a huge bag for juicing. It was delicious and, after all the coffee that I’ve been drinking, it felt very refreshing and healthy! After he, Christina and Kristina went home I went back to the studio and worked until midnight! The studio was buzzing with activity from the women’s Monday night printmaking group but because I don’t understand any Swedish, I was in a world of my own and the chatter was like background music. I sealed the plate with shellac before I went to bed.
This morning I got up early to go for a run and I put a final coat of shellac on my plate before I went. The forest was misty and very atmospheric and I met a group of woodsmen who stopped to talk to me (in perfect English of course!). I got back to the studio and set to proofing the collagraph.
The sepia is a bit heavy for the subject and I’d always envisaged it in colour so I carefully printed a further three prints using the ‘a la poupee’ method. This print has lost a little of its subtlety in the photographing but I’m quite happy with it in ‘the flesh’.
I’ve got a lot of other ideas and I still have a plate to print that I made over the weekend so things are definitely feeling better.
Two more nice things happened today. The first was that Lennart bought me a box of organic vegetables and bread for my lunch and I was able to make us a winter stew from carrots, leeks, parsnips & swedes with potato patties on the side. The second was that Tim and Diane Wayne from The Alverton Gallery http://www.thealvertongallery.co.uk/ in Penzance called in to see me! My mum lives in Penzance and, as a result, Tim and Diane kindly agreed to stock my prints (it is so hard to get into galleries in Cornwall because there are so many Cornish artists and many galleries only stock work by local artists). I only see Tim and Diane maybe once a year but they just happened to be on holiday in Sweden and they are both printmakers themselves so they couldn’t resist a visit to Ålgården. It was lovely to see them and I was pleased to be able to show them around and introduce them to the Swedish artists here.
Oh yes, and as for the title of today’s post, it is Swedish for silver birch! I also found out that Björn is Swedish for bear. 🙂