Thoughts on prints and execution. / by Anna Rae

Been working on a new drawing for a linocut and looking for inspiration.  I tend to assume that those who are using lino are either finished with their schooling and/or don't have access to an academic studio/printshop.  I know if I had access to a press, I would be doing more complex prints and using wood or burning screens.  There is a lot of opportunity to do all of this at home but without professional studio grade standards I've had a lot of misses for exposure on screens and even pressure with larger wood.  With all of that being said, there is some sort of heightened integrity I place on a lino artist.  It's like, either they put in their time or they decided putting in their time to the institution of art wasn't worth the investment (typically, only in the monetary sense).  Both are respectable in my book.  

This guy is pretty good.  I am into it.  Well executed, using the negative space and texture appropriately applied with the soft and harsh lines available in linocut.  

This guy is badass.  Large block printed portraits that are better than a lot of drawn portraits, for sure.  Keeping the print drawerly as a large print is pretty hard to do, IMHO.  The hand that crosses the midsection when drawing is very expressive and to translate that to a midsection cross in a block cut?  Pretty badass.  

For the new hausgeist piece I'm going back to keeping it simple.  With babies tugging at my hem and free time extremely constrained, I've been spending way too much time thinking about the details of the execution instead of jumping in.  There are many debatable arguments on how a work should begin.  In my experience, I started with diving when I was a child.  I had no reason to feel graded, sellable, or egotistical.  It was 80% pleasure driven and 20% pleasing the goals set up for me by my mentors.  As I got older and began teaching, I realized that having a planned execution makes for a much smoother work.  Clean, articulate, and absorbable information.  I'm done with academia, I'm not selling much these days, and my mentors drifted (or did I?).  Is it hard to find a healthy balance between rational and irrational (in the unplanned definition)?