When I haven't been painting in Japanese albums, I've been tinkering with printmaking. I've worked on several rough sketches for some new projects and promise to post those sketches once they are more refined. Last spring however, I was charmed by a pair of blue birds that fortunately, chose the nesting box on our upper deck as their home to start a family in. I sketched these little birds from life directly on to the wooden blocks. This month, I was able to complete carving the blocks and begin test prints. This is the mokuhanga technique, so I am using watercolor with rice paste and printing with a hand barren on rice paper. I'm still mastering the art of two color printing, but I'm pretty happy with this little fellow.
The subtlety of tone as well as that of the brush have given me a new appreciation for the range of nuance in human expression. There are simply tones and lines I am hearing and seeing for the first time. Recently, I watched the Academy Award winning documentary My Octopus Teacher and I could not help but think about this as I watched the beautiful, subtle relationship grow between two very different lives. So much of our being is defined by what we see. It seems to me the more we can see the broader and deeper our understanding of our own being and openness to the being of others. I feel myself growing, but I am not exactly sure how, just enjoying the practice and journey for now.