Sunday, May 18, 2014

WORK PROGRESSES BUT...

obviously I'm incapable of keeping my resolution to blog once a week. It seems vain to apologise - after all, neither the cyber world or the real world stop turning when I don't turn up. 

I don't know what the official psychological consensus is regarding people who can't keep resolutions and who are often late, as is my wont. I'll venture that it might be because of a profound contradiction: a combination of over-confidence ("I'll be forgiven because I am adorable" ) and no confidence at all ("It doesn't really matter whether I do anything"). Caught between those irreconcilable differences, the only escape is to make resolutions, not keep them, and then compose a non-apologetic explanation and post it as a blog, three weeks late.

Meanwhile, work on the Trans-Siberian is going well and takes up all my time and more. One of the beauties of printmaking is the element of surprise. Until you take a proof of any block or plate you've been slaving over for hours or days, there's no way of knowing what you've got. It is always a thrill to turn the wheel of the press then lift the paper off the inked block and examine the first proof. Sometimes it's perfect as is, sometimes more work needs to be done on the block. Either way the process itself is highly rewarding.

I've selected a few proofs to keep you interested, my friends and bloggers. The text in these examples is only roughly pasted onto the prints. In the final book, text will be printed in colour.





29 comments:

Jean said...

Oh my god, I love this - the words and the prints! Both have such energy, weirdness, brusqueness and beauty.

Dick said...

Oh, absolutely just right, Natalie! They're wonderful! The project is dangerously close to its final stages.

Re Olympia, there are one or two obstacles that I'll try to shift. This is an opportunity to meet Nicolas and Frances and a chance for us to have lunch so I'm on the case!

Dominic Rivron said...

Dinnae fash yersel. If you are poor at keeping resolutions then possibly all the work you've done stands as testament to the fact that resolutions are unnecessary! :)

Tom said...

I must say that I gave up making resolutions a long time ago. That's fine, because the ones I keep take up all my time anyway. It seems to me that making a resolution to blogpost every Sunday and then breaking it (after two weeks?) is really a cunningly deceptive way of producing a fascinating script for our enjoyment. So carry on resoluting, dear Natalie, and let us all enjoy the consequences.

Having, at last, visited your studio your artwork has taken on a new dimension for me. Love it!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Jean, I love those attributes: energy,weirdness,brusqueness and beauty. You sure know how to make me blush with delight - thank you so much. Where have you been all this time?

Dick, so glad you approve. Am not quite at the final stages of block-cutting yet but moving nearer anyway.Hope you can make it to meet the OSP at Olympia.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dominic, thanks for the encouragement but I can never overcome the guilt of not keeping resolutions or of being late. Guilt may well be some kind of defense mechanism but I'm too busy to try and analyse it.

Tom, h'm...My unconscious may indeed be a cunningly deceptive creature but if so I wasn't..ahem..conscious of it. I must thank you for this detective work!

Ellena said...

If nothing else, coming here tells me that I should always be the first commenter on a post. Less stressful. Others have said much of what I have been thinking. Now I am sitting and wondering how one can think without words. Forget it!
I love what you show us here.

Lucy said...

I forgive you because you are adorable Natalie.

These prints are amazing.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Ellena, your comments are always worthwhile and welcome, early or late. Thank you again.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy.......I told you so!

Beth said...

Well done, Natalie! You continue to amaze me with your inventiveness. Each of these images is so fresh and original and full of aliveness - what more could anyone ask? I guess what Jean aludes to: that they also convey the strangeness of the poem and the journey, which they do. I especially like the abstract wheels (?) in the penultimate image and the final one, that fire-breathing head.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Beth, thanks very much. The hardest part was doing the drawings because the text gives rise to so many possible visual interpretations - in fact I've discarded some blocks after cutting them when I saw that a different approach would be better. I'll be very happy when it's all done, printed, bound and ready for the outside world.

Adam said...

Natalie, you should resolve thus: "I shall (may) (aim to) post in two (or some measurable number) weeks time".

It would all be much easier if there were voice-recognition software that worked ... hey, there's a thought - post a sound file of your news!

Hattie said...

God this is wonderful! Terrifying! Brilliant.
And you worry about being late!!!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Adam, that sounds like politician-speak! I think I'd rather stop making any resolutions at all. Sound-file blogging is a good idea but would take more time than writing, at least for me.
Thanks for being here.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hattie, your enthusiasm is energy-inducing. I love it!

alisonchandlerwriter said...

Stunning, Natalie! What an amazing achievement this will be. I identify totally with your struggle to be 'on time'... rest assured what you give when you're here more than makes up for missed dates! Can't wait to see the finished book.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Alison, good to find you back here. Thanks for encouragement and shared struggles. I'm eager to see the finished book too. Best of luck with yours.

Roderick Robinson said...

I made a resolution of my own which, like you, I have failed to keep. I vowed I would never write about writers since readers who had decent jobs which benefited society (eg, plumbers) would find it difficult to sympathise. After all, not only do most writers write about writers (Phillip Roth a typical example on telly last night) they also write about writers not writing. How then could a plumber, never having suffered from plumber's block, develop any interest in some fellow living in the Home Counties who for some unexplained reason finds himself unable to pursue the profession he confesses to adore.

Not that I'm saying you're suffering from writer's block. You profess to have unimpeachable reasons for your silence. But then writers always do.

You are, if I read between the lines, confessing to procrastination. But you don't fool me. Procrastination among writers is a five-syllable word used as a vain substitute for the monosyllabic block.

Often writers unable to come up with a decent post ("My block's really killing me.") have no difficulty in writing screeds of comment for others' blogs.

Need I say more?

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Robbie, I welcome your screeds, the longer the better. But no, I'm not disguising writer's block because I don't consider my blog posts as anything even vaguely aspiring to literary merit. The main object of this blog and attached website is to show off my visual work but if I happen to have any thoughts worth sharing, I'll find words to throw those in as well. Not keeping resolutions and being late are chronic in my life, not merely in blogging, so if there is a block involved it's probably something more convoluted than the proverbial procrastination.
By the way I saw the Philip Roth programme: interesting in many ways.

Hedgecrows said...

A great pleasure to see this work unfolding in such style, it could only be yours, strong, yet tender, and you make it look effortless, although I know it's hard won

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thanks Phil - effortless it certainly ain't! But I'm glad the images give that impression. A lot of time is spent getting rid of 'too much' rather than adding more.
Hope all goes well with you.

Anne said...

I've been away from blogging for a long time, but it is lovely to come back to an old friend and find such exciting work. I am eager to see the words in color and I hope the book will be published so I can get one. I know exactly what you mean about pulling the first print off the press. When I taught printmaking sometimes students would complain that it "didn't come out" the way they intended. I said printmaking is the art of liking what you get.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hello Anne, glad you're back. I'm so absorbed in this work that I hardly find time to visit friends' blogs so forgive my absence from yours.
The book will be published by The Old Stile Press (look up their website, link is in my blogroll) who do beautiful hand-printed limited editions with artists, so it's not going to be something available off the shelf in bookstores. More of an artwork with my original, signed prints.

Copeland said...

Natalie,

The long shadows thrown by war are in these drawings. I reflect often these days on where we stand, as people pass one another, --are they thinking of our close encounter, near encounter with history. The best thing is to keep after the work that keeps you going,--work that moves in its mysterious pattern and touches the hearts of others.

I recently saw the film, "The Grand Budapest Hotel". that is still lingering in a few of the cinemas over here. I wonder if you have seen it? It is something special.

Keep up your work, because as that film suggests, and proves, it is in the darkest times when we are aware of that glimmer of human decency in human being, that still stands as a wonder before us.

Copeland

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hello Copeland, thanks for these thoughts. Keeping on with work that we believe in and doing the best we can is the way, I agree.

I missed the Grand Budapest when it was in the cinemas but have ordered the DVD which will be out next month.Am looking forward to seeing it.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hello Copeland, thanks for these thoughts. Keeping on with work that we believe in and doing the best we can is the way, I agree.

I missed the Grand Budapest when it was in the cinemas but have ordered the DVD which will be out next month.Am looking forward to seeing it.

Hedgecrows said...

lovely to see you at the Pineapple Natalie and to meet your friends and family, and so good to finally see the work in the flesh for this book, it looks knockout, i could have lingered over those images all evening, it's going to be a very powerful object indeed!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Phil, thanks so much for coming to the Pineapple to celebrate with me. I'm sending you good vibes and abundant encouragement for the new work you are going to do.