When the weather is fine I like to set up an old table and create an outdoor painting studio. This week I decided to set up an outdoor print studio... which turned out to be a less-than-stellar idea.
The main problem: water-soluble inks dry incredibly quickly in this climate! Various attempts to humidify them had either very little effect, or resulted in a mess.
Water-soluble paints dry fast, too, but... Inking a plate, laying the paper, pressing and lifting the paper, then hanging the print with a little clip on a line - so much slower than the immediate brush stroke.
So I moved the whole apparatus back down into my studio, and the following day's work was less frustrating and more productive. I even devised some print-drying lines that can be very efficiently set up and taken down - sweet!
That was my physical challenge this week, easily dealt with once my insistence on working outdoors had been overcome. (I can still take my lunch break outside!)
There is also a subconscious challenge embedded in my persistence to create this project in the first place, a project which has no apparent "value" in common terms.
I have been reading some essays of Herman Hesse, who writes very succinctly of the value of art, music, poetry and anything that elevates the soul. He has some timeless practical advice, for example:
"Neither by suppression of the material streaming out of the subconscious, out of uncontrolled fancy, dreams, and the byplay of the mind, nor by permanent surrender to the unshaped infinity of the unconscious, but rather through affectionate attention to these sources, and only afterward through criticism and selection from that chaos - thus have all the great artists worked."
So I am back to the classics: "Be quiet, brain, and let the hands work. You can tell us what you think later."