The Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania is hosting their annual “Paw and Prints” fundraiser on October 22, 2011. I’m donating the above piece, and I hope the bidding is high to benefit the animals in both the shelter and the wildlife center!
“Awakening” is a linoleum block print, 16″ in diameter, printed in water-based black ink, and here it’s on handmade white silk paper with gold and silver flecks (see last image for detail). I enjoyed following the inspiration to combine the image of the two cats with the decorative border simply made of shapes and patterns that were both attractive and easy to cut in a block print.
Quote reads: ” ‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.’–Anatole France. Dedicated to my prince and princess and all those since who’ve awakened their part of my soul.”
“Awakening” was inspired by my close companions Kublai and Sally who ran the household together for about 12 years and who actually slept curled like this.
I had seen the quote in a number of different places, and of all the quotes about how animals fill our souls this one, the concept of awakening, I found most moving. These two cats, especially Kublai, the black one, were a major part of my awakening not only to animals but to love in general.
Aside from the fact that they were both loving, friendly and social—even that in their own styles—they were complete opposites in the way they expressed this love and were as different in temperament as they were in color and texture as the loose reference to yin and yang illustrates.
In their own ways they nurtured about 30 foster cats of widely differing ages and social abilities, just as they nurtured me in the years they shared my life.
The Prince and Princess
Kublai was named while I was in college studying the romantic English poets, in this case the poem Kublai Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the one that begins, “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/a stately pleasure dome decree…” No what cat doesn’t decree his home to be a stately pleasure dome? Especially this particular black cat who was constantly frustrated by the fact that I regularly treated him like a cat despite the fact that he had more intelligence than many humans I’ve met in my life.
But Kubla[i] Khan was also a price of his people and the name “Kublai” is somehow derived from the word for “prince” in Sanskrit, while “Sally” is derived from the word for “princess”—Sarah—in Hebrew. So they really were prince and princess, but I didn’t need to do any research to know that!
Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.
I also print this image on textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags! Please check my apparel and housewares categories to see what’s currently available.
And in the case of this print, I also colorize a few in various styles using watercolor or colored pencil.
I also custom mat and frame, and while I have the donation item above in black, a safe choice for a large crowd, I also love the mat the black and white version in bright, bold colors, red being my personal favorite.
Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.
As with other block prints, I have printed this on just about anything that will hold still long enough. Available printed black only or with hand-colored border, print only, matted with circular mat, or matted and framed.
I have this posted in my Etsy shop, and as my opportunities for printing outside arise I’ll be printing more of these on various items.
Also, I finally have all my current block prints posted on Etsy. Visit these galleries for more information:
and a few entries in Household.