After a busy preparation for then start of the semester at work, my brain was jelly. I knew I needed a restorative weekend to both recover, and prepare for the actual first week of classes which is equally intense. I slept in (well, as much as one could with two cats who love to be fed early in the morning), lingered over my tea, read more than usual (Ann Patchett's The Patron Saint of Liars which I'm finding so beautifully written and heartwarming/wrenching and now I want to read all of her books), made envelopes and cards from printables (swoon! Love everything Pegasus Paper Co. does!), did lots of journaling, hung fairy lights in the shape of stars in my bedroom, made easy meals (the summer produce is amazing here right now and I made a great pasta dish simply by roasting grape tomatoes from my vines in the yard with peppers, zucchini, onion, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil (400 degrees, about 40 minutes to get things carmelized) and throwing it over rotini. Makes a wonderful pasta salad cold the next day too!), watched the entire fourth season of Animal Kingdom (Smurf! Holy Moly), and put out some things I didn't really need (like my massive collection of tote bags from various events, conferences, etc. which I think bred when my back was turned because there were dozens of them in my closet!) in the Town Wide Yard Sale for free (which were taken!), and was happily surprised to glean a foot high stack of upholstery samples from another free pile as I was walking some mail to the post box.
The most fun I had, though, was playing with Gelli Printing. At first I was trying to do magazine transfers which didn't pan out at all. Then I got my stencils out, and things started to get interesting. The unexpected nature of what you are going to get, the colors mixing from previous layers, and the texture from printing, which is so different than painting, all combine to keep you on your toes and craving one! more! print! Things got downright fascinating once the prints dried and I started experimenting with laying some colored pencil over them, letting some things emerge, and covering others. I even took one print and punched a bunch of stars out of it to make little prints in their own right. I got some stickers out to make a story with one print, and I think I'm going to use it in my next major arcana tarot journal spread. I've included a selection of a few of the prints to illustrate this post, and those little stars! I love the little stars. Of course I do.
I'll use these as art journaling fodder, as part of other mixed media work, in cards, in who knows what else! Even the more unsuccessful prints can be used torn up in collage or as a background for other work. And I definitely want to do more printing! My plate is tiny (3x5) and I'd love to get a larger one to experiment on, although I do love this small one! I was able to use bits and bobs of leftover paper to print on because of the size, which makes me happy. It is also a sort of gateway drug because I'm now eyeing my lino blocks and am itching to carve one for more printmaking goodness. Hmm.
Long story short: don't forget to play! Not only do I feel restored, but inspired.