Uninspired Days And Production

There are days when the muse is silent. I have no inspired ideas, no “next steps” on a current project. I’m sleepy and don’t want to do anything.

Well, as a self-employed artist, “doing nothing” is not an option. Thank goodness that there’s always “production”. I’m still recovering from a sleepless night a couple of days ago and the creative juices just aren’t flowing yet.

 
[Shellacking Plates]
I know how it works, though. A lull like this is often followed by an “A-ha!” day. On that day, I’ll have an idea that will send me into a frenzy of ink mixing and printing. On that day, I’ll wish that I had a stack of plates shellacked, carved, and ready to use. It takes about a day to shellac, dry, sand, shellac, dry, sand, cut apart the plates so that they’re ready to carve. After carving, it takes another day to shellac, dry, and sand the finished plates before they can take the ink and the pressure of the press.

 
[Tearing paper]

The other thing I can do while I wait for the first coat of shellac to dry enough for sanding is to tear down paper to the size that I’m currently using. On the day I’m fired up to pull prints, I really want to just open a drawer and pull out a stack of paper, all ready to print.

 
[Packaged prints]

The last thing that I can do is to sign and package prints that are ready to go into my sales inventory. This is one of the biggest differences between hobby art and business art. Hobby art is done as soon as it is dry. I could tack it to the wall, give it to a friend, or just slide it into a portfolio. In preparing for sales, the print isn’t done until it’s signed, numbered, and packaged with the certificate that makes it valuable to a customer. (There are artists who say that the print isn’t done until it’s sold. I guess I’m generous.)

So, yeah, even on days when I’m exhausted and utterly uninspired to do anything, there is stuff that I can do to move myself slowly but steadily toward the goal of owning and running a printmaking business.

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