Marja-Leena Rathje
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busy busy


This first week of August has been a busy one for me with three days spent in the printmaking studio. I signed up for two weeks of summer access in order to complete two editions, of which I'd done the digital printing in the spring. I'm doing the hand printing on top of these now. I finished printing an etching on one yesterday. Today I was playing with a few ideas for the second edition, eventually deciding on relief printed collagraphs. I have some more to do on them at home this weekend. I hope the tests will be successful on Monday and then the edition can be completed. I'd like to have a couple of days at least left to do some playing around, maybe even trying out my new Dremel tool! I'll write more when they are finished and photographed, hopefully at the end of next week.

As soon as I spend time in the printmaking studio, my time for other things gets squeezed, like time for the garden. It's been incredibly hot and humid again and some of my plants were seriously wilting from neglect so I dashed around with the garden hose this afternoon. I too have been wilting into exhaustion, finding it hard to work in this heat. That may be why I rarely print in the summer; it must be my northern blood that I function far better in the cooler months!


One non-studio day I had an appointment over town with my naturopathic doctor. The timing was perfect for my husband, who commutes by bicycle, to ride over from work to meet me afterwards. He loaded his bike inside our van and we headed west over to Spanish Banks, long sandy beaches along the south side of English Bay. It's immensely popular for it's warm shallow waters along here and many people were enjoying it and the gorgeous view of the North Shore mountains and the highrises of the downtown to the east. It was very hazy with the heat and humidity, and therefore smoggy as well so our photos were not clear. We walked and walked along the beach, looking for a certain new seaside restaurant but eventually realized we'd gone too far west past the Kitsilano beach area where it actually was. As we drove back east, we spotted an interesting looking little organic food place on 4th Avenue instead and enjoyed a tasty light dinner. It's fun to be a tourist in our town for a little while now and then.


(Top and bottom photos by my better half!)

Marja-Leena | 08/08/2008 | 14 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Canada and BC, Home


I just took my first printmaking class this summer & absolutely love it. Can't wait to see what you've been working on.

Looking forward to seeing the new work.
That's the first time you have mentioned a van - another clue to life chez Rathje. What a lovely city you live in, the view over to the downtown area is spectacular. Stay cool - here we have gone from the 80's & hot sun to rain and needing a fire in the evenings.

Sounds like you're having a great time despite your business.

Hi Sapphire, happy to hear that the printmaking bug has bit! Thanks for visiting.

Anna, I thought I'd mentioned our van before in previous posts of similar after-work dates that we've made. He used to put his bike on a carrier on the back (outside) until the bike was stolen! Now he uses a special stand to hold the bike more securely inside. Oh, and it started raining here last night, yay!

Joan, it's great to be back to my artmaking again even if it's a struggle at first. I hope the momentum continues this fall.

Interesting on you unable to do any print work in the summer. I find it very hard to work on my poems during the summer. I write them but when it come to revising them, I can't settle down with them until the fall.

Cathy, that is interesting! Does the heat affect you like it does me? I also have so many other things going on in the summer - the garden, company, catching up with house jobs, being lazy...

I think summer torpor affects a lot of us, even when it's not too hot.

I agree with what you say about being a tourist in your own place, always worth taking the trouble for.

Oh for a little warmth over here! We seem to be going through extremes everywhere. I very much like the under view of the hydrangea - and of those spectacular mountains!

It's great that you have been able to put time aside to work. I am a bit in between allsorts at present, and know how productive a whole chunk of time can be. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the outcome!

I agree that acting the tourist on your own doorstep can be an enchanting experience.

Lucy, 'torpor' is the perfect word! Living as we do in such a lovely area, we do like to be 'tourists' now and then to remind us of that - cheaper than traveling far, takes less time, and we get to sleep in our own beds!

Olga, sorry to hear about your poor summer weather, hope it improves. I always find it an effort to do any art work in the summer but I really have to finish these editions for there is a chance that this wonderful print studio will no longer be available come this fall, I fear.

I think sometimes the heat and the weather does it. Hard to think about revising a poem, when a thunderstorm is knocking at your backdoor.

Another thing that doesn't help, is my job. I work at a library and summer is our most hectic time. I'm usually glad when the kids go back to school.

However, once Sept rolls around, I find myself able to just sit down and work on stuff. I wonder sometimes if it's the light is effecting me, there's days where I find the summer sun a little too engertic for me. Where in the fall, it does mellow out.

Well, Sept is only 21 days away

Cathy, thanks for the reply. May the fall be fruitful for you!

Summer can get very busy — all that light and warmth beckoning — for the usual indoor pursuits. I like the way the colors of those flowers plays with the sky colors in the photos.

nice to have a glimpse of your home town

Hi mb - great to hear from you! How's your summer?

Rosie - glad you like!