For my most recent wood block I suffered a crisis of confidence. Knowing I have no real artistic background, that the embarrassingly few art classes I have taken have been scattered through and separated by decades, and with the vision in my right eye wobbling between almost usable and looking out through an impenetrable fog, I decided to trace the image I was planning on using as the basis of my next print. I found the result illuminating. While the tracing bears a nodding similarity to the original image, it also looked like the death mask of a cadaver. But most importantly, the tracing didn’t capture the underlying sadness I wanted the finished print to express.
And now that I didn’t cough nor the surgeon sneeze at a critical time, that there wasn’t an earthquake during the surgery, that a meteor didn’t come from outer space and crash into a power pole right outside the surgery center causing the electricity to go off, that there were neither fire ants nor scorpions biting either me or the surgeon, and I can actually see again, I have a drawing I am happy with instead of a tracing that made me feel like a cheat.
So, some valuable lessons: Short cuts take more time, and The Code of the West still holds true. “Cheaters never prosper. Square shooters always win!”