Sherrie York: Inspiration and Exploration

Sketching goshawks on the nest, Colorado.

Sketching goshawks on the nest, Colorado.

I like to walk. The world goes by too fast for me in a car or on a train or even on a bicycle. I appreciate my computer and smart phone, but modern life moves at the speed of light. Walking through the woods or along the river I move at the pace of breathing, turning over leaves to see what’s living beneath, or coming around a corner to encounter a fox with a meal or a bird building a nest.

The beauty and mysteries I discover on my walks inspire my nature-focused linocuts. My printmaker’s eye is drawn to intricate flora, the behavior of birds, and patterns across land and seascapes.

Water in particular–its excess and its lack–shapes my western landscape and culture and draws me both physically and aesthetically. As a printmaker water challenges me to find a balance between realism and abstraction. The shapes of reflections are fantastic to carve!

My relationships with both the outdoors and art came slowly. I had no particular inclination towards either in my youth, and it wasn’t until college (where I pursued a degree in education, not art or science!) that the ember was sparked.

Many years after college I started dabbling in relief printing, because it was a process that required only simple carving tools, a brayer, and a spoon.

Another decade passed before my dabbling turned to something more earnest. Linoleum blocks became my primary medium as I became intrigued by unexpected challenges – such as suggesting subtle complexities in a naturally bold and graphic technique. Printmaking is a labor-intensive process, but it is one that allows me to exercise many skills–drawing, carving, color– in thoughtful and ever-surprising ways.