Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Time Continues

Christmas Day has come and gone, but the Christmas season goes on, especially in Studio Arrabbiata, where it is usually running a bit behind.  I got a prototype card completed in time to post here a few days ago, but more work will be needed before the cards start going out.  

I had acquired the paper a few days ago.  The block needed a little more work.  This year's image is based on a fragment of Lorenzetti's 14th century fresco mural "The Effects of Good Government in the City and in the Country."  I've known of the piece for a long time, and showed it in classes in the past, but I was reminded of it this year when I covered that period in my summer art history class.  My adaptation was to have Santa's sleigh flying over a piece of medieval Siena.  The original is over 45 feet long, and my card about 6 inches, so a lot had to be left out.  Besides general cropping, there was a bit of simplification, especially all the crenellation in the scene. And I was rushing through the cutting before the first proof.  With a little more time today, I used my smallest gouge to redo some of the details, and clarify a few things.  Also since the initial proofing, I located my supply of Outlaw Black ink, which my former student Tom Huck had developed to print his obsessively detailed blocks.  Have a whole unopened can, but I'm saving that for something else and found a little bit left in a can I started last year.  And with this ink, you only need a little bit to pick up the most detailed cutting.  My Christmas cards are sized to fit in small check mailer envelopes, so it doesn't take long to ink and print them.  Got the 7 cards seen above done in a little over an hour.  Will need a few days to dry before I start the coloring process.

While I was cleaning up the ink and tools, I had a visit from more of Herb's young relatives, I guess in town for the holidays.  They were delivering some paperwork for Molly, which I assume relates to the impending lease renewal for the new year.  I left it in a place where I typically leave mail for her.

In the late afternoon I gave Molly a call to let her know about the paperwork, and I heard back from her a little while after that.  Haven't seen her in more than a month, so we had other stuff to catch up on.  Recently she was covering a lot of art history for a faculty on maternity leave, and told me today that two of her students wrote about my work in the Scene at the Shore show there at school.  She tells me that they were very impressed with my Kathleen Dillon portrait, which was a last minute addition to the show when we suddenly had an extra wall to fill.  Molly says they remarked about the way I handled the gradual shifts in value, the fine lines that create the gray tones.  It is the kind of print that might inspire a student to try something like that themselves, except that college officially banished all printmaking from the facility and curriculum several years ago.  (I still do it in my studio classes- I don't need a press for the processes I cover) The extension of the show into the spring means that more students will get exposed to woodcut despite the school's attempt to pretend it doesn't exist.  


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