Thursday, January 16, 2020

Deer Print part 6

The weather yesterday was actually quite nice, but I had a lot of other things I had to do, and did not go the the Studio.  The weather today began a downturn- some sun, but a fierce wind that I heard roaring through my apartment complex all morning.  But no other commitments, and my artwork is done indoors, so I went to the Studio today.  Have a block to work on, and snow may come this weekend, and school starts next week, so today was a day to work.

Continuing the blues theme of late, grabbed discs from that shelf on my way out.  Opened today with The Original Johnny Otis Show, early works by the man/band of the same name. Don't know if this is a true blues album or not, but I do know every radio station I was at had a copy of it in their blues stacks (double album, gatefold cover, vinyl) and Otis is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, plus I liked it enough to buy a copy for myself.  Otis started out as a drummer, formed various swing bands out west, before heading up this band, the album collecting various songs recorded from 1945 to 1951.  The general arrangement is very much big band, but with significant guitar parts, and released on a jazz label.  Good cutting music though, and that's what I was up to today.  I started where I usually do, the margin around the border.  Of late my process is a small gouge along the border itself, then a larger gouge to widen that space, then scoring the wood with a knife and using a heavy chisel to clear it all away.  Not very exciting, and kind of time consuming, but this step has to be done at some point, so why not get it out of the way first?  Got through the first long side, a short side, then most of the second long side (print is about 22" x 15") when the first disc ended.

Not done yet, so more music, this time old favorite John Lee Hooker.  And the music was indeed old, but new to the world.  Hooker's musical start came as a boy when his step father nailed a stretched inner tube to the wall of a barn and showed him it could be used to make music.  (don't know the details, but I always imagined something like plucking the strings of an upright bass) Eventually he got a real guitar and learned how to play notes and tunes, but a percussive one note at a time style remained through most of his career, along with a droning vocal style that may have had African roots, often accompanying himself by stomping on a board, as few musicians could figure out how to accompany his idiosyncratic style.  Like many blues musicians of his era, he left farm life in Mississippi and made his way north, in his case settling in Detroit, along the way incorporating aspects of piano boogies into his guitar blues.  Today's disc, Jack O'Diamonds, was recorded in a private show in a Detroit living room in 1949, after his earliest records but before he had any hits, then lost until the tape was found in the early 90's, a posthumous release.  I am familiar with those early records, and this fits in well with them.  Anyway, continued cutting the margin around the image border, and when I was done with that, got to move inside to the image itself.

I decided to start with the sky area, simplest because it's all just black and white.  Also used the same gouges, knife, and chisel I had used to do the outside.  When the second disc ended, it seemed a good time to end the session.  I can come back tomorrow, go right to work on the sky, and get a lot done.  Above are the results.

Driving home, due south on route 35, ahead of me I saw a bright sky and sun, but in my rearview mirror the sky was a deep indigo, the color of a storm.  Hoped I'd get through my afternoon errands before any storm arrived.  The sun disappeared and the wind somehow increased, so in opening my car doors, the wind seemed like it was trying to rip the door out of my hand, or maybe rip the door off the car itself.  Whichever direction I walked, the wind was in my face, which often happens in these shore towns. Felt a few individual rain drops, but no real rain came, so I got my errands done and got home safely.

Tomorrow is expected to be a little colder, but less windy.  An improvement, maybe.


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