Friday, January 17, 2020

Deer Print part 7

Another winter day. Not as loud a wind as yesterday, but still a constant one out there, plus some really cold weather.  Nothing I couldn't handle. I like to combine trips that take me in the same direction, so I first stopped in Belmar. The latest Salon show opened this week- Art in Nature.  Not a topic I explore much in my art, so I had little that seemed good for it.  (the narwhal piece could have worked, but I decided to save that for another occasion)  I don't think my lack of contribution was a problem- the galleries were quite full. I counted over 80 works, hung very close together to make room. A few woodcuts, including one done in my class there several years ago. Took photos of some of the walls to post to the Belmar blog, since the public event is still over a week away and I think it would be good if people know about this show before then.  After that a stop in Neptune to pay my auto insurance, since I had to make a second stop in Neptune anyway , as Ocean Grove is actually a section of Neptune township.

There's a big painting project going on the building this week, the whole 1st floor, which doesn't affect me directly, but it closed the main entrance, requiring us to use the wheel chair ramp, which meant a long back and forth to get to the door.  Good thing I had a heavy coat.  When I got to the Studio, my first task was to crank the heat.

On a day as raw as this was, it seemed appropriate that I chose some of the rawest blues in my collection- the first two albums from Hound Dog Taylor. Taylor was a fixture in the small blues clubs in Chicago, known to musicians but almost no one else.  Possibly best known to many for having been born with 12 fingers.  The extra two didn't really work, and one night while drunk he hacked off one with a straight razor, and had 11 for the rest of his life.  Didn't affect his guitar playing. His style was slide guitar, at which he was one of the best.  He eventually formed a small group, a trio with a second lead guitarist (they would back each other up) and a drummer.  The other two guys kept their day jobs, as there wasn't much money in playing small clubs.  This trio played rocking full tilt slide blues on some cheap and battered old instruments, a lot of Elmore James influence.  Eventually some one noticed, and when he couldn't convince the record company he worked for to record them, he used his savings to record and make the record.  It took a while for Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers to start selling, but it did, and was followed by a few more albums before his death in 1975.  (the second record, Natural Boogie was also with me today) The record company that was founded for the sole purpose of recording a Hound Dog Taylor album grew into Alligator Records, one of the largest blues labels in the country, well represented in my collection , but those early records are some of the best. Sounds like you are there in the room with the three guys playing their instruments like their lives depended on it. No overdubs, nothing being smoothed out, just two guitars and a set of drums, and one vocalist.  Very raw, and very intense.

Which is part of the appeal of woodcut I figure. Just a piece of wood, some sharp knives, an artist with some kind of plan, and ink and paper to record that idea.  That's it.  It is certainly the rawest of all the print mediums, the closest to the artist's vision.  And because woodcut is such a simple process, the results are usually unique to each artist.

Today I continued the cutting of the new deer print.  Still working in that sky area.  Now two cranes and the birds are up against the sky, though I'm putting off the intricacies of the crane structures for now. (not extremely difficult, just time consuming) But now half the sky is done, and that is the largest section of the print.  Snow is expected tomorrow, so I probably won't be back to work on this until next week, but it's progressing nicely.  Probably helps that I'm just copying an image that I know will work, because it already has.


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