Monday, March 09, 2020

Vesuvio part 9

Weather can be weird around here.  Especially this time of year.  In the course of a week, we can have threats of snow, and days like today that hint of summer to come.  The sun is blinding, but at least me and my art don't get rained on.

Around noon I took the ride up to Ocean Grove.  I knew my lunch would be a sandwich (had all the ingredients), so when I wasn't hungry then, I made it and packed it to bring with me.  Also brought the current block and the photo of the interior that inspired it, music for the day (more on that later), and my complete set of class woodcut tools.  Part of what inspired that was that I received the latest catalog last week from my printmaking supplier, which reminded me that I might need stuff soon.  And that's the other reason- I'm scheduled to have woodcut class in Belmar starting next month.  The last two times it was scheduled, I had only one person total sign up, not enough to run it, but I'm always hopeful, and I figured it would be good to be ready if it happens.

For music today I had something I brought from home, my edited to two discs version of the final episode of Idiot's Delight on WNEW FM radio.  I grew up with the station, which was started the same month I was born, back then a pioneer of free form FM rock radio, but by the time I started listening had settled into a classic rock format with significant amounts of alternative music.  Other rock stations came and went in New York, but WNEW was always there, and it was sometimes the home of Vin Scelsa, who did a weekend specialty show.  Vin had been brought in from local college radio and the show was whatever he felt like playing, or not playing, as he might just do a long interview.  And not just with musicians, but maybe a writer, a filmmaker, or whatever.  In the later years, the radio station changed formats many times, trying to find something that would be a hit, but the world had changed.  Still, Vin's specialty show continued until the end of 2000, when his contract was expiring and he and management couldn't come to an agreement. So he decided to retire from commercial radio and made his last broadcast there on New Year's Eve of 2000, heading into 2001.  I think the show was scheduled to end around 2 am, but no one came in to relieve him (holiday maybe?), so he just kept going, and as long as I had blank cassettes, I was hanging around listening and recording.  I think it ended sometime around 3 am, but I don't remember (it was 20 years ago).  His typical combination of classic rock, folk music, jazz and big band, live recorded performances, odd acoustic things, stories about days past, etc.  Eventually I got the disc recorder and condensed it down to two 74 minute discs.  Vin ended up on college radio (outside the range I could get) and the internet, I believe he retired for good a few years ago.

Put on the music then took care of my lunch.  And having devoured the sandwich and beverage, I got to work.  First an inventory of my class tools.  I decided years ago when I started teaching woodcut classes, that the key would be to have tools available for the students to use.  There were very few places to find such things then, and even fewer now- I have to ship these in from Oregon.  Same place I get mine from, though these are a lesser quality than those, yet still decent.  Every time I had a class, I used a small portion of the materials fee to add to the collection, buying individual tools, the shapes and sizes I have found to be the most useful and effective. (nothing wrong with the other tools in those 5 and 6 tool sets, but why pay for the ones you don't need?)  Now I have a few dozen, very effective,  and a lure for the students.  Most end up buying their own before the class is over, not wanting to wait for the class meetings to continue, direct from the company at about $15 each, a bargain if you are interested in woodcutting.  Meanwhile, having some they can use as part of the class gets more people to sign up. The down side is that I do have to maintain them, so as each class is about to start I do an inventory and sharpen any that need it.  As it turns out, I have enough and all are plenty sharp.  So all I need are students.

With all that worked out, the next thing was to work on the new print.  I haven't done anything new with the drawing since the last thing I showed, but after looking carefully at it for the past few days, I decided that the best way to figure out what comes next in drawing is to start cutting into the block. Used my personal tools, and started at the usual place, doing the outside margin, all around the border.  Then I moved on to one of the tables, the one in lower right corner with a pizza on top of it. Looks good so far. The problem is that I remembered my lunch, the block, my reference photo, the music, to tools- but not my camera, so you'll have to wait until my next visit (probably tomorrow) to see how that went, as well as what I do that day.  (above image is a file photo one might say, and I have maybe several thousand of those in my computer) 


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