Tuesday, August 30, 2016


9" x 5.5" (image) 11" x 7.5" (paper)
White line woodcut
Watercolors on 120 lb. watercolor paper

Monday, August 29, 2016

"Still Life" by Ethel Spowers

I can feel my eyeballs shift
Almost hear the sound
Of the squooshy spheres moving
From one side to the other
Following the light
Cut through the dark.
So many strange artifacts
Arranged in a curious manner.
So many places to settle
And become very quiet
And wonder about this margin
Between the living
And the dead.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Fleet Street" by Umberto Giovannini

I recently discovered the woodcuts of Umberto Giovannini. Here is an online interview with the artist that gives many insights into his process, specifically as it relates to environmentally conscientious art-making and his community of artists. Giovannini's website can be found here

The light has faded to shades of blue and already the buildings seem more like ethereal ghosts than solid structures. The clouds drift down, crowding the light that rises up from the city. All we see in these scant years on this earth is truly but a peek. 

I simultaneously feel as if I am looking out from the perfectly round eye of a nocturnal beastie and considering the landscape as it is reflected in that eye. I also feel as if I am gazing at a moon on an alien world. So many ways I am a stranger.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bryan Nash Gill’s Print of a the Cross Section of a Tree

This is one print from an entire collection of Bryan Nash Gill's large-scale prints of cross sections of trees. The entire collection can be found in the book Woodcut.

I have no real words that do justice to how I respond to this image,  I suppose just as the artist felt that this particular slab of wood required no additional marks in order to be made into a fully realized fine art print. Sufficed to say that I can and will acquire my copy of the entire edition and return to this image over and over again without ever tiring of its lyrical beauty and complexity.

"Morning Coffee" by Peter Gourfain

It is these mundane
Pleasures that get us through the
Unbearable days

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"St Brendan and the Sea Monsters" by Robert Gibbings

The "monsters" featured in this image appear as larger and exaggerated versions of known creatures. My imagination is unconvinced that they are actually below the surface of the water over which graceful dolphins dive and on which the monks' modest boat floats. My brain tells me this is a mashup of two different pages in the story. These creatures might be inspired by nature, however they exist not in the literal world, but rather in the sphere of human perception.

Robert Gibbings was a founding and key member of the Society of Wood Engravers. More on Saint Brendan the Navigator here.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

"Wonder" by Campbell Steers

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More of C. Steers's work can be viewed and purchased at the artist's website or High Top Studios online shop.

Diurnal creatures that we are, everyone gets scared of the dark at least sometimes. So in love with the light are we that at night our cities and towns become scattered dots of light that can be viewed from space.

As the bikers wander through the forest, they bring bright lights with them. Lights that cut through the black like daggers. Lights that expectantly and eerily intrude, and thus to the locals becomes like aliens. We become monsters in our own right.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Anywhere But Here" by Lev Moroz

I discovered Lev Moroz's linocuts (made when he was a teenager) featured on his mother Natalia Moroz's website. I wrote about one of her prints yesterday.

We know who the protagonist of this saga is, as he sits center, all lines drawing the eye of the viewer to his day-dreamy expression. The title of this print expresses an interpretation of the scene that is already obvious: he is a student compelled to sit in a class that fails to engage his interests. The two other students are foils that further flesh out the message. It isn't that the class is inherently dull, as shown by the student who sits up straight, pen to paper, fingers on calculator, and with a keen expression on his face. And the protagonist is no passive player such as the darkly-dressed fellow asleep with his headphones on. No, he has turned away from whatever lecture is happening, but with a smile on his face, eyes open in wonder, and feet ready to walk on to any of the grand adventures that no doubt await.

Friday, August 12, 2016

"August" by Natalia Moroz

Image posted with the permission of the artist. More of Natalia Moroz's artwork can be found at her website.

Notice more than the expressive beauty of the sunflowers. Look how the shimmer of the knife's blade is repeated by the white reflections of the crinkled newspaper in the vase. Hear the echo of the darker chair in its background fellow. Be warmed by the light coming in the window, and cooled by the shadow that casts the bucket and woman's cleaning cloth in blue. This room is so slick and green, like the young plant-shoots these severed flowers once were, before they grew into something even more marvelous.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"The Fossil Collectors" by Andy English

This is from The Brothers Series. Many more of Andy English's wood engravings, including bookplates, can be viewed and ordered/purchased on his website.

We lean over to grasp more spiral-shaped relics of a deep past and together we form an arch. A spiral seems as if it could extend into infinity, coiling into the infinitesimal or expanding out to the unimaginably enormous. But that is only in the abstract realm of our imaginations. In reality, we bend into a tumble, curl over our feet, and hoping to soar instead we find the floor.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mermaid and Sea Monster by Giovanni Andrea Maglioli

In the picturebook Fish Is Fish by Leo Lionni a fish and tadpole are childhood friends, but eventually the tadpole becomes a frog and leaves the pond for the surface world. In time the frog returns and tells his old friend about the wonders and strange creatures who live above. In the illustrations (see below), we see that the fish imagines all these creatures as fish-like. The first time I read the book to my kids I thought ,Yes, we do this, and what a playful way to bring it up.

I've been looking at old woodcuts and engravings of chimeras, demons, and map monsters, and they are so much like Lionni's fish in the sense that in describing what is unknown to us, we fill in the gaps with what we do know. When I look at images such as this masterful wood engraving by Giovanni Andrea Maglioli, I cannot help but feel as if the creatures depicted are in two different worlds simutaneously. The aspects of these two beasts that are of land are so utterly terrestrial that I have difficulty even believing that they are under water. The current underneath reads more like long locks of hair. And yet, other aspects float and bulge and curl in a way that seems impossible on land. My mind cannot resolve this discrepancy. I do not believe this fantasy, so matter how detailed and haunting the illustration.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Illustration of a "Bearded Whale"

For those who are curious, I found this illustration from the 1500's here.

I want to say this is weird, the absurdity of a true chimera, but the more I examine this beast's collective parts - whiskers, spine, claws and mane - the more familiar and utterly mundane he seems.