Sunday, November 30, 2014

No. 32, and Things

So, this print took a while.  Originally it was going to be quick, and it was intended to be used as a demonstration of woodblock reduction printmaking for a couple of talks/demos I was scheduled to give at the Dayton Art Institute.  I had it all planned out as I began to draw the limbs and leaves on this tree.  I would bring images of the pencil drawing, the marker drawing and a partial print from each of the reductions to help illustrate the process.  I even had the colors planned and a schedule for completion in two weeks as I sat and drew these limbs on a warm fall afternoon.

But then somewhere after the carving had begun, the planning was tossed aside.  I came close to losing an eye.  This is a short story about that as well as a story about finishing the print, and maybe, even, it's a bit of a fable about watching about what you wish for.  I'll leave out the cringe-worthy details, so here's the condensed version.

During a planned break from the carving, I drove my daughter and two of her friends to Chicago for college visits and managed to scratch my cornea on the way, hence the pirate patch in the mandatory Bean tourist photo.  Now if you have ever scratched your cornea, you know what it was like to manage to smile through it.  Still, they had a great time and memories were made, including a visit to an Urgent Care on Michigan Avenue.  My favorite is asking for half price admission at the Chicago Art Institute, since I could only half see it.

When I we got back to Ohio, though, my eye situation suddenly turned into an emergency.  The first few days were just scary, because I had nothing from the eye except blur and pain and no reassurance from my daily ophthalmologist visits about when or if the condition would improve. And he used the words "cornea transplant" way too often.  The good news is that three and a half weeks later, I am on the mend.  The infection is gone, I have some blurry vision back and next week we start trying to correct that.  There were some dark days, though.  Days upon days when I couldn't use the computer (day job) or drive or even read or watch TV.

Now we get to how this relates to Tree No. 32, and the fable part of the story.  On the second day of the emergency, when light was painful and I had no vision, I found out I could still carve wood.  And I was not worried about the eye any longer.  In fact, there were many moments when I wanted to rip the thing out of my head because I could do just fine with one.  It was actually the only thing that brought relief during the pain, the slow and steady process of carving.  And this is the "watch what you wish for" part of the story.  The two things I have said repeatedly I am tired of?  Which I've said I could do without?  Computer work and driving.  By some freak accident I could do neither, but I could still carve and print my trees, and everything was fine.  There is a message in there somewhere but I don't know what it is yet.

Anyway, back to the print.  Nothing really went as planned.  The demos went well without my printouts and in-process prints.  The colors weren't as planned and I ended up with three versions of the print, and it was not anywhere close to what I envisioned at the onset.  But it's all good.  And this tree has a story.

Tree No. 32
reduction print, two blocks printed moku hanga style
9.5" x 6.5", shina plywood, Akua Kolor inks, a variety of paper
Version I - edition of 17 
Version II - edition of 4 (above)
Version III - edition of 8


Nighthawk said...

This is a story with many lessons and gifts......and thank you for not mentioning cornea transplant to me...LOVE you , Mom

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