part 2: the work

(a continuation of this post)

One day during my two-week stint at Sitka, I found myself walking through rain on my way back to the studio from lunch, and daydreaming about some of the tools in Julia D’Amario’s collection. I didn’t use a great number of them to make the prints I was working on, but they were so beautiful, and so rich in history. Julia had worked with Aldo Crommelynck at Pace Editions in New York, and Aldo had worked with small fries like Picasso, Braque and Matisse. When Aldo passed away, Julia inherited some of his tools, and these were the ones in my daydream, tucked into a roll of pocketed canvas, and looking like jewels in themselves. Some of my favorites were the stone-tipped burnishers (one is shown below, along with a few of the others). I don’t know if these tools have any special residual art-power in them, but this fact, and the fact that I had been graced with the mentorship and experience of Julia’s mind and hands, made me feel indebted and not a little bit awed.

Selection of Julia D'Amario's handed-down tools (photo: Brent Wojahn/ The Oregonian))

So I worked. We worked– 9 to 5– a schedule I have honestly never had the opportunity to have as an artist, nor perhaps the inclination. And by the end, there were four prints ready to pull (bon a tirer) into editions.

The greatest challenge for me was doing away with the crutch of multiple and endless hues. My drawings lately almost always are festooned with some flashes of geometric color. Julia assured me that I could add hand-painted elements, but I decided to see if I could work out some ideas with the possibilities of drawing and printmaking methods more than painting or coloring. In the end, three of the four pieces are one-plate prints, but each with a slight variation on black ink (one leans more blue, one brown, one terra cotta), and then one print was reserved for the experiment of two-plate printing:

"The Brothers"

“The Brothers” are related to “Watcher,” a piece that was an experiment in making actual landscape. I thought that I was fabricating the Watcher landscape when I constructed it, because of my own inexperience with landscape, but also because I flinch a little at traditional framing of the land. I was so surprised to arrive at this particular part of the Oregon coast, where strong old basalt chunks jut out of the frequently flooded and variable coast line, leaving land-locked rocky islands of trees surrounded by grass. Others end up in the ocean, as if part of a migrating herd of mountains:

So it was fun to be in the land of Watchers, and thinking about the flexibility of geology, the human sense of time compared to rocks’, the comparably flimsy structures that we build in their sight.

To see all of the prints go here.


2 thoughts on “part 2: the work”

  1. The total of your work from this time is marveling. Your style and structure stand stong without a tinge of longing for more color, truly. They are lovely, moving and certain to lead to endless wonderful possibilities. Bravo!

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