June 2, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away?

        Actually, I’m glad the rain came, since we needed it, but I’ll admit the chill is not so welcome.  Nevertheless, without further ado, let’s get right to work celebrating the rain with block prints.
        First, a very graphic piece by Chris Bourke.  I’m not sure whether the lesser rain below the umbrella represents the rain behind the man, or whether it’s rain coming through.  Certainly even when your umbrella is perfectly good, you still end up feeling awfully wet after a walk through that kind of downpour - especially with an affectionate dog by your side.  I like the lack of detail in the figures, which makes them seem even more isolated, and I like that they don't look beaten down by the rain.  I also like the height of the rain above them, reminding me that rain goes all the way up to the sky.
        Second, more people out with their umbrellas, something I confess I haven’t done.  I probably should get out for a walk, but instead I’m huddled up inside with my scarf and my mug of tea.  These people are fighting wind as well as rain, and although there are two of them, they don’t seem to be together and indeed they’re probably so encapsulated by their umbrellas and their hunching hurry that they’re pretty oblivious of each other.
        This last one is the most how I feel right now!  Just waiting it out.  In tracking down this excellent heron, I discovered a number of extremely similar storks or waders attributed to a few different artists.  Presumably this was a classic traditional theme, but I don’t know whether Kawanabe Kyosai was the first to come up with it.  In any case, I like this print’s simplicity and the bird’s stoic look.
        All through May we had July, so I shouldn’t complain that so far our June is more like April.  I’ll just go reheat the mug and get a blanket until summer comes back.

[Pictures: Standing in the Rain, linoleum block print by Chris Bourke (Image from the artist’s Etsy shop ChrisBourkeArt);
The Wind, wood block print by Gwen Raverat from The Cambridge Book of Poetry for Children, 1932 (Image from The Raverat Archive);
White Heron in the Rain, color woodblock print by Kawanabe Kyosai, 1880s (Image from RISD Museum).]

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