March 13, 2020

Get Well Soon

        Life has gotten very strange for many of us, with working from home for those who can, schools closed, events cancelled, store shelves cleared by hoarders, and a sense of foreboding over it all, as we wait to see how this will unfold.  I have so many wonderful artist and author events planned for this spring and summer, and am wondering how many, if any, will end up happening.  It’s tough to work so hard on preparing something, only to have it wiped away.  And of course that’s not even considering the fears for people’s health and well-being.  So today I have some beautiful block prints for you that I hope will be cheerful, soothing, and stress-relieving.
        These are made by Daryl V. Storrs, a Vermont artist who works in pastels as well as wood and lino block prints.  She’s all about the color, and uses as many as 6 separate blocks with as many as 10 colors for each piece.  All her work is landscapes, and many are sunset or nighttime.  Even the night views tend to be bright and colorful.  This first piece evokes a warm, summer morning.  The
colors make use of atmospheric perspective, with the warmer tones in the foreground.  The general contours of the scene are fairly realistic, but the individual shapes and patterns are quite stylized, a combination I find very pleasing.  It’s very detailed, being built up from five different blocks, but still gives an impression of simplicity.
        The second piece also uses five blocks, and while the over-all design is much simpler, the colors are complex and wonderfully layered.  This is one of those bright, happy nights, reminiscent, in its own way, of van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
        I didn’t want to include only the blues and greens, even though those tend to be my favorites out of Storrs’s work.  Her other favored palette seems to be oranges and purples, which give a scene a very sunset sort of look.  This is another piece with wonderfully detailed textures - and again the patterns seem a little van-Gogh-esque, even though daubing paint in a whirl of emotion is a very different process from the careful planning, carving, and layering required for relief block printmaking.  I especially like how Storrs spangles her grassy and leafy areas with larger, brighter shapes among the more subtly textured backgrounds.
        And finally, another warm Italian landscape.  This one uses only three blocks, and delivers a fantastic graphic punch.  I like the contrast of the vivid green, intense black, and soothing blue sky.  I like the bits of carviness adding to the texture of the foreground shrubbery, and the various patterns throughout the landscape.  It is simultaneously cheerful and comforting.
        Hang in there, everyone.  Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and don’t let the fear lead to stupidity or cruelty toward others.  And keep washing those hands!

[Pictures: Italian Landscape I, 5 block woodcut by Daryl Storrs, 2009;
Dancing Trees, 5 block woodcut by Storrs, 2008;
Stitched in Fiction, 6 block linocut by Storrs, 2019;
Paesaggio Di Torri, 3 block woodcut by Storrs, 2007 (All images from]


Kristin said...

These are so beautiful.

Pax said...

Just what we need! Thanks for glimpses of beauty and the reminder to be kind to one another.