February 22, 2021

Spring in Winter

         Signs of spring are few outside here in February, although I did have my first snowdrops in bloom… until they were covered up with more snow.  Nevertheless, it’s been spring inside my studio recently, as I’ve worked on the next fairy in my seasonal series.  The spring fairy is also known as the Winged Peeper, being based on the tiny spring peeper frogs that are one of my favorite heralds of spring.  Their chorus begins not long after the ice melts in their wetland habitats, and there’s alway one evening in the year, still cold, when I step outside for my walk and suddenly there it is: the sound of spring.
        Of course crocuses are another beloved herald of spring.  As a child one of my self-appointed “jobs” was to count the crocuses in bloom in our yard every day: first one, then three or four, then a dozen… and I still eagerly watch for their sprouts at the earliest opportunity (and gnash my teeth when the rabbits or chipmunks or someone shears them off!)  My crocuses have a protector in this spring fairy: a spirit to watch over all the waking and stretching and new growth.  Maybe now that I’ve made it, I’ll notice that my crocuses are left alone!
        Like the others in the series, this is a two-layer reduction print, with the first layer printed in green and yellow.  I had a particularly frustrating time printing that layer.  I suspect that I’m not going to get any decent printing again until we turn off the heater when spring really has arrived — but I am far too impatient to wait for months until the heat is off before I print again.  Unlike the other two, I decided to print the second ink in dark brown instead of black.  As it is, it’s much too dark for the color of a spring peeper or the blazes at the base of a crocus petal.  But too light wouldn’t offer enough contrast to make the colors and shapes pop, so I compromised.  Because of the difficulty printing, I’m not 100% happy with this, but all things considered it’s not too bad.  And soon I’ll get to work on autumn!

[Picture: Spring Fairy (Winged Peeper), rubber block reduction print by AEGN, 2021.]

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