May 23, 2022

Hard at Work

         I got a lot of carving done during my shows over the past two weekends, and I now have one block complete, five more ready for a test print and then tweaking, and one that’s probably about three quarters of the way finished.  That’s a lot of printing coming up -- but I won’t be able to get to it this week.  No, instead this week I am hard at work catching up with all the tasks that got postponed while I was hard at work on art shows.  Today I mowed the lawn and did laundry, took care of a whole list of emails, updated my web site and my mailing list, sent off my giveaways from last week’s Strong Women-Strange Worlds author reading, carried most of my boxes of art show stuff back down to the basement, and still need to finish applications for a couple of shows, etc etc…  Blah blah blah.  So today I have for you a couple of cool relief block prints of people working much harder than me.
        First is The Builders by Gustave Baumann (USA, 1881-1971).  I’ve shared some of his work in previous posts, so I don’t need to rehash his biography or discuss his ouevre.  Suffice it to say that this seems a little simpler than most of his work, although it’s still got three layers of ink plus the white paper.  I love the layering and how the black makes the foreground pop against the silhouetted construction in the background in the lower left.  The bold simplicity of the clouds and sky also makes a great contrast behind the more detailed men.
        The second piece is by Lill Tschudi (Switzerland, 1911-2004), about whom you can also refresh your memory in previous posts.  Her dynamic style features diagonals where Baumann’s composition is on the square, geometry where Baumann is more naturalistic, a bold blue sky where Bauman has only greys and browns…  But both artists are celebrating the hard work, daring, and drama of the men whose work takes them right up into the sky to make our modern world possible.
        I really enjoy both these pieces, with their differences and similarities, and they can serve to represent my work this week (and the fact that my work is really not too tough!) until I get caught up and can play with all my new blocks.

[Pictures: The Builders (From My Studio Window), color woodcut by Gustave Baumann, 1909 (Image from Art Institute Chicago);

Fixing the Wires, color linocut by Lill Tschudi, 1932 (Image from The British Museum).]

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