August 10, 2022

Summer Days

         It seems like every time we have winter snow, I post a collection of block-printed winter snow scenes - but do I ever post a collection of summer scenes?  No I do not, but today that changes.  In fact, I gathered enough summer scenes (and I’m busy enough) that I’m going to split into two posts, the better to enjoy the summer bounty.
        I’m starting with the one that is not only a bit different from my usual taste, but also an unusual format.  It’s actually a two-sided piece on which the other side is “Winter Night.”  But I like this “Summer Day” much better.  It looks to be three blocks with interesting overlapping areas, plus a sort of ribbon of gold along the bottom, which may be part of binding the two sides together.  In any 
case, I particularly like the summery color choice, which looks quite sultry, and although it’s a bit abstract, it’s clear that there are trees and bushes, grass, sunshine and shade.
        Second is a hot late-afternoon streetscape by Asa Cheffetz, who also has a number of summer country scenes that really tempted me today.  I’m sure I’ll post them another time, but for now I thought I’d embrace the variety of showing summer in a town.  No one’s out in this scene, so I imagine they’re all inside, looking for a bit of relief from the blazing sun.  I love the three-way 
contrast between black shadows, bright sunlight, and textured buildings.
        Our third piece would definitely be my choice for a summer vacation spot (if I actually ever went on summer vacations any more, heh).  Beautiful scenery, cool trees and cool water, secluded porch on which to overlook it all…  This piece is from a series of four, depicting the garden in each season, and it’s everything to love about Japanese wood block prints: the composition, the colors, the exquisite detail.  Beautiful.
        I’ll close out today with people dressed for the season.  In some ways summer seems to be the “unmarked” season in art.  If you see snow, it’s winter, colored leaves for autumn, flowering trees for spring; but summer seems to be the season of the absence of other seasonal cues.  The one thing that really does mark summer is people bathing, or in swimsuits, or people having picnics.  So here’s a mother dressed for summer, with two children undressed for summer, on a bench in a lush garden growing like a jungle.  It feels almost tropical, and certainly ready for a picnic.
        I love summer, but frankly I’m only too happy that our recent hot spell is over.  I’ve had a bit more than enough of truly summery weather.  (Now if only we could get some more rain.)  But I never get tired of these summer block prints.

[Pictures: Summer Day, color linocut by Ruth Fine, 1994 (Image from University of Wisconsin-Madison);

Summer Sun (Portsmouth, N.H.), wood engraving by Asa Cheffestz, 1928 (Image from The Clark Museum);

Garden in Summer, color woodblock print by Hiroshi Yoshida, 1933 (Image from;

Summer, wood engraving by Cecil Buller, c. 1926 (Image from Cleveland Museum of Art).]


Nancy Hill said...

I love your passion for prints. How we depict our world reflects so much more about us than it does about the world.

I've visited here before, because of A to Z, but need to visit more regularly!

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Thanks for stopping by, Nancy Hill.