The Truth Revealed

I’ve often been quoted as saying that my Camino prints sprang full-bodied out of my brain and hand with nary a predecessor, just like Athena from the head of Zeus. That’s not quite true.

Like many an artist, I have a vast collection of things that might be useful “some day.” One of those things was a set of carving tools. So in 2003, when I was on a sketching trip to Yosemite, I brought along these tools and some linoleum blocks. I was staying at the Yosemite Bug, the excellent hostel outside of the park’s southern entrance. Knowing that my room would be too small for painting, and that there would be few entertainments available, I brought this set of tools along, for whiling away the evening hours.

I rarely paint something that I have just seen; I like a little time to digest and think about the image. So I was not planning on doing any carving inspired by the day’s hiking. Instead, I thought it would be interesting to make a more graphic version of a painting of a group of eucalyptus trees that I had been working on; that was my evening’s carving.

Fast forward to 2010, and my giant project of rearranging and cleaning my apartment and art studio. I pulled a box out of the closet, and discovered therein the block that I had carved at Yosemite. And it was pretty darn good, and pretty darn near complete. So I ran a test print, and made a few small adjustments, and here it is, finished after all this time.

Print version of Grace of Summer Boughs

Grace of Summer Boughs
Linoleum block print, 2010
Edition of 75

For comparison, here is the painting:
Painted version of Grace of Summer Boughs

The title comes from this Emily Dickinson poem (J.321):

Of all the Sounds despatched abroad,
There’s not a Charge to me
Like that old measure in the Boughs —
That phraseless Melody —
The Wind does — working like a Hand,
Whose fingers Comb the Sky —
Then quiver down — with tufts of Tune —
Permitted Gods, and me —

Inheritance, it is, to us —
Beyond the Art to Earn —
Beyond the trait to take away
By Robber, since the Gain
Is gotten not of fingers —
And inner than the Bone —
Hid golden, for the whole of Days,
And even in the Urn,
I cannot vouch the merry Dust
Do not arise and play
In some odd fashion of its own,
Some quainter Holiday,
When Winds go round and round in Bands —
And thrum upon the door,
And Birds take places, overhead,
To bear them Orchestra.

I crave Him grace of Summer Boughs,
If such an Outcast be —
Who never heard that fleshless Chant —
Rise — solemn — on the Tree,
As if some Caravan of Sound
Off Deserts, in the Sky,
Had parted Rank,
Then knit, and swept —
In Seamless Company —

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