Years ago I used to do mostly woodcuts and linocuts. Each year I would carve a new block and title it Anticipating Spring. It was my way of saying good-by to winter, but mostly it was a way to dwell in the anticipation of spring and everything it brings – warmth, moisture, green, and especially a gentleness in the air. Ode to Spring renews my old ritual, but this time larger and with paint. The view into and across a body of water with its reflections and scattered, floating leaves says it all.
But there is another way in which Ode to Spring harks back to the earlier woodcuts. Instead of relying on a paint brush, this painting was (mostly) worked up with the same brayers I used to print the woodcuts. Full circle, or nearly. The rollers, with their ability to lay a thin coat and blend edges, provided an unexpected softness to the image. At the same time, the hard edges and larger “marks” lent a boldness. The light bulb in my head was blinking – the rollers could provide a way to work larger and “open up” the space in my paintings. Needless to say, it has been an exciting week in the studio. I’ve started priming some larger panels.