27 February 2010

Woodcut birds

I'm trying to make a series of woodcut prints of birds that live in the Calder valley.  If things work out the plan is to make a little book with an unusual structure.  A flag book is a variation on the concertina book and can give a kind of 3D effect.  I'm making slow progress as things keep going a bit wrong, sigh.

I've written a simple poem/song about birds and trees and I need to find a way to incorporate this text into the flag book form.  Anyway I'm making proof prints of the individual birds and experimenting with colours and papers. The bird here is a lady Siskin, not quite right yet but I'm getting there.  She's printed on a yellowing page from my ancient paper-back copy of art critic Bernard Berenson's  'The Italian Painters Of The Renaissance'. 

That book had a big influence on me when I was studying art history  many years ago. I don't think I realised then how long ago it had been written or that Berenson was a 'reactionary conservative who used his influence to discredit twentieth-century art and to preserve the notion of culture as aristocratic privilege', as I saw him described recently.  What I got out of reading him was the sense of a whole new world of colour, light and meaning welling up from the past, for which I will always be grateful. I certainly didn't feel shut out because I started life in a council house.

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