My love affair with large linocuts has been tested this summer. In June, I began a 25 x 40 inch linocut of a large severe thunderstorm, fully intending to complete it in a month. Over the course of two months, I have used an engraving bit to texture every inch of this block — change occurring at a glacial pace — which is completely the opposite of a fast moving storm.
Creating two versions that feel quite different
When I designed this linocut, I couldn’t decide whether the scene should be in summer or autumn, and with a large block, it would be a shame to guess wrong. So there are six of each season and they are titled and numbered separately.
The storm above the autumn fields is entitled Breath of Hermes. In Greek mythology, Hermes is a messenger, and the god of transitions and boundaries. He is also characterized as a personal guide in Jungian philosophy. I have relied on my time carving tiny pieces out of this linocut as meditative grounding while changes in my life have come swiftly and unexpectedly. Suddenly my home is inhabited by a spouse and two cats, but the children have flown. Truly a time that cries out for a personal guide.
Strange weather terms make great titles
I carefully craft my titles. I want them to be poetic and allude to more than just the obvious subject. Summertide Brings the Derecho (above linocut with green fields) uses an uncommon weather term — derecho — to describe thunderstorms with straight-line winds that can spread out with great force and cause significant damage. Such storms hit Bloomington, IN a few years ago and felled countless old trees that had lined campus streets, completely altering the landscape. Sudden change can take your breath away.
With the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts only two weeks away, there is just enough time to get these large beauties framed, and pray that the storms they depict do not visit my tent on Labor Day weekend.