This day was a biggie. It first started with a PowerPoint lecture on the original blocks of Albrecht Durer and some of his contemporaries. Former bootcamper and scholar, Richard Field, spent 10 years tracking down and photographing the master's woodblocks for an upcoming book. He shared his collection of photographs with Tom. Tom made the pictorial tour complete with his colorful commentary, giving us a closeup look at 500 year old wooden blocks. Having seen some of the blocks in person himself, Tom feels that fresh prints could still be made from them.
One of the benefits of being a local celebrity is that Tom can call up the St. Louis Art Museum and arrange for a private viewing. After his block lecture, part 2 of the day was a visit to the museum's Reading Room, where white gloved staff displayed some of Tom's favorite prints. (For those of you who grow weary of my long blog posts, this one is mostly just pictures. Please celebrate quietly.)
The St. Louis Museum of Art
The following pictures are my closeup photographs of the prints on display. When possible, I have included info on the print. (A smart guy would have taken pictures of the info tags as well. Apparently I am not that guy.)
After spending a couple hours with the prints, we were given time to tour the rest of the museum. I got back to the print shop brimming over with inspiration and high on art. It was just the boost I needed to dive into the part of my wood block I’d been dreading; the devil’s face. I knew it needed to be textured in such a way as to reflect the light and shadow of the fire. I decided to use the white line carving technique. So essentially I took a black marker and filled in the devil’s face with black, then I took my gouge and went looking for his face. By slowly chipping away at the black on the board, I was able to create a stippling effect and control the graduation of light to dark.