Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Maple Branch, (withering).
16"x 15" moku hanga polychrome woodblock print
Hosokawa Japanese Washi
E.V. 10; 3 AP; a still-uncounted number of variants and rejects/misprints.
It was November when I cut off a small branch of the Japanese Maple growing in my mother-in-law's garden. I brought it inside and hung it up and in the span of a few hours the beautiful, Fall, red-carmine-vermillion leaves had twisted and curled as the water fled from their cells and the dry air hastened what Fall would have inevitably wrought later.
The back-lit seeds glowed with the late afternoon sun and the the two leaf surfaces were different colors; the back of the leaves twisted forward to show me their bellies carmine-red, puckered and veined. The front sides glowed from the sun behind,more orange, with only the veins showing dark. The chlorophyll, the green life-blood of all growing plants was too precious to let fall to the ground and had been drawn back into the stems and branches to await the lengthening days of Spring and provide the engine and fuel for next year's growth.
I had been drawing from life only earlier that day and this was another model, only older and more fragile. The dangling seeds were now earrings and jewels and the five limbs of each leaf wrapped around a body that was no longer alive. I sketched this hanging branch with its Baroque leaves with a rapid hand, in pencil, before the light faded and before the mood changed. As it dried I knew that even a careless breath would shake loose the leaves or separate the seeds from whatever invisible connection still held them to stem.
It took a long time to make this print.
Thanks to all who have looked, commented and offered advice and encouragement.
I'm glad Spring is here already and Summer just ahead.