Friday, April 11, 2014

Bloodroot Yes, Palm Warbler No

Bloodroot and Hellebore. Photo by Ken Januski.

I think nothing speaks of spring more than wildflowers poking through the leaf litter. In a certain sense it is the perfect metaphor for spring. Out of the drab leaf litter that covers the ground, and looks so unpromising, ephemeral wildflowers optimistically poke their way through. And before you know it they'll be gone.

With these Bloodroot flowers in our side yard we can always count on rain or hail wiping them out within a day or so of blooming. I always associate the earliest warblers with Bloodroot, Mayapples, Skunk Cabbage, Virginia Bluebells, at least in our area. After seeing some Palm Warblers and blooming Bloodroot at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education a few springs ago I couldn't resist making a linocut print out of it. I've shown it before but here it is again. It remains a favorite of mine.

Palm Warbler Amidst Bloodroot. Linocut by Ken Januski.

Sad to say though we've never had a Palm Warbler in our yard, at least not one that we've noticed. But each year the striking white flowers of our Bloodroot put on a short but splendid show, just waiting for our first Palm Warbler.

I've finally begun a multi-block woodcut based on the watercolor sketches I showed in the last post of a Blackpoll Warbler, or two, amidst the striking Swamp Dogwood, seen last fall at Maumee Bay State Park in Ohio. As with the last print this will be quite improvisatory. Below is the start of the black block. Most likely it will be the last block printed.

Blackpoll Warblers and Swamp Dogwood. First State Proof of First Block of Multi-block Woodcut by Ken Januski.

Below is the red/pink block. It is half the size of the black block and will print on the left side of the black block. There will also be a block of the same size that will print on the right side of the black block. And most likely I'll flip the black block over and also print on it. Who knows where this will lead? But I do think it's the direction I need to go. There is just too much safe, predictable wildlife and bird art there. I for one want to try something different. Perhaps it will appeal to art lovers if not to lovers of bird and wildlife art. Or it may just be a mistake. Either way it's something that I need to try.

Blackpoll Warblers and Swamp Dogwood. First State Proof of Second Block of Multi-block Woodcut by Ken Januski.

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