October 2010   volume 9 number 8 The Artist's Loft logo

William H. Hays  Hello and Welcome Friends,

Even after an unusually hot summer, combined with near drought conditions (which appeared to threaten the autumn foliage display) it all ended up as glorious as we remember it. In fact, when autumn colors begin to approach, we realize that we always forget how startling they are. We forget that there are trees which look like they could not possibly be the colors that they are. We forget that mountainsides become giant flower gardens of color that surely could not come from the greens that give our Green Mountain State its name. We forget that a walk in the forest is to experience a magical, golden glow bathing all things. We forget the actual experience of it so much that we are a bit surprised each year at how glorious the autumn in Vermont is.

I promised you some images of it last month. So here are some pictures from our afternoon drives in the autumn:

Newfane Heritage Festival 1   My wife, Patricia, buying an amazing butter dish from Jason Greene, a ceramicist at the Newfane Heritage Festival on Columbus Day weekend.

Newfane Heritage Festival 2   The Windham County Courthouse on the town common during the Newfane Heritage Festival.

Autumn Hillside in VT   An autumn hillside backlit in the afternoon sun.

Grafton Village in autumn   Coming down into the village of Grafton in the late afternoon.

Autumn Hillside in NH   Although New Hampshire may be quite different from Vermont politically, it has many similarities when autumn comes around.

I hope you enjoyed those few images from our afternoon drives. If you've not seen this spectacle before, you should plan to come to Vermont for the autumn colors sometime. (And make your reservations well in advance!)

So now on to the latest in the way of artworks from my studio. Let's start with a print that is loosely based on a painting of lily pads that I did more than 10 years ago. The thing that made this print different than any I've done yet is that I tried putting a transparent layer of color over the water to give the feeling of looking down below the surface.

Water Lilies, linoleum block print by William Hays   "Water Lilies" 8-color linoleum block print

I used a second block to lay down the blue over the water. I didn't have any proper transparent medium to use. So it took a week for it to dry properly. Also, it wasn't as transparent as I actually wanted. Still, it worked well and inspired me to buy some of the proper medium and dive into the next print.

This next print is based on a painting of the same composition and title, "Shimmering Pool", which was sold a few years ago through Elaine Beckwith's gallery in Jamaica, Vermont. I wanted to explore the use of transparent medium along with some different patterns of carving than I've used before within the water. So I began by laying down the patterns of the carving I referred to in a progression of browns. Here is the print with the first six colors (all shades of brown) in place:

Shimmering Pool, stage 6, linoleum block print by William H. Hays   "Shimmering Pool" stage 6, linoleum block print, 9" x 12"

My intention from this point was to create a spatial distinction between everything above the water and everything below the water by adding a transparent, graduated layer of blue and green over the water. Now at this point, I've already carved away all of the water, except for the very darkest tone. So, I had to carve a second block, leaving the rocks in the foreground open. Here is that block with the inks on it and the resulting print:

Shimmering Pool, block #2   "Shimmering Pool" second block. Note that the block has picked up a ghost image from the previously printed six colors. The upper band is a violet-blue. The top of the water is a blue-green. The lower part of the water is a yellow-green.

Shimmering Pool, stage 7, linoleum block print by William H. Hays   "Shimmering Pool" stage 7, linoleum block print, 9" x 12"

From here I developed the background with foliage and added two more layers of transparent colors over the water. The total process involved the carving of yet another (third) block and the printing of eight more colors in six impressions. In all there are 17 different colors used in 13 impressions. Here's the final print:

Shimmering Pool, 13-color linoleum block print by William H. Hays   "Shimmering Pool" (final state), 13-color linoleum block print, 9" x 12"

Do I need to tell you that this took a little bit more time than I initially planned? In all it took more than two weeks to create this image. I lost track of when I started and how long it took. So that's an estimate.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the two prints and the images of autumn in New England. This coming Friday is Gallery Walk and I am looking forward to showing these two pieces to an audience. I hope that you'll be among them on Friday. If you don't make it during Gallery Walk, feel free to come by the gallery any time.

Once again I'm going to be giving away a "Gallery Walk" print by random drawing. If you want to be included in the drawing (and see the print), you can register to win here. Last month we sent off a print to Nova Scotia to someone who registered online. Maybe it will be you who receives a print this next time.

Thank you once more for spending your time with me while I show you my latest work. You're always welcome to come by The Artist's Loft in Brattleboro. I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you walk in the door of the studio!

Yours,

William H. Hays


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