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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Impressions of TO THE LIGHTHOUSE

 1)    *SEA AND SKY     
         A series of multicolour woodcuts

Image size:   10 1/2" x 14 1/2"
Edition:  State 1/5
Date: 1982

One of a series of prints inspired by the novel TO THE LIGHTHOUSE.    

Each print is a multicolored woodcut - a  print in which many shapes and colors are superimposed - incorporating a variety of images described in particular pages of the novel. 

 "In the midst of chaos there is shape": in Woolf's fictional world the novel is reshaped to reflect the multifaceted and many layers of a woman's family life.    This is not a novel with a beginning, a middle and an end in the traditional sense!   

Woolf creates a form that explores the inner lives of her subjects -  a new 'autobiographical' form.    Thus,  instead of printing a traditional illustration of the described scene, I am overprinting objects that the author is describing at particular moments in time.  In the final process of printing, I look for the shape and rhythm that defines a sense of the whole experience.  It is as if one is looking through time instead of at a linear sense of time.    

This novel was published in 1927, long before modern digital photography techniques were developed that now enables us to see and capture pictures within pictures, instead of capturing one beautiful picture that says it all.   
 In this series, begun in 1982, it shows how I began to think about making painterly prints.   Just as Lily Briscoe, the artist in the novel, is attempting to paint Mrs. Ramsay throughout the story, Virginia Woolf is, in fact, 'painting' with words a memory of her childhood summers in Cornwall.  The novel is in three parts - what was then in, THE WINDOW,  a long interlude of TIME PASSES, then, what is now, THE LIGHTHOUSE, (in the time frame of the story).    

For this series, a Harvest Book paperback edition of Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.  was used (Copyright 1955 by Leonard Woolf).

 *The title of the print:  to suggest a sense of the random flow of thought before it takes shape,   reflecting the ambience of the moment.


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  2. Hi Margaret,
    I love the layers and depth of this print,an interesting reponse to the book...
    I stayed at Talland house in St Ives a few years back, they are self catering flats now and the gardens are lovely

    When you get a chance you should stay there. Then you can visit the Hepworth Garden/studio and the Eden project!

  3. Thanks for the explanation. I think the whole concept requires deep study and I'm not inclined to undertake that. Without knowledge of the book it's a bit difficult to appreciate the layers of conception. But I CAN appreciate the art of both Virginia AND Margaret!

  4. Hi Jo - thanks for the idea and address. Sounds like an interesting place to visit, including the Hepworth Garden/studio.