I went searching this blog for tree prints and realized that while I had scanned in this small trio of new prints, I hadn't yet posted them here. I've been working on a HUGE companion to these three (18x24", which is at least huge for me, and which took me multiple days to carve), but I had wanted to start small to make sure things worked visually before I invested that amount of time into a large print.
I went to Faulker's home Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi, earlier this year for the first time since my teens. It's a fantastic house, full of his personality and creative spirit, but what grabbed me most (as always) was the trees. They are as full of character as Faulkner was himself. I sketched a whole series of them and have been back to sketch several more time over the last few months. The same first trip, I stopped at Eudora Welty's house in Jackson, and I was surprised and delighted to find a series of five Barry Moser carved prints of her at various stages of her life. I think those two experiences fused, and when I worked on this trio of prints, I was very much thinking about how Moser handles his backgrounds. These are portraits of trees instead of faces, but the prints felt similar to me in style and intention.
These small three are all 9" high and various widths, to suit the individual trees. I've got finished prints of them (even though my holiday show plans went off the rails this month). They're $60 each or $150 for the trio. I plan to do some color prints from Rowan Oak next, but I've been easing in with the black and white ones.
Here's the first proof of the 18x24" one. I'll have a black and white edition for sure, once I smooth out some edges and balance a few of the limbs for width. I'm also going to test it with a couple of different color backgrounds and see what I think about them.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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