Thursday, July 26, 2012
While we were there we also happened to see a Hermit Thrush sitting in a tangle near one of the ditches that run through the marsh. There were no cranes on the other side. But if I turned 90 degrees to the left and moved up a few hundred yards there were. So I put them both into one composition and made a charcoal and pastel drawing of that three years ago.
I've found that often my best linocuts are ones based on the design of some earlier art work that I've made. I've always wanted to pursue the thrush and cranes so I finally did so, starting about a month ago. Unlike the skimmer and sandpiper lino which has given me constant grief this one has been easy. The only hard part was letting it sit for a week or two while I made the final decision on minor tweaks to finish it up. I finally did that today.
This is an edition of 18 hand-pulled prints, i.e. no press to help me out. I used Gamblin Portland Intense Black in on Rives Lightweight printing paper. The image is 6x9 inches and the full print is 9x12 inches. It's been a treat to have such smooth sailing on this one.
Some of you may be familiar with Sandhill Cranes. When you first see them there is a sense of touching something primordial, something from not just another time, but another geological epoch. Given this it's been very hard to understand the desire of many states to allow Sandhill Crane hunting. My first reaction on hearing about this was that it was just ignorant bloodlust. But when we saw them they often were in farmer's fields. Were they possibly doing any damage? I don't really know. But a quick search before posting this indicated that Wisconsin itself, where we saw these birds, is considering a hunting season. The rationale according to one source is that there has been a boom of cranes and that they are wiping out corn crops, devouring the seed as soon as it is planted. If that's the case then it is not a foolish and ignorant bloodlust, kllling everything in site for 'sport.'
It's been a long day so I didn't have time to pursue it. Julie Zickefoose has written extensively on Sandhill Crane hunting in various states. I hope that the hunt is disallowed in Wisconsin but if not I hope at least it is a very short season and allowed for only the best intentions. Anyone who has seen these birds will know why I say this. They remind me that we are part of a larger, more complex, and far older world than most of us ever even consider. All too often, probably throughout history in fact, there has been a battle between those who see the bigger picture of the world we live in and those who see it only as a source of immediate personal profit.