Friday, August 2, 2013

Making Art, Then and Now

Arkansas, II   1977
Marian Shuff

9" x 6"

I've recently returned from a trip to Arkansas, timed to catch a group exhibition at the Arts Center in Arkadelphia, my Mother's home town, which included a great sampling of her prints and paintings.

My brother and niece joined me. While we were in the area, we decided it was time to clear out the storage unit where a bulk of my Mother's artwork had been kept for quite some time. We hoped to sort everything out and divvy it up among us. My Mother died almost two years ago. Had we tried to do this task any sooner, it might have been overwhelmingly sad. But at this point, going through those treasures felt like a joyful act of rediscovery.

Among all the familiar finished artworks, we found a big box of many of her wood blocks, linoleum blocks and etching plates, which she had wrapped well for the long sleep. I was thrilled to see that they were all still in great shape.

One of the wood blocks I brought home with me had the carved image you see above. In 1977, my Mother printed an edition of only four. I have one of those prints and it has always been my favorite from her work. I love the way she depicted the sun shining from the left side and the shadows in the bottom right corner. I love the expressiveness of the leaves and the roughness of the bark. There is such an engaging interplay between depth and flatness of space. All that created from a simple block of wood!

I decided to print more prints from this wood block, which I did yesterday and today, finishing a group of 20 that will be labeled as a second edition. What pleasure I had in the studio doing this. And as I worked, I realized that the age she was when she printed this block for the first time is the age I am now as I print the second edition.

Here is the block, itself. Probably walnut. Beautiful, isn't it?


  1. I love that you are using your Mom's wood block to create a second edition -- but, what about also incorporating this image into your garden series?


    1. Good idea... and that had occurred to me, too. I'll have to let it simmer.

  2. I love the block and the print. What a wonderful heritage you have!

  3. Hi Valerie,
    So happy to hear from you!

  4. What a wonderful rediscovery and now the first reuse!