Tomorrow, Friday, July 19, I’ll be participating in a very cool event here in Santa Cruz: steamroller printing.
As part of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s Art That Moves event, twenty-two local printmakers will be using a steamroller to make prints all afternoon and into the night. Printing with big equipment requires a big print, so I acquired a 2 foot by 3 foot piece of linoleum, and set about carving a new image.
I still have a whole slew of ideas from my various trips to Spain waiting for something to happen, and this print comes from that mental file.
La Penitente is based on a carved processional figure in La Iglesia de la Magdelena in Zamora; I saw the original at the end of my half-pilgrimage on the Via de la Plata in 2011. (Zamora, by the way, is chock-full of marvelous Romanesque churches. Go if you can.)
Here is the original, from a postcard.
I loved the detail in her woven straw garment, as well as her operatic pose and her expression.
For this print, I decided to replace her head with a skull. This may be a result of living in Santa Cruz for five years. Portland may put a bird on it; in Santa Cruz, with its surf and skateboard culture, you’re more likely to hear “Put a skull on it.”
While I was drawing the original sketch, Sarah-Hope came over and observed that if I just moved her hand a bit, it would look like she was pregnant, which also seemed like a good idea. I made it so.
Unprinted linoleum block, ready to go
So, what is this all about?
Is it a meditation on the cyclical nature of life, the endless circle of life and death?
Is it a reference to the ongoing war against womens’ reproductive freedom in this country?
Is it just cool to ‘put a skull on it’?
Yes, yes, and yes.
Come see it being printed, 1:30 – 3:30 pm on Cedar Street, here in Santa Cruz. Look for the steamroller; you can’t miss it!