The Essence of Things

Many moons ago I was fascinated by the adventures of Everett Ruess, a young man, who traveled isolated deserts and canyons of the West about hundred years ago and then disappeared. Much has been written about him, including some biographies by W. L. Rusho and David Roberts and more recently a more fictional account of the young man by Robert Louis DeMayo: “Pledge to the Wind, the Legend of Everett Ruess”. That one is high on my “to read” list.

I have seen almost more beauty
than I can bear.”

Everett Ruess

Everett was an artist and he managed to support his journeys in part by painting. He also wrote a daily letter to his parents and kept a diary. I have not seen any of his watercolor work, but I have seen reproductions of his woodcuts. They are amazing. Woodcuts are a god’s end for minimalists. They capture the essence of a scene with a minimum of detail. Everett was a master at that.

I became interested in the technique. Since we are living in the 21st century, I decided to make my first woodcut on a computer. That’s not art, you say? You are right. It’s just a fun way to concentrate on the essence of an object. There is a wonderful tutorial by Cheryl Graham on the web and the robin in it has been treated and mistreated hundreds of times. Here is my version.


Since the nights here are getting shorter by around 6 minutes every day, there will be less chance for working on my woodcut skills, but the prints remind me to focus on the essence of things.


4 thoughts on “The Essence of Things

  1. I imagine woodcuts would be quite hard to do (having done a linocut in art class at secondary school many moons ago). One slip of the gouging knife and you’d have to rethink your design or start on a new piece of wood.

    Your version of a robin looks like a lovely piece.

    The trick is to keep it simple to start and then work up a little with more detailed designs as one gains experience I guess. What sort of wood did you use for your robin?

    I have great admiration for many types of artistic endeavours and in one sense, digital Photography almost seems easy in comparison. In your long winters, I imagine it would be a good time to explore some indoor crafts.

    • I did my Robin on the computer. Otherwise I would have to chop down a whole forest. Many failures, but on the computer most of the time undoable. 🙂
      Unfortunately I am not very good at crafts.
      I agree with you on photography. It seems easy. I think there is still an artsy component in it.
      Yes, long winters are great to dabble in arts, crafts, food etc. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.