A Cottage in Winter

 

In the late 1800's, Gustave, a young man from the old country, emigrated to the new world carrying almost nothing but hope. In his new country, he found an unskilled job and eked out a living doing manual labor.

After saving for many years, he and his new wife, Julia—also a recent immigrant, finally were able to buy a plot of wooded land on a nearby lake and build a small cottage for their growing family, with the addition of their first child, Mildred.

The three lived in the cottage on the lake for 15 years before Gustave was sent to France to serve in the infantry in World War I. Seven months later, a message reached Julia from Europe with notice that Gustave would not be coming home; he had fallen at the Second Battle of the Somme.

Julia was unable to stay with Mildred at the cottage afterward. The small house stood vacant and dilapidated and the lot became overgrown over the years, nearly to the point of eliminating the cottage from view and memory.

Until many years later, when Julia’s great-granddaughter, Catherine, learned about the forgotten old cottage, located the small lake and plot of land, and began the project of reconstructing the deteriorated building. She found a corroded tin box under the floorboards of the rotting structure and found that it contained Gustave’s pencil sketches of the floor plan and other sketches of the finished building from more than a hundred years ago. Catherine used those sketches to guide her rebuilding project, sticking to the original plans as much as possible.

Last winter, after three long years of work, Catherine completed the building and hosted a gathering of family and friends to commemorate the new cabin and to celebrate the lives of her great-grandparents, the immigrants who first built their lives, and this small cottage, in the new world.

Woodblock print with watercolor
5.5" x 7.25"; Edition of 50
$200


(names, events, and story are fictional)

 

Small Bay

 

Underneath other papers in the battered tin box that Catherine found beneath the floor boards of the old cottage, she uncovered a fragile journal with sketches and writing in it.

The journal had apparently been kept by Catherine’s great-grandmother, Julia, who interspersed sketches of the area around their cottage with diary entries. Wirh some of the sketches she wrote a description or explanation of the scene she had sketched.

On the last page of the journal was a sketch titled, Small Bay. Underneath it, a note, which appeared to have been added later: “Gustave’s favorite place to fish — a little cove across the lake — we called it the Small Bay. He caught a lot of fish there and we ate many good meals from his catches. The day before he left for the war was a cool, beautiful sunny day, so we rowed over to Small Bay one more time.

"He dropped off Mildred and me on the shore, and I found a perch where I could watch Mildred throw stones into the lake while I drew this sketch. Gustave sat fishing in the rowboat for a nice long while, and was happy to catch our supper one last time.

“I wanted to give him this sketch to remind him of us and this place while he was away. But in the commotion, I forgot to give it to him before he left, so I made another drawing just like it and mailed it to him in France. When they returned all his things, I found the frayed sketch folded in the shirt pocket of his uniform.” 

 

Woodblock print with watercolor
3.5" x 4"; Edition of 20
$125


(names, events, and story are fictional)

 

Snow on the St Croix

 

Winter canoeing or kayaking on the St Croix: peaceful and beautiful. This image is of the basalt cliffs on the St Croix River between Stillwater, MN and Taylors Falls, MN. The St Croix, a National Scenic Riverway, is one of the most beautiful river valleys in the country. There is archaeological evidence that the river and area around it has been inhabited for three to four thousand years at least. In the 1800s, the river was used to transport logs from northern Wisconsin and Minnesota to sawmills further downstream. The area around the Dalles of the St Croix, which this image pictures, was the site of a huge logjam in 1883, taking several months to untangle. 

One-block reduction woodblock print; 6" x 8"
Edition of 16
$260

 

St Croix at Taylors Falls

 

A view of the St Croix River, which forms part of the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, at Taylors Falls — the Dalles of the St Croix — from the Minnesota bank looking toward Wisconsin. 

Woodblock print with watercolor; 2" x 7.375"
Edition of 50
$125

 

Shimmering Water

 

This is one of two woodblock prints I made in a series on the lakes of the north in autumn, both of them interpretations of the work of Lawren Harris, a member of the Canadian Group of Seven artists.

“I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets."  - Hamlin Garland

Woodblock print; 6.75″ x 8.75″;
Edition of 50; 19 remaining.
$390

 

Stillness of Autumn

 

This is one of two prints in a series based on the work of Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven. A sense of stillness and calm and the quintessential feeling of autumn in the north.

Woodblock print; 6.75" x 8.75";
Edition of 50; 12 remaining
$390

 

Frog of the Year

 

“She dotes on poetry, sir. She adores it; I may say that her whole soul and mind are wound up, and entwined with it. She has produced some delightful pieces, herself, sir. You may have met with her 'Ode to an Expiring Frog,' sir.”
- Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Woodblock print with watercolor;
5.5" x 6.25"; Edition of 50
$185

 

Isle Royale National Park

 

This is the first in a series of woodblock prints of the National Parks I'm starting. It's a view of Isle Royale, off the northeastern tip of Minnesota in Lake Superior. A one-block print with watercolor added after printing.

Woodblock print with watercolor
5.625″ x 5.375″; Edition of 50.
$240