Figure and Verse

As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket’s worth
Spied by the death-bed’s flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar’s tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth:
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.
For morning, with a ray of tenderest joy
Gilding the iron heaven, hides the truth,
And evening gently woos us to employ
Our grief in idle catches. Such is youth;
Till from that summer’s trance we wake, to find
Despair before us, vanity behind.

Sonnet XXV, George Santayana

Relief print of me by Christian Johnson:


12 thoughts on “Figure and Verse

  1. Bill says:

    Aw, Claudia, I’m going to a cook-out/pool party this afternoon, and you’re telling me that, when I wake from this trance, I’ll find despair before me. Thanks a lot 🙂 Now I’ll probably get hit by a Sharknado or something. . . fortunately, it’s a small pool — so maybe it will be baby sharks.
    Seriously, though, it is a good counterpoint for the midsummer — and the print is first-rate. Didn’t you take a printmaking course a year or two ago? Wondered whether you were still into it.

    • artmodel says:


      I hope the cookout was fun and Sharknado-free 😆

      Yes, I did take a printmaking class last year and loved it. Would like very much to take another one. This piece by Christian Johnson is a linocut which was my favorite printmaking technique of all the ones we learned. Monotype was cool too.

      Thanks for your comments!


  2. fredh1 says:

    Just beautiful, both the sonnet and the print – not to mention the model.

  3. Rob says:

    What a wonderful writer and thought/vocabulary assembler! You, as always it seems, so thoughtful with your postings. MV or Nantucket visit this summer?

    • artmodel says:


      Summer vacation plans have not yet come together, so I don’t know what’s happening as of now. We’ll see what August brings.

      Thanks for your nice comments! Hope things are well with you.


  4. Dave says:

    That’s a beautiful print. But I’ll demonstrate my ignorance here–what exactly is a print? I’ve posed for lots of drawings (including a few that look quite a bit like that one in color and composition) and paintings but not, to my knowledge, for any prints. Or maybe I have and just didn’t realize it. So what makes an image a print?

  5. cauartprof says:

    Claudia may have already answered your question in which case I apologize for any restatement. Most prints are categorized as either relief (woodcut, wood engraving, linocut) intaglio (engraving, etching, dry point) lithography or serigraphy (screen print). The plate or block is prepared with ink and paper, and processed by running the plate with paper through a press to force the ink onto or some might say “into” the paper. The look and feel of prints will change dramatically depending on whether the process is an etching, lithograph, relief or screen print. Christian’s print was made by making a drawing of Claudia on a linoleum block. Then the lines that were drawn were removed with a thin gouge. The outside of the body was completely cut away. At that point the block gets rolled with ink. Only the top surface collects ink and that is how you get the look of a white line drawing on black. The block can be reprinted many times, typically in a numbered edition. OK… now you are probably completely confused! Just Google “relief print” and you will see many examples of how it is done. Cheers.


    • Dave says:

      Chris, thanks for that explanation. I’d certainly heard of prints, but I had no idea how one makes a print of, say, a model posing in front of him/her. Given your explanation, I’m pretty sure no one has made any prints of me.

  6. cauartprof says:

    It is very possible that an artist has used a drawing he or she made of you as a reference for a print. I often use images from open studio sessions in my own printmaking practice. Occasionally an artist will work directly on a drypoint plate or draw directly on a piece of linoleum using a live model but the most common practice would be to use a drawing of the model as a starting reference point for drawing on a block after the fact. Take care.

    • artmodel says:

      Dave and Chris, hi guys!

      Chris beat me to it which is totally fine because his description of printing is spot-on! Could not have said it better.

      My two cents; during the fantastic printmaking class I took last year, I found relief style printing more fun, and somewhat easier, than intaglio. Dave, as Chris explained, a “relief” print transfers the raised surface of the block which is created by cutting around it. Intaglio transfers the engraved lines. Rembrandt’s engravings are absolutely amazing. But I really love the look of a woodcut or linocut relief print, like what Christian did above. Also, I featured the work of Swiss printmaker Lill Tschudi in this Museworthy post from 2012:

      Also, I’ll concur with Chris again that an artist may well have done a print of you Dave on their own time. For example, an artist once showed me a drawing he did of me after a life session. He said he wasn’t terribly pleased with it as a drawing but thought he could make a nice print out of it, which he did.

      Thanks for the great comments and discussion!


      • Dave says:

        Very informative. As you can probably tell, much of what I know about art I’ve picked up while standing on the platform, so there are some big gaps. Thanks for the primer!


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