Look, we’ve all heard the saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover — and we all know it’s BS. Doesn’t matter how brilliant your words are if the presentation doesn’t catch they eye and maybe get the pulse rate up a bit.
It’s a cinch that Frontier Partisans would not be what it is without the work of Lynn Woodward. She designed this blog and she designed the cover for Warriors of the Wildlands and she designed the swag you’ll find in the Trading Post.
I’ll pause for a moment while you go lay down your plews…
You’re back? So, then…
I am criminally overdue in paying tribute to Lynn’s tremendous talent — and her spirit. It’s not ALL my fault. Lynn is perfectly content to lurk behind the scenes; behind the computer screen, behind the camera. No more.
The opportunity to extoll her virtues hangs on the hook of a new offering at the Trading Post: Lynn’s Intaglio Prints.
The what? you say…
Let her explain:
For intaglio, the plate is carved or etched, and the ink is wiped all over the plate most importantly into the engraved areas of the plate, and then the smooth surface on the face of the plate is wiped clean. The etched areas in an intaglio plate are shallower than a relief plate. When the plate is put through the press at pressure, the ink squeezes out of the etched areas onto the paper (and the paper gets squeezed into the etched areas of the plate) to make the print.
Viennese printer Karl Klic developed the intaglio method for photographs. The plate, with a positive (not a negative) transparency on it, is exposed to light (“burned”). Where the light is blocked by darkness of the image on the transparency, the ground doesn’t harden. Where the transparency is clear, the light hardens the ground completely. The middle tones are hardened relatively.
This is how newspaper images were first printed, first they were hand drawings and later, photographs. And the type was lead and hand-set. My, how that has changed!
Now we have “solar plates” which have a non-toxic light-sensitive ground on a metal back. Once the image has been “burned” into the plate in a light box, the plate is developed (some ground washes out) in water instead of acid, the remaining ground is hardened by further exposure to light and stays on the metal plate. These materials are much safer for us and the environment.
The intaglio medium is perfect for the imagery on the cover of Warriors of the Wildlands. Go check out the prints of Burnham’s Weapons. I reckon I’m going to have to have one of those for my own…
The work reflects Lynn’s current artistic focus: printmaking from her own photos.
“It reminds me of darkroom work: slow, tactile, meditative. There is something very soulful about monotone images — a classic simplicity that holds timeless emotion.”
I met Lynn through music, and we’ve been playing together in our band The Anvil Blasters for more years than either of us is prepared to confess to. Lynn has a remarkable voice, with deep character, and, like me, she really digs in to the Story of a song. We both work territory staked out by Emmylou Harris and her cohorts, and Lynn is gritty enough to appreciate a dark Tom Russell Ballad.
She’s hijacked more than one of my songs. Lynn is unfailingly polite and seemingly retiring… but that’s, shall we say, deceiving. More than once, I’ve played a new original song for the band and she’s said, “I’m singing that song.” She says that definitively. She brooks no argument or demurral.
And she owns my songs She Dreams of Horses, Now It’s Just A Story, and Fugitive On Every Corner.
Not that I’m complaining. How can a songwriter not be flattered when someone is desperate enough to sing the words you’ve written that she’ll hold a pistol to your head and a knife to your ribs?
When it came time to design Frontier Partisans and its associated projects, there was no question that Lynn would be the one to do the work. For one thing, she’s highly qualified. Her academic degrees are in Biology and Computer Graphics, and she’s been an artist and photographer all her life. Her client work is book design and file production. She likes that she gets to bring both her left and right brain to bear to complete the package. Art and math; she never could decide which she liked best, so she does both.
She’s also been a backcountry horseback guide and a rock climber and she has an intuitive grasp of the feeling of an outdoor life.
Her attention to detail comes in handy, though she’ll admit that she sometimes loses the forest for the trees. And the trees for the bark. And the bark for the cellular structure…
Thing is, I need that kind of detail orientation to backstop me. In the rush of creativity I can be impatient and … inattentive… to detail. By which I mean sloppy.
So… a good team. We don’t annoy each other too much.
Lynn has an uncanny knack for portraiture. I don’t know exactly what the alchemy is, but it’s real. I’ve worked with a whole bunch of photographers in my newspaper job, and they all have strengths. Some are great with landscapes; some capture sports action phenomenally. Lynn is a Soul Catcher.
If you need somebody to shoot your wedding…
Yeah, no. Just kidding. She won’t do weddings. And I only make the crack because she’s in North Carolina and I’m out of range.
Yes, Lynn’s moved back to Daniel Boone country. It’s where her family is and it was probably the right move. She was supposed to spend the summer out here, but COVID kinda made a mess of plans. She was only out here in Oregon for a little over a week – but we got an epic three-hour music session in with Mike Biggers, which was perhaps the highlight of my summer.
She’s still at work. Her latest endeavor, besides adding the prints to the Trading Post, is providing the icon for the Frontier Partisans Podcast, which is very close to launch.
So there you have it. A long overdue and probably inadequate tribute to a key member of the Frontier Partisan Brigade. Git on over to the Trading Post and support her work. And if you are looking for a hand with any sort of book project or the like, send a smoke signal to firstname.lastname@example.org.