The scroll of etchings and all things nude and nature.

We all know the healing effects of nature and that being away from nature can be very damaging. But, how damaged can we get being away from art? Of course, almost everything that give one a feeling of wonderment or surprises, delights or gives us new insight probably can be accepted as art. The dictionary describes art as the creation of works of beauty but then also adds making works of great or special significance. Perhaps things that are frightening or cruel can also include as being art. Dante’s inferno or some images of Botticelli can be very confronting even though we know him more as the creator of beauty and goddesses of love seated on giant sea shells. He also painted some rather gruesome scenes of murder and incitements to wars.

After moving to the new place I discovered a forgotten large roll of butcher paper that has moved a few times without getting a look at. This time my daughter unrolled some of it and it turned out to be a large roll of etchings that I did sometime during the 1990 when I did a certificate course in printmaking. Of course, I have many etchings and I often invite friends to come over and look at my etchings.
During those 1990’s I had set up an etching press in our garage in Balmain and I loved making etchings. The copper plates on which I did the engravings and the use of acid in the baths in which to dip the plates were all part of the Technical college equipment. All I did was to actually print at home the etchings from the finished plates on my own printing press, which was a converted mangle use for mangling clothes… It was simple but not perfect but good enough for my etchings. The works I did were not to achieve technical excellence in printmaking but more as a way in expressing, rather impatiently, images in a more spontaneous way using copper. The fertile mind seemed to express mainly nude women and flowers, but that’s a different story better told at some next time. There is a lot here!
After rediscovering this roll I decided to hang it on my stairs which has a wall with at least a few metres of space to suspend it from. The first thing to do was to get a ladder onto the stairs.
After getting the ladder in an upright position I had to get my legs onto the rungs and somehow with hammer, nails and the scroll of butchers paper all under one arm with the other arm holding onto the rungs of the ladder while climbing right to the top. Not such an easy task. Mind you, I did work for some time hanging outside multi story building swinging from bosun’s chairs. I do not fear ladders or heights. The next photo shows my legs (both of them) getting ready to ascend the ladder.
Legs, both of them.
At some stage after having climbed past the widow and as high as possible with my head against the stair’s ceiling I had to let go of the ladder’s rungs in order to place the scroll of etchings against the wall suspended by a bamboo rod (all in keeping with the oriental meme of the scroll). It is impossible to screw something single handed. One can imagine doing all this on my own. However, the results speak for themselves. A wonderful position to, after all those decades, have found a way to show this forgotten scroll of etchings.
The scroll of etchings
In order to try and restore this butcher’s paper scroll of thirty years of age I had to somehow fix the paper’s fragile condition with a good preservative and restore its strength. I gave it about ten coats of varnish, hence the sheen on the surface.
The only problem still to solve is that the scroll now overhangs the entrance to the stairs whereby anyone going up or down has to duck past this scroll. The scroll is longer than the wall.
overhanging scroll
Nothing is easy but I am overjoyed that my etchings are hanging so nicely.

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17 Responses to “The scroll of etchings and all things nude and nature.”

  1. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Dear Gez.

    As you might recall, my daughter is an Emergency Care doctor. She told me that one of the biggest accident risks for we over 65 males is falling from ladders with serious consequences. Often VERY serious consequences. Like death for a start.

    I am about to paint our pile and the expensive rental scaffolding has gone up – because it’s too high (10 metres) and dangerous for a ladder. FM made me (with very little resistance from me) buy a safety harness kit and ladder-specific hard hat.

    I’ll send you a pic.

    Please do not do the ladder on the stair thing again. Not ever.

    Kind regards, Mike

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I don’t think medical staff would be impressed by the acrobatics of an elderly person scaling ladders precariously stationed on stairs, but, I do have experiences working from ladders. It is odd how the body does get less stable as the years go by. I see young kids riding their bicycles with both hands not holding on to the handle bars. Not a care in the world.

      I have reached a stage where even getting up and putting socks on is a challenge. As for opening vacuum sealed packets of food, I feel like giving up and just have a banana.


  2. Sandie Harvey Says:

    Gosh Gerard! You do believe in taking risks. Anyhow all’s well that ends well except now you will have to duck each time you climb the stairs. Love your story about your “etchings”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Parker Says:

    When you first mentioned a “scroll,” I thought, wow, Gerard is even older than I thought, one of his interesting careers must’ve included “scribe to the Pharaohs!”. 😊 The first solution to the overhang that presents itself , is to only invite very short people over to view the scroll, the others involve carpentry, the installation of a Cupola or roof lantern. But the scroll looks very cool indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, so far Helen ( a good friend) and I have been the only ones to have climbed past the overhanging bit. One solution would be to cut it off. Another would be to just have the humility to bow before passing it.
      Or, paste it onto the ceiling.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. berlioz1935 Says:

    Some people climb Mount Everest for a challenge you climb a ladder. I must say, you are brave and adventurous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, wasn’t there an eighty year old man who climbed Mount Everest? I should look it up!
      Things do get wobbly with ageing. We are all a brave lot, Peter. Hanging in there is my daily task now.


  5. catterel Says:

    Glad you survived unharmed! You’ll just have to make people do the limbo as they start to go up the stairs, unless they happen to be under 4 feet tall. Will all those layers of varnish protect the etchings from the light? That looks like a big window – it would be a great shame if they faded after all this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I suppose the etchings are not only black on buff coloured butcher paper, some of the plates I did hand colour them too, I remember.
      They might discolour with age but so do I and everything else.

      Not many people will walk past this scroll. My computer is upstairs and so is my bed, lots of going up and down, but it also keeps me fit.

      You write very good poems, Catterel, very apt and funny.

      Liked by 1 person

      • catterel Says:

        It’s very satisfying to find a suitable wall for an awkward artwork. I have a large wall-hanging crocheted in very thick Berber-carpet wool (brown and cream and beige) that I made in the mid seventies, so very much a thing of its time, and nowhere to hang it. Have offered it to my daughter and granddaughters, but they aren’t THAT retro yet! Thank you for the compliment on my poems,

        Liked by 1 person

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    I, too, am overjoyed that your beautiful etchings are preserved and in view to be enjoyed every day! 🙂

    I am overjoyed that the preserving and hanging of the etchings was done without incident…especially a fall! Glad you were safe! 🙂

    Ha! I laughed out loud when you shared about inviting people to see your etchings…not sure if you really did that, in a serious innocent manner, and I’m reading into it with my weird-mind. But it made me think of old stories eons ago when males would invite females “come up and see my etchings”….and there were NO etchings to see. 😀 You’d think after a few times of this invite, I would’ve wised up and realized there never were going to be any etchings. 😉 Ha! Just teasin’…I never fell for that one! 😀

    Yes, please tell us that “different story” next time!!! 🙂

    Yes, art, like nature, especially art about nature, can be very healing and can bring such joy! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) to you!
    PATS and RUBS to Milo!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Carolyn.
    I have invited people to look at my etchings and when I do show them real etchings, they have to laugh. I am not sure if the laugh is out of relief or because of the etchings.

    I am surprised myself how many I still have. At one stage, I had some of them laminated to serve as table mats underneath plates.

    I also did lithography which is far more complicated and involves natural stone. Kids are often playing around with prints and one type was using potato into which a picture or image was carved and then dipped into colour and printed on paper. Kids loved it and were totally surprised by the results. It is a good way to introduce children into being inventive and creative.

    You must come and look at my etchings too, Carolyn.

    Hugs… to you and Cooper,

    Liked by 1 person

    • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

      I think you are a wonderful artist! I love when you show your art here on your blog!
      I’d be honored if I ever got to see your etchings in person. 🙂

      I love the idea of laminating them and using them as table mats! I used to do that with my children’s artwork.

      How wonderful to introduce children to art and creativity!

      For MANY years, I co-taught summer art classes for kids ages 5 to 12. We had several classes a day for different age groups. It was so much fun! I miss doing that these days.
      (((HUGS))) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Carolyn. Teaching kids is very rewarding. Children are born creative and inventive. They explore the world and each day is an adventure. During their growing up it often takes adults that muck up their creativity.

    I remember teaching adults art back in Holland and some of them were afraid to even put charcoal to paper, draw a line, and sometimes said; ‘I can’t draw’!

    What happened to them? As a child this same adult was fearless and drawing to its heart’s contents.

    Hugs too,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. shoreacres Says:

    I loved this for any number of reasons. As someone who’s varnished masts while hanging from a bos’n’s chair, I understand your willingness to mount the ladder. On the other hand, I gave up bos’n chair work about a decade ago. It wasn’t that I became fearful of heights, it’s that the line-handler I trusted implictly moved to another town, and the thought of an inattentive handler overcame the pleasure of the view from the top of the mast. Also, if I didn’t know the boat and the owner, I always insisted on a new halyard for the chair. If they didn’t want to purchase a new one, I wouldn’t do the varnish. I always said my personal hospitalization policy wouldn’t allow it.

    I like the way you’ve chosen to display your etchings. Personally, I think the need to duck beneath them is genius. It will make people pay attention to them in a way that just being on the wall might now. It’s a good way to keep an eye on your flexibility, too. When you can’t duck beneath them any more, it’ll be a sign that a visit to the local yoga studio or a sports therapist might be called for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you so much, Linda. I will leave the scroll overhanging the stairs and the ducking is not a big deal. It is a bit like going into the galley of a yacht.. My Californian friend had one when we were living in Sydney. It was a small one and from memory ‘a top Hat.’ I do remember from the few sailing days I so enjoyed, it involved a lot of ducking.

      I am trying to visualize you from a bosun’s chair varnishing the masts, it would be precarious too. You too are very brave. In the old day those chairs often caused fatalities. Safety rules are very strict now and one needs to have a ‘ticket’ and be qualified to swing from stages or chairs.

      I am now onto an even bigger project trying to pass a large painting onto the same wall next to the scroll of etching, on solid ground this time, but of that later.

      Liked by 1 person

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