That morning we woke to the sound of a nature photography class snapping away at some type of rare bird outside the Airstream. The commotion was the first rude awakening in a week of sleeping California roadside, and a welcomed one, since in an hour we had to meet our man about a mile down the road. We left our rig parked there and walked up the damp, windy street to a beautiful wood shingled house overlooking the Tamales Bay Ecological Preserve, home of artist Tom Killion.
Tom is a fourth-generation Californian native to Marin County. He’s a master of the woodcut print and a frequent collaborator with poet Gary Snyder. He embodies my idea of a Californian. His work, introduced to me two weeks before I met him, is brilliant and breathtaking. It presents the Californian coast in a way that’s recognizable but with detail and color and that create an entirely new perspective on the region, a pure celebration of the natural beauty. I’m beyond impressed when he explains the three-month process it takes to create a new piece, from sketching on location to running the final hand-carved key block through the press. With no prints on hand I could buy to hang in the Airstream, he gave me a book and suggested I cut out the pages and frame them. Whatever works.