After we hosted Charles Woods for the opening of his poster show last winter, we received the most extraordinary gift in the mail from him. It was an accordion-folded banner edged with a rainbow of geometric fringe that measured well over twenty feet long. Each panel had a single letter that, when extended down the full length of the shop, spelled his kind thank you, “May your gravels be both rich & fine & your golden hearts forever shine.”

Charles never stopped working. For the opening of his show featuring posters that he and David Osborn had printed over forty years prior, Charles brought down a group of new collages that assembled ink jet prints of digital compositions, such as the ones he sampled for the banner font, as well as original Osborn/Woods printed materials that he cut up and used for the new work.

It was a desperate moment for me when I first spied the cut up shards of his original prints in the new pieces. I had loved and coveted the originals so much, I couldn’t imagine destroying those precious cards and posters and rolls of wrapping paper to form this new artful tangle. For each bit I recognized and traced to a known design there were five others I had never seen–shades of plum and yellow, new irregular circles, a Victorian font belonging to complete designs I would never get the chance to see and love. My panic, and I’m sure my coveting, showed all over my face.

But Charles just laughed in his good-natured way. His work was one long, evolving process. He loved the prints he had made all those years ago with David, and he was just as excited about the new work that had grown out of it. With such gentle encouragement, I was able in my second, closer look to see the same vibrancy, joy, and goodness bursting off the page that I had first fallen for in the older work. And the love I had for the older work was magnified and superseded by the respect I held for this man who kept working, still with that perfect sense of color and shape and energy that I had admired since I saw my first Tiger! postcard.

Charles passed on surrounded by friends last Thursday. He was 79. Nevada City, the town which he did so much to form, and all of us, who learned so much from the joy he brought to his work, miss him already.

XOXO from the Goldie Girls

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