26 June 2006

Summer Woodblock Workshops

Kathryn Smith by Kathryn Smith

I promise I'll stop talking about Provincetown after this post, but I want to mention three woodblock workshops that are happening this summer at Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM):

July 17-21 Nona Hershey will be teaching a Reduction Woodcut class.

July 24-28 there will be a White-Line Print workshop with Kathryn Smith.

August 7-11 there's a Moku Hanga workshop with Daniel Heyman.

All three of these instructors are well-respected artists and the setting can't be beat. Located right in the heart of town, the newly renovated PAAM space is a beautiful facility. See the web site for other PAAM classes in painting, writing, drawing and more.

23 June 2006

More On Blanche Lazzell

Lazzell Monongahela

I love Provincetown. What a great week I had there, including lots of fun looking at art. Provincetown has been an "artists colony" for over 100 years and the tradition is still going strong even though there is now a lot of gentrification going on in the town, threatening to price out a lot of locals and artists. My favorite stop in my art tour was the Julie Heller Gallery. Located in a small unassuming building that one could almost call a shack at the water's edge in the middle of town, visitors to the gallery are invited to look through piles of stacked paintings and prints at their leisure. The works are all by artists who have at one time or another been associated with Provincetown, and I gasped as I discovered woodcut after woodcut in the stacks, prints by Blanche Lazzell, Arthur Dow, Agnes Weinrich and Ethel Mars. Best of all was the moment when I unearthed one of Lazzell's original blocks. What a treat.

More Lazzell prints can be seen at this link from a previous exhibit at the Cleveland Art Museum.

16 June 2006

Off To Provincetown

Blanche Lazell 1926 Blanche Lazzell

Tomorrow morning I leave for a week in Provincetown on beautiful Cape Cod. Provincetown is the birthplace of the uniquely American method of woodblock printing known as "white line woodcut." In this method, only one block is used and colors are applied one at a time rather than having a separate block for each color. Blanche Lazzell, whose work is shown above, is probably the most well-known of these Provincetown printmakers. A brief history of the white line print can be found at this link.

See you next week!

Taking A Rubbing

Oil Stick Rubbing

I still haven't had time to do any printing, so in a fit of frustration I took the opportunity while I was waiting for a client response to do a quick oil stick rubbing of a couple of the blocks I've been working on. This method, where you lay a piece of paper over the block and rub with a crayon or pastel is known as frottage and is a good way to proof blocks, although they come out the reverse of how they would be if you printed them. A frottage print can also be an end product in itself. Edvard Munch created a few prints this way and artist Sarah Hauser also uses this method for some of her wonderful animal prints.

15 June 2006

Goggles

Goggles

When I need to do very fine carving, I use a pair of goggle-like magnifying glasses and a folding drafting board that brings the work up close to my eyes. Today I was happily carving away when my partner Lynn strolled by and suddenly burst out laughing. It took me a moment to realize that she was laughing at me! I guess I look pretty darn funny in those goggles. But they work!

13 June 2006

Almost Set Up





(click photo for larger view)

It's been a week now since I moved my home office/studio to the new room. First thing was to get the computer and communication stuff all set up so I could keep my illustration business going. Then I started slowly setting up my woodblock workspace. Still a lot to do, but I feel like I've got the bones of it ready, so I'm hoping to work on a print today/tomorrow. We'll see.

07 June 2006

Art Interrupted

Disarray

I've been working in the smallest, darkest room in my house for the past 10 years and have felt really cramped since I started making woodblock prints. My partner and I have agreed that I need more space, so I'm moving into a room that has windows on two sides and is almost twice as large as my old space. I'm really happy about it, but we're rearranging three rooms to make this happen so right now everything is in a state of total chaos. Above is the new space with everything piled up until I can figure out where it goes.

02 June 2006

Tom Marioni Woodblock

Tom Marioni

I was exploring the Crown Point Press website tonight and came across this interesting conceptual woodcut by Tom Marioni. To create this 41 inch x 27 inch print he invited a group of friends to throw darts at a spiral pasted over the piece of wood that would become the printing plate. I enjoy conceptual pieces like this, although knowing the back-story is very important for me in fully appreciating the work.