13 February 2015

REALLY Fine Lines

I'm writing this post as a bit of an apology for my last post, in which I bragged about how fine a line I can cut on shina plywood. It's true that I can get a pretty thin line on shina plywood. But today I went to the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College and I saw some Japanese woodblock prints at an exhibit called "Nature, Pleasure, Myth: Animals in the art of Japan" and I was severely chastened. The lines I saw on those prints were thinner than thin; so thin that they were almost invisible when printed. I could never ever ever do what I saw today on shina plywood. It put me in my place for sure. Let me show you.

This is a woodblock print by Utagawa Kunisada depicting a couple of people as monkeys. Just look at that fur!

And here's a print from 1772, "Child Wrestling with an Octopus," by someone named Isoda Koryusai. Such beautiful delicate lines. Not shina plywood.

I recommend this exhibit if you find yourself in Amherst, Massachusetts, between now and the end of June. And if you want to learn how to carve really fine lines like these, I don't recommend shina plywood!


Celia Hart said...

You made me laugh Annie!

Didn't the masters of Japanese prints have incredibly skilled block cutters to carve their designs for them?

I am amazed by the fineness of the lines, that exhibition sounds fabulous, but try to find a print in a second hand shop or auction so you can view it closely and not behind glass. You'll be surprised what you might find for a few dollars http://purplepoddedpeas.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/a-print-by-brushes.html

Annie B said...

Ha! Speaking of Kunisada… What a find, Celia. And yes, he didn't carve his own blocks.

Martha Knox said...

When I teach HS and middle school kids linocuts and woodcuts and I show them these sort of Japanese wood blocks prints, I always make a point to tell them that there were specialists who did the carving and printing, and that they used harder blocks that are necessary to get such fine lines.

That monkey hair is pretty gorgeous. Truly transcends medium.

Sharri said...

Simply gorgeous! My first thought, though, was how did you get out in that weather to see this exhibition! Kudos to you - the "no amount of snow, cold and ice will stop me from my appointed rounds" girl!!

Annie B said...

Martha, I need to remember that, too.

Sharri, you made me laugh. We went to the exhibit in the morning before the snow started!