27 November 2005

A Visit With Lynita Shimizu

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon at the Connecticut studio of moku hanga artist Lynita Shimizu, who was hosting an open studio. Lucky for me it was a quiet afternoon, so I had the chance to quiz Lynita about all the kinds of things a beginner wants to know from an artist with nearly 30 years experience. I got to see how she holds the knife, how much she dampens her paper, how deeply she carves her blocks. I also got to see her prints up close and all in one place, like a retrospective exhibit. I loved seeing the continuities in her work — shapes, colors and themes that have repeated over the years. Lynita showed me some prints by other printmakers, people whose work I know through the Baren Forum (Mike Lyon, Sarah Hauser and Dave Bull) as well as prints by teachers and friends of hers in Japan.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed was learning a bit about how Lynita develops and works with an image. I saw how extensively she sketches, and she also showed me some "failed" or incomplete prints and talked about them. In doing so, she shared some of her techniques for rescuing a difficult or stalled print and I know this will help me a lot in my own work.

While I was there I couldn't resist buying one of my favorites of Lynita's prints, Gadabout Guineas.

If you're in New England and want a treat, Lynita's studio will be open again next weekend, December 3 and 4. I know from experience that if you visit, you'll be warmly welcomed. Details can be found on her web site.

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