29 May 2006

Memorial Day Print


Yesterday the choir I sing with performed the song In Flanders Field, which commemorates a WWI burial ground in Belgium, and the idea for this print popped into my mind. I had a great time making this, partly because it only took about 3 hours. (I'm still struggling with time issues.) My process was a little different for this print, so I want to describe it briefly.

First I decided on the size of the print and the paper. I cut some paper down to size and left it dry. Then I cut the image area and kento on two blocks. The first block I left alone, with no carving, so I could use it like a plate for monoprinting. Then I drew the headstones on the second block and quickly carved them. I carved the bottoms lightly so it would look almost like grass at the base of each stone. Then I took a print from that block and transferred the same image with carbon paper to the uncarved block so I could see where the stones would be on the final.

I mixed up a few colors and got some brushes ready for printing. I sprayed water on the uncarved block and applied 3 colors using various brushes. Then I took an impression on dry paper. Here's how it looked:


Immediately after taking that impression, I prepared the other block with black ink and took the second impression. That was the process for each of the 10 prints. I cleaned off the "monoprint" block every other print so the colors wouldn't mix too much on the block and get muddy.

24 May 2006

A Wave


I found some time this week to start on my little "Tai Chi" prints (see May 9 entry), tentatively titled "Attitudes." I can't seem to make anything without giving it a title. Sometimes the title even comes first. Maybe it's because I majored in English literature as an undergrad, or maybe it's just from years of illustrating magazine headlines. Anyway, this wave pattern is based on a section of marbled paper I found.

19 May 2006

Really Big Prints

Big Prints

In 1986, Swiss artist Joseph Felix Muller made four giant woodcuts by carving the wood-planked floor of his studio. One of these prints is currently on exhibit through October at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in an exhibit called "Singular Multiples: The Peter Blum Edition Archive, 1980-1994." As you can see in the photos above (from the May/June issue of Art On Paper) the artists used their entire bodies to burnish the prints onto the paper. Video documentation of the process, which must be incredibly entertaining to watch, is on view at the museum (please let me know if you go see it!). A couple of additional photos can be found online here.

A side note: beginning in June, the Quilts of Gees Bend will also be on view at the MFA Houston. I saw the exhibit in Boston, and it's a beautiful show.

09 May 2006

One Thing Leads to Another

Tai Chi Reference Pix

I found these Tai Chi photos one day last week while I was looking online for something entirely else and they captured my fancy. I've begun to imagine these as characters in various settings and I hope to do a few prints that would further develop the style of image I worked with in the Let Go print. I have a lot of illustration work on my desk right now, though, so it will probably be a week or two before I can get started on any new prints.

04 May 2006

Werner Drewes (1899–1985)

Werner Drewes
3 woodcuts by Werner Drewes

Bauhaus educated Werner Drewes immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1930 and settled in New York. After studying at the Art Students League, he taught printmaking at the Brooklyn Museum School, Columbia University, and, later, Washington University in St. Louis. He was director of the Graphic Arts Division of the New York City Federal Art Project in 1940 and 1941.

I love his use of strong color. Although I believe he used oil-based inks, I've read that he usually printed his color woodcuts by hand on soft Japanese paper as he felt he could gain more subtlety and control that way than on a press.