|One of the original 2005 prints|
In July 2005 I wrote the first post on this blog
, which was about my first woodblock print, Year of the Dog
(above), done at a
workshop with Matt Brown
. In spring 2016 I'm going to be part of a
show at McGowan Fine Art
(Concord NH) that will feature Matt and a few
of his students, and Matt asked me to re-print my first print, since it sold out long ago.
Fortunately I still have the blocks. I've never re-printed any of my
prints before – it's an interesting thing to do, especially reprinting the first one I ever made.
I decided that I wouldn't do anything to the blocks other than smooth
down some of the cleared areas that hadn't been done very well at the
workshop. I did, however, need to re-carve the yellow block because I
had used it to demonstrate something or other (probably when I was
teaching a workshop).
|Four of the five blocks (there's a block for green on the back side of one), including a messed up yellow one.|
Once I had the new yellow block ready, it was simply a matter of printing them all. I thought about doing the new edition in different colors, but I like the original colors so much that I decided to just keep them.
|The old and new yellow blocks.|
Here's the print progression:
|First I printed yellow.|
|Next came a blueish green that gets greener on top of the yellow. I don't know how I conceived of this overprinting technique for my first print, and I'm not sure I would do it this way now, but this is how I did it back in 2005. As you can see, the carving is rough, but I didn't "fix" it.|
|Next a brown block. Here the registration issues become clear. I decided not to try to fix it. |
|Then some red. Again, I'm interested in how I decided to use the red on top of the brown for the trees. Not sure I'd think of that now, which makes me a little sad. Beginner's mind is kind of awesome.|
|The final blue layer is totally magic. There's no dog until the blue gets printed. Unfortunately, the same thing happened with this printing as happened the first time: the green "cloud" shapes got lost under the blue, although they're visible in some lighting situations.|
A side by side comparison shows all of the typical first-time mistakes
that printers make: incomplete coverage, speckling (goma zuri), some ink
bleeding (printing too wet), buildup of ink along the edges (too much
rice paste), and filling in of small carved spaces (too much water
and/or paste). And yet, there's something charming about that 2005
print. I'm glad I didn't correct the registration and carving issues. I'm also glad that I don't generally do reprints!
So now there's a second edition of thirty Year of the Dog
prints. They'll be available at McGowan Fine Art, April 26 – May 27, 2016.