Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Moon

 Sky block for December Moon

In the last couple of weeks, I gathered all of the unfinished, unsigned prints that I had started this year and just got ‘em done. They are now signed, numbered and cataloged and ready to post. You can see them below.

One of these prints is something I’d started in the summer - a multi-block print of a full moon setting over some dark trees. The inspiration for the image was the moon setting in the early hours of a December a long time ago - 2011? maybe 2012? - that I had seen from my front porch. 

The morning sky wasn’t dark, but it hadn’t lightened much yet either and the colors were dusky pastels where they weren’t deep purple. That first moon got me thinking that I should try to paint it the next morning, but I am ashamed to say that I missed arising from a warm bed in time to paint the scene from my freezing porch. 

I tried to set it up other years, but again I either wimped out or awoke to a cloudy sky with no moon to see. So I missed it year after year. This moon isn’t like the January moon or the February moon, so if I don’t capture it in December, I have to wait a whole year. 

For whatever reason, this summer, I decided I would try the print anyway. I knew what I wanted my sky to look like and the trees are always in the same spot. And I remembered that the moon is on the pale side during these special occasions. 


December Moon, 10"x8", multi-block print

The moon is a lot bigger in the print than it ever appears in real life, but other than that, I got the sky I wanted and I had fun carving the trees. 

A few months passed and I nearly forgot that I had printed the winter moons. When I saw them while rearranging my studio, I signed and numbered them and shared them with my newsletter subscribers. 

One of those lovely people bought one and I shipped it on Monday morning. I don’t know about any of you, but I noticed a beautiful full moon on Monday morning - setting into a dusky pink and purple sky over some dark trees. 

There is something special about that - shipping the first of these prints to its new home on the morning of the 2017 December Moon. The last full moon of the year, in fact.

If you are interested in the December Moon print, or any of the ones below, you can click on their titles for links to Etsy, or contact me.

Vanguard, 16" x 24", jigsaw reduction woodblock print

  Leaves in Winter, 10" x 8", white-line woodcut print

Pumpkins and Buoys, 10" x 8", white-line woodcut print

 Veiled House, 10" x 8", white-line woodcut print

 Afternoon in Tenants Harbor, 7" x 11", white-line woodcut print

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Where White-lines Come From

Measure, Coast, my Strada easel and a plein air painting

Autumn is my favorite time to paint outdoors. On nice days, it is so hard to stay inside at a press or a worktable. Especially when the dogs can get some exercise too.

So I haven't been printing that much lately - I've been heading out to paint the ocean during my favorite month. But these paintings are the inspiration for new prints when winter swoops in and locks us all inside.

For example, this little painting:

Monhegan Wave Study, oil on canvas

Became this larger white-line woodcut print a few months later:

Most of the prints you've seen here originated from plein air paintings. As a matter of fact, last year's October paintings are fulfilling that purpose right now. If you want to watch the new jigsaw print come together, you can see videos and pictures on my instagram page.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Another Workshop Complete

 New carving tools**

Last weekend I taught another white-line woodcut workshop to a bunch of very nice, industrious students. This time, it was at the League of NH Craftsmen's headquarters in Concord, NH

I sorta forgot to take pictures of their work and I sorta didn't want to. I am sure they would have allowed me to post their new prints here, especially because they did some lovely work. I just have a hang up about it. I don't want people posting my work all over the place without careful thought and permission and that makes me extra cautious about others.

Anyway, each student finished two totally different designs and printed each one at least once. That meant they got to acquire some carving skills for the first block and then push themselves a little on the second one. And they each used two kinds of paper, which is always a good exercise.

They were a fun group and I hope they continue to print now that they have some new knowledge.

The next workshop has not been scheduled yet, but there will be at least one next year. If you want to make sure you know about it in time to sign up, subscribe to my monthly newsletter by clicking here and filling in your address. You'll get images of my work and photos of what I'm doing and a handy schedule. 

**When I show students the knife I use to carve white-line woodcuts, I point out that the handle was long when it first came and I had to cut it down to fit my own hand. I just ordered some new tools for the jigsaw reductions and I thought I'd show you the handles before I cut them.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Enjoying Prints without White-lines

Reflecting Pool at The Clark Art Institute

I recently visited The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA to see an exhibit of Helen Frankenthaler's woodcut prints and paintings. 

You may know that Frankenthaler's woodcuts are a huge inspiration for me. If not, you can read a previous post about my first encounter with her work here.

It was a marvelous exhibit. I hadn’t seen any of her prints in person before and it was well worth the five hour drive round trip. 

Some of the prints were unbelievably luminous. The brilliance was partially achieved using printmaking techniques that she herself didn’t even know how to do. She worked with professional printers who turned her ideas into print editions. 

That is the traditional way of doing things, actually. All the famous Japanese woodcuts familiar to you were created by a team. Two names you know, Hiroshige and Hokusai, were painters who created images for a printmaking house, who employed specialized carvers, paper handlers and printers, to translate into prints.

In Frankenthaler's case, she pushed these printers to their limits with her ideas and forced them to invent completely new techniques to fulfill her visions. Many of these pieces took years of proofing, experimentation and failure before completion. According to books and museum tags, tempers were known to flare.

Standing before her imposing images, I couldn't always puzzle out how they were done even after reading a detailed description. 

Even though they are woodcuts. Even though they are jigsaws.

Instead of frustration, I feel energized by this. 

I've got some big ideas of my own and seeing hers in full lively color helped turn my hope into faith that they will be in my hands or on the wall sometime in the future. Even if I don't quite know how it will happen.

P.S. There was also an exhibit of a few of Frankenthaler's paintings in another building of The Clark. To get there, you "had to" take this wooded path.

Even thought the Frankenthaler exhibit is no longer on display, The Clark is a marvelous place and I recommend a visit!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Break During Dog Days

Measure, a little more than six months old, enjoying a hike in Acadia National Park.

I went to Acadia National Park for the first time last week. For years, people have been telling me that I have to go there and paint.

I did half of that. I went and camped and hiked and ate a lot of seafood. 

I had all of my supplies for three different media just in case I felt like working. I enjoyed all of the scenery immensely and a lot of it reminded me of Home - the woods where I grew up north of Portland, ME, Rye, NH where I watched waves crashing on rocks for hours as mosquitoes and greenhead flies feasted on me every summer as a kid, and my grandparents' home on an island near Rockland, ME.

Acadia is my first visit to any National Park. This seems odd - most of my life I have lived only a few hours drive from this one and I had never been. And there is something wrong about an American who has journeyed all the way to Australia twice but never seen the Grand Canyon.

Somehow, all this added up to the decision to just look, relax and appreciate the environment, my dogs and husband, and a short break from my responsibilities here in New Boston.

I didn't even take many photos - a few of my puppy, Measure, who has now already been to a National Park as a baby. Lucky Dog. Maybe this will be the first of many for her. And me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Weeks After

More white-line woodcuts in the booth last week.

The League of NH Craftsmen's Fair is over. Some prints found new homes and lots of people were exposed to white-line woodcuts and jigsaw reduction woodblocks.

My "Beach House" inspired booth set up also won third place in the "Other" category and prompted many compliments. It was a nice space to sit in for 9 whole days straight and the prints looked great on the white, beadboard walls.

I gave out a ton of flyers about my next white-line workshop. It will be at League Headquarters in Concord, NH the weekend of October 14-15. 

Before that, I'll be teaching printmaking on Appledore Island August 28 - September 1, which is off the coast of Portsmouth, NH. There will also be sessions in drawing and painting. 

Sound fun? There might still be spots, so check here to sign up!

Before that, I am going camping with my dogs. Maybe I'll paint a bit. Maybe I'll do another white-line woodcut on site. Maybe I'll just sit and enjoy the outdoors. Any of that sounds nice after a fun, but very busy week.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

White-lines at the League of NH Craftsmen's Fair

The League of NH Craftsmen's Fair is this week. I am printing a little in my booth between visitors.

If you haven't stopped by yet, you still have a few days. The Fair doesn't close until Sunday, August 13th at 5 pm, so stop by!

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