Friday, April 24, 2015


See what happens when you defy a printmaker who has power tools? Rip my prints and I cut you to pieces! 

Misplaced anger, of course. It wasn't the block that caused all the yellow rectangle problems. It was either the ink or the paper or, most likely, the combination of the two. 

Still, it was satisfying to take some frustration out on something. Especially something that had it coming... I mean,  something I would've cut up anyway.

The rectangles that are in good shape will get three colors added early next week - blues, greens, browns - the usual. And they will roll on and peel off smoothly and evenly and the prints will look perfect.

'Cause they've seen what happens if they misbehave.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Press

Of a different kind. Another little play on words there for those of you missing it.

The April 23, 2015 edition of the Goffstown News has a very nice article in it written by Alysa Southall about me and two other artists in my town. My jigsaw reduction woodblock print, House on Ocean Point, is pictured on this page.

James Cook is a jeweler and owner of Tates Gallery, which is right in downtown New Boston. I swear we do have downtown.

Molly Poole paints mostly dogs. One of her great action shots of a chocolate lab swimming with a stick made the cover of the paper – you can see it on this page of her gallery. Or you can get a copy of the paper….

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Yellow Rectangles

Ok, maybe I was wrong about how interesting a yellow rectangle sporting some white lines would be. Unless you are into really minimalist stuff. Then, it's pretty fantastic.

Things did get exciting while I was printing these lovely blond layers, but not in a good way. Many of the prints ripped when I pulled them from the block after printing. Even after I quit the press in favor of my wooden spoon and a light touch, they continued to stick to the block:

Ripped print on the left next to one that came out fine.

What happened? Who knows for sure, but I think it was a combination of the ink, the pigment in the ink (yes that is two distinct factors) and the dampness of the paper.  I’ll get into all of this another time, because I am still a little too frustrated to talk about it in depth.

Now I will forge ahead with the prints that did come out okay and hope for the best. There will be less of these images than I had planned originally, but sometimes it just works out that way. Maybe that will free up some time/ink/paper for a whole new print!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Green Monster Layer 2

The last time you saw this block, it was in one piece. You could clearly see the gouache I had painted all over it. Remember?

I printed a lot of  green rectangles from the block at the time. When they dried, I used a scroll saw to cut it up, and I carved some shapes out of it that I wanted to remain green. Add a little red-y brown, light blue and lilac and you have dozens of layer twos, one of which is on the left.

Now, we wait for the new ink to settle before moving on. Good thing I have several of these prints going at once.

Tomorrow, I will show you some yellow rectangles. More exciting than it sounds. Try to be patient.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Block - UnCut

Before I carved any white areas from the block you saw yesterday (with a print next to it, remember?), I painted the wood with gouache. With the shapes and lines drawn right on the block, I can make my cuts more confidently. I want a lot of movement in the water, and that all happens (or doesn’t) with expressive carving.

This also helps you see where we are going with this image. Out to sea, as per usual.

Layer two is in progress now. It looks pretty cool too. Maybe you will see that tomorrow. Or maybe not… I have some other things to share too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Green Non-Monster

Another gratuitous Boston baseball reference for you today.

Or is it? The print is intended to be a seascape, but with a white shape in a green field (pun intended) on the paper now, I could end up with anything. Including a monster. Or not.

This photo reveals a lot of my process. For example, my registrations secret is exposed! The wood fits snugly into a hole I cut into a piece of mat board. I then tape metal pins to that and each time I put down a new piece of paper for printing, I add corresponding plastic tabs. They are taped to the back of the prints. When it is time for layer two, all I have to do is fit the tabs on the pins and the prints will line up nearly perfectly. It also prevents the whole thing from sliding around while printing. Not surprisingly, this is called the "pins and tabs method."

Through the turquoise sheen on the block, you can make out the transferred drawing a little. Including some color notes I added before I started carving. I have a picture of that too. Sounds like we have a topic for tomorrow. We'll see if we can fit baseball in too.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Opening Day

This photo has little to do with baseball, but it illustrates the first step for a print, so let’s use the reference on this warm, springy, bright and victorious day for Red Sox fans.

On the right, an oil painting on a paper specifically designed to handle it. Painted last fall on site in Kittery Point, ME, I have been thinking about the composition and colors for months.

Then it is time to pick up a pencil and DO something with all those thoughts. The drawing is the same size as my block of wood. When I have a composition I like, I can transfer it to the wood.

As a matter of fact, a whole layer is done for this new print. I started with some turquoise rectangles – I’ll show you next time.

And yes, my work station is usually piled up with stuff like this. It makes for tippy sketchbooks, but interesting photos.
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