Monday, June 15, 2015

Cover Up

There is hardly any evidence of our yellow rectangles here in layer 3. There is plenty still to do, though. The rocks are going to get some defining darks. The green wave is, well, too green, so we'll figure out what to do there soon. Maybe purple? And, just for kicks, we'll put some foamy action in the background water.

The goal is to get close to this look. Slowly getting there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Adventures in Ink Mixing

This isn’t a new non-representational piece – it’s a pile of green ink that needed to be lighter and yellow-y-er. Kinda cool, huh?

It is one of three colors for the third layer of a print you’ve been following. Layer 3 photos will be out soon!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Another Layer 2

Let's keep rolling here with the bottle jack press, shall we? The last time you saw this print, it looked like this.

Luckily, everything is working great so far and it will probably be done in just one more layer. It is gratifying to see that the darker green shapes give the wave some dimension and life - it was a bit boring and flat before. Of course, that was the plan, but you just never know how it will look until you print a few.

In case you've been wondering, this print is loosely based on this little painting. Almost there!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Remembering and Celebrating

© 2009 Hannah Phelps

White-line woodcuts are about to turn 100 years old. I doubt that anyone knows the exact date when artist B.J.O. Nordfeldt cracked the code of creating a multi-colored print from one block of wood by carving only the outlines of an image. We do know that the first exhibit of the newly invented "Provincetown Print" was in New York in the spring of 1916.

The summer of 1915 must have been a vibrant one for Nordfeldt and the other artists forming the now famous Provincetown art colony. I imagine furious printmaking madness after one of them, Edna Boies Hopkins, teaches her 5 friends how the Japanese created their colorful prints, with water-based ink and multiple blocks of wood. Picture their delight when Nordfeldt, tired of all the carving the Japanese method requires, shows them the first ever white-line woodcut.

"I wonder if you have any of your woodcut prints that you did the first winter here of 1915-1916," fellow Provincetown artist Ada Gilmore Chaffee, wrote to Nordfeldt, "They were so very good and an inspiration to the rest of us. You invented that one block method which you never got any credit for which is now used all over the country."

Living history like that - imagine it.

6 years ago, I carved and printed my first white-line, Mountain Abstract, pictured here. It is little, 2.5" x 12". I had been exposed to the technique the evening before in a general printmaking class. We didn't make any that night, we just looked at a book about Blanche Lazzell*, one of the most famous Provincetown Printers. Captivated, I returned to the book repeatedly during that class.

The next morning, I awoke very early - around 5:30 - still obsessed by the idea. With a piece of scrap birch plywood and a utility knife, I carved the block for Mountain Abstract. Not long after breakfast, the first impression came off the block.

Since there is a lot more to the Provincetown Prints story and my relationship with them, we will return to the subject regularly during this, their centennial, year.

*That book, Blanche Lazzell and the Color Woodcut, is my source for the history in this post.
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