White-line Woodcut Print in Progress
After I fell in love with the white-line woodcut printing method, I realized that creating them was improving my painting.
I wouldn’t have expected that. In fact, I would have predicted that adding a medium would have meant less time painting which would lead to atrophied painting skills.
Instead, I found myself anticipating prints while I was painting. And that became a very useful thing.
New Look at an Old Friend, oil on board
inspiration for the print pictured above
Right from the beginning, I had used some of my plein air sketches as references for my prints. I quickly transitioned into thinking about what would make a great print while I was painting.
That meant focusing, first and foremost, on creating solid compositions.
Compositions ARE paintings, really. Without a great composition, a painting will never work out no matter how skillful the brushwork is, no matter how vibrant the colors are, no matter how well it is rendered.
Before printmaking, I occasionally got a bit lazy about that. With oil paints, you can wipe off and start over or paint over things that don’t look right. With printmaking, it is a lot harder to fix mistakes - sometimes even impossible. Planning everything in advance doesn’t just make things easier - it is crucial.
Which really is true for painting too - if you want to get anywhere.
This was something I already knew and valued, but I didn’t always act like I knew and valued it. After printmaking for a short time, I painted like a printmaker - planning in advance.
And that made all my paintings more successful. I designed the compositions carefully right from the start and the rest of the session went smoothly.
Want to improve your painting? Paint like a printmaker.
Don't know anything about printmaking? Click here to sign up for my upcoming white-line woodcut printmaking workshop!