windowtoart "Graphics": Woodcuts Special Cut Block Printing Intro Lithography Silk Screen Graphics Choices
WOODCUTS, A CHALLENGE OF PATIENCE AND CUTTING
|The graphic artist who chooses woodcuts is a real trooper, loves challenges, has lots of patience and doesn't mind a sliver or two. Unlike linoleum or rubber based blocks, cutting is usually 1-directional, "with the grain". However, cross-cutting is possible but has its challenges. Hard woods like oak and birch are easier to cut because of tight grain, are more expensive and tools must be kept sharpened for clean cutting.|
The insert shows a set of student woodcutting tools, a flat aluminum oxide sharpening stone, and a curved Burma Gouge Slip. Larger, more professional sized tools are also available. Soft woods like pine are obtainable by visiting the scrap section of a local lumber yard and is easy to cut with sharp tools. A set of different sized wood gouges and venors are needed and a stone and oil to keep them sharp. It's a wonderful adventure to experience. Don't be chicken!
By studying the cut marks one can observe how they move mostly horizontally across the block. Curved shapes can be outlined with a small v-venor and then horizontal parallel cuts would follow. Or, you can cut cross-grain with a steadier hand and do what seems naturally needed.
The left "old hag" is quite a contrast to the young girl with a doll on the right. Much of the old hag has been cut away on the first block producing a large light area surrounding the figure. Did you notice that the print is a reversal?
The right young child has a great deal of uncut background which envelops her into its somber hues. Internal cutting defines body features of both girl and doll, and the fabric shadowing.
All these prints are on thin, Japanese rice paper. Colors appear more muted and there is a delightful aspect of transparency that is quite typical of these prints. Mounting them over a white bachground helps colors appear more clear and opaque. The fish net here is a good example of a light, transparent color over the dock. The curved floaters were a good challenge in the final cutting.
These "sunbathers" are a multi-colored 2 block cut in hues which suggest they are well tanned! All prints presented here are 12" X 20".
Woodblocks are a wonderful aspect of graphic fine arts and I hope they always will be. A nice advantage to the wood itself, is that the one board, with careful planning and cutting, can be used on both sides to produce as many as 6 opportunites for color layer printing. There are great papers to experiment with printing too----silky Kitakata, translucent Mulberry paper and many others to explore.
| Please check out this last special woodcut example. It's all by itself, an artist's work I have treasured for many years.|
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