Saturday, April 13, 2013

Woodcuts, Linocuts, and Other Relief

The Line, soft rubber relief print

People Series
In 1998 I began using soft linoleum to make relief prints.  I soon discovered other carving surfaces such as soft rubber, and then wood.  I've also used styrofoam, craft foam, and other surfaces.  

I used to make artist trading cards of people as well.  They were usually painted or drawn, but I also did a series of printed ones as well(see above)  This led to making individual portraits as well (below)

The Believer,  woodcut 2003
woodcut print, 2004

I also began making a lot more of the prints from wood.  I worked at a wine warehouse for awhile and used to collect the wood from wine crates.  It was usually a smooth soft pine.  After pulling out the nails and staples it was ready to carve.

 The profiles I made were a reflection on individuals I may or may not have seen previously. In other words I make up these portraits from out of my head.  They are not of a particular person that is really alive, though at times I can see something in them that reminds me of people I have known.  I try to make them look humorous in a way, though other feelings do emerge.

The Man with Pipe is a linocut reduction print , meaning that the soft linoleum is carved, then printed, then carved and printed again, and so on until the block is reduced to small details.  The Handyman is a reduction wood cut.  It is printed from wine crate wood from Australia.

These black and white prints were also done on wine crate wood.  I do not sand or alter the wood before carving.  The wood warps and splits easily so it must be kept dry and flat.

 I've also made some prints that were based on local bar scenes.  This print titled Summer Movies is reduction linocut based on the movies they used to show at the back patio of Linda's Tavern on Capitol Hill.

Cityscape Series
Shortly after moving to Seattle in 1998 I began to explore printmaking.  With the encouragement of a friend who lent me the tools and linoleum to make my first print, I soon became obsessed with making relief imagery.  With a new city to explore, I began to take in the sites around me which soon inspired my own artistic vision of archways, stadiums, and viaducts. 
woodcut print

woodcut print

3 color reduction linocut

Dwelling, 3 color linocut relief

In 2004 I began to apply my ink in different ways to my blocks.  I would roll on multiple colors at a time, layering some, erasing and brushing accents.  At times it became almost like painting.  

I've always enjoyed the graphic qualities in the relief process. There is a visual play that happens between the positive and negative space. Sometimes a one color, or plain black and white print can be quite effective.  

 For many of my prints I used discarded wood.  Sometimes the texture of the wood reveals itself in the print(see above) Worn wood can act as a sort of shading device that puts the print in a new light. In 2007 a pipe burst in my basement in the room I used as a print studio.  Many of my prints were destroyed or damaged.  The prints above and below has staining due to the accident.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Unicorn Skulls and the Pegasusunicorngiraffe

One day while walking by
a glint in the sky caught my eye
I looked up and saw flying past
a pegasus unicorn giraffe

It's wings soared above the trees
and it's fluttering shook the leaves
it flew into a cloud and dove fast
this pegasus unicorn giraffe

Then it landed nearby
it was a sight I couldn't deny
and i tried real hard not to laugh
at the pegasus unicorn giraffe

the pegasus-unicorn-gira-affe
a pegasus-unicorn-giraf-af-af-af
Unicorn Skull coil built stoneware, glaze, rutile stain, and white gold overglaze
 These unicorn skulls are built using coils.  Coils are strings of clay that can be used to built complex shapes.  By adding such a small amount of clay at a time, you can easily control whatever you are building.  You can also prevent cracks, like the one seen in the image above by using a little slip between each coil.

Unicorn Skull detail

A large Pegiracorn in progress
 I also use coils to build larger free-standing sculptures.  This is a pegasus unicorn giraffe, or pegiracorn built with earthenware.  I glazed it with majolica glaze and rutile spots. It and another spent a few months at SEATAC airport during NCECA

Unicorn skull sans horn

murrequis unicornis humboldt
 Since it is difficult to make all skulls exactly alike, I like to imagine that the unicorn evolved over time, much like horses.  Therefore, I can assign names to delineate their specie.
Murrequis unicornis americus

unicorn evolution

Murrequis unicornis regnordicus stoneware with white underglaze, rutile stain, and Regnor's Gloss Glaze.  Fired to cone 10 in Kirkland, WA

Unicorn skull with 22k gold luster horn

I enjoy the challenge of making complex sculptures.  Making any skull can be difficult.  I usually use images of horse skulls to help me along, but sometimes I get carried into imaginary traits.

pegasusunicorngiraffe pinched porcelain with stains and glaze

There it stood upon the ground
and there it did not make a sound
I did not think that this vision would last
of the pegasusunicorn giraffe*

I shook my head and closed my eyes
I even reached down to pinch my thigh
I blinked and blinked but standing by
was the pegasusunicorn giraffe

So I yelled with all my might
" what strange creature has entered my sight?"
but the beast did not respond
it just leaped into the air---and flew on

It was a pegasus-unicorn giraffe

*note:  The pegasusunicorngiraffe or pegiracorn as it is otherwise known lives near Mount Olympus in the rain forest.  It can occasionally be seen flying across the sky at dawn and dusk.  It has also been spotted near Sequim down at "the Spit" but usually likes to avoid crowds of people.