Printmaking in the Ozone

Woodcut Printmaking is happening now at the Ozone.


Printmaking was born of the desire to create a pattern on fabric, even before there was paper to print on. There are a variety of things that were carved to serve the purpose, wood becoming the most popular and among the longest lasting blocks. The prints in the gallery pulled from the wood blocks are considered 'fine art prints' because they can not be mass produced (typically only 50-100 good prints can be pulled from each block) and are created start to finish by the artist. Here is one way that it's done and this print 'The Fish That Dreamt of the Wave' is still being printed with the edition open.


 First, the artwork is rendered onto the wood in the opposite of what the intended final image will be. Some artists will trace a negative 'carbon copy' from their original drawing. I like the challenge and immediacy of free-hand drawing.

Next, the areas to collect printing ink are reserved as the contrasted parts are carved away from the block. In this case, the printing inks are hand painted onto the block for the desired effects for each printing.

Last, a piece of cotton rag paper, sumi rice paper, fabric, or whatever is being printed upon is placed on the block and hand pressed for the final piece. 


The printing method I love most is close to the most ancient. Instead of using a roller or 'brayer' to apply the ink, I enjoy hand applying the inks with different kinds of brushes. Many print makers use a press of some kind to apply pressure to the block for the transfer of the inks. A smooth stone produces the best results for the print that I am after. A print, after the block is carved, takes anywhere from minutes to hours to prepare with the inks. The pressing usually only takes a few minutes and a lot of elbow grease. 


Here are a few examples of the different ways the block can be inked. In the case of the Yellow-Green and Purple Seahorse, the inks were painting in only the carved graphic area of the block. In the case of the center 'blended' background, the whole block was inked in as well as the subject being inked in black. The lower Rock Fish have the same treatments. 


Currently, I am on the second printing series of the 'Sea Horse-power' and the third for the Rockfish. With the nature of wood, each time a print is pressed, the grains get crushed. A typical block can last anywhere for a few prints to around 100. Each print will differ slightly through the run with line crispness and other factors just from the aging of the block.  The prints with the white backgrounds and the multi-colored subjects are from the latest pull and available at the Ozone.

Daily Visions April-14-2017
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