So I signed up to take a two day woodblock printing workshop with accomplished woodblock artist Mona Wu, which workshop was hosted by the Weatherspoon Art Gallery. The workshop was designed for Art teachers, so there were about 10 people there, and most of us were/are teachers.
The pre-workshop instructions were kind of vague – we were told to show up with a couple of basic compositions. I went out and took pictures of my purple coneflowers, came back in and used those photos to create a “simple” composition – three flowers with leaves. Nothing complicated, right? W R O N G.
I have never been so frustrated with any artform, ever. Not even Michael Ananian’s drawing class, abysmal as that was, compares to the special hell that is the attempt to cut fine lines in mahogany plywood. I have come to the conclusion that it canNOT be done. Every time I tried, thought I had it, the damn thing would pop off the board, and unlike clay, you can’t put it back. This stuff is so far from forgiving, it’s not even on the same planet. GRRRRRRR. By the time we got done yesterday, I’d cussed the air blue, my fingers were numb and frozen in cutting position, shoulder frozen up, and I ended up at the Chiropractor, where Rod attempted (and failed) to pop my spine and neck back into some semblance of order. Ice bags all around! Woo hoo!
Today was “reduction printing” day. O Joy! NOT as bad as yesterday, because I finally got a clue and did a TRULY simple composition. In desperation, I used the same watermelon composition that I came up with for the Nelson workshop last month. Here’s a picture of the printing plate after the third color:
It was bad enough tho, ‘cuz guess what? In order to ONLY put ink in the exact spot where you want it, you have to mask everything else, and you can’t leave the mask in place when you print. This means lining stuff up and taping it back down….for EVERY edition. Tedious, to say the least. Here’s a picture of the prints I made, after the third color. Yellow went down first, ONLY on the watermelon rind part. Then blue, ONLY on the background and on the watermelon rind (yellow + blue = green), THEN I carved away some of the rind part to make stripes with a lighter green.
Here is a picture of the (mostly) finished editions, again starting with the first at lower left and going clockwise 1-4. I will prolly hand-color the shadowing on the watermelon slice and add some seeds.