Color Woodblock Prints
I began making color woodblock prints in the Moku Hanga technique, Japanese watercolor woodblock printmaking in 2007. Following two years of practice, color woodblock printmaking gradually replaced painting as my primary medium. The process is contemplative and low-tech with distinct steps: designing an image, carving the blocks and experimenting with colors while proof printing, refining the blocks and ink colors, eventually printing the image.
In my search for balance, energy, peace and connection to the earth, I spend as much time as possible out of doors, painting, hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, gardening and bird-watching in Massachusetts, Downeast Maine, coastal New Brunswick, Canada, and recently in Forida. This interaction with the natural world is the source of my inspiration.
I usually begin an image with sketches or paintings done on-site, and then simplify the design, focusing on the lines of movement and the essential shapes that define the image. After figuring out how many woodblocks are needed to separate the colors design, I transfer the images in reverse to woodblocks. On each block, I carve away areas that will not be printed leaving the raised (relief) image. I apply water-based paint and rice paste to the raised areas mixing them on the block. Then, I place dampened paper on the block, and rub it with a hand-held baren to transfer the impression. Multiple blocks are used, usually one for each color; overprinting two colors creates additional colors on the print. Usually I print the lighter blocks first and the darkest one last. I print the Bokashi or shading following the first printing of that area. Usually I print the lighter blocks first and the darkest one last. I print the Bokashi or shading following the first printing of that area.
I primarily use Rives, a 100% cotton French paper, but sometimes use handmade Japanese paper. All matting and framing materials are acid free and archival.