This is another print from my painting trip to the Schoodic Area in spring of 2019. The boulder resides on Little Moose Island, and it seems to be a testament to time. I have always been attracted to boulders with orange lichen. The print image measures 15.75” x 10.5” and is made from 9 blocks with 14 rubbings.
TURBULENT SKY OVER COREA HEATH
This is the first print I completed in 2019. The initial watercolor was done at the mysterious and moody Core Heath in Maine, on a late spring painting trip in 2018. I think that bogs and heaths are the most exciting when the weather is actively changing, as long as it doesn’t rain on me, which is usually a possibility. The image is 10.5” high x 15.75”, and was printed from 6 blocks with 14 rubbings.
I finished this woodblock print in late October 2018. It is based on a watercolor I did in May 2018 while I was staying and painting on the Schoodic Peninsular, Acadia National Park in Maine for ten days. The location of the image is from the same place as DEPARTING STORM. The print was created from 8 blocks and 14 rubbings. The image measures 8.5" x 23.25", framed size is 17 x 31.5".
A BIT OF HISTORY AND PROCESS
I was a painter for over 30 years, before I began making color woodblock prints in the Moku Hanga technique (Japanese watercolor woodblock prints) in 2007. Gradually over the next two years I refined my skills and understanding of the process, and color woodblock printmaking became 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 the blocks, refining the blocks, exploring which colors and image needs, and eventually printing the image.
I paint numerous watercolors en plein air, during the warmer months, returning to favorite places each year. I favor the undisturbed landscape, usually nature preserves, state parks, wildlife sanctuaries, or “undeveloped” coastal areas. I am particularly drawn to Downeast Maine; the Schoodic Peninsular, Steuben, Addison, and Lubec. Distinctive trees, crashing surf and rocks, bogs, boreal forests, marshes, and active skies are frequently my subjects. During the cooler months, I study these watercolors and select the ones that best capture the spirit of place to use as designs for woodblock prints. Usually making around 6 prints a year.
I 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 in the design, I transfer the shapes in reverse to woodblocks. On each block, I carve away areas that will not be printed leaving the raised (relief) image. I apply light-fast water-based pigments and rice paste to the raised areas, mixing them with a brush directly 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 colors first, and the darkest one last. I print some blocks with a Bokashi (gradation.)
I primarily use Rives, a 100% cotton French paper. All matting and framing materials are acid free and archival.