Tag Archives: woodcut

Goodbye Blue

Advice to winter travelers in Iceland: keep up with the weather reports, have a car with 4wd/ studded tires, and have a plan B!  After a big blizzard in the North, I scrambled to re-organize my last few days in Iceland.  I had hoped to drive to Reykjavik and spend my last two days at the National Library and visit the studios of the Icelandic Printmaking Association.  It was not to be, Mother Nature had other plans, and that trumps everything.  The road out of Olafsfjordur was impassible for 2 days, and I had serious doubts about driving through some long mountainous passes on route 1, the ring road around the island.  So plan B: swim some laps and try to relax.  In the end I decided to leave my car in the North, in Akureyri, and fly South on the day of my international departure from Keflavik, fingers crossed that the weather would hold.

On the up side, my drive to Akureyri, an hour away from Olafsfjordur, was uneventful.  At times, though, the light was so spectacular that I thought I would go off the road.  Here is the light at mid-day, between 12:00 noon and 1:30 on December 12.  Then from 2:30pm and on, once again, the descent into blueness, deeper and deeper until dark.  I am going to miss the blueness.

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My last 10 days or so at Listhus were dedicated to my woodcuts.  These are the three that I made, all editioned, and the blocks cancelled so I won’t have to carry them home.

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Presence, 13″ x 9″, edition of 6

 

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Olafsfjordur, 13″ x 9″, edition of 15IMG_8207 Siglufjordur, 9″ x 5″, edition of 13

 

 

 

 

 

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Printmaking Me

My artistic process has undergone some major shifts recently. I’ve documented many of these breakthroughs here in this blog: working larger, stepping back from direct observation to allow my inner vision a larger role.   It has been a big year.

As I continue to refine my vision and expression, I’ve been making color prints.  This is another new direction for me, and It involves a lot of experimenting.  But even with lots of experience and confidence, the process of developing a print is like driving on a road with blind curves.  I am very excited about where it is going.

So after a long, somewhat muted period, Printmaking Me is discovering an amplified voice.  Painting Me is happy to have the volume turned up.

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And actually, now it looks like this.  I printed the band of rocks a second time, with a layer of black.

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About twenty-five color woodcuts and monoprints will be featured in my upcoming exhibit “North of Here” at 22 Gallery in Philadelphia.  Stay tuned for more info, I’m already shifting gears, cleaning up the studio and getting ready to bring work to the framers.

the I inside

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Now as I continue to work in the studio it’s apparent how much my residency in Iceland has changed me. Have barriers to my natural expression begun to melt away?  Maybe I am not so much changed as more permeable, more visible to myself, more accessible.  Anyway, I am aware of an eye inside me that has begun to open.

Here is a poem that I look at often.  It hangs above my work bench at the Library Company, a reminder that there is a great world inside me, inside of every human.

Is my soul asleep?

Is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives that work in the night stopped?
And the water-
wheel of thought, is it going around now, cups
empty, carrying only shadows?

No, my soul is not asleep.
It is awake, wide awake.
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,
its eyes wide open
far-off things, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.
~Antonio Machado

So this is what I’m seeing right now, an imagined mountain, loosely based on a sketch of some formations just East of Hveragerdi, in the South of Iceland.

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These recent 16 x 20 monoprints, are my first full-color prints (besides some dabbling efforts that never really “took”, and I abandoned)  I’m still working through the mountain forms trying to come closer to my imagined ideal, and I am beginning to play with the forms of the shadows on the massive mountain flanks.

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This is one, below, is from the great Icelandic painter Kjarval.  I’m not the only one to see figures in the mountain forms and shadows.IMG_5407

 

 

More woodcuts

With last Monday a holiday, and a big snowstorm, and then some more snow, it has been a wonderful long stretch in the studio. I am trying to focus in on a few themes: the mountain, my memory of the stillness and the whiteness, the cold, transparent atmosphere. The grazing horses and the simple fence that traces the contour of the fields, the distance to the mountain.

Now there is a cold, transparent atmosphere here in Philadelphia.  It seems to be keeping me in the mood to follow this train of thought.

All of these are 16 x 20, 16 x 16

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Woodcuts

At a standstill on some paintings recently, I began to draw.  Maybe the simplicity of black and white will help me focus on the image I can see so clearly in my mind’s eye.  Mountain forms and memory.  It’s not an easy thing to pull an image out from inside oneself, so different from landscape painting, looking out and reflecting back.  I want to step outside to re-set my eyes (and my vision) by looking at the mountains all around me, but that’s not where I am right now, so…   I thought I would start doing some woodcuts and see if they get me any closer.

Here it is, 16 x 20, in its current state:IMG_4742

What makes printmaking so wonderful is that by taking proof prints as your cutting progresses, you create a record of its evolution. Here is an earlier state:IMG_4747

And a shot of the woodblock after its first inking.  The scratched lines show up very well.

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