Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moku Hanga

I had a blast at the Moku Hanga workshop that I attended last weekend at the Zea Mays Printmaking Studio in Florence, Massachusetts. I learned so much about this traditional Japanese method of woodblock printing. Two days were not nearly enough to assimilate and practice all the new techniques. My head is spinning with ideas and I can't wait to get the additional tools that I need to continue printing multi-colored woodblocks.

Here is Annie Bissett, our guru, demonstrating how to mix inks. There were nine participants in the workshop, all fabulous artists, all fun to work with, all inspirational. The studio was spacious and full of light. We each had our own work table and plenty of elbow room. Annie was a constant source of wisdom.

Here I am carving one of my four blocks for the four colors in my print -- yellow, red, blue, and black.

Now I'm inking the first block in yellow.

I carved Kento marks in the corner and bottom edge of each of my four woodblocks to help me place the paper just so on each block.

Finally, I rubbed the back of the paper with a baren to press the ink from the woodblock into the paper. And, Voila!

Here's my first Moku Hanga wooblock print. Not the undisputed masterpiece that I had intended to create, but a start. I hope there will be many more to come.

For more photos of the workshop, check out Annie Bissett's wonderful blog, woodblockdreams.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Portrait and a Tanka

8" X 10" pen-and-ink
The Monsignor’s dog
is a black-and-white cocker--
saintly and sinful--
his eyes lifted to heaven,
in his thoughts he's digging holes.

I've taken up Tanka, a Japanese style of poetry, similar to Haiku, but with five lines in each poem, and 5/7/5/7/7 beats in each line. Actually, Tom signed me up for his Tanka group, but I am having fun writing Tankas for each portrait I draw. Maybe I'll start combining portraits with poetry on my greeting cards.

I'm off to my Japanese Block Printing workshop this weekend in Florence, Massachusetts. Stay tuned for my first woodblock print in COLOR!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What a Week!

On Sunday my brother Brian came for a five-day visit from California. In the 26 years since I moved from California to New England, Brian has never visited me at my house, so it was a momentous occasion!

Here we are in our blaze orange (the month of November is deer-hunting season in Maine), standing in front of Tom's "Dow Jones Industrial Wood Pile." By the way, Tom had one personal essay published this week and another accepted for publication!

On Monday I took down my month-long show at the Blue Hill Co-op: Community Market and Cafe. I called it "Faces from the Farm." It included 12 original pen-and-ink drawings and seven woodblock prints -- all farm animals (well, except for the black bear). I got tons of good feedback on the exhibit and sold eight pieces -- a personal best for me!

Later that day I delivered two new portraits. I love Scout's sweet sense of yearning (I understand that he's quite the moocher of treats!) and King's goofy dignity.

10" X 8" pen and ink

7" X 5" pen and ink


This is a woodblock print by my favorite Moku Hanga artisit, Annie Bissett. I'll be taking a course with Annie at the end of this month to learn how to create woodblock prints in COLOR!

On Thursday I attended the opening of "Noah's Ark Revisited: Part II," a multi-artist, multi-media exhibit of living creatures at the Deer Isle Artists' Association. I have three woodblock prints in the show.

If I look worn out in this picture, I am! Brian left Friday morning and I'll get back to my drawing board this week.