Friday, February 29, 2008


This post is about a print I made for a Baren Forum exchange. The requirements for the print is that it be 10 by 10 inches and there is no theme or subject specified.

I did this little watercolor in 2006 which I thought would make a pretty good composition by adding some sky or beach, but decided to have only 3 sets of piling. I went down to the beach and took some photos.

It was a cold day in February and the tide was out farther than when I painted the picture.

I use the Japanese method of printing and learned using Japanese papers. They are made for this kind of printmaking and but the ones that work well are quite expensive. I have tried several much less costly domestic papers and had had good results with Daniel Smith drawing and printing paper until they stopped making it. I decided to do a reduction print using Daniel Smith Lenox paper. I had used it on my Year of the Rat print and it worked pretty well.

I first cut the paper and prepared it for printing by soaking half of the sheets in a tub of water for about 10 minutes and laying each with a dry sheet of the same in between. An alternative method is to lightly brush water over each sheet. I put the pile between dampened blotters on a thin piece of plywood covered with a plastic bag and put another piece of bag-covered plywood on top and put the "sandwich" in a large plastic bag. I need 31 prints for the exchange and would like a few to try to sell or give away and as with all my editions there are lots that are quite awful and I save for collage or proof on the backs. I was able to get 6 10x10 prints out of each of 8 22x30 inch sheets. One of the sheets was an old sheet of "Lenox 100". I also did about 10 proofing prints on shin-torinoko.

The next morning, I pressed the pieces of paper with my etching press, going over each sheet 4 times with roller. This is to stretch the paper so it will not stretch when it is printed. The paper was the right dampness and I began printing. I print with tube watercolor paint, powdered pigments mixed on the block with methyl cellulose and in the final impression, I used sumi ink.. I print with a ball-baring baren.

This is a reduction print using just one block of wood. There were 6 different states for the block and I printed 8 impressions. After each color, I carved off that section of the block and then printed the next.

This picture shows the block as used for my first two impressions. There are 2 kento marks on the bottom (one on the left corner) for registration. I place my paper in to these slots, drop it onto the carved block and rub the back of the paper with a ball baring baren. First I printed a solid light gray. The sheet at the top of the photo shows it. I printed the whole stack before going to the next step. Secondly, I printed the gradation (bokashi) of blue for the sky.

I then carved away all the sky and water area and then printed the beach. I did a second impression on the beach, another bokashi trying for a pebbled look by not pressing so hard with my baren.

This is the block after I had printed the beach. I had started carving out the beach area.
I printed the image upside down. I've turned the blocks over for these photos.

Here the print is after the mountains were printed.

Then I carved out the mountains and printed the trees.

This is one of the prints done on the "Lenox 100". It appeared to be the same as the Daniel Smith Lenox but didn't print as well.... was pebbly, even where I didn't want it to be.

After the trees were printed, I carved them away and left the dock and the reflections and printed my 7th impression.

And now the reflections are carved away

And here is the final print.

Monday, February 11, 2008


For the 6th year, I have made a woodblock print for a print exchange sponsored by The print each year depicts the Chinese Zodiac animal. You can read about the exchange here.

This year's animal is the rat. My intention was to make the rat look like he is cutting a block of wood to make a woodblock print. That is why the year is backwards. I figured printmakers would get it, but already, two of the printmaker recipients have asked if I intended to make the year backwards. Oh well. For any printmaker who is might be interested in how I print. I print with watercolor using Hanga (Japanese) technique. This print was done reductive, with one piece of wood.

The Chinese New Year started on Feb. 8. I flew to Juneau on that morning, returned on Friday. My main reason for going was a doctor visit. As always when I go there, I do much more. The trip to Juneau takes about a half hour. We sometimes follow the coast line, but this time we went through the pass over the Chilkats. Here are some pictures I took.

Over the Chilkats

White caps in Lynn Canal

Approaching Juneau

The week before last, I discovered a new way to paint. Though I much prefer to paint from life, most of my larger landscapes are from photos. I took so many good photos last summer, with intention to paint a few. I was going to print out a photo to work on painting but my ink was out, so decided to try painting from my lap top. OMG! Can't believe I never had tried this before.

This was from a photo taken last August when four women friends and I spent 3 fabulous days kayaking and camping.

The weather was bitter cold last week.... Juneau was horrid with Taku winds. Quite a lot of snow, but today it is raining.