Frogman’s 2013

close-up of toad face

Toad, not frog

litho of hog holding platter with a ham on it. Background letters read: 'Jambons...Le Porc....100% de porc americain.

Final print, “Jambons (Hams)” 9in x 6in, 5-color lithograph (polyester plate litho). CLICK TO ENLARGE

This year at Frogman’s printmaking workshops I’m taking polyester plate lithography with one of my alltime favorite artists: Katherine Polk and Andy Polk. They are great instructors too!

JULY 9: Today I got the keyline color (black) down in a small edition of 10. With this process, the Polks print the black or dark color keyline first.

Tomorrow we start adding color in transparent layers over the black. Very exciting.

All the other colors are primarily a transparent tint base with just a smidgeon of color added. It’s like painting watercolors or dyes over an ink drawing. The effect is translucent, rich, glowing color. It can be magical.

JULY 11: Here are some of the steps below, in order of printing:

black on white prints of hog carrying platter of ham

Jabons prints drying on rack, first layer of ink: black.

2-color print of hog carrying platter of ham

Color 2: salmon.

3-color print of hog carrying platter of ham

Color 3: slightly green cyan.

print of hog carrying platter of ham

Color 4: subtle cream-colored overlay (over whole sheet of paper), to sort of antique the image.

full-color litho print of hog carrying platter of ham

Color 5: Golden orange-yellow layer added to hog/platter/ham section of print.


…is not just printmaking. They have lectures, artists’ talks, museum/gallery walk, karaoke, bowling, open portfolio…all scheduled on different days/eves. Basically, it’s nonstop printmaking by day and night, with social events most eves.

The other night, after midnight, coming home from bowling, I chanced upon this little critter:

side-view, toad on pavement, night sky behind

Someone told me this is a Buffo toad.

And here we are, at the bowling alley/bar near the dorm where we stay…. For bowling, your team has to wear a costume. You’re limited to $5 per costume, and so, many folks head to the local thrift shop to find their costumes. We happened upon plastic flower pots and creepy little rubber human heads, which of course gave us the team name of Pot Heads. Green lace and string for capes…

dark interior of bowling alley, people with flower pots on heads

Meet Team Pothead.

And a close-up of our awesome hats:

Making a reduction woodblock print in 5 days (and pics from Frogman’s)

More pics from the class, including the different stages of the woodcut:

Draw the design down and seal with shellac:

drawn blocks drying from shellac coating

32in x 24in blocks lined up, shellac drying, to begin cutting tomorrow.

blocks drying from shellac coating

A little over 1/2 of the students' blocks drying overnight

Ink up the whole block with 1rst color (no white of paper in this print) and print onto 18 pieces of Mulberry:

yellow printed on paper

Yellow printed on the mulberry paper, no cuts yet.

Then cut the block for that 1st color (where you want the yellow part of the print to remain pure yellow), and ink up block with color #2, bright pink:

block inked with pink color

Color #2, bright pink

And the print:

red and yellow turkey print

Color #2 (bright pink) over yellow, creates a salmony red.


Cut for 2nd color (where you want the red to remain on print), and ink block with 3rd color (bright lime-green):

closeup of woodcut inked with green

Bright green ink used for color #3.

And print:

3rd color printed in edition

The print, now with 3 colors.

Cut for 3rd color (where the green-now olive in print- shall remain), and ink with 4th color (bright violet):

purple-inked woodcut block of turkey

Color #4 is bright violet.

And the print:

Print with 4 colors, causing the bright green to print olive brown (over the underlying layers), and the purple to change to brownish purple

I liked the look of this purple image, and since I had to cut out much of the purple (including the silhouette of the hilltop farm) in order to print the final black run, I decided to print some tees with it:

purple turkey print on 3 different tees

The purple block printed onto some tees.

Cutting and inking for 5th/final color: black

Woodcut of turkey inked with black ink.

Final color: black

And the final print:

multi-color woodblock print of turkey

The final print! Finished at 11:50pm, Friday night. 'Turkey Promenade' • 30in x 22in • 5 color reduction woodblock print, edition of 15

Here’s some pics of the class:

classroom with woodcut blocks in progress

The classroom, with 4 blocks/students to each table.

student prepares to lift up print after printing

This student carefully pulls the print off of the block after printing it.

I finally learned how to do color reduction woodcuts…

…or “How Frogman’s changed my (printmaking) life.”

5 color woodcut of big turkey

5 color reduction woodcut, edition: 15, paper size: 22" x 30" (click to enlarge)

Returned from an amazing 1 week out at Frogman’s Print and Paper Workshop in Vermillion, South Dakota. And OMG I can now print in color…with colors in register!! I know it sounds simple, but I’d never perfected a foolproof way to do it (so I’ve always hand-colored black relief prints) until this fantastic workshop, called “The Big Reduction” taught by Nancy Palmeri, who is an incredible instructor as well as a fantastic artist. She taught us everything from how to tear and treat the paper, how to seal in the drawing before cutting, tips on cutting for reduction specifically so that slight off-register colors don’t show up, how to handle paper, inks…yeah, everything! I learned a ton, and seriously, it’s changed how I will be printing now.

Everybody in the class was given a 24″ x 32″ block of plywood, with which we had 5 days to do a multi-color reduction woodcut. Edition of at least 5. Amazingly, with almost nonstop work (we all spent most days/nights cutting and printing like crazy till midnight, at which time we had to leave as the studios were locked up), we actually each did it! All of the students were super hard-working and fun. It was great sharing a space with these madly cutting−woodchips flying−artists. Above, is the final print: 5 color, edition of 15 (printed 18, but 3 aren’t great) of one of my turkeys (click it to enlarge).

More pics from the class, including the different stages of a reduction wood block coming up.