New reduction print

The story behind this scene (or what happened afterwards)
For this folio exchange, Hand, Eye, Bird, I took the literal approach (as usual). In fact this image is the first thing I thought of when I read about this folio. For me, there is no stare more intense than a predator focusing on it’s prey, and although that was not my intent (to feed a helpless, cute little chick to Dexter), it was clearly Dexter’s.

color relief print of terrier about to eat a baby chick

'The handbook said' • 5-color reduction linoleum print on mulberry • 10in x 16in • click image to enlarge (and read the text)

As you can read in the print, The handbook said…, I am doing just what is recommended, showing Dexter one of the chicks (out of the box full of chicks that I just brought home from the post office). I am telling Dexter: “Gentle, good boy!…Mama’s chick…gentle…good boy!….” which I’m sure he translated to “Blah, blah, blah good boy, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, good boy….” (I now realize that I was praising him for staring, “pointing” and anticipating the kill as he trembled with anticipation). He is vibrating here (as little terriers do), eyes growing wider and wider. What you don’t see in the print, is the split second after…. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, Dexter had the chick’s head in his mouth! “NO!! Dexter!!! BAD boy!!!!” I shouted, and in the next instant, Dexter had opened his mouth and the chick’s head popped out (chick wasn’t harmed), and then Dex was cringing and trembling with fright that I’d yelled at him (which is SO Dexter). It all happened in seconds–so fast that the chick didn’t even blink an eye or register the fact that it was almost swallowed alive.

Another typical vignette of life on our farm. It is never boring when you live with terriers.

New reduction woodcut edition of 50(!)

1st time doing an editon this big. Lots of fun. Studio smells like ink, mmmmmm. This was for a folio exchange organized by Julia Taylor. Title of the exchange (that we had to address in our work) is “Opposition.”

wall filled with woodcut prints

One of my favorite things about printmaking, are the lines of finished, drying prints along the wall. Feels so productive!

If you look closely above (click on any image to enlarge), you can see the 4 colors used, and separately printed (at bottom left) over the course of this print run.

And the print:

woodcut print of big chicken looking down at little chicken.

"Genetic Opposition" by S.V. Medaris • 14" x 11" • 4-color reduction woodcut, and chine collé on mulberry.

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.