March 20, 2011

West Print / East Print

First, the west. 

I'm in between prints, roughly translated as: I was indulging a lazy streak last week and didn't start working on another print after finishing the last one. And, with no printing to do today, Roland and I went to the Burnaby Art Gallery to see their current Sybil Andrews exhibit. 

I saw a couple of her prints in a relief print show at the same gallery a couple of years ago and couldn't resist going back to see more.  I absolutely love her work and find it incredibly inspiring.  She was born in England but lived in Canada from 1947 until her death in 1992 and is considered to be one of Canada's most notable printmakers.  Standing in front of her linocuts today, trying to figure out how exactly she created her textures, it was pretty clear why. She has a fantastic sense of composition and rhythm and her images are so powerful and dynamic you can't help being pulled in.  

You can see more of her work here, although I find it puzzling that she reportedly remained active and productive right until her death yet there seems to be so little evidence (at least online) of any work from the last decades of her life.  I wonder if she just stopped making prints eventually and only devoted her time to teaching and mentoring or if there's a treasure trove of later prints somewhere? 

Anyway, now the East.

Yesterday we stopped at a local thrift store to look for a small wall mirror for my office at work.  While there, we were also checking for good, and cheap, frames I could recycle for my own prints when Roland found this:

At first glance he only saw the frame; it's a good one and in really good shape. But as soon as he pointed it out to me, we both noticed the print inside the frame.  Clearly an original woodblock, bearing a chop and signed and numbered (?)'s in oriental characters so I can't tell what it the artist. 

It's really lovely though, hand-torn Japanese paper and nicely matted:

And the image is quite intricate:

I'm don't know enough about oriental printmaking (or art for that matter) to tell if this is Chinese or Japanese.  Both the dragon and bird seem to have a Chinese feel to me but what do I know.  However, at $5.00, which is what this was priced at, I thought it was both a steal and a shame.  Clearly, the folks who sort through the donations at the Value Village don't know beans about art.  Yet I can't help feeling sad that something like this, that someone obviously put quite a bit of work into, should become a thrift store item.  But maybe I'll just consider it my gain and leave it at that. 


March 14, 2011

Two Little Snails

Print 2 of the nursery rhyme series done. 

Two little snails
on a dewy track,
carefully balance
their homes on their backs.
(Reduction Linocut, 7.5 x 9 inches)

March 06, 2011

Going Dotty

Most of the time, I really enjoy carving my blocks.  I find it meditative and zen-like, sort of like counting rosary or japa mala beads or something similar, my hands busy while my mind chatters away, a hundred thoughts a minute.  And, as I've said elsewhere, I enjoy the slow "craft" of the process. I know there are printmakers who use power tools to clear their blocks and shape their images and, while I don't see anything wrong with it, I'm not sure it would be something I'd like doing.  Maybe if my prints were really big, and maybe if I had a dedicated studio where bits of block flying around wouldn't be an issue, I might have a different opinion.  For now, I'm content to sit and work slowly and silently, listening to music, trying to focus and center.  

Of course, there are those times when patience gets tested a little.  Like working around all those dots and triangle shapes on the snail bodies in this latest print:

It doesn't seem like it would be but it was a little too slow going even for me.  Still, I did finish in time to print and I added in the green today:

Now all that remains is the black.