Tag Archives: woodblocks

Bokashi!

26 Nov

Hiroshige 1

Husb and I spent a few days away in Northern Italy, exploring museums and galleries on a guided tour arranged by New Scientist magazine. We took in a fabulous exhibition, “Beyond The Wave”, of Japanese Ukiyo e printmakers, Hokusai and Hiroshige in Bologna. I was fascinated by their process. To my surprise, the artists themselves didn’t do any printmaking, but just provided the initial simple ink line drawing (which didn’t survive the process). The drawing was transferred to a number of blocks, up to fifteen depending on the amount of colours, and cut by a carver. Finally the blocks were handed over to a printmaker to produce the fabulous full-colour images that we’re used to seeing today. This process reminds me of that used in the production of modern comics, with the artist producing pencil drawings, handing them over to an inker and then to a letterer. Coincidentally, Hokusai and Hiroshige are a great influence on Japanese Manga and Anime.

In my small sketchbook, I made some little studies of the beautiful simple compositions of some of the prints. Most had very sparse detail and the artist’s original line drawings are usually quite basic. The richness of pattern and colour are down to the skills of the printmaker who often used a blending technique called Bokashi which gives beautifully graduated colours. Ukiyo e prints became very fashionable through Japonism and had an enormous influence on later 19th century and 20th century European art and artists including the Impressionists and post-Impressionists and individual artists including Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh.

It’s #Caturday!

10 Sep

Caturday, an Internet phenomenon. Like cats. I read a theory a while ago about why the Internet has been taken over by cats. It reckoned that dog owners have always had a chance to meet other doggy types because they walk their dogs and take them to training schools and there are dog clubs and networks in the real world. Well, as anyone who shares their lives with cats knows, walking and training the cat is just laughable. Okay, there are a few people who persevere and manage to do both, but you still don’t generally bump into people walking their cats, because the streets are full of people walking their dogs and that usually doesn’t go down too well with cats.

So when the Internet came along, we cat people could come out of our real-world isolation and share cat pictures, stories, cute kitty merchandise and the Internet phenomenon was born. And continues unabated.

Here’s mine.

"Get Off Those Curtains #1"

“Get Off Those Curtains #1”

Sparta. A woodcut. You can get this on Artfinder if you like.

This Is Spartaaaaaaaa!!!!!

27 Jul

Get Off Those Curtains!

Sparta is a small ‘Naughty Tortie’ cat [that’s calico cat in some parts of the world]. She was eight weeks old when she came to us about 18 months ago and one of her favourite pastimes was trashing our net curtains; running across the room at full speed, launching herself up as far as she could and then slipping down with her claws embedded in them, ripping as she went, like in the cartoons. She was so fast that she was up and at ‘em before we could stop her.

 

One day I grabbed a camera and clicked away as she vandalised the nets. I made drawings of some of the photos and then carved a series of woodblocks, which I printed up into limited editions. They’ve been in a few exhibitions and I’ve sold enough to be able to replace the curtains that she destroyed. Here’s one of them.

 

%d bloggers like this: