Last week was filled with events and meeting new people, and this week I have been busy attending to Grey Gardens. My studio time hasn't been as plentiful as I would like, but I have made some progress on the large wood block I shared earlier. The drawing is complete and the upcoming print has a title!
If you are not familiar with Relief or woodblock printing, this drawing is not intended as a finished artwork. Think of it as a sketch, or better still, a map. I am using the drawing to lay out my idea, to guide my hand in carving an image from the block.
This block is 1/2" MDF with a Birch veneer. I haven't worked with this material before, typically I favor Birch Plywood or Shina Plywood from McClain's Printmaking Supplies. Yes, I probably should choose a less ambitious image when using an unfamiliar material, but that would just be too sensical.
Next I will stain the wood with an intense color, I like to use hot pink. Using a series of wood carving gouges, I then remove areas that I do not want to transfer ink in the final print. As I carve, the contrast between the hot pink stain and the areas of unstained wood revealed by the gouge makes it easier for me to see what I am doing.
Physically creating two levels of surface height, I remove the negative space of the image with my gouge and the positive space of the image emerges as a raised surface. Ink is applied to the block using a roller or brayer, thus it adheres only to the raised (un-carved) surface of the wood. The ink is then transferred from the raised surface of the block onto a sheet of paper using pressure. That my friends, is the basic definition of a Relief print.
I am going to continue to document the creation of If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now in future posts, so be sure not to miss a step by subscribing to the blog using the link at the bottom of this update.