Sunday, March 21, 2010

Block Printing

One of my favorite forms of printmaking is block printing.  I tend to refer to it as carving when talking about it.  I have carved many things over the years on both lino blocks and the soft rubber blocks.  I love the soft rubber blocks as they are much easier to carve than the lino blocks.  The down side to the soft rubber blocks is that they will deteriorate over time where lino blocks will last "forever".

When I first started carving, I would generally draw right on the block and then carve away the negative space (the area that I did not want to print).  This is very freeing actually and does not lend itself well to "self-criticism".  Many times you find the carved block when printed doesn't look 100% like the original drawing.  That, to me, is the beauty of it!

Being obsessed with vintage things and not be a photo-realist, my earlier carvings were whimsical household items such as percolators, dress forms, fruit bowls, wine bottles, cocktails glasses, lamps, flowers in vases, etc.  These are items that generally appear in my paintings.

Then I decided I wanted to carve landscape items and did some carvings of buildings, etc., and then found a love of carving portraits.  I started getting pictures of family members and carving these so that I wasn't in any violation of a copyright and found it quite addicting.  Some ultimately did not turn out as I had visualized, but others did.

Below are some portraits I carved next to pictures I used.

Here's a carving I did of my dad.  This picture and the one below of my mom were both altered in PhotoShop to get the high contrast look I was going after.

Here's a carving of Louie. I placed a piece of tracing paper on top of the photo and traced the positive space with a carbon pencil.  I then transferred that to the carving block.

Here's a carving of my mom.  I plan to re-do this one and give her eye more detail.

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