Thursday, May 11, 2017

A simple approach-FIN/BALENA


I'm trying to encourage the students and artists that take my 2-day class to keep things really simple.
This year I'll also be bringing a couple of simple prints for those that didn't bring drawings or who want to focus on the cutting and printing rather than creating (during the class) a personal image.

I usually recommend that they avoid line drawings--except sparingly or with particularly thick lines--to avoid having critical parts of a drawing fall off or to watch them spend too much time carving too few blocks and losing out on exploring the printing aspect of Japanese woodblock when having a guide is very useful.


I've been doodling these Fin Whales for a good bit.  I hope to try a fairly big, semi-abstract version based on simple shapes and blocks of color--and for this small test print I took the same approach--working from a simple cut-out paper collage to decide on the shapes and placement.

This is the hasty proof I took today.
One block of Okoume plywood selectively inked to allow two colors.
I'll carve another 2 blocks to make this a simple, 3 block print to use as a demo for my next workshop. While simple in concept, there's a lot of room for experimentation.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Class Preparation for Moku Hanga; a Non-Linear approach.


I'm getting ready for my upcoming Moku Hanga workshops and there's LOTS to do: 
  -Sharpen 8 sets of Powergrip tools.
  -Make another 4 floating Kentos to replace those that "vanished" after my last class. 
  -Cut proofing and Japanese paper into 5"x8" sheets.
  -Rewrite my handouts (again) in English and Italian versions.
  -Make a trip to the copy store to print a few more flyers for my next classes. 
  -Organize the contemporary and antique prints, catalogs and books I bring as reference works.

  -MAKE another simple demo print for the next class (An excuse to make a new woodblock print rather than do the other things on the list.....). 
Guess which of these tasks I'll start first thing tomorrow?


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

MOKU HANGA IN ITALY: Upcoming Workshops of Japanese woodblock--Padua/Florence/Ravenna2017



ENGLISH:
I have a few workshops scheduled and in the works for Spring and Fall of 2017.
May 27-28 Noventa Padovana (PADUA); First up is my workshop just outside of Padua, in Noventa Padovana with La Bottega del Cigno and Daniela Veronese--this ex-primary school is now home to a thriving artist cultural association catering to illustrators and painters and other arts and will be hosting a 2-day introductory workshop of Japanese woodblock. Class size is limited to 8 students and there are still places available. (Italian and English)
Contact information is here: http://www.labottegadelcigno.it/ or email: labottegadelcigno@gmail.com

OCTOBER 20-22, Ravenna: I will also be returning to INK33; Enrico Rambaldi's ambitious series of workshops on the various techniques of printmaking in the historic center of Ravenna. I'll be offering a 2 and 1/2 day introductory workshop in Japanese woodblock (In Italian and English). For information: ink33.it o infoink33@gmail.com Phone: 3336907459

NEWS: Florence JUNE 2017; After the success of my January workshop and fielding many requests to offer an additional course, I'm thrilled to report that the historic print studio and workshop, IL BISONTE, has invited me to teach at their beautiful and spacious print studios. I'll have dates finalized this week but it will be a 2-day introductory class and limited to 8 students. 

ITALIANO:
I Prossimi Corsi/Workshop di Stampa Giapponese; Noventa Padovana (Padova), Ravenna, e Firenze.

Noventa Padovana (Padova) il 27/28 MAGGIO:
Sono poco piu' di 4 settimane prima del mio prossimo corso introdottivo di moku hanga/la stampa giapponese presso La Bottega del Cigno a Noventa Padovana. Sara' la prima volta che insegno a Padova e sono contento che sono stato invitato di portare la tecnica della stampa giapponese agli artisti e illustratori che frequentono lo spazio.  Limitato ad 8 studenti ma ci sono ancora posti disponibile.
per info: http://www.labottegadelcigno.it/ o http://www.labottegadelcigno.it/courses_item/workshop-xilografia-moku-hanga/  Email: labottegadelcigno@gmail.com 

Ravenna: 20-22 Oct; Torno a Ravenna e ad INK33, Lo studio di Enrico Rambaldi nel centro storico di Ravenna. Venerdi/Sabato/Domenica--Un po' tempo in piu' per permettere qualche technica extra e' piu' prove di stampa in questo corso base.
per info:  ink33.it o infoink33@gmail.com telefonare al 3336907459

NOTIZIE: Firenze--GIUGNO--c'e ancora di definire le date ma sono stato invitato di offrire un corso presso il storico Studio di Incisione il Bisonte e dove posso accommodare chi mi ha chiesto di offrire un altro corso a Firenze dopo il successo del mio workshop di Gennaio----info e dettagli nei prossimi giorni per questo workshop base di 2 giorni....

 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Baren Time





The bamboo in the garden is coming up and that means I'll be gathering takenokawa--the leaf sheaths or culms from the bamboo plant that I use for covering my barens.

I have a few workshops and classes starting next month and one of the things that always interests students are my home-made barens.  A basic plastic baren like we use in my classes costs just $6.00 but as the papers get thicker and the work more complicated, a stronger baren with a little more "feel" and heft makes printing easier and improves the quality of the printed image. Mid-range barens get expensive fast, and professional barens can cost--depending on type--from $150 to over $1000.


The one's I make take a few days to put together but cost just about $5.00 in materials and work well enough for beginners and students on both thin Japanese papers and thicker European papers and will function until one has made enough prints to think about moving to a better tool.  Instructions on how they're made can be found in earlier posts--the biggest change I've made is in hardening the twisted twine with PVA glue so it will stay hard longer--and using different strings to make medium or harder barens. I've had 3 of my barens find new homes recently so I have to make a few new ones so I'll have some for my next workshop for students to try out. For someone who wants to make their own look over my earlier posts:
http://rospobio.blogspot.it/2013/05/making-twisted-cord-baren.html   or  http://rospobio.blogspot.it/2015/01/home-made-barens-revisited-and-now-on.html




















Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This time with a little color.

I have been moving forward with my small print series of shunga/erotica/quick sketches and have etched one image/plate and almost finished another. Meanwhile, I cut color blocks for this one and pulled a couple of color proofs using my baren and today quickly inked and proofed the zinc plate with a small table press on top of the color work already laid down.
I'm using a textured Italian etching paper and my zinc plates weren't highly polished so there's a lot of plate tone that is going to greatly influence the final result. 
I think this isn't bad for a color test--I will probably flip color tones for the male and female shapes and try to get it to print a little cleaner.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shunga 2

Here are the first three of my sample plates for my erotic/shunga series.
I'm still not sure if I'll be able to pull this off but I'll commit to at least 5 of the images I have in mind and wait until I've got the color blocks done and printed too before I decide if this is worth pursuing.
Of these I'm happy with the 1st two--the third I think needs to be redrawn and etched on a new plate.




Soft-ground etching on zinc waiting for color plates.
They're all either 13cm square or 12cm x 13cm.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Shunga?

This is the tentative start of a small project. This, the first print, is based on yet another scribble from my sketchbook and my recurring interest in how our mind and eye turn random or unconnected shapes into recognizable forms.

The original scrawl of two wavy lines drawn as positive and negative reciprocal shapes-somehow became became male and female--and the reworked lines and resulting shapes then became figures. I drew these over and over--some more literal, others even more nuanced and I've played with how abstract I can go and still have this read (almost) as a depiction of an erotic act.
The two plates that printed together make the print at the top.

 There are others coming, but they're not subtle and I hope to be able to make a small series of prints-
playing with the Eastern/Western techniques of moku hanga and etching while referencing the history of erotic images from the Ukiyo-e tradition.
My plan is to combine the techniques of soft-ground etching for the drawn lines and fill in color areas using wood blocks and bokashi gradations although I may try doing the same image (or a variant) using the different techniques. I'll start with a couple and see if I can make something interesting,
but the eventual goal is to put together a group of 10-12 images for a small portfolio or artist book.