Monday, September 22, 2014


"Right of Way", work in progress/proof state. (moku hanga)

Well, I'm back at work in the studio for the first time in almost three months.

I started working on this print last April and I had hoped to finish it before the Summer arrived and I left for the USA.  But it's bigger than I usually work (about 20" x 22") and just dealing with the paper-- using a carry sheet to move the damp paper safely to and from the damp pack to the block combined with the process of carefully inking and printing from the big blocks just takes longer and I didn't want to be rushed.
Detail of one of the blocks: arrows and grass
I pulled just a quick proof before leaving, and saw that I had a fair amount of work still to do with the blocks, so I put them away for later.
But I'm finally back.

While I can't say I'm totally free to jump right back into the studio full-time, I did manage to dampen some paper and work a few hours each of the last few days to pull some proper proofs on student-grade washi.
As is typical for my working style, I'm still making decisions as I go along and I'm glad now that I left the printing for when I came back.  There are still some decisions to make and some changes the blocks will need to get this where I want it to go and make sure they're printing cleanly before I use my good paper. Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be able to focus and concentrate on making it right, instead of just "done".

"Right of Way", proof state. Moku hanga woodblock print.
This still needs about 3-4 passes of color and I have to tweak the registration a bit....and there's a big colored border that will change the look a lot.

I'll explain more about what I'm up to when this is finished.......

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beetle trouble

Capnodis cariosa, Flat-head, Mediterranean Borer Beetle

This thing, or one of his relatives showed up for the first time last Fall. It had just finished munching all of the new flower/leaf buds of a small plum tree that we had just planted.

This is a borer beetle and while it's the grub that does the most damage (and is really, really nasty to look at),  I'd never seen an adult on the property.....and once I saw one, and started looking around...there were dozens. On all of the plums and many of the pears and as they strip off all of the cambium and new bark of the new shoots skeletonizing the newer growth and branches.....and on smallish trees that means no flowers and no fruit.
So I squashed him.
Sorry, I know that that's probably not cool or morally sound in the "BIG" picture but on our little farm I won't use insecticides on my organic fruit trees but I'm not above basic control methods (hunt and eliminate) when the balance tips too far in favor of the lower orders. (If we still had chickens, they'd help keep them in check).

"Beetle Trouble" Sumi ink and watercolor etagami
 on Japanese paper.

This is my September Etagami for my Japanese Etagami exchange. You can see the kind of damage they do in the eroded tip of the branch.

It reads, "Beetle Trouble" in Japanese.