Friday, May 8, 2015

Burden--Sins of omission

For "Print Day in May" (not sure what it is other than an excuse to skip other priorities to go work in the studio) I did just that.
I put aside all the pressing outdoor and indoor things and spent all morning working in the print shop.

I had nothing really planned but I have a bunch of little doodles and sketches that I looked through to find an idea that I wanted to explore.  I sketched with pencil a few curving lines onto a 4" x 6" Shina block and then went over them with a sharpie so they'd remain after I printed and washed off the block between colors.  This is not how I usually work: I usually start from a finished drawing that I transfer to the block and faithfully carve.  But I had just a few hours so just started in.

First pass was a gray Beta-Ban. A simple gray wash over the entire block. I used a lot of paste so the brush marks show.

Then I carved the block and printed a red band at the bottom with a bokashi to keep from printing a hard edge. (See top photo for the block state after this printing).   I carved away the red stripe at the bottom and printed the remaining shapes with a leftover brown I'd mixed from Pthalo Blue, Magenta and Hansa Yellow. This was printed twice with more baren pressure towards the bottom creating a gradation in the graininess with smoother color where the pressure was stronger.

Then a Black bokashi was printed to the top circle shape with some care to make sure that there was some bleed onto the brown curving shape just below.
Then a Blue bokashi was printed over the bottom "Leg" shape.

This is my third little print in a series based on rather random lines or scribbles that originate as abstract or nonrepresentational images but that then suggest a subject as my mind either subconsciously or deliberately push them towards a direction that becomes a subject.
(My "pinwheel" and "fulcrum" prints are the other two).

I've been thinking about recent World events and feeling ever more aware of the human and moral implications of inaction.  There is a concept that shows up several times in Bible (and elsewhere) about the sin of omission. That is, the wrong we commit individually by not acting to correct or prevent a wrong when it was in our power to do so.  Perhaps it's due, in part, to a paralysis that comes from the daily barrage in the news of unthinkable carnage and evil that is still far away.  But there are plenty of injustices big and small nearer to home  My little print is about the discomfort and personal guilt I feel for remaining inactive and about the illusion that we remain unaffected even if we do nothing.

Burden, moku hanga woodblock print.
Ed. 5;  5 1/2" X 7  1/2 "

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