Linnane Armstrong; guest artist 2012

Here is what Linnane wrote about her woodblock process:

About my woodblock printmaking process:
I begin each piece by sketching on location, and taking some reference photos. Later in my studio I complete a more finished layout sketch for the piece, detailing the composition, values, and color. A multiple color woodcut like Evening Moon, my latest creation, requires different blocks of wood to print each color. The first step is to establish the “key block” which will outline the design. This is the darkest color in the design, and it will be carved first and printed last. I trace the key block image from my original sketch, then transfer the design in a mirror image to my wood block. Each block must be carved in the reverse of what the final image will be. Using special Japanese carving tools, I carve away the areas that will not print- the smooth surface of the block that is left behind will create the image.
I print the key block as a proof when I am finished carving, then evaluate the proof print to make any other adjustments to the design before I proceed to the next step. I copy the a finished proof print on to tracing paper, making one copy for each color block that will be required to finish the design. I use highlighters to color in one color per page, creating a series of color separations that will allow me transfer one color to each of the six additional blocks I need for this design. Each color separation is traced onto a block, then carved. One block has two color areas that are both small and far away from each other.
After all seven blocks have been carved, I am ready to start printing. The papers are cut and pre-moistened to prepare them to accept the water-based inks that I use, including watercolor, gouache, and sumi. I use several specialized Japanese brushes to achieve the gradation effects that can be seen in the sky, water, and land. I usually print six to ten pieces of paper in a sitting, printing each sky block first on each piece of paper, then each water block, and so on. There are a number of things that can go wrong during the printing process. If the paper is too wet, the pigments can bleed (as exhibited in a number of the process images included!) and if the registration is off, the blocks will print with white spaces in between or extend beyond the key block in places. Variance in amount of rice paste, which is mixed with the inks on the block while printing, can cause a variety of irregularities in the appearance of the colors. But after all, they are hand printed, so to a certain extent these irregularities add to the charm and uniqueness of these original artworks!
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