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Diane Cutter
10-31-2007, 08:20 AM
I promised a while back to show how I do my woodcuts. So here goes:

This photo was taken a couple of years ago, early morning near Alamogordo & the White Sands area in New Mexico. I loved the play of shadow on it:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Cactus-photo.jpg

I put the image in Photoshop, playing quite a bit, printed it out, and glued it to my piece of all-shina plywood. When doing any relief print, the image will be the reverse of what you are creating, so I actually made a conscious decision to work with the photo as is because I liked the mirror image better, the image that will be the final one.

I start cutting the basic lines, as I've done here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Cactus-Cutting-wit.jpg

You'll notice I only use a couple of knives. This piece of ply is 8"x6" and so I only have one larger gouge for removing big areas and then a small detail u-gouge and an exacto knife. I might pull out my little v-gouge but find the exacto does the same job with more control. My larger gouge (left) looks odd because it has a piece of clear plastic tubing on it. I am somewhat clumsy and I keep the tubing on in the likely event that I would knock the knife off the table, ruining the fine edge of the blade.

Also that leather on wood looking thing is exactly that. It's horse-hide glued onto a piece of ply. I used to use an Arkansas stone to hone my knives but I've found that using the leather every 10-15 cuts keeps the knives very sharp and I can by-pass the wetstone (which I was never very good at using, anyway :rolleyes:).

I'll show the other photos later because I just found out my card reader has died... :(

Diane

Enchanted
10-31-2007, 10:37 AM
Just a thought - that "doorknob handle" on the tool on right in photo looks like it would be very awkward to work with. But what it does is give the various wood gouges extra cushioning against the palm of the hand when in use. Wood gouges such as the large one on left in photo, with the straight handle, are not as easily controlled when doing fine detailing.

:wave:

Diane Cutter
10-31-2007, 10:49 AM
Very true, Jack... The smaller gouge fits nicely inside the palm and you actually push with the whole hand. It's a more natural grip than the straighter handle...

Diane

alfredart
10-31-2007, 12:37 PM
Diane.... Great start! I'm taking a seat for this one.

Peace,
AL

sassybird
10-31-2007, 01:12 PM
Diane, I would love a print of this when you are done. I love cacti and succulents. PM me and we can discuss a price.

Barbara Art
10-31-2007, 09:03 PM
Diane, I'm really looking forward to seeing the print on this one - it's gorgeous! I had a run-in with a huge relative of this cactus once, so it seems like :angel: :evil: a good/evil image to me.
Barbara

Diane Cutter
11-15-2007, 11:49 AM
I feel a little embarrassed that it's taken me so long to get these photos up. The print is long gone to an Baren exchange... so here's further explanation of how I do a woodcut (which may be done differently by others)...

The paper pattern is no longer needed. In fact, I find you can become a slave to the patterning of a Photoshop piece and I want to 'feel' the piece now rather than just mechanically reproduce my photograph. I've removed the paper by dampening the surface with water, letting it soak in a minute or two, and then carefully scraping away the paper and paste residue. This is what remains of all that cutting:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Succulent-paper-re.jpg

I do some more cutting but, before I go too far, I run a very light layer of ink over the wood to see what would show in a print. I let this layer dry a bit before cutting again because the oil-based ink gets messy on my fingers and work area otherwise. This inking also lets me see my additional cuts more clearly, like with scratchboard drawing:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Succulent-proofing.jpg

I'm all through cutting, having proofed my cuts many times until I'm satisfied, before printing up the final edition. I've actually trimmed the wood down from the original 8"x6" size, for better composition. Here the wood is inked using a brayer (upper edge of photo). The ink, a rich chocolate burnt umber, is rolled out onto the glass inking area. Thin layers are applied until I can see there is enough ink on the wood for a solid print:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Succulent-Inking-f.jpg

Now I place the woodblock in a homemade jig. This allows me to register the print so the placement on the paper is the same for each print I pull:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Succulent-Printing.jpg

I've chosen one of my favorite papers, a natural mulberry (50% kozo & 50% recycled paper), for this print. There are a lot of mulberry flecks in the paper and I like the added dimension of the random organic pattern for this particular print. Notice I have placed the paper along some very faint pencil lines. With each print I will place them in the same place.

Now I get to use my bamboo baren, rubbing and burnishing until I have good ink coverage on the reverse side...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2007/28135-Woodcuts-Succulent-Paper--.jpg

I'll post the finish print a little later...
Diane

Continental
11-15-2007, 11:58 AM
I love woodcuts, I remember niavely thinking that woodcuts were pen and ink drawings as a young artist. I tried to copy them to no avail.

This type of artwork reached it's zenith in the 1880's. I believed they used the endgrain of the woodblock. It is amazing the detail and control they had. I love finding old Civil War or Victorian books that are filled with woodcuts. I buy them when I can find them.:thumbsup:

Diane Cutter
11-15-2007, 12:21 PM
Here's the final print...

'Succulent', woodcut, edition of 100, burnt umber on mulberry, image size: 7.5"x5" on 10"x8" paper.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2007/28135-Succulent-Final-Print.jpg

As always seems to happen, I can't get the color of the ink nor the color of the paper to work in the same frame but you get the general idea.

This print is part of the Baren.org Print Exchange #34. We have been very fortunate to have a permanent home for our print exchanges. This exchange will be housed at the Museum of Art at the University of Kentucky-Lexington.

Diane

Diane Cutter
11-15-2007, 05:54 PM
I love woodcuts, I remember niavely thinking that woodcuts were pen and ink drawings as a young artist. I tried to copy them to no avail.

This type of artwork reached it's zenith in the 1880's. I believed they used the endgrain of the woodblock. It is amazing the detail and control they had. I love finding old Civil War or Victorian books that are filled with woodcuts. I buy them when I can find them.:thumbsup:
Thanks, Continental... Normally I wouldn't post a printmaking WIP in this forum but it was requested and I'm always happy to get on my soapbox and explain what it is, especially since the word 'print' is used so loosely these days... :lol:

Diane

Hoss_Lass
11-16-2007, 10:46 AM
Wow, thank you Diane for the WIP. I'm totally unfamiliar with the woodcut process so this was really interesting. I love seeing actually the actual handmade print as opposed to the computer generated laser cut dime a dozen made in china etc...

I'm a real sucker for handmade, labor of love, one of a kind art works! I could tell this was such a project for you. Thank you for sharing!:wave:

Jo Castillo
11-18-2007, 09:41 PM
Wow, Diane. Thanks for showing this. The result is beautiful. It takes way more patience than I have. :) Nice you have a place to exhibit as well.

Later,
Jo