Thursday, 8 November 2007

"Sparrows" Autumn Woodblock Print.

Here's a copy of my latest print: I've called it "Sparrows", for obvious reasons.
The image is a reproduction of a page from a 1797 Ehon (Picture book) entitled Choju ryakugashiki (How to draw animals in the abbreviated style) by Kitao Masayoshi (Keisai).
Click HERE to view my earlier post about this artist.
The print was produced using 3 Magnolia blocks: Black, Sepia linework and Burnt Umber body colours. I used the Hydrus colours I'm testing, and produced an initial run of 40.
I tried a different print run order this time. As the image was only quite small and there were only 3 blocks to print, instead of printing one colour throughout the run, and then returning to the first piece of paper and printing the second colour etc., I completed each print with all 3 blocks before moving on to the next.
It was great fun to see a completed print appearing every 5 minutes, but more importantly for me it meant that because the time between each colour pass was only about 60 secs or so the registration was spot on with no time for the 'cool' dampened paper to expand or contract.
The paper size is approx 10x7.5 inches (Chuban), the image is approx 7x5 inches.
The decision to reproduce an existing (albeit virtually unknown image) rather than produce an original design was that at this stage I really want to concentrate on learning the craft of carving and printing, to become fluent with the tools of woodblock printmaking. I have ideas for prints stacked up in my head and in notebooks but I think it's important to be proficient in the method of communication you choose to transmit your idea.
A good idea can be lost through bad communication.
I feel like I'm improving and learning with every print I make. This is only print No. 3 but each print has been a real step forward.


Annette Haines said...

This print is lovely! It almost looks like brushwork. The sparrows truly break free of the page in a fluttery sparrow-like fashion.

Mark Mason said...

Thank you for your kind comment Annette.

Annie B said...

Great job! Nice clean carving and printing, both. I can get behind your decision to do all three passes at once, too. That wouldn't work so well when printing big fields of color (because you add so much moisture on one pass) but it's a great solution for a print like this. And I love your seal, "original woodblock print by Mark Mason."

Mark Mason said...

Thanks Annie. You're right about printing large areas; but I'm going to stick with working at this size for a while, and concentrate on linework with spot colours. I'm glad you like the seal; I wanted to have something sympathetic to the print and technique, but not instantly readable. I used a service on eBay where they produced an A5 rubber sheet of stamps produced from black and white artwork i emailed them. I'll do a post about it sometime. Thanks again.