We started with e-z-cut blocks (these are easily available and look like giant white erasers, which is actually what they are). These carve like butter and are very easy to use. Many people use this method to create their own rubber stamps (see this fabulous new book by Geninne Zlatkis). Other artists, like the amazing Theresa Neinas, use them as their primary medium. I recreated my raven needlework design as a block print using a large e-z-cut block. I printed it both on white paper as well as on monotypes that I’d prepped the previous evening. I’m thinking I might go back in and carve this guy some more, making it more spare than it is to really highlight the raven.
Next up, lino blocks. And let me tell you, in 90-degree heat these were also really easy to carve. I love carving linoleum too. Okay, I love carving. I admit to having blocks that I’ve never printed, because I love carving. It’s crazy. One day I will participate in a steamroller event where you carve HUGE pieces to be printed using a steamroller. But I digress. Leaves are a motif I turned to frequently and I love how this block turned out. I’m going to try it on some watercolor backgrounds for fun. I also love the whale (influenced by the discovery of this blog over on tumblr). I’ve done whales in the past and love the simple lines.
Our instructor, Deb Neely, is a woodblock artist so this is her passion and it really shows. I was excited to study with her because I’ve not had a lot of instruction with wood blocks and it is by far my medium. She showed us her techniques for prepping the wood blocks with India ink, transferring the design and carving the line work in a “v” using an exacto knife. After all the line work is cut only then do the gouges come out for creating light and dark areas in the wood. It finally struck me for the first time why I have a “v” gouge in my carving set. duh. I wasn’t thrilled with either of these blocks, but I might go back to them. We’ll see.