The title could have been carving little things over a cup of coffee. I've been traveling a lot over the course of the summer; always leaving the carving of woodcuts behind in my studio in favor of a sketch pad. But for the last couple of weekends I decided that a weekend might be just the right amount of time to do some small pieces over morning coffee.
This little piece started as an ink drawing after a portion of Hiroshige's The Mannenbashi Bridge in Fukagawa.
I pasted the drawing to a small (3" x 4") block, threw a knife and a small U gouge into a travel kit and was ready to carve when there were free moments.
I made a proof with a scrap of (dry) Kizuki Hanga this morning and was quite pleased. I've always admired how Hiroshige places us in the composition by often incorporating foreground elements. The turtle, a long established symbol of longevity stares longingly at the leaves, river and Mount Fuji.
According to notes on this image, on the 15th day of the Eighth Month during the observation of Hojoe, birds, fish and turtles are released from captivity during the festival.
While carving this one I started imagining the turtle on a journey after his captivity as a subject for a future piece. Perhaps this small piece can be part of it as a cartouche.
The previous week-end I completed a small piece that is to become part of Maria Arango-Diener's Puzzle Print. Eighty-five artists are contributing blocks loosely based on the theme of a "Fantastic Garden" Maria cut the puzzle blanks and mailed them out.
Occasionally I carve even smaller. These are part of my series of hand carved signature seals. I have about 60 of these. I often include one as part of signing a finished piece. Each oval image impression is about an inch and a half. From left to right - Ganesha, Man with Umbrella, Diego, Frieda and the Footprints of the Buddha.