Monday, August 19, 2013

Carving Little Things

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.

None of us know what the neighboring pieces will look like until Maria assembles and prints the piece. Link to more about the Puzzle Print on Maria's blog.

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.

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Tool

Carving resumes on the Fish Song woodblock.  It was set aside as I finished the Photobooth Kabuki pieces which were exhibited in New Hampshire and the Chelsea Art Walk last month.

The size of this piece, which will require seven blocks, each approx. 2' x7', also means lots of acreage to clear around each image element.

Time for a power carver; at least for working on pieces of this scale.  I decided on an Auto Mach from among the several brands on the market and so far I'm in love with it.

The images I'm working on here have areas of intricate detail which still has to be done by hand with a knife; either one of my hangi to or the disposable #16 X-Acto.  In the few days I've used the Auto Mach, it has been clear out the trenches between image elements.

 Cartoon for Fish Song - ©William Evertson 2013

The photo above is the cartoon or my guide for the imagery that overlaps to make up Fish Song.  The piece was originally part of The Billboard Art Project and this digital version along with several others were exhibited in Atlanta during the Fall of 2012.   

The piece itself combines elements both abstract and literal, referencing sea charts, climate change, coast lines, musical notation of sea chanties and obviously, fish.