Monday, June 16, 2014

Big Ink

© William Evertson 2014 - As printed during BIG INK

Back in March of this year I sketched out a piece in pastels that became the basis for the large woodcut I recently completed for BIG INK.  BIG INK was a two day printing event for invited artists organized by Lyell Castonguay at Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, MA. (see links for Zea Mays and Lyell at the bottom)

Twelve artists who work with large scale woodcuts were invited to use the 42″ x 70″ Takach etching press in the Annex Studio. Each artist would make three prints, two for their portfolios and one for future BIG INK exhibits.

"Protect Yourself" Sketch from March 2014 - © William Evertson

This piece developed from the phrase "Life is a Bowl of Cherries" which I discussed in an earlier post concerning another version of this work HERE.  I'll speak more to the inspiration at the end of this post.

Detail of the block for Bird on a Wire

The planning for the BIG INK piece which is 32" x 44" began with a small 11" x 17" study block since I rarely print only in one color and the event was for single black ink pieces only. I carved this small block in about a day and it gave me an idea how long the larger more detailed piece would take. (about three weeks)

Finished print, Bird on a Wire - © William Evertson 2014

The original pastel was 16" x 22" so I created a  full size ink drawing on a thin paper to be glued to the cherry plywood. The drawing is pasted face down and I carve right through the paper. You will see from the finished block and print that the drawing is only a guide. Over the course of three weeks the process of carving resulted in some changes and additions.  

Black ink and wash drawing before gluing to the block

Early progress on the block

Similar detail to the Bird on a Wire trial piece

The storm clouds in the upper portion inspired the waves for the lower portion

The title is carved into the block "Life is a Bowl of Cherries. Protect Yourself with Essential Geometries

Finished block before inking

BIG Ink printing day at Zea Mays began on Sunday, June 15th with five of the selected artists working together to pull the oversize prints.  

The artist, the print and the block

The genesis of the work occurred to me as I watched one of the morning news shows, or what passes for news since we seem to have disasters, political opinion formation, the lives of celebrities vying with the the feel good antics of the hosts to start our days. The jumps from the latest school shooting to puff pieces on Kim Kardashian setting her wedding date; from banks once again making record profits to celebrity chief making a lo-cal dishes to get their celebrity client ready for the red carpet made me wish for a magic circle of protection. A mandala to ward off our contemporary barrage of bedevilments. A second meaning also crept in with my wife in the midst of chemotherapy and well wishers advising the power of positive thinking. Thanks, but there's also something to be said for screaming, "life isn't fair" every once in a while.

Many thanks to Lyell Castonguay for organizing the event and artists and to Zea Mays Printmaking for providing the facilities!

Zea Mays Printmaking
Lyell Castonguay
Flicker Photo set of print day