I’m having a difficult time getting out of bed or even do anything these days given the circumstances of everything in the last month. I’m sure it will all eventually hit me like a brick wall, but for now I’m just numb, with sporadic twitches by an emotional nerve that causes me to cry my eyes out. I’ve decided that I should probably buy stock in Kleenex. I’ve gone through more in the last month than I have in the last year. Thank goodness for those tissues with lotion.
My photography has seen a bit of a hiatus with the onslaught of recent events. I’m having a difficult time creating much of anything. So I’m going to post some old work for a while and share some other things that I’ve been working on.
I did start some new artistic outlets this fall. I started taking a woodcut class, taught by Jeffrey Dentz, at Fleisher Art Memorial. The class started at the beginning of October and ends in a few short weeks. It’s been more of a workshop than a class, but it has still been a learning experience. It’s a dedicated 3 hours every Wednesday that I go to do something else with like-minded people who also enjoy art. Everything about the class has been awesome. I’ve had an infatuation with all types of printmaking for a long time.
I guess I failed to mention this new direction of art that I’ve taken to a lot of people who have just recently replied with, “a woodcut class??!” in surprise (you know who you are). I had started to teach myself how to do linocuts and printing back in 2000 and had intended to pick that up again a year ago (it got delayed a bit). I had never worked with woodcuts before, but I’ve found that it’s much easier to cut. It doesn’t seem to produce the same intricate lines that can be achieved with linoleum, but I have found that it’s easier to add more texture to wood. There’s some strange satisfaction that comes along with cutting a piece of wood….almost the satisfaction that you get by breaking a toothpick in your mouth (I know my mother is probably shivering at the thought of that).
Other than learning how to create a woodcut and the various ways to print them, my main goal was to learn how to turn my photographs into an image that I’ve physically created rather than the moment in time that I had captured in my camera. I’m not a trained artist and I can’t draw to save my life so moving from one medium to another has been a challenge, but not as difficult as I had expected. In fact, I feel as though I’ve achieved my goal rather quickly. I’ve produced 5 woodcuts in the last 7 weeks and the last two have turned out to be my favorites…both based on my own photographs.
I’ve only printed proofs of my woodcuts so far. I’m using oil-based ink. The wood seems to absorb a lot of the ink so it takes a few prints until the print starts to look really crisp. But now that I’ve printed the proofs and the blocks seem to be a bit more “sealed”, I am going to attempt to do some edition prints that I may have up for sale in the future.
This one is based off of a photograph that I had taken of traffic on the Schuykill Expressway with the skyline of Philadelphia in the distance. Most of this had been created using a razor blade. This is a proof with oil-based ink on Asian rice paper. I need to make a slight touch-up to the block before printing final editions. I’ve also noticed that Philadelphia has suddenly been displaced in Europe where everyone is driving on the opposite side of the road (because I didn’t carve the block in reverse). Oh well. So be it.