My large scale woodcut print, shown above, will be in an exhibit next week at The Printing Museum in Houston. Steamrolled VIII opens January 13 and runs until March 5. Opening reception is the 13th from 6-8pm. All of the work in the show was printed with a 2-ton steamroller this past October at Houston Print Matters' biennial event: Rockin' Rollin' Prints.
Originally this was scheduled for 2020 and the theme was "20/20 Vision". It was delayed, of course, but the theme was kept. I was honored to be chosen to design a logo graphic in early 2020, pre-pandemic. I hadn't yet carved my block, or even fully thought out the design, but I knew what the main element would be: a woman with a phoropter with rays shooting out of it. Here it is on a banner outside the Printing Museum:
I have been working in a new medium of late; screen printing. I became a member of Burning Bones Press at the start of 2020 and have been doing mostly relief printing since then, but learning about other processes from fellow members.
Above is my first screen print. "Galveston Alley" is a 3 color print made with hand-drawn transparencies to separate the colors. It is based on a drawing I made on location in Galveston, Texas in 2019. I figured the simplicity of the composition would make it relatively easy to translate into this method of screen printing. Light grey was printed first, then the middle grey, and black last.
Above is my second print, again based on a sketch I made on location in Galveston. I used the same 3 colors, this time drawing the black layer with brush and ink to push the hand-drawn look even further. I was pleased with how it turned out as it was pretty close to how I imagined it. Before removing the photo emulsion from the screens I decided to print again while playing with the colors.
Here I printed the light grey first as normal, but then used an old toothbrush to apply screen filler to close off about half the print area very loosely and randomly. Then I printed the light blue. The middle grey printed next, then I used the same screen filler method and printed the orange color. Lastly I printed the black and called it done. I made 4 different color combinations. On some of them I used a crazy pink color that my scanner just has no idea what to do with- Psychedelic Mexabilly Pink. Below is a picture I took with the phone showing all the color variants.
The Mexabilly Pink behaved strangely. On the first couple of prints I made it looks magenta (2nd and 3rd from right above), and on the last couple of prints (the 2 on the right above) it came out as it is supposed to: super bright, crazy fluorescent. It was a brand new jar and I didn't stir it first so maybe that was the reason. Or maybe the pigment has to build up in the screen before going full power. I don't know!
I have lots to learn still but am enjoying the screen print process so far. Printing is so fast compared to relief printing. I am considering ways of combining the two- using screen printing to lay down layers of color and pulling it all together with a relief print on top.
New woodcut print of Dr. Fauci. I hope you all are staying well, listening to the doctor and wearing your mask!
This print is an edition of 20, signed and numbered, and in my shop here. Price is $30 US, 2/3 of which I am donating to 2 healthcare charities that provide medical supplies and care to underserved communities around the world. The charity organizations are Partners in Health, and Project C.U.R.E.
In the past I have made woodcuts by transferring a preliminary drawing to the block and using that as a carving guide. With this portrait and a couple of other recent prints I have tried drawing directly on the block, first in pencil and then permanent ink, and then carving. I like it. The Fauci woodcut was the first I made using a wall mount for carving that was created by my father-in-law. Carving while standing is SO much easier on the back than carving while hunched over a work table. The mount deserves a post of it’s own.
A public art project I have been working on is nearly complete and the exhibit opens Saturday, as part of PrintHouston 2019. PrintHouston is a biannual citywide celebration of printmaking arts with about 20 participating galleries and venues. The piece I am showing is a woodcut relief print that will be installed on the facade of the Mystic Lyon Art Space in Houston’s Fifth Ward. I am super excited about it!
I began this project by sketching on location in Houston’s Historic Fifth Ward. Homes, businesses, churches and the old DeLuxe Theater were some of the places I drew as inspiration, all situated on Lyons Avenue.
Followers on Instagram have seen a lot of these drawings- I’ve not neglected the blog intentionally! I used these drawings to create the imagery in my woodcut print. The Fifth Ward is known to some fondly as “The Nickel”, so I named the piece “Nickel Views”.
“Nickel Views”, relief print on wood, 7′ x 4′
The printing of this piece and its manner of display are both unusual. First it is printed on wood where traditionally a woodcut is printed onto paper. I used very thin marine plywood so it is flexible, yet sturdy enough to be outside. Second it has been cut into 4 pieces and will be displayed woven through the window bars on the front of the art space, visible from the street.
“Nickel Views”, cut and varnish day.
I chose to print on wood and to install in this way to echo the boarded up buildings in the neighborhood. Much of the Fifth Ward is economically depressed and to me the boarded up buildings are symbols of abandonment and decay. Yet there is also life, vibrancy, art, culture, and civic pride in the Fifth Ward. Fascinating history. People striving to revitalize a community. I hope the work I have created shows this. #NickelProud
So! Saturday. 5-7pm at Mystic Lyon. 5017 Lyons St, Houston. Inside I will be showing the drawings I made of the neighborhood. AND there will be artwork from fellow printmaker Kelly Moran. Oh, and there will be beer. Saint Arnold Brewery is literally right down the street and they have generously donated beverages. “Nickel Views” will be on display May 4th- July 20th.
A view down Lyons Ave, Houston, on a grey and drizzly day last week. I had to bail on this drawing twice because of rain. I started on a Friday and intended to do everything with black and grey markers because the day was so dreary. Only got as far as the marquee and the seriously leaning power pole before things got too wet. Read More
I sketched this abandoned shop in Houston’s Fifth Ward last week. The morning was grey and dreary which influenced my color choices a great deal. The teal of the sign and trim was what grabbed my attention and made me choose this spot to sketch. It threatened to rain but I only caught a few drops.
This part of Houston is going through a major transition. 2 brand new townhomes are next door to this building.
When I wake up in the morning I almost always have a song in my head. Does that happen to you? Sometimes it’s music I do not like, but usually it is something good (good meaning something I like!) and it influences the music I will listen to that day. I woke up January 7th with “Starman” by David Bowie in my head and proceeded to listen to Bowie most of the day. The next morning turned out to be David Bowie’s birthday, so the music marathon continued and I made this drawing. Read More
Linocut printed on 4″ x 6″ hemp paper card. Purple ink and glitter.
I made linocut holiday cards this year and am so pleased with how they turned out. The design is inspired by Prince so I printed with purple ink. While the ink was still wet my wife carefully applied superfine glitter to the Prince nutcracker in the center. It’s not Christmas without glitter!
Ooooh! Prince is sparkly.
Prince fans will understand the reference in “Let’s Get Nuts”, but if you’re rusty with 1980’s pop music lyrics I will help you out. The lyric is from 1984’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Carved linoleum block, test prints, and glass baren.
I printed the cards by hand with a glass baren from Iron Frog Press. Their Print Frogs, as they are called, are a joy to print with and well worth the price if hand printing is your thing. The glass baren is a work of art in itself.
“Print Frog”, a glass baren from Iron Frog Press
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Here is my last Inktober drawing. The source image I worked from has the skulls up close on the right but nothing in the background. To give some context to the skulls I made the background a wall of bones, working from ossuary pictures on the internet. Ossuaries are weird. Definition: a container or room into which bones of dead people are placed. Freaky stuff.
Wall of Inktober Drawings
I ran out of steam with the Inktober drawings last week and ended up 4 short of my goal. But looking at this wall I’m happy with the work. I pushed myself to try some new things, worked larger and brought it out of the sketchbooks. I like seeing them all together like this.