Although I now live in mountains, I grew up in the western Canadian foothills. One of my favorite things to do in early March is to go for a drive, east towards the endless farmland close to where I live, just to see the sky open up.
In my most recent handmade print, I’ve worked to capture a stormy March sky, tumultuous over a prairie scene.
I begins by creating my sketch on tracing paper, which then gets transferred to my printmaking block.
The pencil guide helps me know what to take away on the block, and what lines to leave so they appear on the final print.
Here is the block and my hand-held carving tools. The block is almost complete.
Once the block is carved, I roll my oil-based printmaking ink over the block, in preparation for printing. It’s that wonderful moment when I see what I have created in black and white.
All my fine art prints are pulled by hand, printed without a press. I love the tactical feel of rubbing the back of the paper with a printmaking baren (the red tool in the left of the photo above). I can vary the pressure and even use my fingers to press the paper further into the block.
Once the print is pulled, it hangs to dry on my art studio’s clothesline. Since the ink is oil-based, it can take up to a week for a single color to dry before I sign and package the print. Although the majority of this edition will remain in black and white, I also printed a small number of prints on watercolor paper so I could hand-paint a few with watercolor paint once it dries.
I love the simplicity of the design and the movement of the gathering storm clouds. Some say it reminds them of a Van Gogh painting, which wasn’t intentional. But I do admit, I have always loved the swirling nature of Van Gogh’s art.