Stone, Wood, and Ink

My apartment was feeling a bit blank and after living here for six months we decided it high time we hang some art work up. So we looked through some of my work from art school and pulled these three prints to frame up.

The first in this series is a three color lithograph named In the Face of Adversity. We chose to hang it mostly for the color, (the reds really match a pair of chairs we have in the room), but it also just reminds me of how much I liked lithography and print making in general.

For those of you unfamiliar, lithography is a type of printmaking based on the fact that water and oil don’t mix. Basically you would apply an oily substance (like a china marker, grease pencil, or other oil based medium) to the smooth surface of either stone or metal. This print and every other litho I’ve ever made were created on smooth limestone blocks, which were strange and wonderful to draw on at the same time. Once you make your drawing, you would process the stone using a series of chemicals which would essentially prevent the areas not drawn on from accepting ink. You would then wet the stone, roll on ink, and through the magic of water and oil, render your artwork fully inked-up and ready to be transferred to paper. Making a multiple color print would require you repeat this process for each color, removing or adding areas that would be in one color but not the next.

The next two prints here are a wood block prints called Music Man and Explosion. Creating a wood block print is much less complex then creating a lithograph, however much less forgiving. With lithography you can add or remove marks, blend, and create some very unique effects. With wood block printing it’s what you carve is what you get. Wood is pretty unforgiving, and there is really no way to “erase” a carving. Despite these limitations, wood block prints generally have a  rough, bold quality because of the process that can be really nice if done properly.

In the Face of Adversity

In the Face of Adversity, 20x16in three color lithograph

The Music Man

Music Man, 13x11in three color wood block print

Explosion

Explosion, 12x20in wood block print

It’s unfortunate I haven’t been able to do any print making since I finished college. I really enjoy the process of making prints, from the carving the block or etching the stone, to rolling on ink and running it through the press. There was always something great about pulling the freshly printed sheet off the press.

Hopefully some day I’ll get my hands on a small press or find a shop somewhere I can mess around in.

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One thought on “Stone, Wood, and Ink

  1. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always useful to read through content from other writers and practice something from other websites.

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