Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dog Gone Museum

©Hannah Phelps
Life on the Edge
jigsaw reduction relief print, 7" x 12"

As I get ready for my solo show at the Washington Printmakers Gallery this summer, I have to juggle some other opportunities also.

One very cool is example is that my brand new print, Life on the Edge, has now been added to the permanent collection of the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts in Rochester, NH.

Not only is it AWESOME to have my art in a museum, the print itself was a successful experiment and that makes it doubly exciting. It is a color relief print using just one block, but it was created in an entirely different way than my white-line woodcuts.

For starters, I used linoleum instead of wood. Linoleum is softer than wood, so it is easier to carve and there isn’t a grain to work with or fight against - the carving tool can go in any direction I choose. Specifically, I used “easy-cut” linoleum, which is thick, very squishy and not mounted to any stiff backing. 

That meant that I could cut the entire block into to two pieces with an exacto knife:

easy-cut linoleum block cut into two pieces 

Why would I do that?

I knew that I wanted to use the “reduction” method to create a color print, but I didn’t want to limit the print to just one family of colors. Usually, reduction reliefs are created by printing one color and then carving out the areas on the block that will remain that first color, printing a second color and then carving out more areas. This is repeated until the image is complete. Often, we work from light to dark, so any highlights are carved out first and the really dark shadows or outlines will be printed last.

By cutting the block into two pieces, I could use two colors at once on the same layer - I inked the top piece in green or blue for the water while the dog and rock were inked in yellow or brown. After I applied color to both pieces, I put them back together, placed the paper on top and printed the image. 

photo of print after inking the second layer

I repeated this 6 times for a total of 12 colors.

This was so much fun that I am making more jigsaw reduction reliefs, this time in wood. They are in the very early stages. The light layers don’t show up well in photos, but I will share them with you when they have bulked up a bit.

In the meantime, you can see Life on the Edge at the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts (1 Dover Road, Rochester, NH 03867) at the Grand Opening this Saturday night from 7 pm -9:30 pm!
Or you can have an art collection that is just like a museum’s....
This print is one of twenty-five, so if you find yourself envious of the r.MFA, you can have one of your very own! They are available now at my Etsy store.


No comments: