Monday, September 9, 2013

Relief Printmaking at Ghost Ranch, August 2013

Belatedly, I want to write about this year's trip to New Mexico and making my dream come true about spending a week at Ghost Ranch. I had heard of the place as the home of Georgia O'Keeffe, but only in recent years heard about the conference center and classes there from a friend who has taught writing classes there.  She told me about the printmaking class she wanted to take this year, and invited me to go along with her.  Although the Ghost Ranch experience was much more than the class itself, I will stick to writing about the class for this post.

The class was taught by Laura DeLind, an anthropologist and artist at Michigan State University, known for her linocuts.  Her prints are usually in black and white and feature natural objects and whimsical animals.  In this class, we got right down to the business of carving linoleum with Speedball carving tools and printing the result with an oil-based ink on different kinds of paper.  While making the cuts was tedious, that part was easy compared to the actual printing.  Getting a clear and even image without smudging was the hardest part for me.  Here is our class on our last work day with our latest prints hanging up to dry:

Here are the linocuts that I made.  The black in the cut linoleum is the part that was cut away (I couldn't clean out the ink after printing), and the lighter gray is what made the print. In other words, you have to cut the reverse of what you want to print.  If using words, the letters need to be cut backwards.  That's a little tricky when doing fancy letters, as I did in the block on the lower left.  I'll let you guess what it says :)
 And here are two prints that I made.  The first was an exercise to use a border and words.  The second was an exercise of using patterns to define spaces.

The "Ouch" linocut could be used to make a funny "get well" card if a friend has an accident, but I hope I don't have to use it.

More later about the New Mexico trip and Ghost Ranch.

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