Stumped by Printmaking

It had been a while since the printmaking part of the studio had been dusted off. So much jewelry to be made, shows to hang, dog to keep from barking over-exuberant introductions at everyone…there sat the woodblocks. Folks asked where the prints were and when more would happen. Meanwhile, back at the homestead, landscape clearing of some snags had progressed and AHHH-HAAA!

Carved Wood Stump for printing in Ozone Fine Art

Carved Wood Stump for printing in Ozone Fine Art

‘Koi in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

‘Koi in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

Instead of preparing a wood block from regular, milled lumber, why not take a stump or cross section of the wood and create a woodcut from that? New ideas are always so appealing, so much more fun than doing the same thing twice or for an entire print edition for that matter. The first idea was a Koi fish swimming in the current or ripples of a pond that were the grains of the wood. This is a Coast Pine from Agate Beach, Newport. The Koi is hand painted with Sumi Inks in the same traditional and ancient technique that the print is pulled; hand inked, stone rubbed ‘press’.

Trees in trees, you knew this was bound to happen. I love the shape and grace of the local Sitka Spruce trees here. The transverse section had the Sitka bough textures already happening. I prepared this wood so that the hard grains would rise and the softer ones would recede before cutting the image. The wood itself is mesmerizing and so interesting to work with its own creative queues for me to dance with.

'Sitka in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

'Sitka in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

‘Sitkas in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

‘Sitkas in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

The black ink prints are lovely on their own, but I have to admit it’s like candy to hand-color some of the prints. This smaller Sitka print with two trees was hand painted after the print was pulled and mounted with its unique shape in tact. Every individual mounting of these prints is its own one of a kind expression.

There are waves in the woods to be sure. This wood gave me the growth rings in perfect harmony for this nice curl. The relationship is compelling that the Coast Pine birthed this wave and the sea it portrays evaporates the pure water to quench the thirst of the tree. Indeed there are seas in all the trees.

‘Wave in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

‘Wave in the Wood’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

Mounted Koi, Moth, and Wave prints at the Ozone

Mounted Koi, Moth, and Wave prints at the Ozone

The latest print that I worked on today (and these have only been happening this past week and a half) is ‘the bees in the trees’. One of the very trees that was pruned held a rugby sized bivouac of bees a few springs ago. We had 3 seasons of bees until a colony collapse that broke my heart. This year, we’re getting bees to put on the vineyard in the valley and proceeds from this piece will go directly to their wellbee-ing. We need these guys.

‘Bees in the Trees’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

‘Bees in the Trees’ Woodblock print by Karen Britt

Our current show is ReNEW, ReCLAIM, ReMIND and this definitely falls into the category for so many reasons. Some of the prints are being printed on hand made papers that I am creating out of cotton rag and recycled paper material from the Ozone (including wine boxes!). Our next show is an homage to the trees. To honor the lungs of the world, the giants and saplings that give us so much, is humbling to collaborate with this project. Come enjoy the offerings through this show and the next,.