June 25, 2013

More by Dodds

        I discovered block print artist James Dodds (U.K. b. 1957) a few weeks ago through his small alphabet book of boats, and looked him up to see what else I could find.  What I found was lots more boats and nautical themes, but with much more detail and style.  I especially like his series of port towns and boatyards.  They're not photo-realistic, often with a fish-eye perspective and stylized textures in water and sky.  But the boats, Dodds's specialty, are wonderfully detailed and precise, each one unique as if it's a portrait of an actual individual boat.  I really like the
architecture of the towns, too, sometimes in rows like blocks, sometimes higgelty-piggelty.  The elevated viewpoint and curved perspective make it feel as if you're coming into port on the crows nest of a tall ship - or perhaps even swooping in on the wings of a gull.  It's certainly not the view you'd ever see while standing on the sidewalk or the dock.
        Another thing I like about these pieces is the balance of black and white and texture.  Unlike renaissance woodcuts, which tend to reproduce nothing but black lines, and Victorian woodcuts, which tend to be nothing but gradations of shading everywhere, Dodds uses plenty of pure black and pure white in a nice balance of
contrast.  I find this very pleasing.
        I was delighted to discover Dodds's block prints.  If you're delighted by his work, too, you can see more about him at his web site, but the images are all at his press web site, linked below.

[Pictures: Wivenhoe Past and Present, linocut by James Dodds, 1996 (Image from Jardine Press);
Memories of St Monans, linocut by Dodds (Image from The Colchester Circle Blog);
Southwold Beach, linocut by Dodds, 2001 (Image from Jardine Press).] 

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