July 21, 2018

Dog Days

        I just completed my two weeks of printmaking classes for the summer, so of course I want to share some of the students’ work.  This year dogs were especially popular, and if you include other canines, as well, we had an enormous crop.  Several different projects are represented here, too, so let me introduce you to the pack.
        First we had dogs (and a fox) appear in simple one-block relief prints.  I say “simple,” but of course I’ve spent decades never tiring of the look of one-block prints.  The first one is a great example of how close cropping can add drama, and how effective just a little texture can be.  The details of the eye and around the nose make the piece more sophisticated.  On the other hand, the sleeping dog has no texture at all (and in fact this particular artist worked quite obsessively to eliminate all the little stray black marks within the
white).  She initially carved the eyes, but didn’t like the way they looked, so just carved them away, leaving it even simpler.  It works so well, though, because even though the lines and shapes are very plain, their accuracy is perfect.
        Two of our canines were done with the Background/Foreground project.  In both, the animal is not minutely detailed, but gains interest from its setting.  I imagine these creatures could be set on a variety of backgrounds, and indeed the wolf was used to make some
printed patterns on its own with multiple colors.
        The collagraph puppy is quite charming.  It’s made of corrugated paper for the vertical lines and puff paint for the outlines of the dog.  (This year’s collagraphs included some especially successful examples, so I may share more of them another time.  For that matter, I may have to share some of the other rubber block prints, as well.)
        So, seven young artists; five dogs, a wolf, and a fox; three different techniques or projects.    (There was even
one more dog, but it was done with a new project that I introduced this year and which I’ll definitely share in a future post.)  Despite the fact that so many of the artists were making dogs, there was actually a striking difference between the two classes.  The first week worked fast and didn’t do much tweaking and recarving or much experimenting with printing or making large editions.  They whipped through projects, trying out everything I offered them, and then eager to try out the next thing.  The second week, by contrast, worked slowly and meticulously.  They  carved, recarved, and recarved again, then they
printed, printed, and printed some more.  I had to beg them not to be such perfectionists in trying to get rid of every stray carving mark.  (I like a few carving marks here and there, but kids are often unconvinced by this, and a majority of this year’s week two kids were even more unconvinceable than most!)  They didn’t have enough time to try all the different projects, but the ones they did came out exceptionally well.  Kids in both weeks went home with bags full of marvelous work, and I made a few new little projects myself - even though I didn't make any dogs!

[Pictures: Dog (Bonny), rubber block print by DM, 2018;
Dog, rubber block print by SA, 2018;
Wolf, rubber block print by AL, 2018;
Sleeping Dog, rubber block print by TS, 2018;
Dog, collagraph by LA, 2018;
Dog catching a frisbee, rubber block print by K F-K, 2018;
Fox (Lily), rubber block print by AF, 2018.]

1 comment:

Pax said...

Looks like very enjoyable classes. Makes me want to sign up next summer (if I were younger).