June 6, 2013

Ocean Alphabet

        This Saturday is World Oceans Day, and I couldn't let such an important occasion go by without a little block print celebration.  And having just discovered an appropriately nautical abecedary, what better way to celebrate the ocean than with some ocean images from block printed ABC books?  "Oh boy," I can hear you saying, "She's right!  There is no better way to celebrate than with block prints!"  I'm so glad we agree!
        Life began in the oceans, life continues to teem in the oceans, and new life forms are still being discovered in the oceans.  I don't have any block prints representing the bizarre and alien creatures from the deepest trenches or the boiling deep sea vents, or even a good old-fashioned coelacanth.  I also didn't want to repeat images I've posted here before,
including sea turtles, cormorants, flying fish and walrus…  Nevertheless, perhaps today's small sampling can still serve as a reminder of how much we stand to lose by failing to take care of our oceans.
        I begin with the ocean itself: S is for sea.  After that I've put the images in alphabetical order, in honor of their sources in alphabet books.  I include fish, crustacean, mammal, and cephalopod, plus the human-made craft for exploring the ocean (or, of course, exploiting it).  The printing blocks are carved from wood, linoleum, and rubber.
        As always, I'm admiring the range of different styles, and how each artist brings a different way of carving, resulting in a very different sort of look.  Compare the swirly doodling patterns of Anderson's sea with the straight lines of Robinson's xiphias
(swordfish).  Compare the textured detail of Pease's fish with the large solid areas of Dodds's schooner.  Compare the intense colors of Wormell's lobster and narwhal with the stark black and white of my nautilus.  Each so different, and each so interesting and beautiful.  Now isn't this a fun celebration?

[Pictures: Sea, linoleum block print by Walter Inglis Anderson, 1930's (Image from The Walter Anderson Shop);
F stands for fish, wood block print by R.H. Pease, hand painted, from The Ladder to Learning by Miss Lovechild, 1852 (Image from Project Gutenberg);
Lobster and Narwhal, linoleum block prints with multiple blocks by Christopher Wormell, from An Alphabet of Animals, 1990;
Nautilus, rubber block print by AEGN, 2009, from Amazing, Beguiling, Curious, 2010;
Schooner, linoleum block print by James Dodds, from Alphabet of Boats, 1998;
Xiphias, woodcut by Alan James Robinson, 1982, from An Odd Bestiary, 1986.]


Aine Scannell said...

Lovely blog............ I like it and want to stay in touch !!!

Please enable
"follow by email" from the gadget options, within the layout area on your dashboard
let me know as then I can sign up and please put this blog address in the email.
best wishes

Aine Scannell fellow lover of printmaking


Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Hello, Aine,
Thanks for visiting! Thanks for the request about the "follow by email" option. I've gone ahead and enabled it.