May 27, 2016


        I’ve got moose on the mind today.  I’m organizing the end-of-year class gift for T’s orchestra teacher, and he loves moose, so that seems as good a reason as any to feature an assortment of relief block prints of moose.
        I’ll start with the moose that looks most likely to conduct an orchestra, this stamp design by  John Andrews.  I like old-fashioned stamp designs and have frequently toyed with the idea of doing some miniature stamp-inspired block prints myself, but I just haven’t settled on any particular theme.  In any case, this is a very stately, dignified moose, no doubt a pillar of his community.
        Our next moose, by Patrick Dengate, is deceptively simple.  There are no tiny details of design or carving, and just your basic line gouges, and yet the variations in length and width of the different lines in different areas build up into a beautifully realized moose.  The water, the hairier neck, the smoother antlers, each have their different texture.  I also like that the background isn’t all perfectly carved out.

        Betsy Bowen often watercolors her prints, but looking more closely at her moose, I think the color comes from multiple blocks.  I especially like the effect on the grasses on the side.  This moose comes with the added detail of his tracks, although of course you wouldn’t be able to see the tracks of any moose wading in the water!
        Also printed in color is Rick Allen’s pair.  What’s interesting here is that the carving is very simple indeed: pretty much just silhouettes.  It’s the variegated ink that gives it a look of more substance, as you might actually see moose, across a field, a little indistinct in rising mist or falling snow.  These moose don’t have antlers, which is nice variety, too, because of course the antlers are so iconic that almost all the moose art you see has them.
        And finally, a more abstract moose, the doodle moose, also a simple silhouette, but this one filled up with fun random patterns.
        And that’s a Friday-ful of mooses for you.

[Pictures: Alphonse Moose, linocut by John Andrews, 2013 (Image from Doodlepalooza);
Moose, woodcut by Patrick Dengate (Image from;
Moose tracks, wood block print by Betsy Bowen from Tracks in the Wild, 1993;
M Moose, relief block print by Rick Allen from Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman, 2014 (Image from Kenspeckle Letterpress);
Doodle Moose, linoleum block print by Bre (Image from Doodles of the North Etsy shop).]

No comments: