January 13, 2017

A Few More Block Prints

        On Wednesday I visited the high school to talk about block printmaking.  The students in the senior art class were working on lino reduction block prints and their work was incredibly impressive.  The most complex reduction print I’ve ever done is 3 levels of carving and inking (plus paper), but these kids are doing four, thus totally outclassing me!  I really wanted to take pictures to share with the world, but out of respect for the students’ privacy I refrained.  So I have the work of another, unrelated, artist instead.

        The block prints of Neil Brigham (USA) caught my eye today in part because he does a lot of reduction prints.  Some have more layers of ink, but I particularly liked these first two, which are soothingly monochromatic.  They also serve to show that a reduction print can be fully realized and beautiful even if it is relatively simple - just two inks (for the owl) or three inks (for the shingle).
        Brigham does lots of great black and white work, too.  As an illustrator he does various little logos and spot illustrations that are very pleasing.  Block printing works so well when you want a big punch in a little size!  But I picked out these two medium-sized pieces to share because I find them especially interesting.  The bird’s-eye view has such a nice balance of detail and simplicity, and I especially like how the white around the large building gives it a special emphasis.  In the riverboat I particularly like the treatment of the smoke, which I know would never be my own style, and the treatment of the plants in the foreground, which is almost how I’ve worked sometimes, but not quite.  It’s interesting that the very bottom plants are just outlines, with no filling-in or texture, and that the black shape isn’t correlated with the white outlines; it’s its own separate layer of plants.
        A quick search didn’t turn up any picture books illustrated by Brigham, but I’d love to see him do some.  I think he’d do a wonderful job.

[Pictures: Wisdom, reduction block print by Neil Brigham;
Down East, reduction block print by Brigham;
Winter, linoleum(?) block print by Brigham;
Harvest, linoleum(?) block print by Brigham (All images from Neil Brigham.com).]

No comments: