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Friday, September 5, 2014

Behind The Print: Sunflower Farm

Again, just a quick overview of the reduction woodcut process: a single block of wood is cut, then printed, cut again, then printed, and so on in successive steps which slowly reveal the final image. For example, in the photo at left, you will see that there is a bright yellow and a dark yellow. The bright yellow was printed, then the wood was cut away where I wanted that bright yellow to be. Then when the dark yellow was printed, the bright yellow remained.

Of course, you will note that this print looks nothing like the final print you all now know as "Sunflower Far." Sometimes an artist gets so far before realizing they've made a mistake and need to start over. This is an especially frustrating moment for reduction printmakers, as it means going back to step one. The main thing with this print was the color. I didn't like the sky color, and wasn't happy with the contrast in the yellows. It took eight months before I went back and tried it again, with pretty good results, I think.

The place that the print is modeled after is real, save for some artistic licence. It exists somewhere in Western New York, on a little back road. It had a little sign written by the farmer's kids asking to please don't pick -- the sunflowers, so everyone could enjoy them. Nearby was a large block-lettered sign warning trespassers in no uncertain terms. Talk about contrast.

There is a barn, on a hill, but the vista isn't quite as dramatic. I wish I knew where it was, but we were so excited to see it, we paid no attention to where we were. That's the fate of us roadtrippers.




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