I am so in love with art and creativity and I am so in love with artists and how and where they create the things they do.
I want to learn more so I’m openly requesting artist’s to let me into their studios and workshops. I’m asking to learn about their process and the materials that they use to create.
Then I arrange to spend a day with them just hanging out and making art (on their turf). I’m calling these discovery dates!
The first artist to let me into their studio is my very good friend and co/collaborator Leslie Nan Moon.
Leslie Nan Moon is a lino-cut/block print artist and she is very good at what she does. She received a BFA in printmaking in 1994 and has 20 years experience and a prolific art career.
My friend Kristen and I went to Leslie’s house where she creates her art and got a lesson in block printing.
Leslie works 95% of the time with battleship gray linoleum but when working with beginners she has her students use Safety-Kut printmaking blocks because they are softer and easier to carve than linoleum. That’s better for the unskilled carvers hand (like mine).
First we sketched or traced an image onto the block. Then we traced it with a sharpy and tried to create an image that separates clearly with contrast. Contrast is the key to creating a good image with a block print. You also have to remember that you’re creating a mirror image in the carving and that you’ll have to flip the image when you print your block, this is especially important when using type.
After we had our image on our block, we carved it out with special carving tools of various size and shape. Then you take your block to the printing table, ink up a brayer using water soluble, cheapo Speedball ink (Leslie regularly uses Daniel Smith water soluble printmaking relief ink). Then you use the brayer to ink your block. You have to be careful not to get too much or too little ink. Too much fills in your contrast lines and too little creates a faded image.
Once you’re satisfied with your inking you lay the paper on top of the print and rub it all over. You don’t turn it over and use it like a stamp, it’s much more intimate. 😉
It takes a few practice prints to get a crisp clean image.
I made a self-portrait. I’m studying self-portraits on my own right now and Leslie informed me that that was what I would be working on that day.
It seems appropriate to do self-portraits, it really puts me into the elements and helps me create in my own way. I think I’ll keep that in mind when I get off to my next discovery date with the next artist who will let me into their studio!
Thank you to my friend Leslie for sharing her time, studio and creative knowledge with me. It is such an amazing feeling to work with an artist on their own creative turf. I learned a new way to express myself and got to spend time with an amazing lady!
(Click Here) to check out Leslie’s blog.
Wanna learn how to make block prints too?
(Click Here) to enroll in Leslie’s Block Print Valentine’s Workshop February 6th 6:30pm-9:30pm at artEAST.