19 January 2018

Eclipse


ECLIPSE
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 1 block, 7 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 10 on Yukimi paper
___________________

This is the last print in this series about fire. Today is day #365 of Trump and it's been a hell of a year. It's become a truism to say that the USA is a divided country, and it is, but one thing that brought Americans together in 2017 was the American Solar Eclipse. People from all different places and backgrounds and races and political orientations — all of us were riveted on the total eclipse of 2017. It wasn't political, it was just the awesomeness of nature and science and being a human on this beautiful blue planet. So I wanted to end things here, on this note.

As usual, here are the steps I took to make this print.

This board has been used for the first (yellow) layer on every one of the previous 11 prints. I created the entire eclipse print using just this one block.
I scribed a circle using a compass and carved the circumference with a narrow v-gouge. The small dots are guides I made for the "Vigil" print so I would know where to wipe for the white spots of each flame.

First color, as usual, was yellow.
Then I carved the sun's corona, which is visible during an eclipse.
That was the only carving. The rest of the corona was built up with brushes only.





One year down.

14 January 2018

Vigil


VIGIL
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 5 blocks, 10 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 10 on Yukimi paper
Shapes derived from four video stills of a group of candles.
___________________

vigil
/ˈvɪdʒ·əl/
​noun
• a period of staying awake, to be with someone who is ill or to call public attention to something
___________________

So we gather together and stand shoulder to shoulder. We watch and wait, and we try to stay awake.

The way the grain printed, with the suggestion of a current of energy running between the individual flames, was everything I could have hoped for when I chose that piece of wood for the final layer.

As usual, here are some process shots.


05 January 2018

Fire and Fury



FIRE AND FURY
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 5 blocks, 10 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 8 on Yukimi paper
Shapes derived from four video stills of a North Korean missile launch.
___________________

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
–Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad-Gita, 16 Jul 1945

“I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”
–Ronald Reagan, 23 Mar 1983

“Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.”
–Viktor Frankl, 19 Jun 1983

“Japan learned from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the tragedy wrought by nuclear weapons must never be repeated and that humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.”
–Daisaku Ikeda, 25 Apr 2012

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
–Donald Trump, 9 Aug 2017

“Will someone from [Kim Jong Un's] depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
–Donald Trump, 2 Jan 2018

What else is there to say? I have nothing to add.

First two colors.
Color three.
Fourth color. The fifth block was printed four times to complete the print. Unfortunately i didn't take any photos.

27 December 2017

Wildfire


WILDFIRE
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 5 blocks, 9 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 8 on Yukimi paper
Shapes derived from four video stills of a California wildfire.
___________________

2017 has been a remarkable year for the United States of America for many reasons, including the record-setting wildfires in California and other parts of the western USA. This year is the most expensive firefighting year on record for the US Forest Service with over $2 billion spent. Climate change deniers continue to argue that we've always had fires and weather is just weather and it's those people's fault for building there anyhow; the Trump administration continues to dismantle federal actions that address both the causes and the effects of climate change (can we at the very least respond to the effects, please?); but meanwhile the Thomas Fire north of Los Angeles has been burning for 23 days and still rages as I type this post. Fires have also erupted in Europe this year and, perhaps most alarmingly, wildfires have begun to occur farther north than ever before. In August of this year, "unusual and possibly unprecedented" multiple fires broke out in melted peat bogs in Greenland.

This print is dedicated to all those who have lost homes to the fires, including my friend Laury and her family, who lost their home to the Sonoma County fires in October. ♥

Here are some photos of the print in progress.

A small bright spot created by wiping away pigment on the first layer.
Shapes from first video still added.
Wiping is needed to keep the shapes from the first layers visible as the pigment builds up.
One more set of shapes in a darker shade, still wiping to keep visibility of the layers below. I like the "steamy" effect created by the wiping.
This is the fifth block. The photo was taken after printing, which is why it's stained with color. You can see that the block contains another set of fire shapes (a fourth video still) in the sky area plus trees that were in the video foreground. I worked the two areas separately for the most part and printed five or six different times before I was satisfied with the color balance.

27 November 2017

Gaslight


GASLIGHT
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 5 blocks, 16 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 8 on Yukimi paper
Shapes derived from four video stills of fracking flares.
___________________

Gas•light [gas-lahyt] verb
To cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation:
How do you know if your president is gaslighting you?

Gas•flare [gas-flair] noun
A gas combustion device used in industrial plants such as petroleum refineries, chemical plants, natural gas processing plants as well as at oil or gas production sites such as hydrofracking operations:
The gas flares, which are bright enough to be seen from space, turned a peaceful little life into a nightmare.

The shapes in this print are derived from a video of gas flares from a fracking well, but I couldn't resist the double-entendre with the psychological term "gaslighting," which is being used often this year as people discuss the condition called narcissistic personality disorder and whether or not the president of the United States suffers from it. Gaslighting is one of the things that narcissists do.

Here are some process photos.


16 November 2017

Dumpster Fire



DUMPSTER FIRE
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 5 blocks, 11 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 8 on Yukimi paper
Shapes derived from five video stills of a fire in a dumpster.
___________________

Dumpster fire. Because it is.

The challenge on this print was getting a dirty look. I had a few hair-raising moments getting to the end, so I don't have very many process photos, but here are three.


08 November 2017

Molotov


MOLOTOV
Watercolor woodblock (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 5 blocks, 8 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 8 on Yukimi paper
Shapes derived from seven video stills of a molotov cocktail being thrown at a wall.
___________________

About a week ago, just as I was finalizing this print, I visited the Rubin Museum of Art which specializes in art from the Himalayas and I noticed this descriptive text about a class of Tantric Buddhist deities who are shown as wrathful:
One of these kinds [of deities] includes enlightened beings that assume fierce appearances to remove obstacles or perform other protective functions. Though they may look like demons, these deities are said to be wrathful manifestations of wisdom and method.
When I first proofed the shapes that resulted from superimposing seven stills from a video of a molotov cocktail exploding against a wall, I noticed that they resembled some kind of a cartoon monster. That monster likeness plus my musings on fire and anger combined in my mind with this text and so I decided to mimic the flaming hair and "aura" that I had seen on the wrathful deities at the museum for one last layer.

 
Detail of the Tantric Buddhist inspired flames.
Black Hayagriva from the Rubin Museum