Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Peace Puzzle Print: Lulu's Inspiration

It is definitely time to start up this blog again!

Through the years, I have participated in several huge woodblock puzzle print projects coordinated and put together by artist and woodblock friend Maria Arango.  For more info on this, visit her blog,  And look at her work, she is an amazing artist!

The theme this time around is Peace.

Wanting to find a take on the theme that is very close to home, I knew that one or both of my cats (named Natalia and Lulu) would surely be an inspiration.  Natalia actually would have been the more obvious choice, as her nature is so mellow and peaceful, but when I got ready to draw, Lulu was so peacefully dreaming on her favorite cardboard scratcher that I decided that she would be the inspiration this time. 

And, I think there is something interesting too, about having the peacefulness of the image, while knowing that the cat may well be dreaming of future mischief or escapades.

I did the drawing in simple pencil.  I generally use either pencil or brush and ink for the source drawings for my woodcuts.  Following is the drawing that resulted. I wanted to keep it minimal, striving for the simple grace of the pose.

 Of course, in doing a woodcut, I needed to reverse the image, so I scanned it, flipped the image and then transferred it to the block by drawing over the printout of the reversed image with carbon paper underneath (you can still find carbon paper at some stationery stores!).

The wood is cherry so it really holds the line really well.  It is a hard wood, though, so takes some more elbow grease in the carving. 
I knew because of the shape of the image, it would have a lot of space around it on the block, but that was fine with me, and seemed to fit with the theme as well.  Below is the carved block:

Before I sent the block back to Maria, I wanted to do some rubbings of the image.  I use a big, soft-ish colored pencil, pigment stick, crayon or something along those lines to do woodblock rubbings.  You simply place paper over the block and rub where the lines are.  It is helpful to get an idea of how it will print, and I like the rough look of the rubbing in itself, even though it is the reverse of my original image, so I made a few rubbings before sending the block on its return journey to join the rest of the puzzle.
I titled this print "Resting Mischief".  The blurb which will accompany it in the book about the Peace Puzzle Print is:

"The title of my image is "Mischief at Rest".  It is inspired by Lulu, who is one of my two dear formerly-feral kitties. Her sister Natalia is the philosopher, while Lulu is more the playful jester. A peaceful moment dreaming of her next adventure:)"

Thanks to Maria for putting this project together, and I look forward to seeing the finished print!! Do check out her blog to find out more about it:)

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