by maggie

I really enjoyed the Japanese Wood Cut class at summer school and i wanted to learn a bit deeper. So I signed up for more I assumed that  it would follow the same pattern: draw out an image, cut the blocks, prepare paper, print with colours and experiment with he interpretations, but over eight weeks instead of two days. So here’s the first iteration of work.

Unsurprisingly i had trouble choosing an image to work with. Eventually i settled on an old sketch from a trip to North wales.octo-2

When I tried to draw it up for the blocks,converting it from a square to A5 I realise I had more in my memory of bringing the sheep in while waiting for a couple of Daves than i did on the page.
So i googled the place.Here and the  first one
As I worked on my image I had to ask myself what drew me to this particular view, past boredom and apprehension for my friends, or fascination with watching the sheep being brought in.
Was it the arrangement of the walls around the house? The contrast between the grass quality inside and outside of the enclosures?
How should I crop the image? There’s a river at the bottom with its own arrangement of boulders and trees. Does that add to take away from the composition? How much mountain side is enough? Landscape or portrait?
I made a lot of drawing until I was happy enough with the proportions there are the bold lines of the walls and the lumpiness of the stream beds. boulders and trees. Dark and light. The image has been simplified. But all the important elements are still there. Maybe i’m learning the meaning of enough.
In the first drawing the house, a grey smudge, is near the top of the image, its the field boundaries that leads down to the  river that’s interesting. In the last drawing, based on lots more sources the composition is a bit different.
Cutting of course was fiddlly. There are four blocks: grass, trees/mountain/roof, light rock, shadows.  Here are rubbings on tracing paper. from the four blocks. [The halos around some parts of the images are from areas of wood that will not be cut away.

Dark shadows: for the sides of walls, the underside of boulders, stream beds and the walls of the ruined barn


Light stone:for all of the walls (save the house), and the boulders on the mountain side and in the streams.


Grass: everywhere, but buildings walls, streams and boulders.


Trees, roof and cliff

The walls of the house are white so they aren’t on any block. So if i pile the rubbings on top of each other, there should be a blank space for the walls, and graphite should cover the rest of the page. The roof is on the three plates that aren’t grass. I can choose to have a light, dark or alternate coloured roof. My biggest concern is that were there isn’t grass there is light rock, shadows or mountain. If the registration isn’t good enough then white will show up and spoil everything. Woe is me!
After half term I get to print and we’ll see how everything went.
Fingers crossed