I did a relief printmaking demo for a home school group, parents and children ages toddler through 12, on Wednesday this week. It was lots of fun. The kids were very attentive and asked great questions.
Since it was only a 30 minute demo, I decided to create an image and cut most of it before the group got there. I began by drawing in my sketchbook within the 4.5 x 6 rectangle that I had decided would be the size for this work. I am working on birds as the theme for my show in September, so I sketched out a silly bird drawing, then transfered it to tracing paper. Using the graphite from my drawing on the tracing paper, I transfered the sketch to my soft block. You see the end result in the photo below.
I actually transfered the drawing to two blocks the same size by the time the demo was done, so the group could see how I get my drawings onto the surface. Once I showed them the cutting technique, I demonstrated printing and correcting by making a test print.
I have printed a couple of variations of this block in my studio and have hand painted them all using acrylic paints. The second block will be a reduction cut using at least 3 colors, maybe four.
Besides the bird idea, the actual inspiration for this piece came from a very dry twig with leaves still attached. I wondered whether it was from a nandina (sp?) bush. I liked it so much, I repeated the shape several times in my drawing.
I'm afraid the twig did not survive my manipulations.
And the berries were entirely imagined by the artist.