Studio Notes: The Making of a 4'x8' Woodcut Print

How Daryl DePry and I decided to make a monster woodcut print is beyond me and, frankly, a bit blurry at this point. I'm blaming him because it's my web site. The important thing is: we are making a 4'x8' woodcut print (those ' marks mean feet); for those of foreign countries that is roughly 1.24 meters x 2.48 meters.

I think I know how the whole thing started...

Day 1
The Decision
Sometime in late September, 1999
Daryl and I both belong to Baren, the online forum of the Encyclopedia for Woodblock Printmaking. I knew him from school, University of Nevada in Las Vegas, a couple of years back. We both shared a love for printmaking and got into woodcut printmaking at about the same time; him, formally, while in school; me, informally while working full-time at a job I care not remember.

I recognized Daryl's name when he posted something in Baren and eventually we got together and caught up on the lost years. The Baren discussion at the time was a silly exchange about printing with vehicles. That is, placing the woodblock on a flat surface, paper on top, some sort of protective tympan on top of that, and cranking up the Buick to carefully run over the whole print. It was quite a discussion, check it out in the Baren Archives.
I mentioned that I had seen a 4'x8' woodcut print while in Seattle; it was gorgeous.

So when I got to visit Daryl at his graduate studio, one of the first things he said was: "let's do a car-print!"
Of course I said yes. My husband said: "HUH? A WHAT-PRINT?"

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. The rest is history, recorded below.

Day 2 and perhaps 3 and 4
Sometime in early October, 1999
Many things to work out before we got going, many more came up as we got along the trail.
First we were feeling each other out, I think, seeing if we were serious about this thing. We were. First we e-mailed each other a few good plans. I saw his studio, he saw mine, we exchanged a little piece of cherry wood for plastic wood, we showed our knives...then we decided on a theme and an approach.
These first few meetings were interesting because we had a lot of things to work out that we did not know would come up. We also had different styles of working, I'm pretty much a hothead that dives in head first, eyes wide-open no matter how deep and turbulent the waters. Daryl likes to plan things out in advanced and test the processes. It is a good partnership.
We also had to work around his school schedule and my now full-time artist with brand new routine schedule. Not to forget that we are both married and have spouses to go home to once in a while.

We also had to decide on:

Day 5
Theme and Preparatory Sketches
Mid-October, 1999 Day 6
Growing Pains and the Wood
About 3rd Week in October, 1999 Day 7
A Drawing Comes to Life
End of October, 1999
Left picture shows Maria working away, right picture shows a preliminary sketch and the initial drawing on a beautiful piece of wood. Notice (go ahead, click to enlarge the views) the drawing somewhat follows the intricate grain patterns of the birch.

In the left photo Daryl is just a drawing away! The right photo is the unadjusted drawing (click to see full page). I say unadjusted because we later changed some things about the light and dark, brought the drawing together a bit more.



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