Today's postings

  1. [Baren 26201] Re: Woodblock prints designed by Mary Pratt ... printed by Masato Arikushi (Myron Turner)
  2. [Baren 26202] Mary Pratt prints (Shireen Holman)
  3. [Baren 26203] Re: shui-yin (Ray Hudson)
  4. [Baren 26204] Re: shui-yin ("Medina, Ron")
  5. [Baren 26205] Expressionist print of New York ("Harry French")
  6. [Baren 26206] Re: Expressionist print of New York (Barbara Mason)
  7. [Baren 26207] Re: Mary Pratt prints ("Matt Laine")
  8. [Baren 26208] Re: Mary Pratt prints (L Cass)
  9. [Baren 26209] Re: Mary Pratt prints (L Cass)
  10. [Baren 26210] Re: Expressionist print of New York ("Anne F. Bessac")
  11. [Baren 26211] Chinese water printing ("Matt Laine")
  12. [Baren 26212] Japan and Exchange #23 (Mike Lyon)
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Message 1
From: Myron Turner
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 08:15:15 -0500
Subject: [Baren 26201] Re: Woodblock prints designed by Mary Pratt ... printed by Masato Arikushi
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Mary Pratt is a well known Canadian realist painter. Her usual medium is
oil, painted in a way that's reminiscent of egg tempera, without any
apparent brush strokes. While the MacKenzie web site attributes the prints
to Mary Pratt, it doesn't say how they were made and to what extent they
were a collaboration.

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Message 2
From: Shireen Holman
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 09:54:52 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26202] Mary Pratt prints
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I agree with Barbara's query about Mary Pratt's prints. Why? Especially
since she doesn't even do them herself. I could understand it if she simply
loved carving the blocks and doing the printing. But does this seems like
reproduction just so that she can sell more than she could if she only had
a single painting?
You certainly have to have tremendous admiration for Arikushi-san's work,

Shireen Holman, Printmaker and Book Artist
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Message 3
From: Ray Hudson
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 12:36:39 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26203] Re: shui-yin
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I’ll try answering your questions about shui-yin.
1. Paper, does it need to be ultra-thin, and if so, is it also
moistened? How well does the technique work on Japanese washi? Can you
recommend a good paper?
1a. The paper I generally use is an unsized Chinese paper that I get
from Eastern Arts Connection, Inc. (1-800-414-9141) in Farmington, CT.
This company calls it Sheng Shuen and it comes in various thicknesses.
The thinest is Dan and printing on it is sort of like printing on
butterfly wings. But I love it. When dampened it’s almost
transparent. It’s great for printing with black and watercolor on the
reverse. The problem with the Dan is that it is so thin it tears easily
and needs to be mounted on a firmer paper (like watercolor stock). The
thicker grades (Swon, 2—ply; San 3-ply) have the advantage of strength
and usually not needing to be mounted. I use both of these. I do all my
dampening of the Sheng Shuen with a sprayer that pumps a bit of pressure
into the holding tank—used for gardening. I dampen the sheets one at a
time, just before printing.
Having said this about paper, I also like to print with Kochi. This
needs to be dampened in the traditional way—water, weights, time. Paper
with much sizing in it tends to not want to take the watercolor into it.

2. Baren, if the paper is thin, I wonder how much rubbing it can take. I
have read that some other tool -like a whisk- is used. I can see lots of
prints disintegrating or slumping into the block.
2a. Always place a sheet of newsprint or cheap rice paper between the
Sheng Shuen and the baren. Don’t rub on the print paper itself. Avoid
carving out large blank areas—leave the wood to support the paper.

3. Inks. These must be very thin. Is starch used? If so, is it mixed in
on the block?
3a. Inks. I use watercolor out of the tubes with no starch. It’s not
like using ink and it goes a long ways. You just have to experiment to
know how liquid to make it. Too thick and the paper sticks to the wood;
too thin and the carved lines get flooded with diluted color.
Generally in this process, the paper is placed on an uninked block.
Newsprint is placed on the print paper and a weight is placed on both to
hold them in place. Then the paper is folded back, ink applied with a
brush to the block, the paper is lowered and pressed with the baren.
The paper is then folded back again & inspected to see if another layer
of color is needed. Often several applications of color are required.

4. Brushes. I gather the block is wet and extra colour is carefully
added and allowed to spread through the moisture. How much painting goes
on, and how fast do you need to work to get a nice effect?
4a. I dampen the block before starting, but not too wet—just enough so
that when the watercolor is applied it doesn’t all just get soaked up
into the interior of the wood. I generally wipe off the ink from the
first application and print a very dry first impression. This is
because so often the ink wants to fill up my carved lines.

You have to work fairly fast. When I gave a class in New Mexico we
found it almost impossible to print in the afternoon when the heat
increased. The paper just dried out too quickly. It’s possible to
redampened the paper & it helps to run a clear brush of water around the
perimeter of the paper to keep the evaporation from reaching the print
area itself. I like to print in my basement where things are a bit damp
and cool. The Kochi paper holds its dampness for quite a spell.

I’m sure there are many ways of doing this type of printing. I got my
instruction from Lu Fang at the Zhejiang Fine Arts Academy in Hangzhou.
I suspect he’d be pretty horrified at some of my practices! Good luck!

Ray Hudson
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Message 4
From: "Medina, Ron"
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 10:30:19 -0600
Subject: [Baren 26204] Re: shui-yin
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Sorry this doesn't follow directly the line of discussion, but I am new
the board and need some help with a 200 year old Tibetan woodblock.

I have been approached to pull prints from the block, have all necessary
equipment, however the relief is so filled with ink a large part will
not have any detail.

What is the best way to go about cleaning 200 year old ink out of a

It has been recommended not to use petroleum based solvents, told to try
vegetable oil or "PURE" Gum Turpentine.

Any help would be great.

Ron Medina
Art Instructor
FA 131 A
Ext. 1167
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Message 5
From: "Harry French"
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 17:57:29 +0100
Subject: [Baren 26205] Expressionist print of New York
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Greeting Bareners,
After comments about Mary's work and photo realism it may be appropriate...or launch my latest expressionist print.
The print is of New York. I hope you enjoy it.
However, New York is just too desolate and quiet for me. I'll try Boston next time when I'm out sketching. It's only a few miles further on from New York passing through Dog Dyke Lane and Langrick..
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Message 6
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 10:06:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [Baren 26206] Re: Expressionist print of New York
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This was very funny, I enjoyed the sketch of New York and the sign also.....we all forget where our root names come from. After all I am living in Portland, Oregon, named for Portland, Maine, named for some other port .....just not sure where!
Glad you found the Akua Kolor, it works well for a lot of things. I admit I am printing my block for #22 with it and rolling it on...shame, shame on me, but if not I will never get all four blocks done in time.
Best to all,
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Message 7
From: "Matt Laine"
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 13:46:23 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26207] Re: Mary Pratt prints
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>I was hesitating to respond to the fantastic feat accomplished by Platt with her woodblock prints. Since Barbara Mason replied about the same issue I am not holding back either.
>I prefer any medium to look like what it really is-- a woodblock to look like a woodblock , a watercolor a watercolor, etc.
>This may be a personal opinion.
>Too often I am seduced into removing all my own marks,. But I feel what makes a woodblcok distinctive is just that.-- marks. And I enjoy seeing them.
>Carol Lyons in Irvington, NY
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Message 8
From: L Cass
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 17:08:56 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26208] Re: Mary Pratt prints
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I agree that these prints look (too much) like photos - so why??? There
isn't a scrap of feeling or expression in them -in fact I shall dare to say
that they're BORING - but perhaps the computer is responsible for this
appearance and they'd look better 'in person'??

Re the Chinese water printing -would it be possible to e-mail that article
Ray or perhaps Tom could explain the technique better
Louise Cass
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Message 9
From: L Cass
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 17:18:25 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26209] Re: Mary Pratt prints
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I was going to add that the technical prowess of the prints (and the
painter's name is Mary PRATT not Platt) would be entirely due to the
efforts of Arikushi-san (as David Bull has noted)!
Actually Pratt paints in the photo realist style so there we are- some love
it and others wonder why bother when photography does the job -
this kind of painting's really an exercise of technique for it's own
sake and I repeat - boring!
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Message 10
From: "Anne F. Bessac"
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 17:13:46 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26210] Re: Expressionist print of New York
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Barbara, I have bought some of the Akua Kolor and have read the info on line,
but any further info you could give me I'd really appreciate. I also have
bought some Daniel Smith's water base ink, but it dried too fast to really
print well. I called DS and they suggested using a retarder that is for
acrylic paint. Anne
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Message 11
From: "Matt Laine"
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 17:51:01 -0400
Subject: [Baren 26211] Chinese water printing
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Re the Chinese water printing -would it be possible to e-mail that article
Ray or perhaps Tom could explain the technique better
Louise Cass

Could that article be scanned and posted here?
Matt Laine
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Message 12
From: Mike Lyon
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 18:06:02 -0500
Subject: [Baren 26212] Japan and Exchange #23
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I leave for Japan tomorrow morning and will return October 25th. I won't
be in touch with you again until I return. Plan to visit David Bull,
Richard Steiner, and the famous Living National Treasure of paper making,
Iwano Ichibei. The exhibition of my prints at Gallery Ezoshi in Kyoto
opens October 18th -- ooooooh, baby!

Maria Arango will coordinate exchange #23 and I've updated the exchange
pages accordingly. Feel free to sign up for the exchange if you haven't
already -- but I won't be able to bring the page up to date until after I
return, so don't panic when you don't see your name up there for a while!

I plan to take lots of photos and will try to share after I
return... Until then, best to everyone (I'll miss you)!

-- Mike

PS I've uploaded three new little prints and a photo of the 16 blocks from
which they were printed

Mike Lyon
Kansas City, Missouri