Today's postings

  1. [Baren 36503] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4471 (Aug 8, 2008) (Marilynn Smith)
  2. [Baren 36504] New kentos for old blocks (Charles Morgan)
  3. [Baren 36505] printers ink contact info ("bobcatpath #")
  4. [Baren 36506] questions (AEleen Frisch)
  5. [Baren 36507] Re: chinese cutting (eli griggs)
  6. [Baren 36508] U of New Mexico Museum Ukiyo-e Exhibition ( slinders #
  7. [Baren 36509] Re: questions (Barbara Mason)
  8. [Baren 36510] Blotters (Barbara Mason)
  9. [Baren 36511] work in progress (Shawn + Elizabeth Newton)
  10. [Baren 36512] RE: questions ("Maria Arango")
  11. [Baren 36513] Re: questions ("Barbara Carr")
  12. [Baren 36514] Titanium in toto (Tom Kristensen)
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Message 1
From: Marilynn Smith
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 15:41:25 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36503] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4471 (Aug 8, 2008)
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I have a book entitled Picasso Linocuts 1958-1963 by Donald H.
Karshan. To quote some of what is stated in the introduction:
"Picasso had wanted six colors with which he could improvise on the
three of the sixteenth-century portrait. To obtain them, he did what
graphic artists have been doing since the early sixteenth centruy - he
cut a separate block for each color..............But with his six-
color linocut print, Picasso had experienced a discontinuity in having
to cut each color area on a different block. This separateness of
action slowed down the creative act - which had been accelerated by
the nature of the soft material - and tended to dismember
it...................Picasso invented, by sheer creative necessity, a
new method of multi-color graphics - all colors printed from one and
the same block...............the artist masks out areas, usually well
into the center of the block.............In the next step the artist
presumably brushed onto the block, still inked with ochre, the second
color, using his drawing as a guide. Then he cut away all of the area
on the block still showing the ochre..........The extraordinary
accomplishment, eclipsing the importance of the one-block invention
itself, is the achievement of a unified style..................This
complete fusion of expressionist and design forces is the creative mix
that is Picasso's signal contribution." Further in the FOOTNOTES
section "There is not indication that other artists have worked the
one-block multi-color technique since Picasso introduced it a decade
ago. Perhaps this clarification of the technique will encourage its
further utilization as a graphic medium." This book was published
in 1968, so perhaps the reduction print method took awhile to catch
on. Obviously I did not state that Picasso invented this process
without having a reference that stated that he did. It is highly
possible and even probable that Picasso had observed something similar
being done and adopted it. Observing art and processes in other
mediums and from other sources is something artists should do.
History is also part of observation. Seeing how ancient things were
created can lead to incorporating an old practice to a new and
different art area. Perhaps Picsso was a good observer and
incorporated an old process, making it the reduction linocut print.

Peoples minds work differently. I had a wonderfully wise printmaking
professor. As part of his introduction to his class he stated that
there are two ways that artists approach creating their work. One way
is to pre plan everything and follow that plan totally. The other way
is to start with an idea and let it develop, that he said was his way
of working. He further stated that neither approach was wrong, just
different. I believe that those who understand and successfully do
reduction prints are the kind who start with an idea and let it
develop. I further think that moku hanga with multiple blocks is a pre
planners paradise. Therefor, those who can think the way Picasso
thought when doing block prints can see and understand the reduction
process. Not every mind works the same. Stick with what works for
you and do not criticize how other people create their work.

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Message 2
From: Charles Morgan
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 15:44:01 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36504] New kentos for old blocks
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My first question follows the thread of the recent postings regarding jigs for multiple blocks. How can I print on a bigger piece of paper than originally cut as the kento?
As I usually use a xerox-type hanshita with the kentos printed on them my color registration has been ok but since they are usually somewhat randomly glued to the boards (that may not be all identical), I can't quite figure out how to set up a jig that would be registered to the kento and not the block corner so I could use paper bigger than my original block.

I am sure Dave's suggestions would work just fine. Here is another approach if there is a great difference between the new paper size and the old paper size. For the sake of this discussion, I will assume you have kentos that are carved on the lower right hand corner and on the lower edge of each of your blocks. I will also suppose you would like to have new kentos for each of your blocks, but appropriate for larger paper.


The first technique is to attach each of your original blocks to a larger base of plywood. The larger base for each block will have strips along the edges the same thickness as your original blocks ... the strips will have new kentos carved on the opposite side and corner as the originals. One method is to make up the bases in a size appropriate for your new paper size, with strips of appropriate height along the edge and corner opposite to the original kentos on your old block. On the strips of each new base, just carve some good kentos, but put them on the upper left corner and upper side (i.e. opposite corner and side as on the original block).

You are going to attach the old blocks to the new bases, but they have to be positioned just right. For positioning the block, cut a piece of mat board to a rectangular shape. (I suggest mat board because it is stiff enough to keep its diagonal dimension, but flexible enough to hit the kentos.) The diagonal size of the rectangle should be the distance from the old kento corner to the new kento corner. You can get a very accurate idea of this measurement just by placing one of your original blocks appropriately on a sheet of your new paper and measuring the diagonal distance from the block kento corner to the opposite corner of the paper. I assume you know how to cut a rectangle with a given diagonal dimension.

Once you have cut your matboard rectangle, you can use it to position each old block on its new base. Put one corner of the mat board in the new kentos, and position the old block so its kentos hit the opposite corner and side of the matboard rectangle.

You will need to attach the old blocks to their new bases. You can do this any way that suits you ... double sided tape, screws, glue, etc. I think the easiest way is to put glue on the bottom of the old block just before you position it. Use the mat board to position the block and just press the block down into place on the new base and wait for the glue to dry. But do whatever suits you and is accurate.


You could do it a wee bit differently. You might find it easier to first glue the old blocks to the new bases and cut the new kentos after the glue dries. Make your bases with strips along appropriate edges as above, but do not cut any kentos. Cut your mat board rectangle as above. Attach your old blocks in about the right position on the new bases. Once the old blocks are firmly attached, use your mat board rectangle and a good sharp pencil to mark the position of your new kentos for each. Carefully carve your new kentos.


Of course if your old blocks are large enough and have their full height along the opposite corner and edge of the old kentos, you can just use the matboard rectangle to mark out new kentos on your old blocks and then carve them. In this case there is no need to make new bases for the blocks.


Another method comes to mind using a flip registration technique familiar to screen printers, but it is fidley because you have to carefully position each block for every print.

Anyway, these are just a couple of ideas to think about.

Cheers ..... Charles
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Message 3
From: "bobcatpath #"
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 16:22:14 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36505] printers ink contact info
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for Charles Morgan and anyone else interested in obtaining printers inks-
on the east coast i am using
Pitman - charrette at or
or phone
my last purchase of one pound can was $15.43 less than i remembered
Gillyin Gatto
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Message 4
From: AEleen Frisch
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 19:25:00 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36506] questions
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Some questions whose answers probably should be obvious, but aren't to me

1. Can the pigment smear or run if you put the prints between blotters
and stack them to dry too soon?

2. How do you dry out the blotters themselves once you've used them?
Maybe they shouldn't be getting damp in the first place (see #1)?

3. I love hand coloring prints. However, if I were to, say, color my
copy of the Cairn print, would that offend other artists as being
disrespectful of their work?

Thanks in advance.


AEleen Frisch, Ph.D.

Exponential Consulting
340 Quinnipiac St. Bldg. 40
Wallingford, CT 06492 USA
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Message 5
From: eli griggs
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 20:05:21 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36507] Re: chinese cutting
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Thanks Eva, for clearing that up. It's always helpful
to hear from from someone who actually knows the story
behind the picture first-hand.

Do you know a source or two for the tools and
materials for this type of printing?

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Message 6
From: slinders #
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 20:08:46 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36508] U of New Mexico Museum Ukiyo-e Exhibition
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Through August 17- "Ukiyo-e, Worlds in Passing"

"Prior to the 17th century, the term ukiyo meant "Sorrowful
World" (???), referring to the earthly plane between birth
and death. Buddhists especially considered it one’s solemn duty
to seek release from ukiyo. However, from the late 17th
century the meaning of the term shifted dramatically. Now
written ?? to mean, ironically, “floating world,” ukiyo
signified an embrace, even celebration, of the rich variety of
earthly existence.

Used by the capitalist cultures that bloomed in the urban
centers of Edo (Tokyo), Osaka, and Kyoto, the new ideal spawned
the production of ukiyo-e (???), "pictures of the floating
world." These pictures were mainly woodblock prints, the ideal
medium because they could be rapidly produced, widely
distributed; and, being cheap, were readily marketable. Vibrant
in color, animated in line, these prints were irresistible
additions to many Japanese households, as well as to artist’s
studios in Europe and America after 1860."

The museum is also featuring "Big Stuff" from the Permanent
collection, including Jim Dine's "Tools". Lithograph.

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Message 7
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 20:59:02 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36509] Re: questions
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> 1. Can the pigment smear or run if you put the prints
> between blotters
> and stack them to dry too soon?

Yes sometimes if there is too much ink, I usually put a piece of newsprint over the prints the first day.

> 2. How do you dry out the blotters themselves once
> you've used them?
> Maybe they shouldn't be getting damp in the first place
> (see #1)?

I hang then up with clothes pins on a line, just like laundry

> 3. I love hand coloring prints. However, if I were to, say,
> color my
> copy of the Cairn print, would that offend other artists as
> being
> disrespectful of their work?

I don't think anyone would mind but that is a lot of work. It is a traditional method of adding color that goes back a long long ways.
My best
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Message 8
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 21:17:23 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36510] Blotters
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I forgot to mention that if you put the prints in blotters, you should change them to new dry blotters after a few hours. If you do this, most of the water will be in the first set and the prints will dry flat in the new blotters without weights. I never use weights to dry paper and my prints are always flat. I learned this from a Portland printmaker Tom Prochaska about 20 years ago and it was one of the best pieces of advise I ever got.
My best
Sorry for two posts in one day... but this is really important.
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Message 9
From: Shawn + Elizabeth Newton
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 22:49:02 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36511] work in progress
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just in case you want to see some vinyl half way through a cut.

(it's of me in case you can't tell)
--smiley face--
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Message 10
From: "Maria Arango"
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 22:54:52 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36512] RE: questions
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> 3. I love hand coloring prints. However, if I were to, say, color my
> copy of the Cairn print, would that offend other artists as being
> disrespectful of their work?
> Thanks in advance.
> AEleen

I never really knew how having someone alter one of my prints would feel
until I collaborated with a stone artist who carves Native American like
designs on flat sandstone.
We thought it would be cool to pull relief prints from the carved sandstone.
I went about carefully choosing various papers, spent about a week
experimenting with acrylics and retarder (we wanted to wash off the stone
easily). Finally I applied the acrylic with various brushes and foam rollers
very a la poupee, imitating the natural sandstone, covered with moss and
desert varnish, etc.
I pulled what I thought were some pretty darned interesting prints and he
went off to sell them along with his carvings. When I stopped by his booth,
I was shocked to see he had painted with acrylic over my natural prints in
various bright colors. I almost died.

I had _meant_ for my prints to be a finished work; had we discussed this in
advanced perhaps I would have approached the process differently.

So I think you will find two camps, some printmakers may say they don't
care, some will probably be offended that you would modify their images as
they intended.
On the other hand, it's now your artwork...or, being a collaborative work,
is it ever?

Food for thought!

       Maria Arango
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Message 11
From: "Barbara Carr"
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 00:09:08 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36513] Re: questions
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> "I was shocked to see he had painted with acrylic over my natural prints in
> various bright colors. I almost died."

I had a similar situation many years ago. I had drawn what I thought was a
pretty good picture of my brother, who was 17 at the time. My younger sister
found it years later and added a mustache and sideburns because she thought
he "looked like Elvis." I was (still am, sorta) furious about it. I think
that if you changed another artist's work, they'd have some sort of legal
right to object. But on a friendlier note, if everyone in a collaborative
project agreed, it might be fun to alter such a print. I don't see why
anyone would object to your altering your own section of it, though.
Just 2 more cents....
Barbara C
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Message 12
From: Tom Kristensen
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 00:50:24 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36514] Titanium in toto
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Graham is worried that titanium based pigments may be chalky. First a
few Wiki facts:

Titanium is the ninth most common element in the earth's crust. It
commonly derived from sands where it appears in a dark stained form.
Titanium was first discovered in 1791 but titanium metal was not
commercially exploited till the 1950s. The white pigment titanium
dioxide was first produced in the 1920s.

Today about 4 million tons of pigmentary titanium dioxide are
consumed annually worldwide. It accounts for 70% by volume of all
pigments produced. It is widely used to provide whiteness and opacity
to products such as paints, plastics, papers, inks, foods, and
toothpastes. It is also used in cosmetic and skin care products, and
it is present in almost every sunblock, where it helps protect the
skin from ultraviolet light.

In Japanese prints it is clear (to my eye) that titanium pigments
were utilised as soon as they were available. Take a look at the
excellent Rakusan bird series produced between 1929 and 1933:
Here you can see an exuberant use of the characteristic brilliant
white and also the melding of pastel tones.

My supposition that this white is in fact titanium is the stuff of
forensic art investigation. I could be wrong. Interestingly the
Vinland map, the map of America ("Vinland") that was supposedly drawn
during mid-15th century based on data from the Viking Age, has been
declared a forgery on the basis that its ink contains traces of the
TiO2-form anatase.

Other Japanese artists also started using these modern pigments from
the 1930s and I see the colours in prints made by many Sosaku hanga
artists. I suspect that many of the pastel-coloured powdered pigments
that are now sold to Moku-hanga artist are in fact titanium based
formulations. It is most likely that we are all using titanium
colours in one way or another.

So, titanium dioxide is at the base of most paint colours. It is not
water soluble but it can be dispersed in water. It has a sponge-like
structure that lends itself to attaching to things. You can mix it up
with any number of additives. These additives may lead to possible
problems with the breakdown of a print colour, just as a poor quality
house paint may go powdery. I use gum arabic and I have never had a
problem with chalkiness. As for the intensity of the colour, or the
opacity, that is controlled by the proportions of titanium mixed
with another pigment . As with house paint, when you want an
intensely strong dark tone you do not include titanium in the mix.