Ray Hudson

'The Slopes of Mount Abraham'

(Click thumbnail to pop-up an enlargement - 51K)

Artist's comments ...

Paper: Sheng Shuen (Dan) mounted on Rives BFK.

I used four blocks. Impressions: block one took 2 impressions; block two, 4; block three, 4; block four, 4.The printing was done with tubed watercolors. Printing was done with a baren and wooden spoon.

Here's how I did the print. It was carved on 4 blocks of shina plywood. The first printing was of the key block - all the black mountain, the tree with a bit of green, the border and the light lines on top of the hills. The wide blue-changing-to-red section was on a separate single block - alone with some of the autumn tree colors. I print on a thin unsized Chinese paper called Sheng Shuen (the thickness is the thinnest I can find and I think it's called Dan). The paper is dampened by spraying it and that's the trick - if it's too wet, the watercolors run all over the place and if it's too dry they don't sink in. I print with watercolors from tubes.

The section in question was done by applying the watercolor to the wood using a wide brush and blending the two colors together. In this type of printing, the paper is weighted down on the block before color is applied. The paper is then turned back (but held in place by the weight) and the color is applied to the block. Sometimes it helps to just do a blind printing with no color so that the paper absorbs a little more moisture. After the color is applied, the paper is lowered, a protective sheet is already on top of it, and I rub it with a baren or wooden spoon.

The print will dry out completely between printings, but it's easy to hit it with the spray bottle again for the next round. When it's all finished, I dampened it again - lightly - apply a border of paste all around the back outer edge and glue it to a flat surface. There it dries and stretches tight. Because the paper is so thin, I usually (as in this case) mount the print on some heavier paper (in this case Rives BFK).

A word about the print. Mt Abraham is in the Green Mountains of Vermont, one of the peaks reaching 4,000 feet - pretty low for you folks out in the West of the U.S. and Canada, but high enough to get me out of breath. It probably doesn't help to know that the village at the base is named Lincoln. It also probably doesn't matter that no one in Lincoln would recognize it in the print!. The textured black sweep on the mountain is an inadequate tribute to Munakata's wonderful landscapes. I outlined a couple of regions & then went on the attack with my knives! (I really enjoyed Phil Bivins' Tribute to Munakata!) The little triangles on the west side of Mt. Abe are a tribute to some very famous Mt. Fuji landscapes.