Monday, February 16, 2015

"Ammonite (Kaleidoscopic)"

White line woodcut (learn what that is here.)
24" x 24" (image), 30" x 34" (paper)
Watercolors on Stonehenge paper

The block used for this print is a piece of pressure treated pine plywood I picked up at Home Depot. I chose it for the wonderfully bold pattern of grain, and did my drawing in response to it, and so I was thrilled when the grain appeared so boldly in the printing process. This beast took over two hours and a heck of a lot of paint to print just once, so it's a lot like painting.

I had been meaning to do a colorful white line woodcut of an ammonite fossil ever since I made a little 4" x 4" white line sketch of a colorful spiral back in September. I'm rather satisfied with these results, and look forward to doing another large white line woodcut on this type of block again soon.

Fossils are a source of endless fascination. And why wouldn't they be? They are traces of the past, embedded in stone. I can't get over the fact that these animals died out millions of years ago, yet I have the fossilized remains of one sitting on my desk and have seen countless more in museums and in photographs online.

A paleontologist carefully scrapes away rock to uncover impressions of the dead, while I carefully carve into a once-living tree to create an image inspired by that ancient past. The grain - the evidence of a tree's seasons - needed to be visible, embedded as saturated striations across the surface of this image. In this language I will write my love letters to the shadows of corpses. These stripes are lightening bolts I will harness to enliven its remains.

Even if only in a window on a page.


  1. Kapow! That grain is to die for. I'm imagining that the wood soaked up a lot of pigment. Great piece.

  2. Very dramatic! Beautiful colors with lots of visual impact. I agree with Annie the wood grain is to die for. Nice vertical grain and the spiral of the ammonite blue to orange in the center draws the viewer into the middle---really well-thought out and effective.