Stories From the Heart Series 2010-2013 Woodcuts
Stories of the Heart. a series of woodcuts 2010-2013
I set about to complete a series of nine woodcuts about four years ago with the concept they would each represent elements related to stories of the heart. A woodcut I did just before I began this series (not exhibited here) was one large cut-a-way view of an organic human heart but within the series of nine I use the universally known symbol for the heart, as it allowed me to visually and more graphically play with ideas. The addition of the ‘talk’ or ‘thought’ bubble further layers the visual narrative and expands the dialogue. The early works focused on illustrating the inner body, incorporating my interest in anatomical medical illustrations and Indian miniature painting imagery and the last four drew on Renaissance religious and portrait painting postures. Just as stories and meaning form when words are placed together, visuals do the same. I embrace opportunities to visually layer forms, subjects, and stories and viewers are invited to weave in their own interpretations and thoughts.
Printmaking is about process. The visual composition for these woodcuts began as drawings that were researched, drawn in pencil and refined in ink at least four or five times before the physical carving of the wood began. One block takes about five days to carve if working twelve hours a day everyday. I generally can’t devote that much time to carving and still have a life and a job so the blocks took varying amounts of time. Warrior Heart sat 1/5th carved for over a year as my time was needed elsewhere. Four of the blocks were carved in the last two months— Benevolent Heart I and II, Discerning Heart, and Empathetic Heart. Originally the printed images were hand-painted in selected parts using multiple colors but when the series of nine were finished I decided that finding one-color and using it in all the prints would work better. I mixed this light green that I call “Fra Angelico Green’ using Akua water-based inks for showing the series as a whole. The earlier woodcuts were hand painted using a more color.