Japanese woodblock prints show the special beauty which cannot be shown in Western printmaking. Maybe it’s the woodgrain; or maybe the quality of transparent watercolour as a printing media; or the strength of human arms that brushes the woodboard, penetrating the Japanese handmade paper: all those facts give the “clean & solitary” beauty to Japanese woodblock prints.
Kafka, my Cat, has been used as the main character in my prints. I did one etching print of this simple yet interesting composition image. I would like to try to carve this image into wood board and make Japanese Wood block prints. After many test prints, with black ink image or violet background prints, the orange background one, as the attached image, is the last and best print that I tried to pull out in good paper last Wednesday. The duo-toned orange colours bring a warm and sunny atmosphere to the whole image, surprising me!
I’ve only been practicing Japanese Woodblock Printmaking, the old traditional Japanese art technique, since the Spring term. It requires a pair of strong hands and a few fine carving tools to carve and gauge the woodblock nicely and deeply. From time to time, I have to rest my hand in between gauging the wood, otherwise I cannot even hold the cup when I need a drink of tea or coffee. But the organic quality of the woodblock and the scent of the wood dust charms me very much. The black ink is like magic which charms my heart the minute it shows on the paper. I continuously learn from this art technique, simply because I have been thinking far ahead about how when I am too old to handle the heavy press, I can just do Japanese Wood block print at home. I don’t need too much to make a print, just watercolor, black ink and shoes brushes and paper… and at the same time, I can have a cup of hot tea, in a room with music, with my dog or cat beside me.
It’s something to look forward to, just like Kafka under the sunshine in the mornings!