The summer is flying by! It's already nearly September, and time for my last one-day workshop of the summer – Soft Block Printing.
If you've ever tried linoleum block printing and found it too hard to cut, or admired wood block printing from afar, soft blocks may be just what you're looking for. Soft blocks are easy to cut, and pretty durable. And what you can do with them - oh, it just does my heart good!
The dragonfly print above I made from the drawing of a dragonfly I found. Catching all that motion and glitter and flight in the form of a print gave me great joy – and still does, whenever I look at it. I also combined block printing and painting to create an ongoing series of dragonfly paintings in different colors. You can see one of the most recent, Iridescence, below.
In fact, I'd like to revisit that series, this time adding relief printing, and perhaps using stencils, along with the block printed and painted areas. Block printing is wonderful all by itself, but pretty darned amazing combined with other media.
It may take a year to wait for a reservation at Thomas Keller's French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California, but they very kindly accommodated ten of us for a painting workshop in the garden this last week. Nine beginning painters, visiting from a company in San Francisco, and I spent the afternoon reveling in the views, and finding inspiration in them.
First everyone experimented with brush strokes and getting the feel of mixing paint and water and applying it to a surface. Then we strolled about the garden, enjoying the views – and the tiny new baby quail hiding in a bed of beets. Next, with some initial direction, everyone created an abstract painting inspired by the shapes (and colors) before them. We followed it up with some relief printing. The idea was to have fun, dive into creativity, and play with paint. And they did!
It was a beautiful day – the weather was just about perfect, and the wind wasn't too strong, though it did try to blow things away a few times. It was my introduction to the garden, too – I hadn't known it was open to the public. I took plenty of photos, so I can paint garden paintings of my own.
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, live in Calistoga, and have my art studio in Santa Rosa, California.