For the last year or so I have taken a break from woodcut relief prints and have been focusing my attention on making one of a kind images, mostly landscapes via monoprints and paintings. It has always been my plan to come back to the relief print, but while I may be done with monoprints and paintings for a time, it appears that I am not quite done with the landscape. I have been working on several woodcuts, but was still looking for a way to make quick, spontaneous relief prints.
This year I was given the opportunity to teach art once a month at my kid’s elementary school and I bought some styrofoam plates to introduce the students to making woodcut-like prints without the need for sharp tools. The plates are much like styrofoam plates or meat department trays, which you can make indentions into with a pencil, roll ink onto, and print much the same as carving and printing a woodblock (only much faster and safer for class full of second graders).
I brought a few styrofoam plates home to experiment with and to see what I could do. These prints were made like a reduction (or suicide) block, where all the colors in the image were printed separately, but from the same plate. One color is printed for the entire edition, then changes are made to the plate before printing the second color on top of the first, and so on until all the colors are printed, layered one on top of the other.
These first couple of prints were registered with a hope and a prayer and a light pencil line to help me see where to lay down the plate. As I finished sections of the plate I would cut them away so as not to worry about getting any more ink onto that section of the print.