Vintage Style Figurative Woodcut – Communion 6×4
Available matted & framed on Etsy.
I’ve posted this woodcut before – printed in black ink, and this version was rolled with blue ink – leftover from a fellow printmaker’s ink-pile. The reference for it was a tiny, old photo from the 40’s – of my mother’s first communion at church. The laurel around her head and the white dress against trees remind me of Arthur Rakham’s wood nymphs and fairies.
The block was started with a 4×6 piece of Shina Plywood, purchased from McClain’s – an excellent source for printmaking supplies. If you’re new to printmaking and you’re just getting started with woodcuts, I recommend their grab bag of shina blocks. They’re all small, and since you get a good number of blocks in the bag, you can experiment without concern for waste.
Sitters did not always see things in the same light and became tired, impatient, sometimes ugly. Then Whistler would no longer like them and the sittings would come to an end. If the portrait was unfinished, it was cast aside to remain forever unfinished; if finished, the money would be returned and the portrait kept – under no circumstances to fall into the hands of a person whom he disliked.
The studio contained many an unfinished portrait, some of them works of great beauty, but of complete indifference to Whistler. He lost all interest in them when he lost interest in the sitters; and it mattered not to him that he had spent and lost days, and weeks, and months of precious time, nor did it matter to him that his sitters had exhausted themselves with numerous long seances.
Recollections & Impressions of James A. McNeill Whistler ~1903, Arthur Jerome Eddy