Wednesday, June 14, 2006

learning the art of whitewater (linocut)

Simply the art of learning whitewater kayaking and block cut printing. I had an introductory course in each and this is the point at which I needed to spend some time just practicing what I had learned. It's the best way to become competent at any new skill. All of this work is around 1995

I'm working towards a dialogue about the motion of water, the speed, fluidity, depth, and overlapping layers. Transparency is not yet an issue because in whitewater you have to read the folds of the surface to make your best guess at what is happening beneath. The sediment and froth make the water relatively opaque.
"Wave to the Camera" This is done from a photo. We were at a spot that gave us "enders" (a trick in which your boat gets stood up on end and you pop up into the air for a moment) Honestly, my hand had slipped off the paddle, but I recovered. The water was warm and we were having a wonderful time. It was just pure fun. So, I decided to really give the print a fun look. Fun, at the time, also meant graphic novels. Therefore, I used super high contrast without any cross hatching. I am trying to remember if "Sin City" was published yet, but I do remember a similar aesthetic from this time....
We did so many "enders" that I just had to make an image with multiple views/attempts. I thought, at one point, that the repeated cross theme meant something, but now I just think it was a useful compositional tool. Still, it does make a powerful image. There must be something to that; some reason that the cross has lasted throughout the ages (even before 2000 years ago)
a Japanese print inspired depiction of a rapid that I had recently had my first experience on. "Stairway" I was working towards understanding how the water moved through and over the rocks in this particular section. Using this as a map, you can find your way through this rapid, avoiding the most vertical sections,and minimizing time spent in the most white "bubbly" sections. You can see three features on the right side (lower 2/3 of image) that are exceptionally vertical with lots of white at the bottom. All three spots are not friendly places to kayakers or swimmers.

here I am setting up an "S" shaped composition. I noticed many "S" shapes in moving water. I also noticed that as I improved as a kayaker, I was carving many "S" shaped lines down the river. It is representative of a natural ebb and flow of current, tide, seasons, too many things to list.....

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