A reduction woodcut print

This is part of the print I am working on at the moment

A reduction woodcut print in progress

I seem to have been coming and going to it for weeks, too many other parts of life intervening. I like reduction prints for several reasons. Registration is easier because there is only one block to deal with, and I get the edition done. I find with multiblock prints that there are so many possibilities that I play around for what seems like forever, trying out this colour and then that tone, and then thinking that perhaps another block would pull it all together.

In case the term is unfamiliar, a reduction print means you have one piece of wood. Having worked out an image you cut away anywhere you want to stay white (the paper colour) and print the first pale colour. Then you cut away where ever you want that colour to remain and print a darker one on top - and so on and on.

I start with an idea of what I am trying to do, but as the colours and shapes emerge - I can’t go back - and have to react and change my ideas depending on what I have made. It can all go horribly wrong!

The image shows only some of the print, but the foreground cliff is as dark as it is going to get. There have been three or four layers so far. Still more to come in the sea, and indeed in the sky, I hope to get on with it very soon, fingers crossed.

Judith Westcott