Summer greetings to all. This June, I was invited by the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA to create a wood block print to benefit the center. I worked with master printer Andrew Mockler from Jungle Press Editions. Provincetown, for a long time, has been an amazing nexus of creative personalities. I was staying in the barn where Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell painted in the 1940s. Eugene O’Neil‘s early plays were produced by the Provincetown Players. And Hans Hofmann taught at his famous summer art school there for many summers. Amid all this rich history, a group of artists, mostly women, created a unique form of color wood cut prints in Provincetown. My favorite of these artists was Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956). She was a great artist not widely known outside the world of printmaking and she was also a true bohemian spirit.
Andrew and I researched white line woodcuts, and he devised a contemporary technique to replicate them using one wood block, inked with various colors, run only once through the press. Consistent with my current studio explorations, I selected for the image a single aloe plant, vigorous and upstanding, succulent but armored. Over our work time there, we created the block and proofed many color variants utilizing the same single woodblock, of which these are two of our favorites. Once editioned, the prints will be available from junglepress.com.
Right: Blanche Lazelle, “Provincetown Studios,” white line color wood cut, 1933. Image courtesy: TheOldPrintShop.com