Grazing Cows
1960, Woodcut

The process for woodcutting starts with a smooth wood board, or a piece of linoleum laminated to a block of wood depending on my preference. Woods that leave a sharp edge are best for this type of cutaway printing. The image is sometimes drawn on first with pen and ink or brush and ink before tools are used to cut the image into the surface of the wood. The tools used for woodcuts are sharp metal cutting tools including chisels of different shapes-some scoops, and some plain knives. The hand goes in many directions to make the cuts, and uses different pressures and depths to give the image life. Once the cuts are complete, I roll ink over the surface of the wood to liberate the image. In some instances, I have used a rubber roller tool called a brayer to add colored ink to the elevated portions of the cutouts. Each color is printed separately, starting with the largest areas of coverage. This gives the woodcuts a painterly quality with layers of vivid color. A piece of thicker paper is then placed over the inked wood cut, and pressure is added by hand with a wooden roller to transfer the image to the paper. It has a boldness to it and is a very free medium. The beauty of a woodcut is the stark and crisp nature of the strokes. The image emerges in its own light, lit from inside.