Monday, May 7, 2012

Babies & Woodcuts

Woodcuts are by their very nature brusque, harsh & bold. What makes a woodcut portrait come to life are age lines, wrinkles and weathered faces. A well-carved mature actor like Lee Marvin will translate much better than a young Audrey Hepburn (circa "Breakfast at Tiffany's"). Recently, I was commissioned to carve a woodcut of a friend's 15-month old son. This was my first carving of a baby. The boy is beautiful, vibrant and alive like most infants. I ventured forth eager to capture the young boy's spirit. One month later the boy's father was disappointed with the result. "He looks too scary," my friend said. "I just want to capture the feeling of a baby waking from a nap. He's looks kinda sinister." Obviously, I was disappointed and confused. I dove into a second carving eliminating most of the wrinkles and crags in the baby's face. I called upon my wife to soften the baby's eyes. She patterned them after a young deer. This did the trick. The client was happy and the final print morphed into that of a sweet baby boy. (5" x 7", black ink print)

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