Saturday, December 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: Soar (Between Breaths) Woodblock Printing

(Please click image to enlarge and view)

Illustration Friday Theme: Soar
Title: Between Breaths
Artist: Debra Woolard Bender
Medium: Woodblock Print with Gigi font added digitally to scanned image
Materials: Rough exterior plywood siding; Speedball water-based ink; torinoko paper; hand-rubbed with bamboo baren
Category: Naive

tonight when dreaming
may I turn into a bird
nameless and homeless
in my solitary flight
I'll forget I have no wings

DW Bender
untitled tanka, 5/21/01

Dreams of flying and floating, other than swimming underwater, may be the closest we get the the sensation of flight. No doubt dreaming, whether sleeping dreams, waking dreams or those desires we call dreams, along with the gifts of creativity and imagination, all issue from the same deep well. Here is where we, unfettered, soar.

And here is my first recent woodblock or woodcut attempt, paired with and illustrating one of my tanka, a Japanese genre poem. (Jazmin, hope you stop by - yep, I did a woodblock!) I actually cut and printed this just a little before Christmas. When Illustration Friday announced "Soar" as the topic for this week, I was happy to use this image, the first artist's proof pulled from the block. The last three times I've cut and printed woodblocks were... #'s 1 & 2: around 1967 in high school art class... and #3: about 1977 in a community college printmaking course. So figure this 4th piece is done in 2007...40 years from the first and second ones and 30 years from the third. How'd THAT happen?! Time, pfft. Meh.

The wood used was the backside of a small, single block ripped from discarded and very rough exterior grade plywood paneling found in one of Grandma's infamous dumpster dives. It is a single-color print with a primitive or naive style design. The image was printed with Speedball water-based ink. I'll continue with some simple woodcut prints, but am looking forward to doing multiple block, varied color and Japanese technique moku hanga in the coming year. The poem's font is "Gigi," added digitally to the scanned image for the IF entry.

Through internet, email and Jane Reichhold's Tanka group at YahooGroups, in 2001, this tanka became the introductory poem for "Between Breaths," a collaborative, or symbiotic tanka sequence with fellow poet, hortensia anderson. Later, the poem was published in Elizabeth St Jacques' online magazine, Poetry In The Light. The original posting of the (untitled) tanka ("tonight when dreaming") can be found here:
while the published collaborative sequence of the 8 tanka, 4 by each poet, can be found on this page:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Illustration Friday: Horizon (Wonder)

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Illustration Friday Theme: Horizon
Title: Wonder
Artist: Debra Woolard Bender
Medium: Digital art painting & font using Paint Shop Pro
(vector and texture filters, stencilling technique; mouse as stylus )
Category: Other

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Prosperous New Year to everyone.

DW Bender (Debi)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Little Things (L'ellifant Rainbow)

(Please click image to enlarge and view)

Illustration Friday Theme: Little Things
Title: L'ellifant Rainbow
Media: Digital art painting; stencilling technique with texture filters.
Category: Children's Art

This will be my very first entry to Illustration Friday, an image for the topic, "Little Things" ... one of my older digital paintings of L'ellifant, a baby elephant, playing in a tiny droplet of H20 is ultimately an essential little thing which is integrally related to a much greater body. The drop has the potential to merge and grow and become bigger and bigger and bigger things. As does play. As does the potential and miracle of one little life. Saying that reminds me of the Harry Nillson song, Think About Your Troubles from The Point!, which was an animated ABC Movie of the Week in 1971. Click on the hyperlink to watch the song clip on YouTube. The illustration and animation of The Point was very creative and innovative in its day.

So anyways, having browsed Illustration Friday over the past few years, I've finally decided to subscribe and participate whenever I can. Maybe it will help jumpstart my creative impulses. The digital painting is one of several personal works created on the L'ellifant theme.

I've also recently subscribed to Baren Forum for woodblock printmakers, as an artist aspiring to develop skills in that media.

...the L'ellifant paintings were done using a paint and stylus software program I used to have in the 90's, which I no longer have nor remember the name of. Usually when I paint and draw digitally, I use the mouse as my "stylus" with PSP, but I've not done any digital artwork for a few years. And I should take time to learn to use the PSP version I have now, although I want to concentrate on woodblock, drawing and painting...traditional media. - Debi

P.S. Click here to listen to The Moonbeam Song by Harry Nillson (on YouTube).