The Provincetown Print Evolves

This is one of 3 prints created to honour John Rae, who truly discovered the Northwest Passage and hailed from Stromness, Orkney

Learning in Woodstock

When I found myself staying in Orkney, I rented a space on the street as a studio.  It wasn’t long before surrounding folk encouraged me to teach the print process I was using in between creating my large oil paintings.  Over 20 years ago, I had been introduced to the Provincetown Print technique by the late artist, Pia Oste-Alexander at the Woodstock School of Art, New York.

I love this straightforward method that does not need a printing press to achieve a print. Instead, watercolors and your own super-arm pressing down, is the printing press.

“Prainting” = print + paint

With this method, I found I could enjoy the pleasure of painting with watercolors yet achieve the texture of printing.  That print texture was revealed by transferring the color onto another surface, the paper. In recent years, I found myself wanting to describe this unique process as PRAINTING: print+paint.

What is extra special about this process is that you make one entire print at a time.  You can make more prints, but each one is unique.  It is a process that truly creates a variable edition much like a series of monoprints using the same theme, size, and colors. But I get bored easily and now limit myself to only five prints from a woodblock. I have been selling off the woodblocks as when mounted, they are rich and different works of art in themselves.

Evolving back to the Neolithic

Over the years of teaching prainting workshops on Orkney, and due to my strong involvement with the excavation, I found a way to include a Neolithic element.  Now, instead of using a print baren or a wooden spoon, I use a rounded Orkney beach stone that has been felted with wool.  This is why I have taken to calling my version of the Provincetown Print, The Orkney Woodcut.

I have a lifetime link with Woodstock, New York so it is my great pleasure to have been able to return to the Woodstock School of Art and be their instructor for watercolor whiteline woodcuts using my Orkadian inspired version.  I will be teaching there again in a few weeks, and there are a few places left.  Consider joining me before the winter snows.  This is a great process to create holiday cards and one that will help keep the long winter boredom away.

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