Grants Pass , OR
“Dancing Cranes” Woodblock Print by Walt Padgett 24″x11″ $500
I enjoy entering shows that have a theme because they give me the opportunity to go through my inventory and take something out of the context of the series of works and enter it on the basis of its’ own unique merits and individual subject matter. Also I feel that such exhibitions are especially meaningful to viewers, giving them specific imagery to think about, be challenged by, seduced by, perhaps be offended by, but more often enjoyed, expressed in the variety of ways a selection of diverse artists have chosen.
These two woodblock prints belong personally to a broader theme, that being traditional Japanese imagery and culture. I began learning and working in the Japanese woodblock method in 1978, and since that time have traveled in Japan on numerous occasions searching for meaningful images for prints. Of particular interest to me are the ancient historic roads, and places, their record in famous prints and literature; also of interest are the complex elements of the natural world– mountains, waterfalls, plants, animals, seasonal weather– and particular cultural associations, potently steeped in Japanese legend, mythology, symbolism and artistic relevance.
About Dancing Cranes:
The Japanese method of woodblock printmaking utilizes handmade brushes, watercolor pigment, the traditional baren pad for manual printing and finely crafted natural fiber paper. The combination effect of transparent layering of pigment, printing from the surface of wood, and the exquisite quality of the paper is quite lovely. Prints done in this process have a special beauty that can’t be matched by oil-based inks, rollers, and printing presses.
While working on the blocks for this print during a stay in Mendocino, California I wandered into a slab shop and found a chain sawed trimming from a redwood log that had been cut into slabs for furniture. I purchased it immediately! It became the wonderful snowy forest background texture for this print. Furthermore, the irregular shape of this print is exactly the way the block was found.
Japanese cranes are popular in Japanese art, celebrated for the mating ritual they practice, and are considered to be good luck for married couples, symbolic of eternal marital fidelity.
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