Tag Archives: hannah phelps

Intern Perspectives: Hannah Phelps

Intern Laura D.’s last post for the summer.   Good luck next semester, Laura!

The solo artist this month is Hannah Phelps with her exhibit entitled Plein Air to Print which includes works done in woodblock, woodcut, and a few oil paintings.

Phelps’ style is mostly colorful landscapes with minimum detail. The colors she uses, and the way she blocks them, gives the audience the sense of the landscape, without the intimate details of the sand or grass.

Out of her works, a piece entitled Surf and Rocks done in oil paints, portrays a darker day at the beach with the tide rolling into the rocky shore. While it may from afar blur into a wad of colors, up close, the detail of the brush strokes shows the foam on the surf and grim on the rocks. Phelps does an excellent job here, and in her other oil paintings, of portraying the landscape and making the viewer feel like they could be standing right there.

“Calm Day at Fort Stark” by Hannah Phelps

Her woodcut and woodblock work is much blockier – as the names would suggest. Calm Day at Fort Stark is a piece done in woodblock, where the blocked colors of blues, browns, and oranges show the intense difference between the water and the rocks. And unlike Phelps’ Surf and Rocks this piece is left to the imagination of the viewer to imagine the light ripples going through the water instead of the intense foam from the tide that is detailed in the oil painting.

Phelps brings a strong sense of style to this exhibit with a consistency that is perfect for a solo artist show here at Washington Printmakers Gallery.

Hannah Phelps on White-Line Woodcuts

We’ve shared our own Printmaking 101 post on White-Line Woodcuts, but here’s an explanation in the artist’s own words:

“Gentle Assault” by Hannah Phelps

Like any piece of art, a white-line woodcut print begins with an idea. Using the natural world as inspiration, I create a drawing on paper. This drawing is then transferred onto a piece of wood. With my lines visible on the surface, I carve an outline of the drawing with a knife. The carved lines will become the “white-lines” in the final print.

The wood left untouched now stands in relief from the lines. I attach a piece of paper to the edge of the woodblock to ensure that it lays on the wood the same way each time I place it against the block (this is called “registration”). I then “ink” one shape with watercolor using a brush, flip the paper down on the block and rub the back with a wooden spoon to print that shape on the paper. I repeat this until all of the shapes are impressed
on the paper.

When I am satisfied with the image, I remove the paper from the block and get ready for the next print. The block can be printed several times, but no two will ever really be alike, so each piece becomes a combination of print and original painting.

Show Pics: 15th Annual National Small Works and Plein Air to Print

It’s up!  The 15th Annual National Small Works is up!  So is Plein Air to Print, the solo exhibition by the 2011 Grand Prize Winner, Hannah Phelps.  You can see installation shots of both shows in the slideshow, below.  And you know what else?  We know the winners for this year!  But you’ll have to come to the opening on Saturday (1 pm) or check back late that day to learn that information.  A full list of exhibiting artists, their state of residency, and prints exhibited is below the slideshow.  Enjoy!

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Scott Barnes, New Jersey, Winter Canyon
ScottBarnes, New Jersey, Havsu
Curtis Bartone, Georgia, Turf
Heather Bryant, Virginia, Virginia
Lisette Chavez, Texas, Transience
Kevin Cummins, Pennsylvania, LX
Nicholas Dowgwillo, Arizona every little splintered bit of us
Nicholas Dowgwillo, Arizona twilight of togetherness
Holly Downing, California It’s All Connected
Rochelle Easton, Illinois, Meant To Be
Leslie Friedman, Pennsylvania, Nasty Button
Leslie Friedman, Pennsylvania, Temple Tile
Jon Garaizar, California, The Malpias
Jon Garaizar, California, The Fissure
Nicole Geary, South Dakota, Secondary Sediments : VII
Robin Gibson, Pennsylvania, Tidal Field
Photios Paris Goudas, Maryland, Untitled VI (after Antikythera Youth)
Erin Hoffman, Michigan, Solar Radiation Climate Satellite
Erin Jenkins, Connecticut, Flora Globes
Carrie Lingscheit, Virginia, Sunday
Leon Loughridge, Colorado, Water Pockets
Erin Malone, California, Something Still Remains Undone
Susan Martin, North Carolina, Untitled (Decoy 7)
Lynn Merriam, Massachusetts, Palm Burst
David Moyer, Pennsylvania, Triumph R 2
Jake Muirhead, Maryland, Bay Head
Jake Muirhead, Maryland, Artichoke
Deb Napple, Pennsylvania, Darkness Which Could Be Felt
Thomas Nawrocki, Mississippi, Choloroform Cloud
Thomas Norulak, Pennsylvania, Driftwood
Anna Ottaviano, New Hampshire, Grand Central
Judith Panetta, Pennsylvania, Giraffe
Tracy Pilzer, District of Columbia, Expedition 1
Johntimothy Pizzuto, South Dakota, What is Left After Meaning
Iris Posner, Maryland, Row Boats
Ann Schuster, Maryland, In These Silences Something May Rise
Jason Scuilla, Kansas, Io lo vidi (I saw this)
Jason Scuilla, Kansas, In the Pines
Gordon Sherman, Kansas, Seraphic I
Gordon Sherman, Kansas, 69er portrait
Mike Sonnichsen, North Carolina Untitled #4 from the 8×8 Series
Hope Sorensen and Cynthia Tidler, District of Columbia, Nebula
Kathryn Trillas, Virginia, Indiana Statues,
Cianna Valley, California, I could use a partner in karma, she said
Cianna Valley, California, not the center of the universe
Anna Wagner, Ohio, Untitled (3)
Jeff Wetzig, Minnesota, Paper Trail: Malevich,

Printmaking 101: White-line and Jigsaw Woodcuts

We’ve discussed the difference between a wood engraving and a woodcut and also a woodcut sub-media, color reduction woodcut.  With Hannah Phelps’ plein air to print exhibition coming up next month, we want you to know a little bit more about what you’re looking at.

“Path of the Water” by Hannah Phelps, White-line woodcut, 2009.

Hannah has two woodcut sub-media in her exhibition.  The first is a white-line woodcut.  White-line woodcuts are characterized by exactly what it sounds like: a white outline surrounding each shape of color.  These lines are carved into the wood using woodcut tools.  Then, the individual shapes are inked one by one using different colors (Hannah actually paints hers with watercolors) and run through a press or rubbed with a spoon onto the paper, like a regular woodcut.  The “streaky” quality of the image above is actually the natural wood grain of the block.

“Private Wave” by Hannah Phelps, jigsaw reduction woodcut, 2012.

Jigsaw woodcuts are made from completely separate blocks of wood.   Each shape corresponding to a color is cut out, usually using a jigsaw, and put together like a puzzle after each piece is inked, usually into a mold to hold all the pieces together.  Depending upon the artists’ intention and how tight the pieces fit together, jigsaw woodcuts can also have a bit of a white outline between color shapes, but it won’t be as pronounced as a true white-line woodcut.  The print to above also has some uses some reduction.  Without seeing the plate, we’d guess there were 4-6 main color shapes–perhaps the foreground, back cliffs, water, and sky, that were each printed and then re-carved to get some of the darker colors.

“Ernesto” by Ed McCluney, from his recent Press Room Mini Solo

Some of Ed McCluney’s woodcuts are also jigsaw woodcuts (see his chicken, Ernesto, at left, which was printed using two jigsaw pieces).  As you can see, there’s a lot of aesthetic variety within this media!

More from Hannah Phelps!

“Maine Wave” by Hannah Phelps, jigsaw reduction woodcut, 2012.

We just sent out National Small Works notifications yesterday, and are only six short weeks away from the opening of that show and Plein Air to Print, the concurrent solo exhibition by 2011’s winner Hannah Phelps.  This week she sent us some more prints, which we’ve shared, below.  Mark your calendars to see them in person, and enjoy them online here!

“Private Wave” by Hannah Phelps, jigsaw reduction woodcut, 2012.

“Gentle Assualt” by Hannah Phelps, jigsaw white-line woodcut, 2012.

“Path of the Water” by Hannah Phelps, White-line woodcut, 2009.

“Wave on a Perfect Day at Odiorne Point State Park” by Hannah Phelps. White-line woodcut, 2011.

Upcoming: Hannah Phelps

We’re not quite ready to share show pics from our Ex Libris exhibition as we still have some labels and show lettering to put up.  Don’t worry, it’s coming soon!  For now, enjoy Hannah Phelps’ artist statement, below.  Hannah won last year’s National Small Works and will be exhibiting at WPG alongside this year’s show in August.

“Odiorne Rocks!” by Hannah Phelps

Plein air painting, working outside and on site, is the only satisfying way I know of holding on to a scene – essentially pocketing it for a later time. Working with the motion of the branches swaying in the wind or the surf continuously crashing into shore, I load up my memory with the soul of a place and transport it back home to the studio where I can print.

The simplicity of using plywood and one simple knife to create a white-line woodcut print is a challenge I cannot ignore. Using watercolor, I “ink” each shape and transfer the design to paper tough enough to take a firm rubbing with a wooden spoon. The resulting print is two-dimensional, but paper also digs its way into the white lines, adding a sculptural element. The block can be printed several times, but no two will ever really be alike, so each piece becomes a combination of print and original painting.

The rough woodgrain in these prints mimics their subject – the rocky coast or wild woods. Interlocking shapes create the scene, but they don’t fit together perfectly. The irregular white lines enhance the separation between me and my print, and me and my environment.

Taking this idea further, I started cutting the blocks into segments, inking them separately, reassembling them and running them through a press. These “jigsaw reduction reliefs” also have subtle white-line borders running through them at the edges of the puzzle pieces.

Because I often depict places I have visited my entire life, the work becomes about more than “capturing one moment in time”, as landscape artists often say, but instead capturing all the moments I have spent in that spot and synthesizing them into one painting or one print. Like the favorite painting spots themselves, however, certain compositions and ideas beg to be revisited over and over. The paintings direct the creation of the prints. While printmaking, I discover questions to answer the next time I head out painting.

Upcoming in 2012

"Calm Day at Fort Stark" by Hannah Phelps

Lots of news to share with you today!  First and foremost, we just spoke with 2011’s National Small Works Winner Hannah Phelps, who will be having her solo show here alongside August’s National Small Works exhibition.  The title of her solo show is “Plein Air to Print,” as all the prints included either began as plein air paintings or were printed outside on location.  There might be some drawings and paintings accompanying her prints, too!

Also, we just got an invitation to the upcoming exhibition at the Ratner Museum, entitled “Common Ground: The Handmade Print.”  Along with several other DC area printmakers, we are happy to see our own Deron DeCesare’s work included.  The opening reception is Sunday, May 6, at 1:30 pm.  The exhibition runs May 2-28.

Finally, we have a long-in-advance reminder.  It’s 2012, which means this fall will feature another Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair!  Everything is its very preliminary planning stages now (we don’t think vendors can even apply for tables, yet).  But, if you missed it 2010, make sure you’re around for it this year!  You can keep abreast of any updates on their website, linked above.