December, 2018   volume 16 number 3

William H. Hays    Hello and Welcome Friends,

Sometimes there are pauses in life and in work, which would explain my having not written since April. Since then I have done several prints. I think they were worth the effort and here are their stories.

This first print actually starts in England. Laura Boswell is a linocut print artist there and I follow her work online. She's a master at inking the block in interesting and effective ways. Earlier this year she posted a fine print with a very (classical) Chinese feel to it.

The waterfall seen through mists reminded me of the view I had for 27 years of the Connecticut River in Brattleboro, Vermont. I have used related imagery for 30 years now and have that place recorded in watercolors, oils, charcoal drawings, pencil drawings, photographs, etchings and linocut prints. Familiar territory!

So I began composing with Laura's print in mind, along with two photographs and a linocut print I did called "Crowful Quiescence." I put together a composition using pieces of each of these and drawing. I began laying down broad areas of color and gradually added detail. It is a bit unusual for me to work in the order I did. I printed from dark to light colors in most of this first stage, using eight impressions.

"River Shroud", impressions 1-8

At this stage I needed to carve a second block in order to lay in a misty shroud over the background. This took some considerable care because I wanted to print around the branches and leaves of the trees in the foreground. First thing I did was to transfer the print back onto a new block (below left) and begin carving away everything but the background. Then I inked the carved block with an opaque white mixed with transparent medium at the top (below right). I then irregularly wiped the top 1/3 with a towel before printing

Second block for "River Shroud"

River Shroud, linocut print by William H. Hays

"River Shroud" linocut print by William H. Hays, 12" x 9"

I went to the other side of the continent to get started on this next print. My brother lives in the far northwest of Washington State (US) and I went to visit him in October. One day he and I went up into the Cascades to an area between Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. Both of us are very familiar with grand mountain landscapes and we agreed that the day could not have been more beautiful.

Mt. Shuksan at Picture Lake

Mt. Shuksan at Picture Lake

I took many photographs that day and most of them looked like perfect postcards. For this print, I took pieces of three different photographs and worked them into a composition that was inspired also by the woodcut prints of California artist, Frances Gearhart (1869-1959). I also drew in the "wind" in the sky, borrowing from some of my previous prints.

As you can see from be picture above, our day was brilliantly lit, but I wanted a softer mood. After the first four impressions, I cut a separate block to put a pale salmon tone in the glacier and sky. That was fine for the glacier but the sky needed yet another addition with a transparent violet graduating to another salmon color.

Going back to my first, original block, I finished up the trees and foreground. In total there were eleven impressions and I used 23 different colors for this print.

Mt. Shuksan at Picture Lake

"Glorious Day" in process

Finally, I added the reds in the foreground to complete the print.

Glorious Day, linocut print by William H. Hays

"Glorious Day" 11-color linocut print by William H. Hays, 12" x 9"

I want to take just a moment to thank you and to thank my partner galleries for providing my best year to date in terms of sales. I've been making art for more than 40 years and I'm so grateful to have such an enthusiastic audience for the work I love doing. If you find you would like to own one of these prints, or another in my portfolio, they can be purchased from this website as well as from the galleries.

Do write. I enjoy hearing from you.


William H. Hays

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