Effect of Paste ...

Effect of paste on the impression

In the traditional Japanese way of printmaking, the pigment/paste/water mixture is adjusted with the main goal of producing completely flat colour - the smooth 'tsubushi' printing. In prints like this, quite a lot of paste is applied to the block, where it is then blended together with the pigment and brushed out in a smooth layer.

Modern printmakers however, consider tsubushi printing to be generally non-artistic, or certainly less interesting than smooth colour. For them, decreasing the paste, and working with quite a 'wet' pigment (as this printmaker has done in this example), can lead to greatly enhanced atmospheric effects.

Here's a bit of an 'in-between' example. David Stones was trained in the classical Japanese techniques, but is 'stretching' them a bit here, by allowing the colour to take on a 'mottled' appearance, done by reducing the paste and reducing the baren pressure. One can guess that his elderly teacher might be disappointed, but David is not trying to reproduce 200-year old prints; his interest is in the interesting variations.

Another result of thinning out the paste/pigment mixture is seen here. With a carefully chosen block, in which the pattern is present to start with, the grain can be brought out quite well by using the bare minimum of paste and pigment, applied with very strong baren pressure. (This example from a Canadian 'printmaker' who 'passed away' shortly after arriving in Japan thirteen years ago ...)


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