Yesterday, June 19th, was the anniversary of Juneteenth, a day that commemorated the emancipation of Blacks from slavery in the United States. Although President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in all states in rebellion against the Union army in 1863, due to complications, slaves in Texas did not find out they were free until June 19, 1865. Festivities and celebrations became a tradition that lessened in the twentieth century and the celebrations are being revitalized in recent years.
This image is what I call a folksy woman. Since I was a child I have been drawing images of people, women especially. These images of women come from my head. One of my friends in graduate school told me my art had a folksy look, so I stuck with that description. My sisters have been encouraging me for years to exhibit these portraits, to at least let them out into the world. I have hesitated because after all they are folksy and I was taught to do non-folksy art in school. I was motivated to show this drawing because I am expanding from my Ukiyoe iPad app images. Although I still have the application on my iPad, it is no longer being sold in the Apple iTunes store for others to purchase. That is disappointing for the growth of that very interesting virtual woodcut printmaking tool. However, this has motivated me to let these portraits out of hiding and delve into doing them.
Note: First Published in January 2014 and republished in March 2014. I was informed in March 2014 that the Ukiyoe app is no longer for sale in the Apple iTunes Store or available at all. It may still be used if it was downloaded on a device previously.
As I mention in my May 2013 post, I tried out the iPad as a tool for art in March 2012. I eventually became especially attracted to the Ukiyoe app, since it allowed me to create woodcuts virtually. The Ukiyoe app is named after the Ukiyo-e genre of 17th to 19th century Japanese woodblock printmaking. The process of creating a hand-made woodcut has several steps. #1) A design is carved into a flat block of wood with knives and gouges. #2) Ink is applied to the part of the flat bock that is still raised. #3) The ink impression is printed onto a surface usually paper or fabric, similarly to a stamp. The hand-printing method includes pressing the paper or fabric onto the inked blocks with a wooden spoon or barren. Alternately, a printing press may be used to transfer the image, usually a letterpress or etching press. #4) Then prints are usually printed in a limited number of impressions, called a limited edition. The Ukiyoe iPad app translates the first 3 steps virtually, but #4, the actual process of editioning, is not translated to this process. Editioning is a tradition born out of practicality. The woodblock will only allow so many impressions to be printed before the design naturally begins to breakdown. Though, limited editions also add value to prints by adding uniqueness.