All my prints are hand-pulled woodcut originals in limited editions (10-200), signed and numbered in pencil. Once the edition is finished, I cancel the block, usually by signing across the face, and make the original woodblock available to collectors.
Main subjects include the desert landscape and the human figure. Human figure designs are usually inspired by the grain of the wood itself. Lately I have been integrating the human figure into the desert landscape (I think an inevitable evolution!).
1. I prepare the design on the block, drawing directly on the block with sumi ink or permanent marker. Blocks are cherry or maple.
2. Next I cut the block with wood-carving Japanese knives, leaving the image to be printed in relief. Woodcuts and wood engravings differ only in that the wood for engravings is harder and the tools to cut the non-printing areas are harder and much finer.
3. Once the image is left in relief I roll oil-based inks on a slab of glass with a brayer or roller and transfer the ink to the block. I then place paper on the block and apply even pressure with a Japanese baren (a disk of coiled bamboo) or with a wooden spoon. The result is an ink transfer on the paper and a beautiful woodcut print.
4. For multiple color prints, I cut more blocks, one for each color. Another method I often use to print multiple colors is to cut the block into as many pieces as there are colors and ink the “puzzle” separately, assembling right before printing.
5. I use oil-based lightfast inks and either Japanese or archival printmaking papers. All matting is acid-free in white or off-white, black on occasion. I display a wide variety of framed as well as matted and shrink-wrapped pieces and any available original blocks.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Maria Arango earned BS and MS degrees from the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas before taking a variety of fine art classes. A full-time artist
living in Las Vegas, Nevada, Maria has been widely exhibited in regional,
national and international exhibits. Accomplishments include Best of Show
Awards in Fine Art Festivals and purchase awards. She is exclusively
represented by the deZion Gallery in Springdale, Utah. A personal goal to
complete 1,000 woodcuts is progressing heartily. Art Festivals throughout
the West continue to be Maria’s favorite venue for meeting her fast growing
audience of collectors.