Moon Whale is my most complex block print design to date, with multiple blocks and overlapping layers of colour. Below I have shared a bit about my inspiration and the process behind this design.
I will never forget the first time I saw a humpback whale in Haida Gwaii, comprehending what is really meant by a mammal “the size of a bus”. The enlarged full moon rising over the whale fluke is exaggerated and playful, designed to conjure the magic of such a sighting.
As with most of my prints, I start out with an idea and do many sketches to refine the design and figure out how it will work in the positive and negative space framework of relief printing. When playing with the scale of the moon, I came across “The owl and the boy” by Ningeokuluk Teevee and decided to use a similarly larger than life moon in my design. (See more of Teevee’s wonderful work on the Dorset Fine Arts website: http://www.dorsetfinearts.com/ningeokuluk-teevee
After carving the block I like to do a test print in all black to see how the design is looking in reverse. Next I tried with colour. I was excited by the results but was looking for more vivid colours and more impact from the full moon.
I researched Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints for inspiration when planning the colours for this moonlit scene.
I came up with a plan to print a background layer for the highlights and reflections, and then print the carved details in darker colours over top. The carved blocks allow me to make more than one print.
This design is a limited edition of 50. Due to the different components and hand blending of ink, no two prints are exactly the same.
While lots is known about whales, much about their behaviour is still a mystery. Whether catching a glimpse of a distant spout from shore, or seeing a tail slap or a full breach, each whale sighting takes my imagination below the surface, to ponder what life is like for these giants. My goal with this print was to capture a little of the magic and wonder of seeing a whale in real life.
Print currently available in my Etsy shop