About a year ago I took a workshop in moku hanga, the traditional Japanese method of woodblock printing. The teacher was Hiroki Morinoue, at the Donkeymill art center in Holualoa, other side of the island. Really good workshop; I'd done block printing before but never this technique, which uses watercolor paint rather than inks and is all about getting the right amount of dampness (of the paper, of the blocks). And which also thus allows for graduated blends of color, like washes, something I'd always wondered about when I looked at the classic Japanese block prints. Hiroki is a master and an excellent teacher, born here in Hawai'i, of Japanese descent. He has studied intensively in Japan; told us it takes at least 3 years to really get a handle on the prints. This I can believe.
So several months after the workshop i had an art show coming up; I was just doing printmaking for the show and decided to try some moku hanga. I'm always looking for what catches my eye and attention outside, and this bright orange fungus growing on logs in the dog yard caught me. (I've since learned that this is pycnoporus sanguineus, a common polypore fungus.) This print is the result. 4 blocks; 8 colors. Difficult! You have to be patient to do this kind of print, because (at least for me, at this stage of my skill development), you run into the situation where the print is coming out pretty good til the last or almost last block – and then you ruin it, which means you have to start all over again.
But, at least I got one really good one and a couple pretty decent ones of this print so far (sold the best one, which is encouraging). I've been putting off finishing out the edition of 6 though... have to build up to it again.