Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Why I Love Printmaking and The Raven

As soon as I pulled my first print, I fell in love with printmaking! It felt like I was opening a present and I still get excited when I pull a print. It is one of the things that keep me addicted to it. I enjoy painting and drawing but the process of printmaking intrigues me. It is indirect. It is both craft and art. The unexpected and the accidents of printmaking are the things I look forward to the most. I am a teacher and I think my favorite experience is watching a student pull their first print. I know I have passed on my addiction to a new generation!

I am most attracted to all intaglio process although I love relief printing. I enjoy getting my hands dirty; printing an etching plate is good and messy. I have done many color intaglio prints but I LOVE black and white. Like old black and white movies, my prints allow the viewer to use their imagination. Rich bold values can be very powerful and beautiful. Black and white allows the viewer to be more interpretative.

As my son will attest, I am a history nerd. I love the stories and belief systems of our ancestors. Raven has played a pivotal role in most ancient creation stories. Raven is a "trickster" in Native American stories and myths. In some narratives, he is the evil antagonist, the “Devil”; he is also “Creator”, the father of mankind, and a potent conductor of spiritual forces in the form of sacred dreams.
Black Birds in Greek mythology sometimes have the ability to speak. These talking birds, often sources of wisdom, may be deities in bird form or simply messengers of the deities. In Nordic legends Raven appears as the first God of premonitions.
The blackness of a raven is interpreted as the symbol of death and an omen of evil. However, ravens are the most intelligent bird on the planet, the most playful of bird species. They slide down snow banks, apparently for the fun of it. They chase the cars of anyone who struck a member of their flock. They even engage in games with other species, such as playing with wolves and dogs.
Ravens are known for stunning acrobatic displays such as flying in loops or interlocking talons with each other in flight. They have intricate vocalizations that borders on language. They also use tools and will even joust with each other with sticks or leaves. I lived in Alaska for a dozen years and my most lasting and powerful memories are of these majestic birds. By creating these images I feel, somehow, connected to “The Great Land”


  1. Larry, checkout Karin Franzen, fiber artist in Fairbanks. She has created some incredible nature/bird pieces. You'd love her bird series, ESP Ravens!

    1. Thanks Marty, her work is great, love the Sandhill Cranes too!