Happy new year to everyone.

I’ve been back working on my India stray dog series. I am working on three simultaneously – all of a beautiful dog with distinct white paws that I met outside of a restaurant in Pune. Here is a snapshot of the keyblock and a test print on copy paper.

White Paws - Test Print

White Paws - Key Block

I carved this on shina plywood, which is not the best material for making the key block (i.e. the black line block) because it can chip when carving out thin lines. I bought some Quick Wood, which worked pretty well at mending some of those chipped spots. I think I may be ready to move on to carving my key blocks in cherry which is more suitable for detailed carving. I used a Sharpie marker to draw on the key block and I really liked the way it helped me see the thickness of my lines better when carving, allowing me to create what I hope is a more sensitive line.

I also ordered a new carving tool – the bullnose chisel. I didn’t think this tool would be all that useful, but have found it to be invaluable. I use it almost as much as my hangi to (knife). I have been using a shallow u-gouge for clearing areas, but the bullnose chisel clears a lot more efficiently. Here is a photo of it. This is actually photographed upside down so you can see the bevel. It is used with the bevel side toward the wood.
bullnose chisel - woodblock printmaking tool

I’m learning to have a lighter hand with the baren. As you can see in the test print there are some thick edges in the shadow areas. I found that a lighter hand on the baren eliminates these and makes for a more uniform printed area.

The most important lesson that I am beginning to take to heart in this process is patience and learning to trust my intuition.


I’m back from India and, as I promised myself, I took lots of photos. Outside of family and tourist site shots, I feel rather timid about taking photos in India. Even though my camera is very small, people stare at me anyway because I so obviously don’t belong. And I felt bad about taking photos anyway – people don’t want their pictures taken just because I find them exotic and some of the things that I wanted to document such as stray dogs, makeshift shelters, etc. were not things that Indian people would necessarily be proud of – so why should I bring it back to the US to show people here how bad it is in India? It’s a bafflingly beautiful place, however, and I wanted somehow to capture some images of what I saw. I found that shooting photos from a car was a good opportunity to be descrete and also get candid shots of everyday life. I got some interesting shots this way, but there was so much that I missed. Nevertheless, what I saw has been imprinted in my mind and I am sure my experiences will reveal themselves in future artwork.

You can see some of these street scenes on my Flickr site here.