You may be wondering, after checking out my work, what is a white-line woodcut? White-line woodcut is a technique of relief printmaking made popular in Provincetown by artists such as B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Blanche Lazzell, Agnes Weinrich, Ethel Mars, and many others in the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s. There is evidence of white-line printing in Europe as far back as the 1500s, and yet the method continues to spark interest among contemporary printmakers. Unlike traditional woodblock technique, in which the artist or technician cuts away the area of the block around the drawing, leaving the design to print in relief as a positive, in this process, the design is inscribed by the cutting of v-shaped grooves, leaving the drawing in negative relief, which will not accept ink, resulting in the characteristic white line between the flat areas of the printed image.
First, a drawing is made, or transferred by various methods, to the surface of the woodblock. Then, the lines of the drawing are cut out with a sharp knife or v-gouge. Next, the artist securely attaches a sheet of absorbent printing paper to the block. One section at a time, the surface of the block is brushed with water-based ink, the paper is lowered onto the block, and the back of the paper is rubbed, transferring the ink to the paper. The paper is lifted away from the surface of the block in between inkings, and the process is repeated until the artist is satisfied with the desired color and density of the print.
One of the medium's strengths is the beautiful effects possible with variations in type of wood, paper, ink, and printing pressure, but it is the touch of the artist's hand in scribing the drawing into the wood, combined with luminous color, that gives these prints their expressive potential, resulting in unique variations upon a single theme.