mercredi 18 mars 2020

La Couronne Impériale クラウン インペリアル

"La Couronne Impériale" is inspired by a sketch I made from this series of 4000m peaks in the Swiss Alps in autumn 2017.
The four blocks of this woodcut were carved long before my trip to Japan.
Back home, I found it very interesting to print it. I could benefit from the addition of new knowledge about the printing process. And, not a slight advantage, I had no carving work to do.

The first thing I realized rather than learned in Japan is to make several passes of the same block to intensify a color or a gradient, or simply to correct the badly printed areas. In the example above, I intensify the smooth gradient (kata bokashi 片暈し) with a second pass with a straight line gradient at the top (Itchi Moji Bokachi 一文字暈し).

This first block was used another time to print the orange and yellow trees.

The second block was for the greens.
And was also printed twice in order to darken the foreground sap trees.
The third block is a mauve mountains skyline gradient. Just notice that it covers the light green forest on the slope of the mountain.

This looks obvious on these two pictures on the back of the sheet.

The fourth and last block is a kind of key block.
  It is a multicolor block that needed several passes to control everything.
This print is an edition of 8, used Holbein Watercolors and Kochi Roll paper.
Given that I printed this woodcut after my trip to Japan at the fall 2019, I signed my name in Katakana for the first time.

lundi 16 mars 2020

Étang d'Artax

Le confinement pour cause de pandémie de Covid19 a été promulgué le jeudi 12 et a commencé le lundi 16 mai pour une durée indéterminée.
La dernière occasion de fouler les chemins de montagnes, de jouir de la vue sur les sommets et de peindre quelques croquis eut lieu le dimanche précédent au dessus du village de Gourbit dans l'Ariège, du côté de l'étang d'Artax.
En montant à la station de ski des Mont d'Olmes fin janvier pour partir à l'assaut du Pic Saint-Barthélémy, je ne pensais pas que ces deux sorties seraient les seules de l'hiver.

Le confinement strict est aujourd'hui levé mais ils ont réussi à pondre une limite arbitraire de 100km qui s'arrête pour nous aux pieds des Pyrénées.

vendredi 10 janvier 2020

Sunrise on Mount Fuji

Fuji San - Bon An 2020
This year, to follow the tradition of the New Year's greeting card dear to printermakers, I could not avoid including a view of Mount Fuji that I had in front of me for 5 weeks.
This was also my first attempt of woodblock printing at home since the MI-Lab residency in Japan.
 This sunrise on Mount Fuji is a 3 blocks print, postcard size (15x10,5cm). The colors are japanese HansHolbein watercolors printed on Kochi paper.
 The first block is a vertical gradient (kata bokashi) from blue to yellow. I did only one pass.
 The second block is a new kata bokashi from left to right, from burnt sienna to dark purple.
The third block is a layer of shadow. A light purple bokashi that covers almost the entire volcano except the left ridge where the dawn sunlight comes from.
I must admit that the traditional text of the Japanese New Year is a stamp that I brought back from Tokyo.

mercredi 4 décembre 2019

MI-LAB Moku Hanga Training Program

Ko Umi Park
The Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory (MI-LAB) Studio is located on the banks of the Kawaguchi Lake. It hosts several times a year Moku hanga training programs for foreign artists.
MI-Lab Kawaguchiko Studio
I attended to the fall session from October 27th to November 30th 2019 with five other artists. The residency is ideally situated at the foot of Mount Fuji in a traditional Japanese land house.
Fuji San 富士山
Our studious days were punctuated by the sound of the primary school bell, the call of our house keeper Sato San for lunchtime and the fleeting apparitions of Fuji San between the clouds.
Katsuyama middle school students - 勝山中学生

Our teachers were very talented and, whilst teaching us the basics of Moku hanga, they opened doors to infinite fields of graphic experimentation.
The neighbourhood of MI-Lab - 勝山
 Every day we had delicious lunch and dinner from the local catering Samurai
体験食館 侍
Moku Hanga woodblock printing 木版画
 The five weeks of the program passed so quickly. I only made four prints…

…and didn't even have the time to paint my own thirty-six views of Mount Fuji.

lundi 28 octobre 2019

Hiking in Japan

Kyoto Imperial Palace
As a preamble to the woodblock printing program I was following during the whole month of November, I went ten days before in order to visit some famous places and also hike in the countryside. 
Fushimi Inari Taisha
First, I visited Kyoto for a very short couple of days. I must say that I missed everything there but hat I had at least a whole day in Fushimi Inari Taisha which compensated for this frustration.
Bamboo forest
Then, according to the accurate advices of Johanna Krimmel, a fellow sketcher and Japan lover, I walked along the Nakasendo Trail, from Magome to Narai. This route wasn't difficult at all but brought me the opportunity to see a wild black bear.

A two-day break in Matsumoto was essential, just to recharge the batteries and see the legendary castle. 
I planned then to climb one of the highest peak of Japan in the Kamikochi valley but had to give up because of the bad weather. This setback allowed me to discover the city of Takayama before joining Kawaguchiko where the MI-Lab programs take place.

En préambule au stage d'estampe que j'ai suivi pendant tout le mois de novembre, je suis arrivé dix jours plus tôt pour visiter quelques sites emblématiques du Japon, mais aussi pour randonner dans la campagne et la montagne.
Fushimi Inari Taisha

J'ai tout d'abord visité Kyoto pendant quelques jours très courts. Je dois dire que j'ai tout raté là-bas, mais j'ai eu au moins une journée entière à Fushimi Inari Taisha qui a compensé cette frustration.
Ensuite, grâce aux conseils judicieux de Johanna Krimmel, une amie Sketcher amoureuse du Japon, j'ai marché sur le Nakasendo, entre Magome et Narai. Une pause de deux jours à Matsumoto s'est imposée, histoire de me resourcer et de voir le légendaire château.
J'avais prévu ensuite de gravir l'un des plus hauts sommets du Japon dans la vallée de Kamikochi mais ai dû renoncer à cause du mauvais temps. Ce contretemps m'a permis de découvrir la ville de Takayama avant de rejoindre Kawaguchiko où se déroulait le stage d'estampe de MI-Lab.

Hida no sato

lundi 23 septembre 2019

USk Swiss symposium 2019 in Zuoz

The Swiss Urban Sketchers chapter organised its first symposium in the mountains of the Canton of Graubünden on September 21/22 2019. Thanks to the huge work of few organizers (Mario, André and Heidi) we were host in a magical location: the Lyceum Alpinum of Zuoz. I had the honor of being one of the faculty teachers.
I led two workshops about "mountain sketching" with enthusiasm, in a gorgeous valley under a bright sun. The symposium gathered around fifty people and was a great success. We all hope to meet again next year for such a friendly time.

Les Urban Sketchers de Suisse (principalement Suisse-Allemands) ont organisé leur premier symposium dans les montagnes du canton des Grisons les 21 et 22 septembre 2019. Grâce au travail colossal d'une poignée d'organisateurs (Mario, André et Heidi), nous avons été accueillis dans un lieu magique : le Lyceum Alpinum de Zuoz. J'ai eu l'honneur de faire partie du groupe d'enseignants.
J'ai animé avec enthousiasme deux ateliers de "croquis de montagnes", dans une magnifique vallée sous un soleil radieux. Le symposium, qui a réuni une cinquantaine de personnes, a été une grande réussite. Nous espérons tous nous revoir l'année prochaine pour un moment aussi convivial.