I usually would prefer to draw from life so it's a bit frustrating drawing from my dark grainy photographs. It's prompted me to write to the British Museum in the hope for an appointment to view and sketch their collection of netsuke. They have an extensive collection of 2300 netsuke. I will wait and see and I finish up my sketch of an Ox signed Tomotada.
Listening to the World
While listening to Krista Tippett's podcast On Being I begin the process of transfering the image to the block ready for carving the Ox. Krista Tippett is interviewing the American poet Mary Oliver who always carries a pen and paper while she is walking in the woods. The woods is her sanctuary where she finds creative inspiration. She never writes her ideas directly on to a computer and advises others to do the same - I understand the positives for doing this but I'm finding the combination of digital and analogue world work well together for me. There is much more ease and efficiency using both. I scan the sketched ox into the computer and open it up in photoshop. I've deliberately kept the fine lines. Usually I thicken the lines directly on to the paper after I have made the initial sketch but I print the original sketch on to the tracing paper and rub the image on to the wood.
Ox signed Tomotada - A.957 - 1910 Salting Bequest. British Museum
"When you make something, when you go through the process - all the steps and at the end you have a finished project you made with your own hands, out of your own mind, that is your own design - it's a reflection of your soul."Eric Hollenbeck - Portrait of a Master Wood Worker. Blue Ox Millworks