Taos Meadow
Leon Loughridge
A woodblock ink print titled
Taos Meadow
Leon Loughridge
Woodblock Print
14 x 11 inches

“Taos Meadow” by Leon Loughlin is a detailed rendering of farmhouse structures nestled in a tree-lined valley.  The peaceful farm buildings nestled in a tree-lined valley below towering blue-grey mountains is a laborious process.

Once back in his studio from a Plein-air excursion, Loughridge takes his watercolor sketch and traces it onto transparent paper using pen and ink. He next places a piece of carbon paper underneath the tracing-
paper image and puts the two layers on top of a woodblock panel. , he traces the image through both layers, transferring the drawing to the woodblock. Then, using sharp carving tools, he trims away any area on the woodblock that he wants to remain uncolored. What remains is the relief area that will be inked and printed. Loughridge applies his homemade colored ink using mini-rollers. “The rollers are my brushes,” he says.

The lightest color and the broadest area of the composition are printed first on each piece of paper that will make up the print run, or “edition.” Next, Loughridge carves away more material from the woodblock and prints the next color, a darker color than the first. The process continues with Loughridge carving away more and more of the block with each succeeding color run. The block is eventually destroyed, or “reduced,” in the process of creating the image, and because of this, a woodblock print can never be reprinted.

The edition size is determined by how many acceptable impressions exist after the final color run. “Each print will consist of 15 to 20 color runs. It ends up being a lengthy procedure to create one image, but throughout the process, I am always injecting a creative or intuitive approach,” Loughridge says. “I love the process of building the image. The printing process can be just as creative and intuitive as a Plein-air painting.”

Indeed, the artist considers his prints successful only if the viewer experiences the same passion he felt while creating the original sketch and print. “There’s an absolute beauty in the West of big open spaces and skies. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up and been outdoors all my life that I connect with the outdoors so much,” he says. “There’s a part of what happens out there on a location that gives meaning to why and how I fit into the world. There is a real solace or comfort in being outdoors that removes all the clutter and hype of the world around me. To know that the passion of my original idea was translated into one of my prints is the artist’s reward.”

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