Red-Breasted Nuthatch (detail)

During the 2020 pandemic, I explored block printing for the first time. This opened up a new field of artistic expression for me, and with it, new subject matter: birds. On one level, this series is simply a record of birds found in our province, on another, it represents a yearning for a freedom that is beyond my grasp.

Birds symbolize freedom, responsiveness and being carefree. And flight, for me suggests escape from the confines of pressures and concerns. Within the confines of our earth-bound lives, these creatures experience a spontaneity and freedom that is beyond our grasp.

Burrowing Owl In Gold, Linocut print on 9×9″ Stonehenge paper
Red-Winged Blackbird, 6×4″ Block print on 8×6″ Strathmore Mixed Media paper

Block printing is otherwise known as relief printing, linocut printing, or lino printing. The process involves carving away the negative space to leave behind the raised area that will receive ink. After inking, a paper is placed on top and pressure applied to transfer the ink from the block to paper. All of these steps of printing- from designing the initial block, to carving, to burnishing the print for ink transfer- is done completely by hand, by myself, in my studio.

Chickadee with Gold Ring, Linocut print on 8×8″ stonehenge paper
House Sparrow, 6×4″ print on 8×6″ Strathmore mixed media paper

As I continue printmaking, my bird prints are beginning to take on a narrative quality, expressing emotions and concepts beyond the portraiture of my early bird prints. Likewise, landscapes from my painting practice also enter into my block printed images.

Some of these prints can be found at Wild Birds Unlimited in Saskatoon, or in my shop, PaintAndLine, on Etsy. Please subscribe to my Instagram feed or newsletter for updates on availability and more information on how to collect my work.