Monday, 14 October 2013

Monochrome woodcut

I recently bought a lovely, delicate woodcut that I would like to share.

It is by artist and engraver John B Souter who trained at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen in Scotland in the 1920s. I know nothing about this artist - and Google unearthed only the bare bones for me - but, in my current black and white phase (well, some of the time), I was very taken with this little print.


I don't know the title or where it was done but it has a calm and nostalgic air and gives a glimpse of farming in the age before mechanisation. I love the clarity of the execution and the composition. Somehow Souter manages to pull off the half and half division of the piece, perhaps because of the bright contrast in the water in the foreground which occupies roughly the bottom third. Or maybe it's because of the diagonal edge to the pond on the right hand side which draws the eye in to the gate and the open barn.

Over the years, we have bought other woodcuts as well as many etchings by Scottish artists such as Alec Fraser and D Y Cameron. I'm always surprised at how cheap these woodcuts and etchings are. They can often be bought framed for as little as £100. To me, they are wonderfully graphic and I love the contrast and simplicity of the monochrome. They also seem to sit well in modern interiors in white or cream mounts and simple black frames, despite their traditional subject matter and realism.

I will share some of these etchings on another occasion.

8 comments:

  1. I am also drawn to work like this. I think it is the quality of the mark making which in itself is quite abstract that makes up a recognisible whole that I find so appealing.

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    1. You are so right about the quality of the mark making - that is the key to the whole thing - and all done in reverse ...

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  2. Wow that is really amazing. Such a beautiful depth to it.

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    1. Extraordinary, isn't it - and all cut painstakingly from a small block of wood! Such craft I couldn't begin to emulate.

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  3. I too collect when I can, this is lovely, so complex.

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    1. The Northeast of Scotland seems to be a particularly rich source of etchings and woodcuts and we visit often. This one of the most complex little pieces I've seen.

      I was told a group can be counted as a collection when you don't have enough wall space for all you own. We definitely have a collection - however you define it!

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  4. Replies
    1. So glad you liked it. As soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to buy it. It wasn't one of those go away and see if it stays in the mind buys that I sometimes make.

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