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An Exercise in White Space

My latest print, “Heian Shrine in Winter,” turned out to be an exercise in the use of white space. In this four-color print, I have tried to use the uncolored portions of the page to indicate snow. It was a very obvious choice to go with snow, I know, but the exercise was successful in creating an aesthetic composition. Hopefully I will be forgiven.

The Heian Shrine is a shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan. The Soryu-ro, built in 1894, is a multicolored hall within the shrine complex complete with tall lookout towers. This is the building I depicted in my print.

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Instead of a bright sunny day, it became a bright snowy day with the use of four blocks. I divided the palette into (1) red (for the building), (2) gray (for accents), (3) blue (for the sky), and (4) black/dark gray (for the key block). By dividing the colors in this way, I was able to maximize the effect of the white space surrounding each of the colors. Below you can see the stages of printing it took to create this print. I forgot to photograph the first stage with just the blue block printed, but the blue/gray stage should give you a pretty good idea of what it looked like:

Stages of Printing

I used a traditional registration board to print the blocks. This traditional Japanese method of registering the paper for each print worked out surprisingly well. Now maybe I can get around to printing the Flamingos…

The Final Print:

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