Relief Block Printing

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Leon Loughridge

GALLERY NEWS…..Showings Fine Art is pleased to announce that we will be offering a portfolio of available woodblock prints by Leon Loughridge beginning June 1st, 2009. This is an opportunity to view and collect prints by a nationally sought after printmaker who exhibits internationally and has work in the collection of many museums including the Denver Art Museum. If you are interested in receiving a catalog please click on the link below and we will contact you as soon as the prints are available.

“As a printer or graphic artist, I want to record in printed form the elated feelings I have from my original sketches and paintings. Sketching is a very direct and invigorating encounter with the subject, while creating the print in the studio becomes more methodical. The challenge of translating a painterly image into a block print is to capture the energy of the original in the print, not merely duplicating the image. The artist faces many technical hurdles when in the print studio.  When these features of relief printing are treated as expressive tools, and not as limitations, they help to create feeling in a print. The analytical process of building and creating a printed image becomes as invigorating as the original sketch was in the beginning.  To know that the passion of the original idea was translated into the print is the artists’ reward.”

Loughridge was influenced by his grandmother’s involvement in Northern New Mexico art circles. Later study at the Colorado Institute of Art along with private study reinforced his abilities. Stationed in Germany while in the army, he was able to travel extensively throughout Europe. In addition, he studied painting techniques of the old masters for two years, finishing by copying a Franz Hals at the Stuttgart Stattsgalerie Art Museum. Long having an interest in pen and ink, etching took on a special meaning from the museum’s collection of etchings.

Leon has continued to develop his printmaking skills and currently owns a publishing company, producing his Reduction Style Woodblocks as well as limited edition books. His woodblocks are exhibited nationally and collected by numerous museums. He and his wife also own a gilding studio, producing and restoring hand carved gold leaf frames for museums and collectors.

Relief Block Printing
Traditionally, wood panels are used to create a relief block, though anything flat that can be carved can be used. The image is transferred onto the block and the areas that do not print are carved away. The high surfaces or uncut areas are inked and then a sheet of paper is laid over the inked block. Pressure is applied to the paper to transfer the inked areas to the paper.

Multi Block 
A block for each color is cut and when printed, aligned to the other color blocks. Usually, the artist prints the lightest color first and the darkest color last. However, Gustave Baumann often printed in reverse, printing a dark first and the lighter colors on top.

One block is used to create a multiple color print. The lighest color and the broadest area of the print is printed first for the entire edition, the block is then carved away leaving the next lightest color, which is printed. As the artist is continually removing material from the block to print the next color, the block is destroyed in the processes of making the image. The edition size is determined by how many acceptable impressions exist after the final color is printed.

Selected Exhibitions
Coors National Western Art Exnibit, Denver, CO January 2007, 2006
The Santa Fe Trail, One Man Show, Pinon Fine Art, Littleton CO December 2006
“Representing the West”, Sangre de Cristo Fine Art Center, Pueblo, CO September 2006, 2005, 2004
The Place Between, Two Man Show, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM July 2006
Governor’s Show, Loveland CO April 2006
“Carved Images “, One man exhibit, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM June 2005
“Saddles, Cabins and Mountain Vistas”, Sangre de Cristo Fine art Center, Pueblo, CO August 2004
“Vistas del Corazon” Great Southwest Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO August 2004
Show of paintings and Woodblocks, Pinon Fine Art, Denver, CO June 2004
National Small Print Exhibit, Creede Arts Council, May 2004, 2003
Kansas Watercolor Society, May 2003
Louisiana Watercolor Society, New Orleans, LA May 2003
Society of Watercolor Artists, Ft Worth TX, April 2003
31st Annual Exhibition,  Kansas Watercolor Society, Wichita, KS May 2001
National Small Print Exhibit,  Creede Arts Council Creede, CO,  Honorable Mention, May 2001
Boulder Art Assn, 10th Annual Crossroads Mall, Boulder, CO “Best Of Show”, April  2001
Colorado Art Open , Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO March 2001


Selected Collections
Burger King Corp, Denver CO
Colorado School Of Mines, Golden CO
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Denver Public Library Western History Dept,  Denver, CO
US West, Denver, CO
Historic Denver,Denver, CO
Inter North, Denver, CO
Hyatt Hotel, Beaver Creek, CO
Grand Californian, Executive Suites, Anaheim, CA
Sangre de Cristo Art Center, Permanent Collection, Pueblo, CO