Sunday, 15 August 2010

Seagulls and the Woodblock (II)

Gulls and the woodblock (II)

3) The Provincetown printers

For the Provincetown printers, living in their colony so near the shore it would have been daily encounters with seabirds and they would have been a natural and not to be left out entourage in their marine pictures. The print by Tod Lindenmuth on the left in perticular seems very simple in execution. Three colours only. But it is also a wonderfull study of birdflight. And a study in light. The early morning backlight caught on the front of the wings is something only experienced after carefull observation.

Today, opening the Internet, thousands of still-pictures and as we request moving pictures as well are available on demand. Day and night. In those days (the 1910-1930's) photography was quite something else.

These birds in flight must have been very carefully studied and sketched before they were made part of this wonderfull composition. The rendering of the early morning light is also a study in itself. It's my favourite !
On the right is probably a woodcut and study for the "Gulls and Doreyfishermen" also by Tod Lindenmuth.

Donald Witherstine (1896-1961) Provincetown artist and printer, had a keen eye for the ever present gulls, their behaviour and flight. Gulls at Provincetown wharf: "Messenger of the sea". This very characteristic piece of Provincetown, the old wharf and the pier must have been inspiration for a thousand pieces of art.

Ferol (Katharine) Sibley Warthen (1890-1986)

Grace Martin Taylor (1903-1995)

Barbara Stoughton (1928- )

4) Robert Gillmor (1936- )

Robert Gillmor is perhaps one of the greatest living bird and nature linocutting printers who has reinvented the art of linocut reliefprinting after WW2 in England. The number of publications and books he illustrated is almost countless. Very talented and a great master, the book on his work, "Cutting Away, the linocuts of Robert Gillmor" (first edition 2006) was long out of print was but reprinted in 2009. I'll just show here the Gull prints and a remarkable observation with one other famous British artist that made a wonderfull print with seagulls.

"following the harrow"

There is no mentioning by Robert Gillmor that he knew the "other" and older print but I think his is a secret hommage to British printer Ethel Spowers (1890-1947).


  1. Did you know Gillmor was Alan Seaby's nephew? I was interested to read about the book. I didn't know that existed. I remember only one Gillmor turning up on ebay. John Jackson, Jonathan Gibbs and James Dodds are all pretty good British linocutters.

  2. No I didnot. No wonder .... The book is really wonderfull. You are right about other contemporary linocut printers. There are many talented artist, again. It seems a sort of revival.In the Netherlands too. Often reduction technics, they become too technical to my taste. Too good to be true. Robert Greenhalf is a gerat cutter and printer and favourie too. There is this great site www. that shows many.