Printmaking Classes

Castonguay regularly teaches at Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, MA; Chases Garage in York, ME; and the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, CT.  Check each organizations website to see if there are any upcoming classes!  Below are descriptions of the classes Castonguay typically teaches.

Introduction to Woodblock Printmaking

Ready to try your hand at woodcut? This crash course gets you acquainted with the medium in a single day. No experience necessary, only grit and determination are required! We provide the basic knowledge to transform a 6” x 6” drawing or photograph of your choosing into a complex hand carved stamp. You will learn how to carve, ink, and print your own black and white mini masterpiece on several different types of archival paper.  All skill levels are welcome.

***

Feathers, Scales, and Fur: Woodblock Birds & Beasts

Create a realistic or fantastical depiction of your favorite animal using traditional western woodblock printmaking techniques.

This course is for those who appreciate the beauty of the natural world, have an active imagination, and would like to create compelling creatures!  Students can carve either an 8″ x 10″ portrait or full body representation of an animal of their choosing.  Stay true to the subject’s physical characteristics or exaggerate features to give the image a whimsical quality.

Using hand-held chisels, workshop participants will carve away sections of the woodblock to define areas of black and white in the finished print.  Castonguay will explain how textures such as feathers, scales, and fur can be simplified to lend themselves to the graphic qualities of the medium.  Castonguay will also teach proper woodblock preparation, tool use, honing, sharpening, and printing on the press.  We will also discuss printing without a press and what inks and papers work best given different printing methods.  All skill levels are welcome.

Large-Scale Woodblock Workshop

Create your own larger than life woodcut and expand your scale in this big bonanza!

Castonguay will guide students through the process of drawing, carving, and printing a 24″ x 36″ image.  Learn what drawing materials work best, quick image transfer methods, and tricks to create specific textures using chisels and gouges.  Let the woods chips fly as Castonguay demonstrates how to achieve a dynamic composition, define form, and create a light/dark contrast.

Beginner and experienced print makers will appreciate the on and off the press printing techniques – especially beneficial to those who do not have access to a large etching press at home.  We will discuss what ink consistencies and oversize printing papers work best in relation to your chosen printing method.  Lastly we will talk about how to display your large print after your project is completed.  Everyone will go home with multiple printed impressions of their image to share with friends and family.  Become a woodcut impresario and impress your friends with knowledge of all things BIG! All skill levels are welcome.

* * *

Sumi-e Woodblock

Sumi-e is the term for the black ink used in Japanese brush painting. This workshop will apply painterly brush work to woodcut printmaking. Creating a painterly woodcut is an excellent way to infuse your working practice with spontaneous energy. Castonguay will guide students through the process of painting, carving, and printing a 12″ x 12″ image.

We begin by applying gestural marks using sumi-e brushes dipped in ink. Among other techniques, we will use the “Matisse” method to create gestural marks from a distance. The goal of this class is to capture the essence of a brush mark in your print. Therefore each brushstroke will be carved in order to prepare the painted image for printing. Castonguay will teach proper tool use and maintenance, block preparation and printing. Students will also learn paper registration as they print their key block over a color field. Intermediate woodblock experience required.

* * *

Woodblock Printed Totes and Tees

Stand out from the crowd and express your individualism with woodblock printed apparel!

Create a custom designed t-shirt, tote bag, or apron printed from your own woodcut! Learn how to prepare a 12” x 12” piece of plywood for carving, what drawing materials to use, and quick image transfer methods. Cut your block into shapes to create multiple color layers or create one large image. We will discuss the differences between printing on paper and printing on fabric – including how to modify the ink so your woodcut apparel will not fade or bleed. All skill levels are welcome.

* * *

WordPress for the Artist

“I got exactly what I wanted out of it – a solid starting place to learn WordPress.”  H. Phelps

Having a website is one of the most effective promotional tools for the artist.  WordPress is an online, website creation tool and has a wealth of plug-ins and ready-made themes available to build beautiful websites quickly.  You don’t have to be a technological savant!  Castonguay will demystify the process by guiding you through choosing a host, installing and configuring WordPress, choosing a template, uploading content, and integrating social media.  Within minutes, the basic structure of your site will be up and running.

As we build gallery, about, and contact pages you will become acquainted with basic WordPress functions and terminology.  Finally, we will discuss how to drive traffic to your site by blogging and back linking to content.  Requirements include a basic understanding of computers, a laptop running Windows 7 or higher or Mac OXS 10.6 or higher, and high quality 120 dpi JPEG format images of your artwork.

* * *

Chiaroscuro Woodblock

Chiaroscuro, italian for light-dark, is a great way to create bold imagery. We will create the dramatic chiaroscuro effect by carving two 12” x 12” woodcuts and overprinting them. Students begin by transferring a drawing or photograph onto a piece of plywood. He or she develops a key block by carving away areas of the plywood that correspond to the negative space of the transfer. Castonguay demonstrates the use of Japanese chisels including: proper technique to prevent hand fatigue, carving to achieve specific textures, along with the care and sharpening of tools.

Once the key block is complete, students transfer his or her image to the second piece of plywood. This block is carved to define highlights and add color. We will discuss what ink consistencies and printing papers work best for press or hand printing. Students learn paper registration as he or she prints their key block over the second block, creating a striking light/dark contrast. Intermediate woodblock experience required.

* * *

Pristmatic Woodblock Techniques

Leave behind the monochromatic in this comprehensive introduction to color woodblock printmaking!

In this class, we create a full color woodcut using traditional, multiple block printing methods. Students begin by transferring a drawing or photograph onto a piece of plywood. He or she develops a key block by carving away areas of the plywood that correspond to the negative space of the transfer. Castonguay demonstrates the use of Japanese chisels including: proper techniques to prevent hand fatigue, carving to achieve specific textures, along with the care and sharpening of tools.

Once the key block is complete, students transfer his or her image onto another piece of plywood. These blocks are carved to define highlights, shadows and develop a background. We will discuss the use of ink modifiers to create color overlays and transparencies. In addition, we will cover what printing papers work best for press or hand printing. Students will learn paper registration as he or she prints the key design over the second and third block, creating a eye-popping color bonanza! Intermediate woodblock experience required.