A Castle Courtyard Woodcut

On our trip last summer - the same excursion to Austria and northern Italy that inspired the 2019 bunny calendar - we saw a lot of really great castles with loads of character. These squirrely old piles with all their accumulated texture have been in my mind ever since - I love old buildings that have accumulated changes over a long period of time. Runkelstein Castle, just outside Bolzano/Bozen, is the first of these to inspire a print. I thought I would share a glimpse of the process.

The print began when I spotted this crazy staircase in the courtyard, with all of its corbels and crenellations and arches and doors on every level imaginable. Lucky for me, there was a nice shady spot where I could sit and throw down a quick ink sketch...

When I got home, I let it stew for a few months before I began to create my print. I deliberately went for a more illustrative, fairy-tale style, and I made it an experiment in color as well. I really like the soft and grainy color that characterizes old post cards, so it's an effect I am interested in playing with. In the next picture, you can see all the components that went into the final print: the primary block, with which I printed the detail in a deep blue/black ink, the secondary blocks with which I printed the graduated color underlayers, and the paper pressure overlays, which allow me to vary the intensity of the color in different areas of the print. I had a lot of fun with it!

I'll have these prints at my upcoming markets, for as long as they last. There are a few more castles still in the pipeline, so I am hoping to add a few more, and create a short series. Keep your eyes out!

Legal imprint