Gordon Mortensen

Reduction Woodcut Printmaker

Gordon Mortensen is one of the best known reduction woodcut print artists working in the United States today.  He is also one of the few working artists who still uses this process for printmaking.  Mortensen works from watercolor studies.  It helps him understand the color dynamics needed  for the wood cut.  It takes as long as three months to create the woodblock image.  You may notice that the final outcome has a painterly feel.  And yet, it is unmistakably a woodcut print.  The clues are in the rich layered colors and wood grain textures.  His process is described as follows.  First, only one woodblock is used and the whole image is drawn onto it.  Any colors to remain white are the first to be carved out of the surface.  Next, the first color is apply to the block and printed on all sheets.  Then, any area that is to remain the previous color is carved away and the next color color is applied.  The same then goes for each subsequent color.  In the end, there is very little left of the original block of wood as it has been cut away.

Gordon Mortensen is one of the original Joyce Petter Gallery artists!  You can view his prints and the artworks of many more fine artists at J. Petter Galleries.  Please visit our Events page to see our calendar of Art Openings for this year’s gallery season.