Stunning, classic images make printmaker Laura Wilder’s portfolio stand out. Enjoy her award-winning art and see more by visiting her website.
Twenty years ago, inspired by prints and posters of the early 20th century, I quit commercial art and learned block printing. I submitted my block prints to the Roycroft Renaissance jury, and was awarded the use of the “RR” mark on my handmade works, an indication of high quality design and hand-craftsmanship.
To make a block print, after creating the design, you do a separate carving and printing for each color, layering the printed colors to create the picture. The printing is done with either an antique hand-cranked proof press or a wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease.
Block printing is very laborious, so when I need a break, I do paintings, either as traditional oil landscapes, or with gouache, mimicking the look of a block print or vintage poster.
My favorite subject is the beauty of light effects in nature: sunlight glowing gold-green through leaves, trees or woods; the intense blue of a twilight sky juxtaposed against amber-lit windows; the blue shadows in snowy woods on a bright day. I may never get tired of making pictures of trees and light.
Recently light on water has also captured my interest; I’m working on a new block print of a rocky stream with surface reflections and stones below. My work is often described as being in “The Arts and Crafts Style,” or similar to old block prints, or the National Parks posters of the 1930s.
It’s true that my main stylistic inspirations come from sources like these, none of which were ever mentioned in my college art courses. It was only after getting my degree in Art that I discovered this world of fabulous graphic design and decorative art.
My prints and paintings are certainly meant to be decorative, but their main mission is to offer a quiet, serene moment or two in a quiet, beautiful place. When you’ve got no time for a walk in the woods but could really use one. Like my distant cousin Laura Ingalls Wilder, the mission of my work is to remind us to slow down, enjoy the beauty of nature, and savor the sweet, simple things of life.
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