Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

The Art of the Colour Woodblock Print

Aug 10th - Oct 22nd 1999

W.J. Phillips and Graham A. Scholes

Walter J. Phillips was seventy-nine years old when he died in Victoria, British Columbia on July 5, 1963. Phillips established himself as an international authority in the art of colour woodcut prints by 1926 with the publication of a technical manual entitled The Techniques of the Colour Woodcut. He was thirty-two years old. His position was no dry, academic achievement. Rather, through a diligent, self-taught discipline Phillips learned and then shared an outstanding level of accomplishment in one of the most exacting of artistic media.

Phillips' working method was to make graphite drawings and sketches on site. Many of his sketchbooks have survived because he saved them and used them as a constant source for ideas and inspiration years after their execution. Using the initial sketch with written annota-tions, the artist made a finished watercolour painting. Next a number of studies were done in preparation for the colour woodcut. Finally, a cartoon of the completed idea was drawn. This was used as a pattern for the cutting of the key block which was usually cherry wood. This complex process allowed Phillips ample opportunity to work and rework a scene and its details. Unnecessary details could be eliminated, the vantage point shifted, and integral elements changed to suit the artist's sense of harmony and balance.

Phillips' colour woodcut prints continue to enthrall a growing audience more than thirty years after his death. Here, clearly, is one of Canada's master artists. Indeed, in the medium of colour woodcut he is truly an international standard to which any artist might aspire. In the pairing of Phillips with contemporary artist Graham A. Scholes in this exhibition, we see that the former's legacy is alive and well.

Graham A. Scholes, a resident of Sidney B.C., was born in Toronto on December 28th, 1933. He is a well-known artist, author, and educator with a reputation for both his work in watercolours and Japanese woodblock print-making. Scholes graduated from a 4 year Arts course at Western Technical School in Toronto and subsequently designed stage sets for the Erskine Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society for 6 years. He worked as a commercial artist in Toronto and Montreal until 1977 when he turned fulltime to the creation of fine art. Scholes' international reputation was established with the publication of his book "Watercolour and How", published by Watson-Guptill, New York, which is distributed world wide.

In 1993, Scholes took a course with master printmaker Noboru Sawai on woodblock printmaking. This new medium was an instant inspiration and catalyst. In the fall of 1993, Scholes started a series of prints depicting the lighthouses along the rugged coast of British Columbia. To date he has completed 32 prints of the 35 manned lighthouses still in existence.

Scholes has mastered this challenging medium like few others today. He employs traditional methods including the hand carving of Basswood blocks, one for each colour. The artist uses a Baren to burnish the paper which has been placed on the woodblock to achieve the transfer of colour. His prints often employ as many as 12 blocks and they are run in exceedingly small editions of 7 to 75 prints. The small variations that accrue from print to print, as a result of the "hand made" process ensures that each is subtly unique even though a multiple. It is this highly important distinction that separates these artist prints from the ubiquitous photo-mechanical prints that have dominated the market over the last number of years.

Nicholas Tuele
Acting Director/Chief Curator
August 1999

Exhibition Contents

Graham A. Scholes ....31 works

Title, date, number of plates, number of colours,
image size in centimeters, height precedes width

W.J. Phillips ....19 works

Title, date, edition size, image size in centimeters,
height precedes width, source, accession number
Active Pass 1997
8/20, 46 x 33
Ballenas 1996
8/20, 28.5 x 18.5
Cape Beale 1995
6/20, 18 x 28
Cape Mudge 1994
5/5, 12.8 x 19
Cape Mudge Light 1997
10/20, 61 x 30.5
Cape Scott 1994
5/11, 30.5 x 20.4
Carmanah 1995
6/16, 28 x 43.2
Chatham Point 1998
4/12, 42.5 x 20.3
Chrome Island 1997
5/16, 20.3 x 30.5
Discovery 1996
6/11, 43.2 x 18
East Point 1998
7/12, 29.8 x 20.3
Entrance 1996
6/14, 45.7 x 24.2
Estevan 1995
6/25, 43.2 x 23.2
Kains 1994
6/15, 28.2 x 19.7
Lennard 1995
8/14, 35.8 x 17
Nootka 1994
8/9, 46 x 18
Pachena 1994
6/14, 26.7 x 19
Pine Island 1998
6/14, 46 x 33
Point Atkinson 1996
7/15, 61 x 20.3
Porlier Light 1996
6/9, 34.3 x 12.8
Pulteney Point 1998
7/18, 47.6 x 13.9
Race Rocks 1994
6/14, 36.8 x 21.5
Scarlet 1998
7/14, 42.5 x 20.5
Sisters Islet 1996
4/8, 34.3 x 12.8
Trial Island 1995
6 /15, 45.7 x 26.7
Fragility 1998
3/8, 30.5 x 45.7
Jimmy Judd 1993
7/9, 5.2 x 10.1
Sole Searching 1995
7/15, 62.2 x 21.5
Fisher 1997
3/5, 13.9 x 8.9
Invite 1996
2/2, 7.7 x 10.2
Three Eagles 1998
2/3, 10.2 x 15.3

Mount Schaeffer...1927
6/10, 22.1 x 25.5
Gift of the Artist
aggv 63.25
The Bather...1923
30/100, 27.5 x 18.0
Gift of John O'Grady,
Pacific Club, Victoria
aggv 56.5
Leaf of Gold...1941
43/100, 23.6 x 32.7
Gift of the Artist
aggv 63.8
Evening... nd
19.3 x 18.5
Gift of Edith J. Garbutt
aggv 91.17
Totems, Alert Bay...1956
16.5 x 9.2
Collection of AGGV
aggv 80.10.6
Norman Bay 2...1923
44/100, 22.3 x 25.0
Gift of Mr. John
O'Grady, Pacific Club
aggv 56.7
Windblown Tree,
Long Bay...nd
16.6 x 23.9
Gift of the Artist
aggv 63.33
Two Lakes...1921
13/50, 21.5 x 34.7
Gift of the Artist
aggv 63.173
Sunset, Lake of
the Woods...1928
18.2 x 21.3
Gift of the Artist
aggv 63.10
Warren's Landing...nd
20.0 x 28.0
Gift of Mr. and
Mrs. Adamson
aggv 81.236.1
The Waterfront...1928
?/30, 15.9 x 22.5
Gift of the Artist
aggv 63.24
The Stump...1928
239/300, 17.1 x 23.0
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.9
Long Bay, Keewatin...1922
18.5 x 36
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.174
Smoke Haze...1936
Edition: 200,
14.5 x 22.2
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.58
Agamemnon Channel...1936
Edition: 200, 8.1 x 21.7
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.65
Gerran's Bay,
Pender Harbour...nd
13/100, 20.8 x 29.9
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.42
The Path of Gold...1919
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.49
Simoom, BC...1935
75/100, 17.7 x 27.9
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.50
Poplar Bay ...nd
23/100, 23.9 x 33.5
Gift of the artist
aggv 63.40

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