Debby Neely


About my woodcuts:

In the beginning all illustrations in printed materials were either hand drawn or were reproduced from woodcuts. With the advent of stone lithography and the halftone photo process the single use of woodcuts to illustrate books and newspapers was eclipsed. Not that woodcuts weren’t really fine art when used as illustrations but when they became a secondary method of illustration it opened the way for the creative person to use them as a fine art form. 

I find that woodcuts allow me to concentrate on the importance of the design and because I print them in the traditional black on white format the design stays most important. I have a passion for black & white that woodcuts allow me to indulge. I also like playing with the positive and negative shapes that become more visually important in black and white work not to mention the challenge of carving lines across the grain of the wood and having them look like a drawn line. Recently I have started to incorporate air brush colors in my woodcuts and find it very exciting so see how the images become even more exciting with the addition of colors. 

My favorite subject matter is local birds, fish and animals of the Northwest. I have always loved birds but after moving to Washington and fishing its great rivers I now enjoy using the salmon species as subject matter. I try to put some educational information in woodcuts that include fish. My favorite shape is a circle that represents a full moon that raises the tides and allows the salmon to enter the rivers on their trip back upstream to spawn.