Each image is printed on Chestee’s flatbed press and registered in the studio.
In creating her block prints, Chestee uses both wood and linoleum blocks. The surface of the block is carved away to leave a raised image. Then ink is rolled onto the remaining surface areas of the block. The resulting printed image creates a mirror image of the design. Many of these images are then individually hand colored.
Chestee was drawn to this traditional process while studying at the Art Students League of New York. Although technically challenging, lithography produces highly defined lines.
This printing method is based on the repulsion between oil and water. It originated in Germany in the early 1700s and was used both as an artistic medium and for publication. The process consists of drawing or painting with oil-based crayons on limestone or metal plates. Water and printing ink are successively applied. The oily surfaces repel the water and absorb the ink.
Chestee created embossed drawing in 1985, while experimenting with various printing techniques. “I had experimented with some embossing, but wanted to incorporate color in a new way into the process.” A plate is formed from a wood relief, then hand-ground, colored pigments are applied to the plate with finger and brush. “Then, I run the plate and damp rag paper through the press,” Chestee explains.
Cane River Cotton Fields10" x 24"
La Chanson de Mardi Gras21" x 14"
hand-colored woodblock print
from the L'Esprit de la Louisiane series
Louisiana Folk Cabin7" x 5"