George Johanson’s Reductive Prints at Augen Gallery

Still raining…

strollerTrees 2

and after we heard Jackie Johnson speak, we dashed over to Augen Gallery to hear George Johanson talk about his beautiful show of 24 reductive prints he’s been working on for a year or two…

"'A Cube, a Cone, a Cylinder' said M. Cezanne"

We had visited his studio about a year ago and saw the set up and method and the prints themselves…and here’s what I said then, which is a good look at the background for this current show:

“George has been working on a series of reductive lino-cuts…a series of 24 images.

GEorge Johanson 1

George Johanson 2

George Johanson 3

He’s only printing 10 of each, and is printing them all by hand (without the press)…reminding him of some work he did as a student some years ago.  (And hand quilters take note…we agreed that the inconsistency of the hand, the slight stitch here or pressure there…made the work MUCH more interesting…)

George Johanson 12

He’s come up with a very ingenious system to “register” the prints..

George Johanson 9George Johanson 10George Johanson 11

In this method the first thing he carves in the block are the white lines he wants on the surface, then he carves out the second color, then the third…etc….thinking backwards from the finished image he wants.  As he cuts more and more away the block ends up not resembling the print at all…

George Johanson 9

The prints are absolutely gorgeous…he’ll show them next spring at Augen Gallery, and there will be a book…”

and here it is next spring all ready…the show is up, the book is for sale ($15 from the Gallery)

book cover

and yesterday George spoke to a large and rapt audience about the process and his methods…(lots of print-makers in the crowd…)

rapt audience

Geo 1

George began his talk by explaining that he had given his granddaughter Sonia the task of making a reductive print (when he himself had never tried the technique) and when he saw her good results he thought…”hmmm, maybe I’d better try this…”

Sonia's print

so a couple of the prints feature Sonia as subject…

"The Magnifier Lamp"

Under the Lamp

this one is based on a Picasso print so George’s “Under the Lamp” becomes an homage…


George went on to give a quick description of the reductive process where each successive color is printed off the same block with the block becoming smaller and emptier as the process continues…in this case yellow first, lots removed, red next, etc. etc.


the method

Here’s a print from the show…

"Rowers and Oars"

and here is the block with only the part left that was printed in black…

Rowers and Oars block

go see the show for sure…


and then resolve to attend a talk or two at the galleries who bring you the REAL artists talking about their REAL work in REAL time…live in the moment!  They do.

Geo painting

Here’s photographer Aaron Johanson getting some pictures…


and Van giving R a few good ideas…

R and Van

This month is print month and most of the Portland galleries are featuring prints…on our way to


we passed the Waterstone Gallery and nipped in to see a range of prints from a variety of print makers including George…


Christy Wyckoff…

Entangle II

Margaret Van Patten

Margaret van Patten Early WArning

and Patricia Giraud (Hi Mags!)…


and all before lunch.  An embarrassment of riches.



  1. Bonnie….you are truly an asset to our community. It is difficult for me to get out of town, so i deeply appreciate the effort you put into your blogs, This one was instructive as well as enjoyable. Good job Girl!

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