A  portrait of Nanno

I met Nanno for the first time at the startup of a new Men's Radical Therapy group in 1983, almost 40 years ago!

Although our characters, lives and careers have been very different ever since, almost opposite, we uninterruptedly were closest friends. Together, we did everything that close friends do.

All his life, Nanno worked with his hands, building and renovating bathrooms. A master of all trades - plumbing, tiling, plastering, electricity, etc.. - and above all, an organizer and businessman.

Always his own boss, being his charming but unadapting self. Modest but self-assured. Always frugal but easily enjoying the good things in life - the better food, art, music, good whiskey, a small boat, camping. All his friends are old friends, nobody left behind.

He is not a saint though. But after so many years, such a common and unremarkable trait is not worth discussing any more.

This summer I promised to do his portrait for a birthday present. Only last autumn, he sat for a couple of hours, me sketching and taking pictures. Now it is there, in an edition of 13. The sheets measure 37 x 32 cm. I added a little bit of robin red to the printing ink, thus creating a warm, deep black.

Let me try to motivate my choice of paper for this print: Simili Japon (225 gr/m²).

Woodblock printing is a "low pressure technique": the paper doesn't have to be forcibly pressed into the grooves of an etching or engraving plate to be in contact with the ink. Instead, the ink is now on top of the surface that has not been cut away. If that plate is smooth and flat, the paper will immediately be in contact with the ink, once the paper sheet is put on top of the inked plate. However, this holds true only if the paper is smooth and flat too. If the paper surface has texture, one must exert pressure on the paper to ensure contact between paper and inked woodblock. But, if large parts of the surface of the block are inked and pressure is exerted on the paper, the paper tends to float on the inked surface, like a boat on water, i.e. the paper will move over the surface of the woodblock and smear the image.

In our case, we have an image with lots of fine detail and big black surfaces. So, I wanted a paper that is very smooth to easily pick up the details and that requires little pressure to take the ink from the wooden plate. Such a paper is Simili Japon: it is very smooth because it is ironed with a starchy coating on both sides and thus doesn't show any texture and the starch ensuring good tack of ink and paper. Another important reason to pick Simili Japon is its color - a warm yellowish ivory white that well renders warm blacks.

Simili Japon was first produced by Schut's Papermills around 1800 as a cellulose-based replacement for the plant-based Asian papers. Today, it is still produced in large quantities by the Van Gelder Group, now owned by the French Clairefontaine.

Traditionally, Simili Japon has a clumsily big watermark, showing stylized S's and a P, that should be kept on the non-printing sides of the sheets to prevent them showing up in the printed images. I had to carefully check each and every sheet to detect the watermarks, if any.

The price of this print equals € 350, unframed, including VAT and free of shipping cost. Don't forget that you, as a subscriber, are entitled to a price reduction of 30% if you order before Christmas eve 2021.


Upcoming exhibition

Here I mention that I accepted an  invitation to participate in the Spring Exposition of "Kunstwerk in de Stellingen", which is to take place from March 4 till April 24 in Oosterwolde. Of course you are more then welcome to visit!


I hope you will have a good time with your relatives and friends during Christmas and New Year and I wish you a happy 2022. Meanwhile, I will return to the next print from the Promised Land series.