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Paul Warner

Having spent his working life teaching design, Paul took early retirement in the early 90’s, and became a full-time artist-craftsman. At first he was mainly a photographer and wood carver (a regular contributor to Woodcarver Magazine and features in The Art of the Woodcarver). Regretfully, in 2009 Paul developed a form of Rheumatoid Arthritis which quickly ended all that. However , being stubborn, and having worked with tools and wood since childhood, he transferred to printmaking- initially wholly absorbed by wood engraving. Instantly entranced, the die was cast.

Paul is also a musician, and feels that this shows in his work. “I look for the rhythmic forms in the landscape around me. It’s the way I think and see”, he explains. Feeling the need for more dramatic flourish and scale in his work he developed towards relief printing in general, often now using unusual background matrixes, introducing highly individual and subtle character to his work.

“I suppose I’m somewhere between the figurative and the abstract”, he says. “most of what I do comes from inside of me, but it does often contain references or ‘quotes’ from the world around me. That’s what interests me. That’s how I see!”

He has exhibited extensively and has work in many private and public collections.


Xylography...the medium of printed 'relief' imagery (as opposed to 'Intaglio' e.g. etching), produced using wood blocks cut by hand.

Basically divided into two techniques:


Wood Engraving; here the block is worked by cutting into the end-grain with tools identical to those used for steel engraving. The surface left unworked, i.e.  the 'relief' (which stands 'proud') is inked up and pressed onto paper to print the image. Traditionally the hardwood used is Boxwood, which enables very fine detail. This is hideously expensive and only comes in small sections, rarely more than about 5 or so inches square. Larger images are made from blocks glued and jointed together.....even more expensive. Cheaper woods such as Lemon or Maple can be used, but yield coarser results. Wood engravings are consequently quite small, and these days plastic/resin based alternatives are often used, being much cheaper and allowing larger prints.


Woodcuts; here the block, normally Lime, but often an Asian type plywood giving smooth, fine grain but greater economy, is worked on the surface of the grain (like a 'plank'). The tools used are palm sized versions of normal wood carving gouges. Also, traditional techniques employ a slanting 'knife edged' tool to cut out and define the edges of the form, followed by a gouge to clear out the unprinted areas between. Imagery is generally more open, vigorous and larger in scale than that associated with wood engraving. Japanese printmaking is often finer and more detailed than European styles and, crucially, inking is done in a very different way using brushes and inks which are water based and employing binders such as rice starch. Our inks are generally oil based and applied with a roller

Again, the results are still relief prints.


Printing; Wood engravings are normally produced on a platen press using greater pressure and developed from models developed in the 18th and 19th centuries such as the Albion and Columbian. Woodcuts are often burnished by hand using a Baren (or something like the back of a wooden spoon), or can be made on a modified roller press like an etching press or an old mangle.


The other form of relief printmaking often undistinguishable from the woodcut is the linocut. This has also moved on to embrace various vinyls which are easier to obtain than genuine linoleum. Tools are the same as those used for woodcuts.

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