The white line prints are made by using wood or linoleum blocks, and carving the outlines of the picture, into the wood or linoleum. Then each color is painted onto the block, and each color printed, individually, onto the paper, one after another, as they dry.

It is a beautiful, painstaking process, and has a long history going back to Japanese woodblock printing, and popularized as white line printing, here in the United States, in the early part of the 1900's, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, by a group of artists, living and working there.

It is my favorite style of printmaking, and has a very particular look, which has always intrigued me. You can go online and Google, "white line prints" to read more about the technique, the artists who worked in Provincetown during the first half of the last century, and some of the artists who are using the technique today.

My hand painted mats are something I learned to do years ago, while working at a friend's frame shop. I love doing French lining, and painted panels to match different pictures' color palates. This work is indicative of what I do, using the technique.

I sell the painted mats. The pictures, which are reproductions, plates from magazines, or sometimes from tattered and discarded volumes of old books, are not intended as part of the sale...they are just the gift thrown in, which my mats celebrate. French lining and mat decorating is a painstakingly done, exacting process, and involves many steps to create one mat. One wrong move, and the whole piece is just a mat board, with an unusable mess on it!

Starting with a picture that I like, I choose the mat color, measure, and cut it to size, and then measure for the opening. Before cutting, I mask off areas to be cut later to designate the painted or powdered areas.

Then I cut the opening, and cut the lines to create the areas which will be painted or powdered. Then I take the masking material from those areas, and proceed to paint or rub in powder. Sometimes I will use as many as 8-10 different shades, to achieve the desired effect. Then I take the rest of the mask material off the piece, and make my measurements for the French lining, if I am going to use that technique as well. Then I ink those onto the mat board, and wait till they dry, and then do my final trimming and cleaning of the board. After that, the picture is installed, and a backing put in place. All the pieces I have done for the site are enclosed in plastic to protect the work, until the buyer can frame it. Most pieces, not all, will fit a standard frame size.

Sandra Briney
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