Trout Lily Studios

the art of John and Deborah Koch

  • Our Latest Work

    "A Sweet Land"
    A very limited-edition, hand-colored woodcut
    for the 2014 Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service

    "Stained Glass I"

    first in a fall foliage woodcut series

    A map of Paradise...

    "Corn Crib"
    a hand-colored
    lino-cut series
  • Out There

    Reduction Woodblock Prints

    A reduction print is printed from one block, no matter how many colors are eventually printed. Each color is printed one at a time, from lightest to darkest. Starting with the lightest color, the artist initially prints the entire print run.
    After a color is printed, it is then carved out of the block, and the next darkest color is printed. There is no chance to go back and print the previous color. This process is repeated until the block has been carved away.

  • Trout

    About one cast out of six makes it to the fish. Some casts launch my flies into the overhanging branches; some misguide my flies to the wrong spot in the water. If I could make every cast land perfectly, I honestly believe I could catch a hundred fish out of this hole. But of course, this is not to be. Somewhere, the ratio of flies lost, when compared to the interest in fishing this one spot, quietly shifts, and I move on to the next wide spot in the creek. And then to the next, and so on to the next as the afternoon wears on.
    The juicy green heat becomes oppressive, and finally breaks with a crash of thunder that booms through the valley. The rain shortly follows: a serene sprinkle at first, it shifts into a riotous downpour within minutes. The chilling rain cools the valley, and with it comes a heavy mist.
    My dry fly fishing is done for the day

  • Flora

    Moku hanga Woodblock Prints

    "Moku hanga", Japanese for "wood print", is the traditional technique of water-based wood block printing. This method was developed in China for currency and book publishing centuries ago, but was refined to its zenith as an art form in Japan during the Edo Period (1603 - 1867) by artists such as Hiroshige and Hokusai.

    The technique entails the use of separate blocks for each color that is printed. Each block is carved by hand, based on a key print, printed from a key block. Marks in the key block, called "kento", allow paper to be slipped onto each block in perfect registration.

    Water based ink is applied by hand directly onto the blocks with brushes, traditionally made of boar hair and bamboo. The print is then burnished with a "barren" - a palm-sized disk, traditionally made of layers of braided bamboo leaf fiber.

  • Hand-colored Prints


    A traditional way of adding color to a normally black and white print, hand-coloring blends the two techniques of water color painting with relief printing.
    First, a drawing is transferred to a block of linoleum, which is then carved and then printed. The dried prints are then soaked and then colored by hand with water color paint. Since oil-based inks are used for the initial print, no damage is done.

    Each print is hand done; thus, each print is unique.

  • White-line Prints

    Whiteline Woodblock Prints

    "Whiteline" prints , or "Provincetown" prints, are one of the few art forms solely unique to the United States.

    Developed by a group of printmakers in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1915, the technique became known as whiteline printmaking, due to the print's reliance on the negative spaces between color fields.

    The simple shapes were traditionally used, as each section had to be separately brushed with watercolor, and any large shapes would thus dry too quickly. Only one print at a time can be produced, as the print paper is physically attached to the block as the print is worked on. Because of the hand-applied colors and the nature in which these prints are printed, each print is unique, even though the basic image remains the same.