Walter J. Phillips (1884-1963)
John, 1928
colour woodcut on paper (edition: 300)
17.4 x 21.4 cm

Printed on Goyu paper from six cherry-wood blocks, this is the third print in the 1928 portfolio of seven colour prints entitled The Canadian Scene. Phillips provided the following commentary:

The difference between a Japanese print of the best period and its western or modern equivalent, is very evident is such prints as this. A figure by Utamaro of Yeishi, shows a decorative arrangement in two dimensions, the interest centering perhaps upon a brocaded pattern on a dress. Here is, I hope, depth, as well as breadth and length. By introducing shadows, I have tried to show the roundness of the boy's limbs and the atmospheric spaces between them and the background.

The sketch for this subject was made at Muskoka Lake where the beaches are delightful and the air so balmy that a brief pose in the nude is no hardship. John is my son. He is really more at home in the middle of the lake than at its brink, however golden the sands may be.

The background was printed twice, first with gray gradated from the top and second with a yellow ochre gradated from the bottom. As a matter of fact, it will be observed that nearly all the colours were gradated in one way or another.