Thursday, March 26, 2015

Linocut in Progress: I bet you can tell what it is already.

Why yes, I do have important exhibition jury deadlines looming. Why else would I tackle another largeish (18" x 18") reduction linocut with ridiculous amounts of carving in a short time frame? Because, hey! Life is apparently not stressful enough.

I did, however, learn a few things from the last image, namely to avoid a blended roll as first color pass. This time I started with a nice, straightforward, nothing fancy, transparent gray.

Step 1

The irony is that it LOOKS like a blended roll in this photo. Blame a night shot under artificial light.

But I bet you can guess the subject already, even with just one color. (Non-North-American residents are exempt from this bet.)

Step 2

The second pass was also a straightforward gray, but OOPH. The carving? Not so straightforward. Three eyeball-crossing days of tiny mark-making! I think, however, that this was the most complex stage. At least I hope it was.

This piece is going to be the antithesis of the previous print. Where "Wild Dreams" was all about color, this linocut-to-be-named-later will sport many shades of gray. The exception, of course, will be brighter bits in the subject's beak and face and feet.

Progress will be erratic the next few days, as I have to turn my attention to a contract project. But my mind will be with this calmly cruising critter. Deadlines? What deadlines?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's it All About Wednesday: Usurper

"Usurper," reduction linocut

The vernal equinox has come and gone and bird geeks like me are eagerly scanning the skies and the shrubbery for arriving migrants. A couple of weeks ago I made a quick trip south to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy the spectacle of sandhill cranes on a migration stopover. It's an annual rite of the season, but while there's nothing like the calls, dancing, and flight of cranes, it's the arrival of swallows that says "spring" to me.

Once or twice as I drove around the refuge I thought I caught a glimpse of a swallow, but I was never certain, since much of my attention was focused on avoiding a run-in with other bird-gawking drivers.

I haven't yet seen a tree swallow here at home but I expect them any day now, swooping, chattering, and generally bringing a ruckus back to my winter-dormant walking route.

They'll also be creating a little drama for folks who have put out bluebird nest boxes, because such boxes are often usurped by tree swallows.

Bluebird (intended) Box 03, of which you see a corner here, is attached to a fence post on my walk route, and while there are plenty of bluebirds around I have never seen it host anything but tree swallows. The male swallow stands guard and his chatter – half cheerful, half scolding – is a daily confirmation that regardless of human intention he is exactly where he is supposed to be.