Unfortunately, printing problems have persisted, and my up-to-now favorite paper seems to have finally gone 'round the bend.
The last few batches of Hosho "pro" that I've purchased have been noticeably inconsistent in thickness... even from one end of a sheet to the other. I've grumbled, but worked with it. But remember the troubles I was having with the ibis linocut from a couple of weeks ago? Some of my troubles were due to impatience and too-wet ink, but something still wasn't right.
I used Hosho AND Rives lightweight for the little aspen leaf print, and noticed again a little "fibre pulling" on the Hosho. But I made only 5 prints on small sheets of paper and it didn't seem too bad. I chalked the ibis print problems up to printmaker error and launched the current print for the "Underfoot" series on Hosho. (Justification: I have a stack of it, the rest of the series has been done on this paper, and I really like a bright white sheet.)
But there was trouble from the outset. Used to be it was easy to tell the smooth side from the felt side on this paper. This batch, not so much. It's ALL fuzzy. As a result, the first color pass was... how shall I describe it? Not smooth. No problem, I thought. The first passes are often light, and once there's another layer of ink on there, the felty bits will lay down and it will be just fine.
|Four colors down. Spotty at best.|
By the fourth pass I was really getting worried, but I was committed by then. I can't abandon a project if there's any chance I can pull it off. (Can you say obsessive/compulsive?) I like this image and I like the carving and I know that I'll probably never revisit it... so I soldiered on.
But what a mess! The paper is blowing fibers EVERYWHERE! Somewhere around color 4 or 5 I had to clean off the block and scrape my inking slab every other sheet because everything was getting gummed up with tiny paper fibers. Not. Right.
|Selective inking for colors... hmm... 6, 7, 8, I think.|
|Colors... 9, 10, 11(?) down. Printmaker sustained hand-cramp injury|
from too much burnishing time.
So I've carried on...but at this point it's taking about 15 minutes to hand-burnish each sheet, and the adhesion is still spotty. It looks okay from a distance, but up close? Hm. At this point I just need two more colors, and I'm hoping they'll provide at least a couple of usable prints.
Of course the upshot of all this is that I got to participate in Cyber Monday by ordering some new papers to experiment with. Two sheets of this, two sheets of that....
I also started another small (5x7) print on Rives lightweight... just to keep myself from completely throwing in the towel. Nothing to show for it yet... but I bet next week there will be!
In the meantime, I just scheduled a demo at Abend Gallery in Denver for Saturday, December 17. I'll be surrounded by painters during the session... so come and show some printmaker love if you're in the 'hood! 11am-3pm. Might be a good time to see if I have any hair left, too.