Friday, February 21, 2020

Linocut in Progress: Building Waves

Once again it's a good thing I like blues and greens, because I am spending a lot of time with them right now. At this stage I must start building some contrast, but OOPH. There are so many tiny decisions to be made about what to carve away and what to leave in the foreground area!

The background is going to be very contrasty and dark, and the foreground is overall lighter... but I have to bring bits of the dark into the light (and vice versa) to keep it all cohesive. How much is too much, and do I use carving or ink value... or some combination of both... to accomplish my intention? (The answer is, of course, C... a combination.... because we are talking about me, and if there's a way to make a complicated thinking process even more so, that's where I go. In fact I live there.)

For Step 5 I took out more material than is obvious, since the water is so visually chaotic to begin with. But I think you'll at least notice that the background is getting a bit more activity, as well. I used scraps of leftover blue and green ink from Step 4 to mix another, slightly darker and more color-dense blue-to-green blended roll.

Reduction linocut in progress: Step 5
Click to embiggen. Please.

Step 5 was pretty satisfying. I felt that some more action was developing in the background and the color and value were pretty good. Onward!

Over several hours and a couple of Rogers and Hammerstein musical videos I carved many new details in the background, and removed great swathes of material in the foreground. Here's what the block looked like before I printed Step 6.

Step 6 block carved

And here's the result. It took me a couple of tries to get the value right; my first attempt was entirely too dark and I had a visual mess. But although I did manage to find a good value progression it's not entirely dark enough in the shadowed sides of the background waves, so this means.... one more pass to finish the water.

Reduction linocut, Step 6 printed.
Embiggen it!

Before I can finish the water, though, I need to address the ducks. Yes! Plural. There are two of them. The male out front is pretty obvious, but slightly above and to the left of him is the female. Right now she's just a shadow at the edge of the wave, so she needs to be brought to light... literally! There's also a wee tiny bit of rust color to be added to the male, which I will do by hand, rather than try to ink and print on the press. 

It's all very wet right now, so will need to sit for a couple of days. A brief slowdown is okay with me. I've been feeling like I'm fighting a cold for the past week –the irritating kind that doesn't get either better or worse. To deal with it I've discovered that the only reasonable action is random napping. 

In fact I feel a nap attack coming on right now, so I think ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Linocut in Progress: Embracing a theme...

Ah, February! All around me people are commenting on how quiet it is... and my "Are you NUTS?" face is getting such a workout that it might just get stuck this way. Quiet? In my dreams.

No... not even there.

Whatever... let's squeeze in some studio time so we can give those elevated eyebrows a rest, shall we?


As usual, I've gone off a bit half-considered when it comes to how I want this piece to unfold. What attracted me to the idea isn't much visible in the work so far... although maybe a little more so after Step 3. Just a straight up blue over then entire block this time, with plenty of transparency in it.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 3

We're* headed for what I hope will be big drama. (*That's the Royal "We," in case you're wondering... which includes you, of course.)

The foreground is near the shore... so churning up lots of foam and disorganized chaos. Behind all of this are some more regular and quite dark waves... a sort of yin/yang, light/dark, quiet/chaos theme. At least that's the idea. (And when I think about it, the whole raised-in-disbelief eyebrows vs. scrunched-down-in-a-scowl-trying-to-figure-out-what-gets-carved-out-next eyebrows situation is thematically appropriate*.)

The chief concentration of blues will be in the background, with the foreground sporting more gray-greens. To that end I took some of the leftover greens I mixed for Step 2 and mushed them together. This was followed by a mushing together of some leftover blues and grays, with the addition of a little more blue.

"Mushing together," for those of you who don't know, is a highly skilled and technical process of precise color mixing.


After exercising my mushing skills I rolled out a nice blue--to-green blended roll, and commenced with the printing of Step 4. Oooh. Purdy.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 4
Embiggenable with a click, so you can actually SEE it.

Remember 'way back at Step 2 when I was a little concerned that my first gray might have been too dark? Yeah, not a problem. Visually it has practically disappeared already.

And speaking of disappearing... most of the foreground material is going to disappear from the block now. There are a few areas that will interact with the darker background colors to come, but not a lot. I think the water will require 2 more color passes, and then there are some details of the birds to sort out. (Birds? What birds? Yes... there are two birds in here.)

So... carry on, everyone... I'm headed back to the studio for some carving.

(*Thematically appropriate eyebrows? Wow. Perhaps I should cut down on the caffeine.)