Sunday, February 22, 2009

Would you like some jam with that muff-up?

So I woke up shortly after 6:00am, grabbed my slippers and bathrobe and stumbled downstairs to the studio and the linocut block waiting quietly in the jig. I cheerfully set about mixing two different ink colors, and when that was accomplished I confidently picked up a brayer to begin placing the first color.

And then I set it down.


I didn't think this through quite clearly enough.

Both colors define delicate, skinny little bits of dried grass and dry pine needles. Some of these interact with each other in close proximity. Huh. It didn't seem that critical yesterday, but this morning I can see that if I'm really going to ink up two colors at once, it's going to have to be handled with some precision.

I am SO not in to precision inking. Expletive. I have muffed this step. PLEASE don't let it be too serious.

So I abandoned the orange-y color for the pine needles and set about only pulling the yellow for the grasses. I tried to keep this to a minimum of ink application by rolling mostly in the places that needed yellow and rubbing most carefully in those areas to transfer ink. I rubbed the entire plate with the baren, pressing hardest in the areas I needed. I even used my fingers for some firm spot rubbing, too. (I put a piece of tracing paper between the print and the baren partly for this reason. No finger oils to transfer to the back of the print.)

The result is a bunch of prints that look very odd. I actually rather like the sort of fuzzy aspect.. hazy and incomplete. I might save one or two out at this stage and see what happens. Or not.

At any rate, once I cleaned up I went ahead and carved for the next pass. If these dry enough in the next 24 hours, I may try to print that tomorrow. The rest of the week is pretty densely scheduled, and I hate to think of leaving this for too long. Especially so I don't forget what it is that I think I figured out to make up for having not thought to remember in the first place. Or something like that.

The middle school weather station says it's 59 F (!). I think it's time for a walk.


  1. I'd be interested to see how the fuzzy prints look compared to the others once finished. Wonder how much of a difference it will make to the end piece.

  2. You need to try "pochoir" (isn't that fancy? It means stencil), to block out what you don't want to print, and leave what you do want to ink. It works a charm for multiple colour inking in one go (and not layering where you don't want it to). Check out Jean Gumpper's work for mind-boggling use of reduction & pochoir combined.

  3. Jennifer- They're just "fuzzy" in the places where the yellow will ultimately be covered by another color, anyway. I've done this before with reasonable success... so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

    Amie- Funny! You know Jean Gumper is from Colorado Springs? 2 hours down the hill from me. Sometimes she teaches at the fine art center there, and I keep my eyes open, but nothing lately. Her pieces are ENORMOUS. I thought about cutting a sort of stencil... but was too lazy. :-)

  4. ahhhhh....the accidental beautiful. Wonderous where it shows up, isn't it, my friend?

  5. Indeed, Michael. I can see there's an accidentally beautiful blog waiting to happen, too. Get with it!