Saturday, October 31, 2009

Insider information

The ink is still a little wet to add the next color on the current linocut, so I'm spending some overdue time with my Etsy store, Rio Salida Art, this weekend. A little primping, a little tweaking, and a little adding of a couple slightly larger pieces to the shop now that I've figured out a good way to ship them.

Blog readers get the inside scoop: For the next two weeks (or until I sell the copies I have), both of my handmade sketchbook collections are $5 off. Just thought you should know.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Barenlove, part II

I still have a serious crush on this new baren. Three passes have now been made, and so far our teamwork has been admirable. My original notes said this print would only be 8 colors, but this is 7 and we're at least 2 or 3 from the end. I'll say it again: Plan? What plan?

I'm feeling quite perplexed about this one, to be honest. It seems to have a color life of its own... nothing quite as I thought when I started. But remember our new mantra: Don't panic.

Maybe having mojitos on the aforementioned deck is a good idea, after all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forwards and backwards

Last week in Utah I started a journal entry with the words FORWARDS, SDRAWKCAB. I'm sure you know the feeling. One step forward, two steps back. Or vice versa. I'm not going to linger too long at this thought, but it came to mind when I put the next color down on the current linocut this morning.

It seems logical in reduction printing that one would be moving from lighter to darker colors as each layer of ink is applied. Most of the time for me that's true. For someone who also dabbles in watercolor such progression seems natural.

Once in a while, though, I get myself into a situation where I want to go backwards. Light color over dark. So far this seems to happen most often when a color goes down darker than I like, either because the colors underneath influence it in unexpected ways, or it dries differently, or I just plain don't get the preceding color right.

I wasn't totally displeased with the fifth color on the current work, but I wasn't enamored of it, either. So... I carved a few places for THAT color to remain, and this morning printed a lighter color over a darker.

It's funny how each additional color changes the personality of the piece... I really don't know at this point how it's all going to play out. I thought Color #5 was too orange-y... but now with the lighter color over the top, that's not the case. But the gray seems too blue now. Not much I can do about that, I'll just have to see how it all comes out. If, in the end, that gray is offensive, I can always cut a separate block or a stencil and print over those areas. Or I can chop all the prints up into little bookmarks or wrapping paper or something.

If nothing else, reduction prints teach me not to panic. And I'm learning to be brave about them... to experiment a bit... take a risk. Hm. Seems like today it's one step forward.

Monday, October 26, 2009


That's baren with a single 'r,' mind you.

Finally got back to work on the smallish linocut that I started before the Utah gathering. Pulled the fifth (!) color this evening with the new baren, and had one of those "why did I wait so long to do this?" moments. I suppose it's possible that the stars aligned and I did everything right with ink mixing, too, but OOOOH. This pass went off without a single hiccup and I'm ready to carve some more.

How's your Japanese?

I finally decided to buy myself a "nicer" baren and invested in a "Japanese Disk Baren" from Daniel Smith. It arrived while I was in Utah (of course), so was a happy present to myself when I came home.

It is also something of a mystery. There's no denying the authenticity of its origin when the instructions are all in Japanese. But what the heck is the purpose of little red-capped plastic vial of oily liquid? (You know, the one that half leaked out in the package, anyway.) If the instructions refer to it, they do so without a little diagram, so I'm clueless.

Ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yesterday the summer, today the winter


The Zion trip was so fabulous that I can't even figure out how to write coherently about it. I'll get some scans of sketches up in the next few days, but in the meantime, a few pics from a weary traveler.

Wednesday we early arrivals took a walk along the Virgin River in Springdale to get our desert legs.

Sandy, Beki and Libby looking over the river.

Later that day we moved the whole clan to cabins above the east side of the park. Seventeen of us gathered to hike and draw and visit and exclaim over our extreme good fortune. The weather was stunningly perfect the entire week.

Sarah and Chuck being brave.

Hike to Observation Point. It's a long way down. I didn't get too close to the edge, but I have a couple of drawings from this day that I'll put up later.

Libby being REALLY brave.

I like slot canyons better. No where to go but up from here.

Joy, Sherrie, Libby and Sue wave at immortality.

Indeed, the weather was perfect, but that was yesterday in Utah.

THIS was back home at 8:00 this morning. Snow. All day. Still snowing at 10pm. So much for my new tan!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Linocuts and suitcases.

I can barely keep a focused thought today. My to-do list is a mile long and my deadline for completion is just a short sprint away.

Tomorrow I head west to Utah for the annual gathering of the Journal-keepers. This amazing group of women artists, illustrators, poets, and naturalists meets in a different Someplace Wonderful each year, and this year I am delighted that we're convening in Zion National Park. I've missed the last two gatherings and was determined to make this one, come h... well, you know.

I am also delighted to know ahead of time that I'll be making the gathering next year, too, because Da Goils will be meeting near Albuquerque to celebrate the opening of our group exhibition of journals at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science! How exciting is that? Certainly you'll being seeing more details about THAT event as it gets closer.

So today is all about getting everything together and tying up loose ends as best I can. I had a last-minute client job appear on Friday, so later this evening I'll be doing what I can on that, but for now I'm packing up art supplies and doing laundry and watering the trees and writing blog posts.

The oak leaf lino is finished, as you know. I tried to get a nicer shot for you than the one previously posted... it's a little better, but not great. (You can click on it for a larger version.) I think the title is "Decay, Comma." Do you get it? It's pretty much of a stretch unless you know that this particular butterfly is a species of comma. What do you think? Too obscure? Maybe I like obscure. Unless something better occurs to me. I don't know. As I said... focus is not my best thing right now.

As alluded to a few days ago, I was trying to multi-task and start a new lino in between color passes of "Decay, Comma." The new print is smaller, only 6 x 9 inches, and fewer colors (maybe 8), so I thought I could finish it this weekend. (sigh) Rush job sort of threw a wrench in that plan. Here it is at Color #4, with no real explanation offered. You'll have to puzzle it out until I get back.

Hmmm. What else? Oh. I did build a new journal for the adventure ahead... same style as the others I've been building, but a larger format. I christened it on Friday with some scribbling and a drawing, and so far I like the bigger format a LOT. I love my small books, but I'm headed to some pretty grand country. Don't want to try to squeeze too much majesty in to a jewel box.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that both "Ditch" and "High Tide Detritus" linocuts received Honorable Mention awards at last night's opening of the ArtWorks Registry Show. The opening was really well attended, which was lovely to see, especially on such a cold and blustery day. (We've thankfully been spared the freezing rain that the Front Range has had the last few days, but brrrrrr! It's still not been particularly balmy!)


After tomorrow I will be (blissfully) internet-free for a week, wandering around with a journal and pencils and paints and happily letting my mind (and feet!) wander through canyons and across slickrock. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather. Oh, wait... if your fingers are crossed you won't be printing or painting or writing or any of the other wonderful things you all do. Never mind.... just send happy weather thoughts our way and we'll do the same for you. Look for an update some time after October 20! Ta!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nail-biting linocut finish

I've spent the last few days in manic (or is that maniacal?) printing mode, determined to get the oak leaf linocut finished before I leave town next week. (More on this later.)

Color #9 went down without a fuss. Since it was only a tiny orange-red shape I cut a mask and inking and burnishing proceeded without mishap. I was quite tickled when this little tiny shape gave purpose and meaning to the yellow and orange blobs of some days ago.

And then there was Color #10.

In the finished piece this color is only present in long, thin areas, but there are a good number of them. Cutting a mask would be almost impossible and not really solve anything, so I did some judicious inking and focused on more selective burnishing to get good color adhesion in the critical areas. This meant there would be extra color where it DIDN'T belong, but the last color would cover this up. Theoretically. Remember the little issue long about Color #5 or 6?

EEK! This looks scary, doesn't it? Looks like the whole thing has fallen apart. Don't panic. Don't panic. One more color to go.

Whew! This morning Color #11 went on and everything held together. It was a pretty tedious burnish, my wrists and fingers are sore, but I am satisfied with the result. I'll get a better shot in the next day or two, after a little drying happens and the glare goes off the wet ink, but I wanted to share the immediate relief of completion (ooooh... printmaking pun not intended) with you.

But wait.

What's this?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Linocut progress

Color #8 went down on the new linocut today. Three more to go. Eleven. Is that a new record for me? I think so....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's a scrub oak thing

Why is it that taking two and a half days off results in 5 days worth of catching up? I used to be pretty good at math, but this particular formula has me baffled.

I'm hoping to get back to the oak leaf lino tomorrow, but in the meantime, a drawing with watercolor from our Sunday journey home. Autumn is on the verge of escape, and I'm feeling a tad frantic about not being able to make the most of it. Stacks of dry leaves are piling up everywhere, inside the house and out.

Speaking of outside the house, the "Ditch" and "High Tide Detritus" linocuts were juried in to the Artists Registry Show at the Paquette Gallery this week. Show went up today, reception is October 10 from 5-7. Hmmm. I wonder if they have a musician scheduled for that yet?

Linocut in Progress: The Finish and the Rescue

 In the first post about the process of this linocut I mentioned that I was distracted and unfocused during the time I worked on it... whic...