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.


  1. "...teaches me not to panic..."
    Ah-ha! So *that's* where I go wrong!I get scared before I even pick up a blade!But after New Year, when things calm down, I really AM going practise more reductions.

  2. It also helps to breathe.

    Some years ago I took watercolor classes from Buffalo Kaplinski, who used to chide us to put out plenty of paint and be bold. "It's only paint! It's only paper!" he'd declare. I try to remind myself of that....