Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Linocut experiments of dubious success

When I was in high school a friend's family took me skiing. I don't remember much from that day beyond a spectacular crash-and-burn. I know it was spectacular because the ski patrol guy who brought me my displaced skis greeted me with barely concealed glee: "Wow! You EXPLODED off that hill!" *

Yeah. I meant to do that. (Grimace.)

The other thing I remember from that day was much more useful, and that was my friend's insistence that "If you're not falling down you're not trying hard enough." Yes, that can be read a couple of ways, but his intention was to encourage me to take risks and learn something. Granted, that's how I ended up half-buried in snow and the subject of ski patrol chortles for the rest of the day, but it's still an attitude worth cultivating.

So... with that in mind, here's a little update on linocut work.

Some time last week the current tiny print had 3 shades of yellow on it, applied in a sort of inside-out order of dark-light-medium. And then... I started adding blue.

Light blue. Not so bad. A tiny bit of green cast to it as it went down over the yellow, but since only tiny bits of this would carry through to the next pass, I didn't worry about it.

See? Pale blue only in small strips, now surrounded by a medium blue. It all looks okay.


Oops. I meant to do that.

Actually... this darkest blue is correct, it's the middle blue that was too light, but I didn't notice. I kept my fingers crossed and pulled a light stone color in the next pass, hoping it would even things out. Ehhh.... not so much. It's better, but there's still more contrast between the middle and dark blues than I wanted. (Sorry for the shiny photo, fresh wet ink.)

So how to fix it? This is a reduction print, after all... no going back!

I think I'm going to just plunge on ahead and get the rest of the colors down and then evaluate what's happening. I've an idea that I might use a second block to put a transparent layer over all the blues to bring them together, but I've not tried that before. Or maybe I'll cut a stencil on a raw block. Don't know. Definite experiment. Potential for crash and burn? High. But that's a good thing. Just ask ski patrol.

(*To his credit, he DID wait to see if I could move before he started laughing.)

PS: In retrospect, this ski trip might not have been the best example to use, since I only skied maybe a half dozen times total, and never again since I was in college. But the Mitchell family still had the right idea. Thanks, D and R!


  1. I love the story, love the fact that you can teach from your explorations. Good for you! And I love the sketch of Ouray too, in the previous post.

    All's quiet here in the land of brain cancer treatment. Today was day four of chemo, and Richard's snoozing now in front of the woodstove. It's really wearing him out this time, but tomorrow's the last day of chemo on this round, and then we've got 23 days off for recovery....

  2. Mnd you, you're not so likely to break a leg while printing. Unless you engage in Xtreme Linocut.

    As the SAS motto goes 'Who dares wins'. (Not universally true, admittedly, but still a handy motto.)