Friday, September 3, 2010

Knowing when to stop

Okay. So. Here we are at color #6 (and-a-half, if you want to be technical about it).

At this point I'm sitting back and saying "hmm." A lot.

"Groundcover," 6 x9 inches on Kitikata (top) and Hosho papers. Click to embiggen.

I think it's finished. There's a part of me that always wants to add one more dark to bump up the contrast, but in my post-woodcut-workshop universe I'm trying to avoid doing the same thing I've "always" done.

Avoiding a rut is also why you may notice that these prints are done on two different papers. If you've been following Brush and Baren for any length of time, you've probably heard me grouse about the inconsistency of Hosho paper.  I've used Hosho almost exclusively for years, but I struggle with it. Every batch I get is inconsistent. Some sheets are thick, some thin, some vary within individual sheets. Part of why I've been sticking with it is that I have loved the bright white under blues and other cool tones. But since I wasn't particularly concerned with creating editioned pieces at the workshop I was able to try other papers. Much to my surprise, even under cooler inks I quite liked the warmer-toned papers. The images seemed richer and more cohesive, somehow.

So this linocut, Goundcover, was editioned on two different papers. Hosho (because it's one of a series done on that paper) and some Kitikata that I've had in the drawer for ages. Surprise, surprise... I think I like the Kitikata prints better. Hand-rubbing is a little easier on the Kitikata, too... although now that I'm also working my inks even more thinly (thank you, beautiful Takach brayer) I found the first couple of passes required some serious leaning into the block for both papers.

I may yet put a darker dark on a few prints, just to see how they look. I can't mess around for too long, since this puppy has to go in a frame on Tuesday for an exhibition that opens next Saturday. I'm satisfied with it as it is, but it's really hard to resist tweaking it "just a little bit more." Which is, of course, how I keep getting myself tangled up in 11- and 12-color images. Must. Resist. Just to prove to myself that I can.

This afternoon we're making a quick trip to Colorado Springs, where ultra-inspirational woodcut artist Jean Gumpper has an exhibition opening at Smokebrush Gallery. Can't wait to catch up with Jean, her work, and a few other printmaker-chums from our mutual experience at Anderson Ranch. But then it's home for the weekend, hopefully to catch up on long-neglected studio and yard projects. Monday is the Labor Day holiday here in the States, summer's last "official" hurrah before our collective attentions turn towards autumn. It's actually my favorite time of year, can't wait to get out and be a part of it.


  1. Another beautiful print.

    Kitikata is lovely to work on.


  2. This is lovely. Step away from the prints (or sit on your hands). The colours really zing.

  3. A very nice print Sherrie. I think not going too dark has given a very 'woodcut' feel to it.

  4. Maybe a spot of red? But remember, I mix plaids and wear black socks. Just so you don't get like my granddaughter a couple years ago, when she would just keep adding color on top of color until she was done -- done meaning tired or distracted. It was the mere of joy of applying color that captured her, not the finished product. Now that she's six, she steps back now and then.

  5. Thanks, everyone... I've managed to leave it alone! It's on to the next one... maybe I'll find something that lets me use red, Jeff. Or plaid.