Friday, December 9, 2011

One step forward, two long delays

It's been an interesting couple of days around here. And by interesting I mean simultaneously exciting and dreary. I finally bit the bullet and launched myself into computer upgrade purgatory... pushed the "purchase" button at Apple on Monday, and got the new machine yesterday.

An iMac is, of course, a thing of beauty, but OOPH. I've put off the upgrade for too long because of the inevitable cascade of compatibility headaches. I was three (count 'em, three) operating systems out of date... stepping up just two of them rendered a printer, a scanner, and a hugely expensive chunk of software obsolete. (sigh)

So for two days I've been doing file transfer and triage, and I'm mostly functional for now. (I've got 30 days before my big, fat chunk of trial software is gonna need a cash infusion.)

Tonight I finally felt satisfied that I could walk away from it, so dashed up to the studio to see where things stand with the two prints in progress.

My Problem Child is still a problem: the eucalyptus leaves lino is too, too wet to apply that last layer of ink, so there it sits.

The little swallow linocut is faring better, however. Wednesday, BCU (Before Computer Upgrade) I added another color layer to what you may or may not have figured out is a nest box. I did this using a mask, which I actually remembered to photograph this time.

A tracing paper mask lets me ink only the area of the nest box and not the entire block.

Nifty, eh?

Tonight I took a deep breath and started to do something with the background of this piece. I'm a little afraid that I've gone too dark here, but maybe not. I'm going to print out a couple of copies of this photo and get out the colored pencils and see if I can decide what to do next before I start hacking away at the block again.

In addition to my new iMac, the delivery guys brought my "two sheets of this, two sheets of that" potential-replacement-for-favorite print papers this week. Heh. Why do I feel like I'm being required to upgrade multiple aspects of my life simultaneously?


  1. Ooh! I do hope Dave doesn't feel threatened!

  2. That's SO funny! I actually wrote a paragraph about being glad he wasn't losing fibers everywhere and requiring an upgrade, but deleted it before posting. Didn't want to give him any ideas!

  3. I feel for you. The simultaneous joy and pain of a new computer can be excruciating. Thanks for reminding me about masks. I think you just helped me solve a color-separation puzzle I've been working on!

  4. I love how creatively promiscuous we artists are. Having trouble with this one? Go start an affair with a new print/sculpture/design.
    Whatever works, Sherrie. Unlike most affairs, ours are happy to be in a room together....
    I Admire your courage sticking to the new computer, can only do upgrades in small doses...hmmm time to start a new carving. :)

  5. You're welcome, Annie! (Isn't it nice to have one's brain stored in multiple locations?)

    Patrick... Yes... I confess to a certain creative fickleness. But courage? I'm afraid it's more obsessive than courageous. I'm too easily distracted by disorder, so I always want all my tools (from print papers to computers) just so. ;-)

  6. How do you keep your mask from moving, lifting up with the roller or tacky ink or just catching ink UNDER an edge? It seems like it would want to move just a little and that would ruin everything?

  7. Hmm... I hold it in place with one hand and use the roller in one direction only... usually pulling rather than pushing it. I haven't had much trouble with ink getting under the mask, although sometimes a little "lip" can build up on the block against one edge of the mask. When that happens I wipe down the block.

    I'm not doing big editions... I start with maybe 20 sheets, tops, so there isn't a lot of time for things to go wrong. The biggest problem I can have is that tracing paper is thin and can tear. I learned to cut masks from someone who uses stouter paper, but I'm lazy and use what's close at hand.