Saturday, November 24, 2012

Finishing the magpie linocut

Start-and-stop-and-start-again is never my favorite way to work on a piece, but sometimes that's just what happens. This 5-by-7-inch linocut was started more than a month ago and has only now reached its final stages.

The delays this time were not due to lack of materials or technical difficulties but to contract projects and holidays– both of which are now happily behind us.

So where were we?

We were here, at the Belly Shadow Redux.

The image was definitely showing signs of heading where I wanted it, with the magpie hiding in the foreground shadow. I decided the middle distance leaves were still too flat, so the ninth pass was a transparent blue-gray.

Okay, good. That put a little life in the middle ground and deepened the foreground. It also started to swing the magpie into the blue-black range instead of green like everything else.

Now a few brown "lowlights" (as opposed to highlights) in the branch and twigs. (Perpetual glare from the left on wet prints. Sorry.) A brief moment of uncertainty followed, when I wondered if perhaps the brown weren't too much. But there was still one final pass to go.

Another transparent blue-black brought the magpie forward, toned down some of the brown bits, and put one more layer of value in the bottom foreground. By golly, I think it's finished.

Sometime in the last week or so a title popped into my head, but it's gone right out again. Until I find it again... ssshhhh! Don't look now, but there's a magpie. Right there. No, there. Hiding in that shrub.


  1. I love the way you take us through what to me is like magic. I love lino cuts and now I have a better idea of how they can be done. This one is just great, Love all the layers, wish I could own one.

  2. Oh, yes, I agree with Jennifer: this one is just wonderful. It's so fun to watch your work grow--and by that I mean over the years, not just each print, though the latter is great too. I bet the big guy is smiling too, seeing this one emerge. Lovely work!

  3. Sherrie, I love how good figurative artists are at creating highly abstract work. The story is bird on branch... But to get us there you've done back-flips of abstraction. Odd squiggly shapes and gradations of colors evoking depth and shadowy light.....

  4. One of your best! Wonderful depth! Bravo!

  5. This is really lovely Sherrie. So how about "two for joy"?

  6. Very nice. I'd have quit a long time ago calling it done but each time you've added a color, I've gone, "no, she's right, that's better..."
    Looks great. I really like the way you've decentralized the subject..yet still kept our interest.

  7. :-) Thanks, everyone. The good news is that it's been 24 hours and I still like the piece... THAT doesn't happen very often.

    Patrick... I worried that the abstract squiggles might be a little too abstract, and that I should have made them more clearly leaf-like, so thanks for confirming my decision to leave them be!

    Katherine... how did I forget about that magpie poem? Dang. What might a magpie series look like.......?

    Andrew... Thanks. It's a dangerous game isn't it?... deciding when to quit. I often feel that I should be more deliberate: Have a plan and stick to it. But so far I seem to be more of the "stubble along until you get lucky" school instead.

  8. *STUMBLE. Not stubble. Stubble is another thing entirely. ;-)

  9. What a truly beautiful print with a wonderful depth of colours, I love him/her!Great perserverence.

  10. Sherrie, I like stubble along because it implies prickly growth...

  11. wow- awesome! Love the colors and the placement of the magpie- so great to see the technique! Thanks for showing and remembering to take photos :-)

  12. Season’s Greetings – I’ve come to tell you to take a look at !

    One of your paintings has been nominated and selected for the "nature" category

    No lobbying for votes allowed – but sharing the URL with people who follow you on Facebook and read your blog is fine.


Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...