Sunday, February 10, 2013

Finished (cough) coot (sneeze) linocut

I've never bought into the idea that one needs to suffer for one's craft... or even during the doing of one's craft... especially if the suffering is unrelated to anything having to do with craft in any way, shape, or form.

I anticipated finishing this long coot linocut... oh... three or four days ago, but the microscopic organisms currently on holiday in our town apparently decided I was an irresistible roadside attraction, and here they've settled.

Yeah. I have a cold, and I'm cranky about it. Can you tell?

Standing on my feet to print has had to take place in between bouts of sitting on the sofa boosting the stock value of facial tissue manufacturers. But take place it has, and I'm pleased to report that this piece is finished! At least I think it is.

Last time I checked in the piece was at this stage:

I had just applied a middle green to the water reflection, which started to give an idea of the overall graphic quality of the image. Only two more passes to go!

The next step was to carve some major bits of the water and then try to hit the right color/value balance in the left-side reflection. This turned out to be every bit the challenge I expected, and I lost a couple of prints in the process of trying to sort this out.

In the end I hoped that this would be a color that was dark enough to provide the big, graphic statement I wanted but light enough to not overwhelm the bird, which still needed one more darker pass. It looks WAY contrastier (It is too a word, you rotten spellcheck. Leave it alone.) in the photo than it really is. (I'm finding myself more and more frustrated with my limitations as a photographer.)

And then the last step: Dark head and darkest shadows of the coot!

It needs a title. Suggestions? It's embiggenable with a click.

This has been a fun one... Lots of challenges (even before the lousy cold) and a definite stretch outside my comfort zone. The image itself is 8" x 32" and it's the longest piece I've ever printed by hand. I was very nervous about registration, but my jig worked like a champ and I didn't have any more losses than usual. As always there are things about the image I wish I would have done differently, but overall I think it's a strong piece. I'll sit with it a few days and see if there's anything that needs a (doable) tweak, but in the meantime....


  1. Another fabulous reduction! You are the mistress of free style carving. I bow to your prowess. xxoo

  2. Its really fascinating and rewarding to follow the process to completion. Only very recently started doing linocuts and your blog just what I need to get an inspire me.

  3. A fabulous piece of work, great to see the finished coot! Hope cold disappears soon!

  4. No name ideas but it is a nice, big work.
    I like the way the eye roves around the finished work, the gaze of the coot taking us Left to the dark reflections that then curve us back to the bird. Nice darks and lovely ripple shadows and drawing. The coot shadow reflections are strong too.
    Glad your registration went smoothly.
    I like coots--they were everywhere in the South Florida waters.
    Any Grebes in your future?
    I always liked the piebald.

  5. That's a stunner Sherrie.
    Just showed my Other Half and his comment "Oh wow!" says it all. He's always very critical of my work, so a positive comment is a BIG thing :)


  6. I'm running out of adjectives to describe your work! I can only say "amazing" or "gorgeous" or "fantastic" so many times. "Meritorious" seems a little stiff, and I can't say "phenomenal" for every one of your pieces or it'll seem a little put on. Nevertheless, I really really like it. I tend to think of coots as rather common (as in "Oh, there's another coot. How many is that this morning? Twenty-six?") but you've presented it in a way that makes me stop and admire afresh. And isn't that what good art is all about - making us see something in a new way? Making us rethink things? Well done! And feel better!

  7. "Just cooting around" or "Coot, reflecting"? "Cootie" is probably not what you had in mind though. Whatever, you've pulled of another stunning and wowzer lino! And I didn't see any snot marks at all. ;) Feel better....

  8. Wow! I absolutely love this. Hope your cold leaves soon :).
    Stay inspired!

  9. My goodness! I retire to the sofa for a couple of hours and you guys burn up the interwebs! I am grateful for your positive response to this piece AND your wishes for this @#$% cold. Thank you all. (Gabrielle, I'm going to be giggling "meritorious" to myself for a long time, I think... and probably finding excuses to use it in casual conversation.)

  10. Very nice, the way you have done the water is superb. Having put the coot so far over to the right I had been wondering how the composition would balance, but the colour on the left is just the right tone. A masterpiece!!

  11. No words, just


    (I'm standing btw..)
    I hope that you feel better soon.