Friday, March 14, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Back to the puffin

Although it would be more accurate to say the puffin has its back to us. Ooph. Yes. It's been that week.

 So let's see, where were we before we were interrupted by happy exhibition news?

Right. Exhibiting approach/avoidance behavior on a wee problem that has cropped up in this image. But first, a transparent blue to hopefully serve two purposes: creating a shadow behind the bird and bringing the background out of gray, since it's going to be REALLY blue shortly.

Happy puffin linocut: Step 8
And now the problem is discovered. This puffin is perched on Eastern Egg Rock, which is decorated on the observation blind side of things with assorted cryptic markings. These were of course placed there by biologists studying the birds, to facilitate the gathering of data. (Which bird is standing where and using which burrow when, for example.)

I wanted to include some of these markings without getting too crazy about it, but I didn't plan properly for the bright red tag in the lower right of the image.

It's difficult to explain the problem(s), but basically both the red and the blue should have gone down earlier in the process. But... nothing to do about that now except find a solution I can live with.
Another spot inking mask.
First order of business was to cut a mask and spot ink... well... the spot. It's red with white lettering, but there's a shadow cast across it. Unfortunately that shadow is already down... so things are out of order. (The shadow is also the wrong color, but that's a whole other problem to solve later.)

Puffin linocut: Step 9.
The spot is printed, but it's too dark. It's a good red for the parts in the shadow, but not for the parts in the light. The solution (you'll note I refrained from saying "the obvious solution") was to cut another mask and print a lighter red over the darker in the appropriate areas.

Puffin linocut: Step 10
The difference doesn't show very well in the wide shot, so here's a detail:

Right now it looks like the next steps will be to resolve the background and then finish the bird and the foreground rocks. Three, maybe four passes I think.

In other news, I'm feeling pretty smug about the solution I've found for the drying rack in my new, small space. I'm not permitted to put hooks in the ceiling here, so hanging the rack from pulleys as I usually do won't work. But my space is small and I need to keep as much floor space clear as possible, so my solution needed a small footprint and it needed to be movable.

Enter the garment rack. This particular one is adjustable in height and width, but the base (with casters) is only about 17" x 34".  I've got a short (48") rack attached to the top bar at the moment, with only 18 clips, but I have a second rack that's too long for the room that I can cut down to add a few more clips. I'm pretty sure I can set this up as a double-decker if I hang a second rack on chain or something below the top rail. And it's a $20 fix, to boot.

The entire room feels better without the rail hung across chairs. I've had an illustration project to work on this week in addition to this print, and no matter which direction I set the chairs they always ended up in the way of some drawer I needed to open or reference book I needed to access. Moving them while balancing wet prints was no small pain in the neck. But no more! Have movable rack... will print!


  1. Great post. Thank you
    I like the clothes rack
    What about an umbrella stand with a tall PVC pole you can adjust the height for to use the above space? Holes in the upper PVC for dowels as needed?

  2. Love the drying rack hack. I may steal it since my studio is in our bedroom.

    Great stencil cutting. Brava!

  3. that is a great solution for drying rack :)

    you puffin print is look good :) very realistic rock texture

  4. :-) Maywyn... it's funny to me that I can't even picture an umbrella stand! I live in the arid interior... our average annual precipitation is less than 10 inches. (Yes, I live in a mountain valley at 7,000-feet elevation, but we're surrounded by much higher peaks!)

    Anyway... I don't think most people here own an umbrella. But I believe you that it could be a good solution!

    I made the rack into a double-decker today... and it's full!