Friday, August 29, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Can you say "Oops"? Again?

The problem with erratic print time is that I also apply erratic brain cells to the process and as a result I get erratic... erraticness. Erraticity? Erratification?

Whatever. I got problems.

My theory was that a nice, very transparent blue over the entire block would create shadows in the red flower and tone down the background overall. It was a good theory, but....

Paintbrush linocut: Step 8 mistake!

Whoa. All the life went out of the flower. Paintbrush (for that's what this is supposed to be) are renowned for their intense color and this is not it.

So. I cleaned the block and scraped the inking slab. I used the same blue in the lower half of the block, but ran a nice, juicy red across the top. Blended roll number.... whatever. I've lost count.

Once again these colors appear over-the-top intense, but transparency is a wonderful thing.

Paintbrush linocut: Step 8, improved

Better, wouldn't you say? The flower is looking good. I'm not happy with how many layers of ink are already living in the background, but it's too late to do anything about it now!

I carved some more and THEN I went back to the same transparent blue and ran it over the entire block.

Okay! Now I have a red flower with some darker shadow areas and can finally get on with resolving the background. The bulk of the flower area will now be removed from the block and hopefully the rest will go smoothly. All this mucking about means I've already lost 4 of the initial 20 prints. Oh, well... as they say... "It's a learning experience." (Commence eye rolling behavior)

It's a holiday weekend here in the States (read: Hooray! More time to get work done!)... However you're spending it, I hope it's a good one!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Linocut in Progress: More pink... with green.

Finally this summer of craziness is starting to wind down. One more trip on the schedule next week, to the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin for the opening of Birds in Art, and then maybe I'll be able to reclaim some sort of work routine.

In the meantime this little linocut goes forward as haphazardly as it was begun. Today I added a little more red to that crazy pink and a little more blue to the previous green and rolled them up together like this:

Wow. Seems a bit over the top. I worked the blend a little longer after this photo was taken, then inked up the block and crossed my fingers.

Paintbrush linocut: Step 7
Not bad. But now, of course, I am obliged to figure out what to do with the background other than the few hatch marks I've made so far. I think the next pass will be a solid-transparent-blueish-something. Narrows it down completely, doesn't it? But I want to settle the shadows in the flower, darken some of the lower area, get rid of the red in the background, and try to pull everything together before going on. I'm toying with the idea of making the upper background really dark. Not sure if that's a good idea or not.... We'll see!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Aaaaannnd... hmmmm.

Check out this color:

Borderline obnoxious, isn't it?

But it's also pretty transparent, so let's see what it looks like rolled up on the block.

Still pretty darn obnoxious, even with the tan of the block behind it. You'll note I didn't ink the entire block... wasn't sure I wanted this color to go everywhere.

Paintbrush linocut, Step 6

But now that it's down... not so bad, eh? Only the tiniest bits of the previous pink remain, but I got two (well, three, if you count the portion of the image that starts to be greens) colors for the price of one pass. That's pretty fun.

I really need to decide what I'm going to do about this background. Right now I'm just making some random marks for the heck of it. Don't know if I'm going to continue with that or not. It's all plenty gooey now, though, so it's a good thing I'm headed to the Big City for a couple of days. Maybe an idea for the background will magically materialize before I return.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Society of Animal Artists 54th Annual Exhibition

Opening this weekend at The Wildlife Experience in Denver: The 54th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists (of which a certain printmaker you know is a Signature member).

Coot du Jour puts in a command appearance, along with 125 other works by some of the world's most accomplished wildlife artists. It's really a show worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood. Exhibition runs through October 22 at The Wildlife Experience, then a portion of it (still to be determined) will spend a year on national tour.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Recovery effort underway!

Alrighty then. Time to try to sort out a solution to my too-dark-too-soon problem with the linocut in progress.

Inking mask cut from acetate.
I wanted to try spot-inking a lighter color in the area of this wildflower's bloom, so the first order of business was to cut a mask. In this case I'm using matte mylar because 1) the clear mylar I usually use has gone on walkabout (read: I don't seem to have put it away where it belongs and I can't find it) and 2) the thinner sheet of acetate that I tried to use as the mask tore the first time I rolled ink across it. Oops.

Ink rolled over the mask.
Here, of course, is the mask with the ink rolled up. The ink is a peachy color with lots of white... opaque enough to cover the darker orange already on the print and to provide a lighter base for subsequent colors.

Ink up with mask removed. Oops. Messy.
Here is the block inked up and mask removed. There's a sort of "ghosty" bit of ink all around the shape, which is from the first failed attempt with the mask that tore. I wiped off the block, but not quite well enough. After I pulled a test print I cleaned the block more thoroughly and started again.

Paintbrush linocut: Step 5
And here's the result. The "ghosty" bits don't bother me much because more color will be going into the background. The overall shape isn't particularly crisp, but that's not a problem, either, because subsequent colors will be applied from carved shapes on the block, not shapes printed through a mask. (Does that make sense?)

Seems like I should be able to go forward from here... as soon as I figure out what the next step will be!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Linocut in Progress: But what KIND of progress?

Clearly I've lost a little of my winging-it mojo in the last few weeks. My tendency to jump in to a reduction linocut with only moderate planning has already gotten me in to trouble but, hey! Let's just call it a "learning experience" and see what happens.

Step 2: This is where I went wrong. Yep. On the SECOND step. There's some lovely red-orange to go in this piece and I should have started with that instead of the greens. It would have been easy enough to make gray-greens by layering them over red. Pulling a bright red back out of this (especially after Step 3) is going to be a challenge. But I was thinking about value and not color when I started and that meant greens first.

Step 2: You probably won't be surprised if I tell you the subject is plant life.

Step 3: Still looks like plants, eh?
Step 3: I need some tiny bits of a chartreuse-y green in the upper part of this image and the lower part will be tangles of grasses and leaves, so a blended roll seemed like a good idea. At this point I've also realized that I've backed myself into a color corner, so I'm hoping a yellow-dominated green will help when it comes time to pull a red-orange shape out of here.

Step 4: Okaaaaayyyy. Now what?
Step 4: The color is swinging back around to where I need it in the top half of the image, but now the value is WAY too dark. We will now enjoy a longish pause while I sort out how to remedy the problem. I think I'm going to cut a mask and print a lighter color where I need to regain control... but my chance for success is not certain.

This weekend I commented to a friend that it's been a while since I've documented a major crash-and-burn on this blog and I'm hoping that this is not the image that breaks that streak. Stay tuned... creative rubberneckers might get a good show.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Secrets and Rectangles

Okay then...

Secret things have been happening in the studio this week, in anticipation of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's Project Postcard event during this year's Birds in Art opening. This will be the fifth year in which BIA artists have contributed 4" x 6" images which are offered to reception-goers for a flat $50 each. The trick is that the works are hung all together in a "secret" room and buyers can't see them ahead of time. Ticket holders enter the room one at a time and have something like 2 minutes in which to make their choice. Works are NOT identified on the front... all artist signatures are on the back... so it's a bit of a game.

Proceeds from Project Postcard are used by the museum to purchase works from the Birds in Art exhibition for their permanent collection... a win-win-win! I was honored to have my linocut, Ripples, added to the Woodson collection via Project Postcard in 2011... and I'm always delighted to share that joy with my fellow artists by contributing to the event.

SO. I made two little single-color, hand-painted (what?) linocuts for this year's event. Of course I am sworn to secrecy, but I saw another artist share her "postcard" image with the help of some Photoshop distortion... so here's a sneak almost-peek for you:

Kind of fun... I've actually never played with the "twirl" filter in Pshop... there's definitely some interesting lino potential there...

With that little task finished I can finally turn my attention to something that I can share with you... although at the moment it's pretty seriously uninteresting. Even with "artistic" photo composition.

Yep. Gray rectangle. Again. I'm honestly not sure where this is going. I know what the subject is, but I haven't yet resolved the background in my mind. We'll just have to see what happens.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Can't give you much more information than this, I'm afraid, as it's a secret project for the upcoming Birds in Art exhibition, but hey. At least it's lino. About time, wouldn't you say?

The absurd pace of the past month has started to slow, although today I'm off to deliver work for the Society of Animal Artists' 54th annual "Art and the Animal" exhibition. Might even get to take a day or two off to go camping this weekend... although the decision on that is still pending. I'm twitchy as heck to get back in to the studio... now that all the extraneous stuff that I've been hauling back and forth since June is moved out of the way and I can find my way to the print bench. A little time making lino crumbs before bed last night sure felt good.

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...