Monday, October 27, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Entering the ugly duckling phase

Carrying on with my first piece on the new press, I've realized that I should have given a little more thought to what to do if the process actually worked. I assumed it would take me a little longer to sort out this temporary registration system than it did, and now I'm seven passes in with no particular plan about where it's all going.

Oh, well. Some things never change.

I had errands to do yesterday, so the prints had a day of rest. I had two ideas about the next step, neither of which I pursued. Instead I printed one more brownish tone.

Sparrow linocut, Step 6

Most of this will get covered up, but I wanted to add a little subtlety to the face and underparts of the bird. Mission accomplished.

When everything seems to be working so nicely it's hard to head into the "ugly duckling" stages that often follow. From here I need to start working the background before the darkest bits are added to the bird, which means all the lovely harmonious tone is about to get disrupted.

Sparrow linocut, Step 7

Rather than continue to emerge, our little bird is now pushed back in to oblivion. But I shall endeavor to a) remain calm and b) try to figure out where to go from here. I started carving a few shapes in to the lower portion of the image and am somewhat regretting that decision, but I'm committed to it now.

There's another small hiccup in the forward motion department. For probably the last ten years I have used Daniel Smith oil-based relief inks exclusively, and DS has announced that they will only sell paint from now on. By the time they made the news public some colors of ink, most notably white, were already sold out. And as of today, I'm out of white, too.

A printmaking colleague has recommended the Handschy (now Hanco) opaque white, which I have on order, but which hasn't yet arrived. I think I should be able to move forward without it, but it's one more "new" variable to add to the learning process. Yippee.

In the meantime, expect things to get uglier before they get prettier. But also expect me to continue my happy dance, because I'm having oodles of fun getting to know Presston.

AND, I want to give a shout out to the fine folks at Takach Press, Presston's mothership. I've been using Takach brayers for a couple of years and love them, but before I went out to Nevada to pick up the press I sent ecstatic and probably delirious-sounding emails asking for moving advice. They responded quickly and generously with suggestions and offers for continued help once I got settled.

I have discovered that one of Presston's pressure settings goes out of adjustment more quickly than the other, so late on Saturday night I sent off another email, not expecting to hear anything until the work week began again today.

Nope. At 9:30 on Saturday night I received a detailed message diagnosing the problem and offering clear options for fixing it. Seriously. Presston is 15 years old this month. When was the last time you contacted a company about a 15-year-old piece of equipment and had a response other than "Sorry, we don't support that [model, product, version, software, manufacturer] anymore."? So refreshing. Thank you, Takach, for your professionalism. It is very much appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. If anyone can handle a the quirks of a new(ish) press, the retirement of treasured ink, and questionable carved lines it's you. As always, can't wait to see the finished print! - C