Friday, December 19, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Swallows in small bites (get it?)

With the background behind us (oh, I am a veritable treasure trove of puns today, aren't I?) it's time to turn our attention to the birds and branch. And by us and our I mean me. Of course.

Swallow linocut, Step 6

Both the male and female violet-green swallows can have green across their backs, although it's typically more pronounced in the male. (Who also has a green head.) No need to spew this color everywhere on the block, so a little selective inking put it where it belonged. More or less. I also employed a newsprint mask, as seen here on the next step.

After that sort of olive-y green I wanted a brighter green. David Sibley's bird guide describes the color as "emerald," so if it's good enough for David, it's good enough for me. Here you see the ink rolled up on both birds, but sort of squeaking out beyond where it belongs.

Enter the newsprint mask:

This mask serves two purposes (and perhaps more that I haven't yet discovered). First, it acts as a window through which ink will transfer to the print only where I want it, and second, it keeps the un-inked portions of the block from getting grabby with the slightly tacky, previously printed ink layers.

Swallow linocut, Step 7.
There's not a lot to see here, although if you squint you can tell that there are two different greens. Right?

And now for something slightly silly.

Male violet-green swallows sport some exciting color on their backsides, most of which isn't visible in this posture. But a teeny, tiny bit of purple is... and, well, even though it doesn't really matter to the print it DOES matter to the species, so I need to add it. The total area is about 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch, I kid you not.

Obviously it's not worth all the contortions required to do this step with the press, so a little application by hand was in order.

Swallow linocut, Step 8. If you can call it a step.

Seriously. That's all there is. And some of it will get covered with a subsequent color. But I couldn't leave it out entirely. That would be bad form.

Thankfully the noodling-around portion of this piece is now finished, so the next layers should be more fun and hopefully more dramatic. I thought there were only going to be two more passes, but it looks instead like three. We're getting close, though... AND... at the risk of jinxing the process... NO REGISTRATION PROBLEMS. So far.

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