Friday, January 30, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Curioser and curioser

You know that saying "Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you?"

Perhaps as printmakers we should just say "Some days you get the print.... other days the print gets you."

Progress is happening here, but in the most roundabout manner.

After the last transparent gray I wanted to swing everything back around to the yellow ochre realm. I mixed up a nice ochre with plenty of white to make it opaque... and I got... this:

Aspen leaves linocut, Step 6

Definitely NOT yellow ochre. And look at my dull red shadows! They now look PURPLE! Oh, color! Why do you torment me so? If I were the paranoid sort I might start to think my inks get together at night and plot ways to mess with me.

I walked away from those conniving inks and their conspiratorial prints for a few days. Well, actually I drove away from them, since I had business to attend to on the Front Range. Thursday it was back to the press... and trying to figure out what to do next. My original plan was to go straight to bright yellow from here, but it didn't seem likely that I'd get a nice, clean yellow on top of that... whatever it is. Orangey browny ochrey. So. I did a little more carving and then printed....

Aspen leaf linocut, Step 7

White. Believe it or not, this is a pure white layer. No transparent base added. Not very white, though, is it?

But... I didn't really mind. I didn't WANT white... I just wanted a better base on which to print....

Aspen leaf linocut, Step 8

Yellow. Finally. And look how the relative colors have changed again! It's really rather ridiculous, don't you think? I am reminded of college class called "Problems in Color." We spent the semester mixing little paint squares, matching values and trying to solve visual puzzles: How to make two different colors look like same by changing the color around them... or the reverse... how to make two swatches of the same color look entirely different.

I wonder if this print is a sign of how much I did learn.. or how much I didn't learn.

But I think I'm back on track now. The next couple of colors will also be brighter, and then I'll get the darks going and hopefully the visual relationships will start behaving themselves again. It all needs a day or two to dry now, so I'll be turning my attention to some illustration projects. But don't worry... I won't turn my back on these prints. Who KNOWS what they might get up to if I did.


  1. blame the printing gnomes :p

    very bright yellow!

  2. I can totally relate....except I don't have opacity in my bag of tricks.....I'm in the middle of my narcissus print and things are pink and an ugly green.....(Prep-school, nasty colors) but soon duller and brighter colors go down around them and will make everything all right again...Good least Fall aspens are pretty hi key colors and a little flash will make them sing.