Saturday, October 24, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Back to the forest.... for the ugly duckling stage.

When we last left the snowy woods we had just barely dragged ourselves out of the blue mire. And by "we" I mean "me." I spent way too much time slogging through snow drifts trying to get to the right blues– but moving away from the harmony that is a monochromatic composition is always scary.

Just as a recap, the piece was at this stage, Step 8, when last I posted about it.

Snow scene linocut: Step 8

This gray will only appear in some highlights of the foreground trees, so it didn't take much carving before I was ready to print Step 9, a sort of brown-gray.

Snow scene linocut: Step 9

And now things get... iffy. It's time to tackle the background trees. In my reference photo the trees are pretty much just a mashed-up confusion of dark branches and needles with some almost black areas and some really light areas. Not a lot of definition. But of course I want to do something a little better with that.. or at least a little less visually confusing.

Snow scene linocut: Step 10

Wow. That's kind of a funky green. I wasn't sure what I thought about it, but printed it anyway. When I was finished I decided it was okay, but it wasn't the lightest green I needed. So a bit of mind-bending happened while I tried to carve for the "middle green" in advance of printing this: (Brace yourselves, it ain't pretty.)

Snow scene linocut: Step 11

Are you afraid now? I sure as heck am. In fact at this point I was bordering on panic. This is a straight-up white ink layer, but of course it looks like a light green. Which is what I wanted, but I was SO not sure that this was it.

The next layer of carving... well... I was pretty much just making everything up as I went along and hoping like mad that I'd be able to pull this one out.

Snow scene linocut: Step 12

It almost seems possible now... although dangit if I don't need one more green. Which I might print as a transparent brown, but I haven't decided yet. Ooph. Then it's tree trunks and rocks and hopefully that will be it. It's still looking a bit dodgy, but hopefulness has returned where once paranoia reigned.


  1. Another masterclass in reduction printmaking. I just love how your brain works and sees the colors as you go This post has taken us on quite the journey. I love it!

  2. It's always fascinating to see process stories; and two at once is a rare treat! Thank you for sharing your creative journey.

  3. I don't know but maybe it will be a record, already 12 steps, and i'm sure, it's not near finish. Hope there is no animal or birds in the scene...

  4. Gwad, Sherrie. What a high wire act. Especially after digging the post holes, raising the posts, stringing the wire, inching out to the middle and deciding that doing the can can is what the situation requires.
    Doing my own version w current carvings, so a standing applause for another wire..

  5. definitely a couple of "eeek" moments there, but we have confidence...

  6. looking really good :D

    12 steps so far, going to be 20 when finished?? ;)

  7. Aw, thanks everyone! I got the carving done for the next color today, but have somewhere to be in a couple of hours so don't dare start printing for fear of getting rushed.

    So instead I'm carving on that OTHER piece. Trying to remind myself to take it a bit easier this time... but we'll see. The problem for me seems to be that the more I work on an idea the more the idea grows! And then I get off on color tangents.

    And Guepar, as longtime readers can tell you, a piece that runs to 15+ colors is not too unusual around here, although I never set out for them to be that ridiculous. I think my record is 21 colors... something I do try to avoid, but not always successfully! (Jen--trying to keep it to 15, but we'll see....)

  8. Speakiking of choosing "the right blue"....have you ever done a post on the inks you use and the colors in your pallet?

  9. Hi Doug - I'm not sure that I have... it's a good idea. Although my inks will gradually be changing because rotten Daniel Smith has stopped manufacturing. I have enough to last me a little while yet, but.... Stay tuned!


Linocut in Progress: Wrapping up the loon

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