Monday, October 5, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Feeling Blue - or at least Printing Blue

Even after almost four months away from printing I can see that some work habits will never change. Let's see if you can guess which habits I'm talking about.

The first layer that I printed was intended as a kind of "underpainting," (underprinting?) since I thought I would quickly be moving to a blended color roll. Experience has shown me that, at least at my current skill level, trying to print a blended roll on the first pass can be an exercise in frustration.

So... with that first "underprinting" of pale blue accomplished, it was time for carving and printing of the second blue. Also not a blended roll. There were some small subtleties I wanted to chase after first.

Step 2: snow scene reduction linocut

Any contrast between first and second blue is difficult to see in this small format (slightly embiggenable with a click). But it's there. Trust me.

With two colors down I thought it might be time for that blended roll... but to my surprise I found myself losing interest in the idea. Or at least not ready for it yet. The blues are not yet rich enough to hold up to the contrast I think I want in a blended roll. Again, a wee bit of carving and another blue. This blue has a little bit of purple mixed in, although the camera has ignored that.

Step 3: snow scene reduction linocut

This is getting closer, but I'm still not convinced that it's time to try a blended roll... and in fact I am no longer sure that I will want one at all. My original thought was to suggest distance by rolling a darker, more violet, shade towards the top and blending it to a lighter blue, as I did with a piece titled "Longing."

"Longing," reduction linocut, 12" x 16" Edition of 10, sold out

But for this new piece I have an idea that maybe the deeper, richer color is toward the foreground. In the current piece the view is longer and wider, where "Longing" was a close-up, more intimate one. With "Longing" I wanted to suggest the viewer and the foreground elements were in the sun, that maybe the tangled shrub was at the edge of an open area.

I'd like the new piece to have the sense of a deeper, darker wood. I think you can tell that there will be many tree trunks and some greenery along the top edge... but no sky. Just dense tree canopy. There are no big expanses of snow exposed to the light, instead the ground is mostly in shadow, with sun coming through where it can.

In my reference image all the snow shadows are the same flat gray-blue... but I don't think that's what I want. Perhaps the answer will be to change the brilliance of the color from background to foreground, rather than the hue. I'm going to have to think about it for a little bit.

As for those questionable work habits... It should be obvious that "failure to plan ahead" and "tendency to wander off and make things more complicated than they need to be" are at the top of that list. If you've noticed others, feel free to point them out. I'm always happy to serve as an example of what NOT to do. It's one of my best skills!


  1. I get stressed just thinking about your process. As one who plans everything ahead I get to walk on the wild side living vicariously through your prints. Thanks for all this thoughtful commentary and welcome back - it's such a relief! :)

  2. Beautiful work, Sherrie.
    What size is this new print?

  3. "tendency to wander off and make things more complicated than they need to be"

    but it wouldn't be your work if you didn't ;)

  4. :-) Thanks for supporting my questionable work process, Wendy and Jen... and yes... it IS a relief to be back to work. No pun intended.

    Welcome, Etcherman... this piece is 18 x 18 inches. Fairly stout for me... I'm creeping up on an 18 x 24. Soon... (I keep telling myself).


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