Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Finishing the owl

Wahoo! (Or perhaps that should be wa-WHOOO, given that this is an owl...) Either way, it's finished before the new year, and that makes me a happy camper.

The final stages were all fairly subtle: more transparent gray layers!

Reduction linocut in progress: Step 9

It was getting so close here, but I wanted to give a little more emphasis to the foreground branches and the bird...soooo.....

Reduction linocut in progress: Step 10

I really thought that this would be the end, but the owl felt a tiny bit flat to me. I cleared out the branches immediately around the owl and also took some material out of the bird's back and wing, then inked up the owl only and did one last run of transparent gray.

Reduction linocut, Step 11, final

Taking a decent photo of this image is, as I feared it might be, really challenging. The camera wants to make everything more contrasty-y than it actually is and either too warm or too cool. This shot is close, but not perfect.

Now what it needs is a title. This little owl appeared in a tree next to a restaurant in downtown Salida in early May. Flammulated owls are creatures of coniferous forest (which we have all around us, but not in town), but they are secretive. Its blatant presence in the middle of the day was quite a surprise.

The day was overcast and gray. As I worked on this piece I imagined this little fellow out for a spring stretch and, confused by the overcast light, caught away from his usual perch as the day progressed.

I don't remember if it snowed later that day or not, but it wouldn't have been unusual. The non-feathered bipeds in the area, anxious for warmer days, might have responded to those tentative flakes with a grumble: "Not again," or, "Enough with the snow already!"

I'm not sure that a viewer would understand the reference if I called this piece, "Not again," so I'm still looking for a title. Suggestions, anyone?


  1. I'm horrible at coming up with titles, usually resort to something latin lol

    Wonderful finish and only 11 steps this time ;) (im amazed at what you do with even 3 steps :) )

  2. I really wanted to be done at 10 steps, just because I thought you might faint. Eleven... well... ;-)

    Titles. Sometimes easy. Sometimes not. It's like a six-word memoir: How do you tell a story in six words or less?

  3. How about "Silent promise". Something that reflects his quiet perch above the activity below.

  4. What was the temperature? Sherrie.
    I'm thinking 6 degrees as in degrees of separation. Whatever the temp, most folks have more degrees of separation from nature than you do.... x

  5. Gosh, this is wonderful! Composition & design, transparency, palette, subject — love it!!

  6. I'm thinking something about mixed messages: spring/winter? "Not quite spring," "The Wicked, Evil Torment of Spring that is Supposed to be Here but Isn't." Something precise like that. ;-)

  7. Titular wit has abandoned me, I'm afraid.Too busy running around with hoses!
    But it's very lovely print. I wish you many more prints and much goodness this year.
    Happy New Year, Sherrie.

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  9. "The Wicked, Evil Torment of Spring that is Supposed to be Here but Isn't"

    lol, I like it :)

  10. Beautiful work, and so subtle steps. I love the depth of it - very clever, for me that's the 11th layer, to emphasise that. An Australian title would be "Flaming s
    now!" Cheers and a wonderous 2016 . :-]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

  11. As in "Flaming snow" --- sorry for the gremlin.

  12. I'm no good with titles either. I'm always blown away by your work. It's been a while, but this is just amazing and beautiful. Well done.

  13. Well, look at all you clever (ahem) title providers! We're getting close, but not quite there yet. I'll be on the road for an exhibition this week, so maybe inspiration will strike.

    And while we're looking for inspiration, we should also be thinking of what subject I should tackle next. ;-) Astronaut flamingos, perhaps? I've got some ideas, but so far nothing is leaping out to say, YES! MY TURN!

    Happy new year, everyone!

  14. "Whoooooo's There?" I'm sure he was as surprised to see you as you were him! Wonderful print - love the subtlety.

  15. I've decided! The title: "It's April, No Foolin'"