If I were printing multiple blocks... or better yet, if I were a painter, I could go back and "fix" the offending color. But with reduction printing, once I've gone on to the next step I can't really go back.
In some cases I've been known to cut a second block, but most of the time I just do a lot of scowling and try to figure out how to live with the problem. Remember that when I show you where we are now with this bufflehead linocut.
|Bufflehead linocut in progress: Step 5|
At Step 5 things are looking pretty good. This pass was just a transparent light gray; my intention was to both darken the underlying colors and to tone down some of the brightness. Yep, that worked.
And then came Step 6. I really like the feeling of transparency in the water, but I want to build some more depth. After another carving session I put a little more black pigment in my existing transparent gray ink and made a print pass:
|Bufflehead linocut in progress: Experimental step|
Whoa! WAYYYYYY too dark! This might be okay in a few areas, but not everywhere like this! Ugh. Scrub off the block, remix the ink. Try again.
|Bufflehead linocut in progress: Step 6|
Unfortunately the photo doesn't really seem to show much difference between steps 5 and 6 now, but maybe you can tell the some more of the brightness has been taken out of the darker areas.
So now what? I'm on the fence about the water. It seems to me that it could use a wee bit more dark in some places, especially once the darkest bits of the male birds are in place. (Male buffleheads are pretty strikingly black and white.) But I don't want to overpower the birds, either. Ugh. What to do?
I need to cogitate for a little bit, but I think what I'm going to do is go ahead and turn my attention to the birds. This will require a bunch of fussy masking that I wanted to avoid, but I don't see a better way to handle it at this point. Wish me luck!